Did you know that Toys R Us has a catalogue of toys that would be appropriate for “differently-abled” children? It has been published for about twenty years, but this is the first time that I have heard of it. Several different celebrities have appeared as the “face” of the guide over the years.
Parents who have children that have special needs quickly learn that not every toy is something that their child is going to be ready for, interested in, or amused by. Some toys might be completely inappropriate for children who have certain types of special needs. The “recommended age” of a particular toy might not necessarily match up to what your child needs, even if he or she happens to fall within that age group.
The Toys R Us “Differently-Abled” guide is designed to be used as a resource for parents, relatives, friends, and professionals who want to find a suitable toy for a child who has a special need. This can help when it comes time to shop for a birthday present, a Christmas present, or an “anytime” gift.
The toys in the guide are selected by the National Lekotek Center. It is a nonprofit organization that reviews hundreds of products and toys, in order to evaluate each one based on specific criteria that was derived during therapeutic play sessions. In other words, there are experts that are selecting the toys that appear in this guide.
The guide itself is divided in into collections of toys that promote different skills. Choose from toys that promote auditory skills, language skills, social skills, creativity, and more. There are symbols next to each toy that makes it easy for parents to figure out what each toy can help their child with.
Many celebrities have appeared on the cover of the Toys R Us toy guide for differently-abled kids. The current one features Eva Longoria. She is one of the actresses from the “Desperate Housewives” series.
The reason why she was selected to be the “face” of this year’s guide could be because she started an organization called “Eva’s Heroes” in 2006. It’s a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for individuals with special needs to interact, play, learn, and enrich their lives. One of Eva Longoria’s sisters was born with developmental disabilities, and this is what inspired her to create “Eva’s Heroes”.
The cover also features an adorable five year old named Elija De La Cerda, who is from Fresno, California. He happens to have Down Syndrome.
Parents who would like to receive a copy of the “differently-abled” guide from Toys R Us can do that in a few ways. You can pick one up, for free, at any Toys R Us or Babies R Us location. Or, you can send an email to DifferentlyAbled @toysrus.com in order to get on their mailing list. New versions of the guide appear every year in September. Parents can also go here to flip through an online version of the guide.
Image by Ian Muttoo on Flickr