Toys are a fundamental part of childhood, but when a child has a disability it can prevent or limit their access to playing with conventional toys, especially when toys require a button to be squeezed or pushed to activate.  By adapting a toy to a larger switch, it can be more accessible and easier to operate because it allows the child to experience independent play.  Switch-adapted toys can be purchased from many different company websites as well as on Amazon.  However, certain toys can also be modified and personally turned into switch-adapted toys.

Just in time for the holiday season, I’m excited to share that NDSU Disability Services, now through December, will be adapting toys for children with disabilities.  Below you will find their announcement.

NDSU Holiday Adaptathon/Adoptathon 2021

NDSU Disability Services, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) honor society are again working together to make the holiday season more accessible for all children. Finding toys that are accessible for children with physical/motor disabilities can be difficult for families and friends. This is especially true during the holiday season. For many of these children, playing with off-the-shelf toys is not possible. Depending on their unique abilities, a toy may not be accessible. However, there are toys that can be modified so the original switches can be rerouted to a larger switch that is easily accessible and easy to operate. During November and December, NDSU Disability Services, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) honor society will be adapting toys for children with disabilities. Parents, families and friends of children with physical disabilities are encouraged to bring in their switch-activated toys to have them modified. The deadline for bringing in toys to be adapted is December 3rd.

However, there are some families who cannot afford switch activated toys for their child.  If you would like to donate a toy that we can modify or if you would like to make a donation so we can purchase a toy and/or an adaptive switch for a child, please contact us at: Please contact us if you know a child who needs a switch-adapted toy during this holiday season. We are already adapting toys that need someone to adopt them. Help us make toys accessible to all. Thank you for all of your support.

What types of toys can be adapted?

–          Battery Operated

–          Toys that require activation by pressing or squeezing a button or switch.

–          May be two separate buttons.

–          Usually, any plush toy where you squeeze a foot, hand, hoof, nose, etc.. to activate will work.

Toys with joysticks or motion sensors typically may not be able to be adapted but check with us and we will let you know.

If you have toys you would like adapted you can drop them off at the front desk at the NDSU Main Library or in Disability Services. Please put your name and contact information on the toy so we know who to contact when it is finished. The deadline for submitting toys is December 3rd but the sooner you bring the toys in sooner we will have them ready for the holidays.

Switch adapted dog toy                      Bubble machine adapted for a switch

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