These balls aren’t new, but they don’t get the recognition that they should. The ability to catch a ball is a developmental milestone. For kids with low muscle tone, sensory processing disorder (SPD) or ASD, it can be a difficult goal to achieve. The Gertie ball is often the easiest for them to handle. Here’s why:
- It is lightweight. An inflatable ball is often easier to lift and catch. The heavier plastic balls can be too heavy and create surprisingly substantial fatigue after a few tries.
- Gertie balls are textured. Some have the original leathery touch, and some have raised bumps. Nothing irritating, but all varieties provided helpful tactile input that supports grasp. It is much easier to hold onto a ball that isn’t super-smooth.
- It can be under-inflated, making it slower to roll to and away from a young child. Balls that roll away too fast are frustrating to children with slow motor or visual processing. Balls that roll to quickly toward a child don’t give kids enough time to coordinate visual and motor responses.
- They have less impact when accidentally hitting a child or an object. Kids get scared when a hard ball hits them. And special needs kids often throw off the mark, making it more likely to hit something or someone else. Keep things safer with a Gertie ball.
The biggest downside for Gertie balls is that they have a stem as a stopper, and curious older kids can remove it. If you think that your child will be able to remove the stem, creating a choking hazard, only allow supervised playtime.
Looking for more information about sports and gross motor play? Check out Picking The Best Trikes, Scooters, Etc. For Kids With Low Tone and Hypermobility and Should Your Hypermobile Child Play Sports?. You could also take a look at What’s Really Missing When Kids Don’t Cross Midline?.