About Olipop Toys
My name is Bianka Wasserman and I started Olipop Toyshop to help children just like our son Oliver, or Oli or Olipop as he likes to be called. Oliver received two cochlear implants when he was just 6 months old.
As hearing parents of a child newly diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing, it is hard to describe what goes through your mind. You want to do as much as possible and you want to do EVERYTHING ‘right’. When we started early intervention, we were asked to look for toys that could be used for daily therapy. The search was on to find toys that could be used and associated with the Ling sounds. It was really difficult to find age appropriate, good quality, practical and safe toys that could be used long term. I decided the easiest was forward was to have a set of wooden toys custom made.
Oliver, our son, was born in November 2019. He was just a few weeks old when we found out he was deaf. A diagnosis like this, 40 years ago would have meant that he would have limited or no access to sound and his main mode of communication would most likely have been sign language. However, thankfully with the technology available today, Oliver now has communication options. He has access to sound with his two “magic ears” or cochlear implants giving him an opportunity for spoken language.
Having his cochlear implants ‘implanted’ and ‘switched on’ was only the beginning of Oliver’s sound journey. Just because he had hearing technology didn’t mean that he could hear. There was a lot of work to be done and continues to be done, to train his brain how to listen.
Having experienced early intervention both in South Africa and in Oregon in the United States, it became clear to us that easy access to age-appropriate, safe, quality educational toys was hard to come by.
Having had the custom toy set made for Oliver, it occurred to us that it would be quite magical to be able to share this with children and parents all over the world in the same situation as us. The toy sets are currently being made overseas while the puzzles are being made locally in South Africa.
The products we have to offer today are just the beginning. As we continue to learn more while consulting with with speech therapists, teachers of the deaf, audiologists, occupational therapists, parents and caregivers we can continue to create more. Specifically, on the horizon for now, we plan to expand the Ling toy set to include toys associated with the extra four sounds. We would also like to make toys that can represent the 26 Learn to Listen to Sounds. We would also like to offer customised LMH sound puzzles with names and changing of pictures depending on the country where the child lives. For example, in South Africa, we rarely use the ghost for the ‘oo’ sound, which is rather common in the USA.
Your support is so much appreciated and will allow one more little superhear-o to hear through play!