Maybe you've heard of this new toy simply called the Bilibo. It's one of those weird toys from Europe (Switzerland, to be precise) that looks deceptively simple and somewhat boring until you actually start playing with it.
The Bilibo design is based on extensive study of how children play and the creators list its attributes:
- The toy is open ended and stimulates imagination. What is it? What can you do with it? You'd be surprised!
- The Bilibo is nearly indestructible. Even an adult can sit on it!
- Great for play indoors or out and even in water.
And this is all true but there are other facets of this toy that make it particularly effective for blind and multiply-disabled children:
- The Bilibo is small and simple. It doesn't take much to figure it out. This can be reassuring for blind kids.
- When sitting in the Bilibo, the hard surface gives support, but the round bottom disrupts balance. This is great for both vestibular and proprioceptive input and balance control. Ivan has to figure out how to stay upright (which also means he has to figure out what upright is) and he learns how small movements in his body move the whole toy.
- Rocking in the Bilibo is almost like performing supported sit ups. Great for trunk muscles!
- If you lean back in the Bilibo, you'll fall over. Ivan has learned that he needs to put his hands out behind him to keep himself safe. This is a safety technique we've been trying to teach him for years!
- Turn the Bilibo upside down and sit on it. Now you're working new muscles as you try to keep your balance!
- The Bilibo is purely interactive and teaches play skills. It doesn't do anything unless you move or do something to it. You can't just sit and listen to it or stick it in your mouth. It's great seeing Ivan really play with a toy.
The Bilibo is by far Ivan's favorite toy and we love it too because it seems to be teaching him so many things while also improving his muscle tone. You can't ask for much more in one affordable toy!