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Twin brothers from Telford, Shropshire, can look forward to a fun filled Christmas thanks to the loan of an Interactive Play Therapy Pod from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.

Nine-year-old Robbie and Fraser Ludlow-Smith enjoyed the toys so much that mum Alison Brown has bought them one each from the selection for under the Christmas tree.

Robbie and Fraser both have Autism and low muscle tone – this has resulted in the twins having delayed motor skills. They were provided with the loan of an Interactive Play Therapy Pod to help them improve their hand-eye co-ordination, interactive play and their fine motor skills.

Free of charge and loaned for between 12 and 16 weeks, the Play Therapy Pods are aimed at stimulating senses as well as helping children be comforted and distracted from pain through play. Now with the help of a dedicated play therapist, Newlife has extended the range with Play Therapy Pods suitable for birth to 18 months and 18 months to three years, with each containing visual, auditory, tactile and interactive toys.

Mum Alison said: “The boys absolutely loved the Interactive Play Therapy Pod, they took to the toys so well it was amazing. It’s very difficult to find toys that can stimulate them as it is not like buying standard toys – the Play Therapy Pods have been great for encouraging hand eye coordination with the boys. Robbie doesn’t have any problems with speech but Fraser still has very limited communication skills – I would use the bubble machine to get him to say ‘I want more bubbles’ when the adapter was switched off.”

Play Therapy Pods of sensory and developmental toys help children with complex needs, allowing families to ‘try before they buy’.

Alison added: “Specialist toys are very expensive I did not want to spend a big sum of money on toys for Robbie and Fraser which they may not be interested in. That’s where Newlife’s Play Therapy Pods come in handy for parents who have children with disabilities.”

The Interactive Play Therapy Pods bridge a gap between siblings and parents, making it easier for families to play together.

“I bought Robbie the projector as he loves to make shapes with Fraser on the wall and this is something we can do together. During the loan I moved it upstairs into his room as it had such a calming effect on him, especially at night time. For Fraser I bought the Fibre Optic Tank, he absolutely loved it carrying it around everywhere. Without the Play Therapy Pods we would not have known what to put under the Christmas tree,” added Alison.

Application forms for Play Therapy Pods are available online by going to Further information about Play Therapy Pods is available from the charity’s Care Services Team on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).

Pictured: Robbie and Fraser Ludlow-Smith