What is sensory integration? Why is it important? Sensory integration is the way our brains organize and interpret basic human sensory information which include sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.Poor sensory integration can mean delays in language/motor skills, coordination problems, and/or impulsive behavior. For most children, sensory integration develops normally as they grow, but for some, it doesn’t develop as well as it should. This is true for some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Project Playtime teams in Cavite, Philippines have partnered with Aid of Angels Therapy and Learning Center, and Joey-Allen Creative Learning and Rehabilitation Center to create toys with sensory integration in mind. Generally, the toys aim to help develop fine motor skills (ability to make movements using fingers and hands) by squeezing, grasping, and twisting specific parts. The toys may then react by lighting up a certain color or making sounds, which in turn may help with the children’s cognitive abilities.
Let's take a look at the toys the Philippine teams are designing.
Team Green – Squeezle
Squeezle (pictured above) is a toy made of a durable, flexible, squishy material which can be gripped by kids to help develop a child’s motor skills. For this reason, Squeezle is mostly intended to be squishy. The toy comes in various textures for kids with visual impairment.
As the child squeezes the toy, Squeezle will light up and provides a sound indicating the color. This is to make the toy more attractive and entertaining. In addition, multiple Squeezle sticks can lock together to form certain shapes such as a pyramid to stimulate the kids’ minds and to support the main purpose of the toy which is to develop child’s motor skills. This also allows the kids to engage in peer activities to strengthen their social skills.
Team Lemon – ADiMax
ADiMax is a portable and multi-sensory toy that aims to entertain and help train the fine motor skills of children. Fine motor skills training is done using a pressure sensor system that trains the kids to control the pressure they apply with their fingers. Music and LED lighting are triggered whenever correct pressure is applied. Additional features include a rotating sphere (with a rattling ball inside) activated by using a pull-string mechanism, a battery-less rotator that turns on an LED light, and multiple surface roughness across different parts of the toy.
Team Red – GearMix
GearMix is a toy envisioned to help in developing the cognitive and critical thinking skills of children with special needs through color mixing. It uses silicone-made objects which change colors depending on the number of times they are squeezed. When the objects are put together, their individual colors change to the combination of the hues. ADI’s LT1529 will be used in regulating the source voltage of the toy components.
We would like to hear what you think about Project Playtime and the projects we are working on. Please feel free to ask us questions in the comments below.
Project Champion: Mario Tiongson (Test Development Engineer)
Project Champion: Marlon Maramba (IC Design Engineer)