Meet Precious, a beautiful 7 (almost 8!) year old little girl, diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and epilepsy. In addition she has a feeding tube and is nonverbal. She is fully dependent on her family for seating, positioning and moving. She is extremely limited in her movement and ability to grasp and play with toys. Precious is the very first recipient of a new toy from Ben’s Toy Closet.
Today I had the honor of meeting Precious and her mom Evelyn during one of her many therapy sessions. We gifted a Dance & Move Beat Bow that had been adapted to work with an activation switch. By lightly touching the switch, Precious could turn on the Beat Bow and make it light up, dance and play music. Precious’ natural arm/hand position is very tight (spastic) and fisted, so it took her a while to relax enough and be motivated to touch the switch. But after some encouragement and a few tries, she kept touching the switches with her hand and elbow, turning on Beat Bow!
What is inspiring and touching about these children is that, even though they can’t express themselves in a traditional way and have controlled purposeful movement like a typical kid does, you can still see them WANT to play and respond to movement, lights, sounds and other stimuli. Today Precious smiled when Beat Bow would start dancing. His music would turn on, and she would stop to listen to it. She would stare at the switch and you could see her trying to move enough to press it. She would cut her eyes at her mom and smile.
This is exactly why we started the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation and Ben’s Toy Closet. Young kids with different abilities still need to play -- they need toys and devices they can access. It makes them engage and smile, as I saw with Precious today. Our goal is to gift as many toys as possible to kids just like her. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider doing so. If would mean so much to a young child.