Toy Modification Program
Many of our communities’ physically and mentally challenged youth lack the motor control to manipulate the small switches on the majority of today’s toys. The Toy Modification Program provides large switches and associated modified battery operated toys to over 15 licensed service providers in the Greater Capital District area and Amsterdam, Oneonta, and Schoharie. In 2007 over 248 modified toys and 40 switches were distributed.
Large “capability” switches are made from plastic jar tops, hand turned wooden bases, micro switches, and plugs/wiring. Toys are modified by internally wiring a jack in parallel with the chosen toy switch. The “capability” switch, when plugged into the toy, can then be used to activate the toy. Because of the plug and jack connection one switch can be plugged into and used on any of the modified toys.
The group has begun modifying computer mice to allow activation of the left click mouse button by one of these switches. This allows a therapist to work with a client at a computer.
The Toy Modification group purchases the toys and needed parts and every Thursday morning meets in a dedicated lab area at GE Schenectady in Bldg 262 to do the modifications. Currently there are approximately 15 volunteers and we are always encouraging more to contact us as we have many interesting projects.
This is a photo of a modified toy and a switch made by the group: