…and I’m buggered if I’m devoting another single square centimeter of floorspace to cheap, plastic moulded toys that take up acres of room. Pesky kids. I need that space for my friend Sarah’s stuffed moose gift.
So here’s what we’re doing, and I hope it works.
We’ve started asking friends and family not to buy gifts of toys for Jacob this Christmas. Instead we’re going to be slightly less Christmassy and just say ‘GIVE US YOUR MONEY!’ Ok, not quite that chilly about it. But a SMALL donation in lieu of the usual €30/40/50 Fisher Price or VTech thingie, which we’ll then put towards more appropriate gifts.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate people’s intentions: we truly do, but we also appreciate how hard it is to get gifts for anybody, let alone someone whose needs are slightly different and not best met by off-the-shelf items from Argos or Smyths or Tommy’s World of Wonder. I’m not slamming Fisher Price or any other brands either. They can have good toys too. You can find good stuff in these stores, but you’ll have to look harder and think about it more, and anyway there’s better value to be had elsewhere. (And PLEASE don’t be fooled if the name of the shop happens to be the Early Learning Centre – they’re pretty much a toy store with lots of useless junk too, just with a clever name to make you think otherwise.)
The good news is that there are dedicated websites and stores that provide appropriate developmental toys and learning aids for kids ‘suffering’ with Down Syndrome (ha ha – thanks Cathal’s mam for pointing out the sufferance from the mainstream media on that particular phrase 🙂 )
Dee recently went to a Toy Show in St Michael’s House and was very impressed by what she saw from these guys. They’re called Thinking Toys and they’re based in Co. Clare, quite near Limerick. It’s run by a couple who are very much coming at this from a position of inside knowledge, and it’s worth doing a little bit of reading. It’s a huge shame that delivery is Ireland only, but I’d encourage you if you’re outside Ireland to get creative. If you want it you will get it. Within Ireland you can order from the website and – even better – they’re happy to come to you and do the show and tell thing.
We will also gladly demonstrate and display our products anywhere in Ireland to groups including therapists, teachers and support groups. All you have to Do is Ask and we will be there.
Isn’t that nice? It’s nice too if you want to include someone in the whole gift buying thing that you can do so and they have less chance to make a complete balls-up of it. Or you can just be Scrooges like us, tell everyone you’ll do it yourself, take the money and then spend it on Cartier watches, a yacht in Barbados and all the After Eight mints and Ferrero Rocher than one classy and well rounded couple with a reinforced sofa can possibly eat.