The Best Types of Toys for Speech Therapy and Autism

Toys can be a fun and effective tool for speech therapy, especially when working with children with autism. Incorporating toys into speech therapy sessions can make the experience more engaging and enjoyable for the child, which can improve their willingness to participate and ultimately lead to better outcomes.

In this article, we discuss the types of toys available for home and speech therapy use, the purpose of each, and lastly, the type of results that are seen from using them (shown from 3 case studies).

1. Interactive Toys

Interactive toys are an excellent tool for children with speech and language delays. These toys can help children develop their communication skills by encouraging them to interact and communicate with the toy. Some popular interactive toys for speech therapy and autism include:

  • Talking dolls and animals
  • Interactive games with sound effects
  • Voice-activated toys
  • Musical toys that encourage singing and humming

Interactive toys can be a fun way for children to practice their communication skills and build confidence in their abilities.

2. Sensory Toys

Sensory toys are designed to stimulate the senses and provide a calming effect for children with autism. These toys can help children with sensory processing issues learn to regulate their emotions and improve their communication skills. Some popular sensory toys for speech therapy and autism include:

  • Fidget toys that provide tactile stimulation
  • Weighted blankets and vests for deep pressure stimulation
  • Calming toys that provide visual and auditory feedback
  • Chew toys for oral sensory stimulation

Sensory toys can be a valuable tool for children with autism who struggle with sensory processing issues.

3. Educational Toys

Educational toys can help children with speech and language delays develop their cognitive and language skills. These toys can also help children with autism learn new concepts and improve their social skills. Some popular educational toys for speech therapy and autism include:

  • Alphabet and number puzzles
  • Board games that encourage turn-taking and social interaction
  • Playsets that encourage imaginative play and storytelling
  • Building blocks and construction sets that promote problem-solving and spatial awareness

Educational toys can be a fun way for children to learn and develop new skills while also improving their communication abilities.

Benefits of Using Toys for Speech Therapy

Toys can be an effective tool for speech therapy, particularly for children with autism. Here are some of the benefits of using toys for speech therapy:

  • Engagement: Toys can help engage children in the therapy process. By using toys that are interesting and fun, therapists can capture a child’s attention and keep them engaged in the therapy session. This can lead to better progress and outcomes.
  • Motivation: Toys can also be used as a motivator for children. By using toys as a reward for completing tasks or making progress in therapy, children may be more motivated to participate in the therapy session.
  • Language Development: Toys can be used to encourage language development. For example, a therapist may use a toy car to encourage a child to say “car” or “go”. By associating words with objects, children can improve their vocabulary and language skills.
  • Social Skills: Toys can also be used to improve social skills. By playing with toys with other children or with a therapist, children can learn important social skills such as turn-taking, sharing, and communication.

Overall, using toys in speech therapy can be a valuable tool for improving speech and language skills in children with autism. By making therapy sessions more engaging, motivating, and fun, children may be more likely to participate and make progress.

How to Choose Suitable Toys

When it comes to choosing toys for speech therapy and autism, there are a few factors to consider to ensure that the toys are appropriate and effective. Here are some important considerations when selecting toys for speech therapy and autism.

Age Appropriate

It is important to choose toys that are age-appropriate for the child. Age-appropriate toys are those that are designed for the child’s developmental level, skills, and interests. Toys that are too advanced or too simple may not be engaging or effective for the child. For example, a toy that is designed for a 6-year-old may not be suitable for a 3-year-old, and vice versa.


Safety is another important factor to consider when selecting toys for speech therapy and autism. Toys should be free of small parts, sharp edges, and other potential hazards that could harm the child. Additionally, toys should be made of non-toxic materials and should meet safety standards set by regulatory bodies.

Engagement Level

Toys that are engaging and fun can be more effective in promoting speech and language development. Toys that encourage interaction, communication, and creativity are ideal for speech therapy and autism. For example, toys that involve turn-taking, imitation, and storytelling can help develop language skills.

Toys that are appropriate for speech therapy and autism can vary depending on the child’s individual needs and interests. It is important to consult with a speech therapist or autism specialist to determine the best toys for the child’s specific needs.

Incorporating Toys into Speech Therapy Sessions

When choosing toys for speech therapy, it’s important to consider the child’s interests and abilities. Toys that are visually appealing, tactile, and interactive can be particularly effective. Here are some examples of toys that can be incorporated into speech therapy sessions:

  • Puzzles: Puzzles can help develop problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination, while also providing opportunities for speech practice. Children can practice naming the pieces, requesting help, and describing the colors and shapes.
  • Play food: Play food can be used to target a variety of language skills, such as labeling, requesting, and describing. Children can also practice social skills by taking turns and engaging in pretend play.
  • Dolls and action figures: These toys can be used to target social skills, such as turn-taking and conversation. Children can also practice describing the characters and acting out scenarios.
  • Building blocks: Building blocks can be used to target spatial concepts, such as “on top” and “next to,” as well as sequencing and problem-solving skills.

When incorporating toys into speech therapy sessions, it’s important to remember that the focus should still be on the speech and language goals. The toys should be used as a tool to facilitate communication and engagement, rather than as a distraction from the therapy itself.

Overall, incorporating toys into speech therapy sessions can be a fun and effective way to engage children with autism and improve their speech and language skills.

Case Studies: Success Stories

Case studies provide real-life examples of how toys can be used to help children with speech therapy and autism. Here are a few success stories:

Case Study 1: Jacob

Jacob is a 5-year-old boy with autism who struggles with social communication and play skills. His therapist introduced him to a set of Mr. Potato Head toys, which he quickly became interested in. The therapist used the toys to work on Jacob’s language skills by asking him to label body parts, use descriptive words, and make requests. Over time, Jacob’s language skills improved, and he began to use more complex sentences and engage in more imaginative play.

Case Study 2: Emily

Emily is a 7-year-old girl with a speech delay who has difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. Her therapist used a set of Articulation Blocks to help her practice making specific sounds. Each block had a picture and word on it, and Emily had to say the word correctly before stacking the block. The game made practicing speech fun and engaging for Emily, and she quickly improved her ability to produce the target sounds.

Case Study 3: Tyler

Tyler is a 9-year-old boy with autism who has difficulty with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. His therapist introduced him to a set of Pop Beads, which he loved playing with. The therapist used the beads to work on Tyler’s hand-eye coordination by having him string the beads together in specific patterns. Over time, Tyler’s fine motor skills improved, and he was able to complete more complex patterns.

These case studies demonstrate how toys can be used to help children with speech therapy and autism. By making therapy fun and engaging, children are more likely to participate and make progress.

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