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2010 Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

Toys“R”Us, Inc. has released the 2010 edition of the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®, an easy-to-use toy selection resource that can help parents of children with special needs select toys that develop skills through the power of play.

This year, actress, author, philanthropist and mother of a son with autism, Holly Robinson Peete appears on the cover, along with Tommy Austing, a 6-year-old boy from Los Angeles, CA. Released annually, the Guide is available in Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® stores nationwide and online, in English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. The largest edition ever, this year’s Guide has increased to 60 pages and features an expanded assortment of online offerings that are available through the company’s website.

For nearly 20 years the Guide has assisted parents, family, friends and caregivers by providing qualified toy recommendations to help aid in the skill development of children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. To help parents select the perfect playthings for their children, all toys featured in the Guide are associated with icons that show parents which skills can be developed during playtime.\

“As the mom of four beautiful kids, I know that every child has a unique personality, distinct interests and develops at their own pace. Since my son RJ was diagnosed with autism when he was three, I also know what it’s like to be blessed with a child who has special needs,” said Holly Robinson Peete. “I am truly honored to appear on the cover of the 2010 Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids becauseI have seen how everyday toys, like those featured in the Guide, have helped my son build skills to enhance his development.”

“The Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is a labor of love for the “R”Us family, which is why, for nearly 20 years, we have offered this complimentary resource for our customers who love and care for children with special needs,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “We love kids, and through the wonder of play, all children can achieve their own personal victories and imagine worlds of possibilities.”

National Lekotek Center Partnership and Toy Selection Process

Since 1994, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has partnered with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world accessible to children of all abilities. Lekotek assesses the play value of hundreds of toys for children with special needs through therapeutic play sessions with some of the toughest toy critics – kids.  At least two skill-building traits are assigned to each toy that appears in the Guide, and color-coded skill-building icons are used to signify the specific benefits of each item.

Following are examples of the toys and corresponding skills and symbols featured in the Guide:

  • Auditory: Explore ‘N Grow™Busy Ball Popper from Playskool®
  • Creativity: Duplo™ Large Brick Box from LEGO Systems, Inc
  • Fine Motor: Magnetic Number Maze from Melissa and Doug®
  • Gross Motor: Super Sounds Soccer from Fisher-Price®
  • Language: TAG Junior Reading System from LeapFrog®
  • Self Esteem: Harumika Starter Set from Bandai®
  • Social Skills: Deli Shop Play Set from Just Like Home
  • Tactile: Model Magic Presto Dots from Crayola®
  • Thinking: What’s GNU? from ThinkFun®
  • Visual: Perplexus™from PlaSmart

Expanded Selection for Online Shoppers

Online shoppers interested in finding all of the information and products available in the Guide can visit the company’s dedicated website Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. The online version allows shoppers to search by skill, price and age range to select and purchase toys directly from the digital pages of the Guide. To showcase even more everyday playthings that can help build skills in children with special needs, this year, Toys“R”Us has broadened its assortment to include items available at Toysrus.com, highlighted within the Guide in four dedicated pages.

Additional Features of the Guide

To further assist shoppers, the Guide also includes the “Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys” from the National Lekotek Center. These tips highlight important information to consider when selecting toys for differently-abled kids, such as choosing items with multi-sensory appeal, considering the child’s individual abilities and the toy’s current popularity.

Additionally, to help differently-abled children prevent accidental injuries during playtime, the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids features “Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs.”  The tips, created with guidance from leading safety and special needs organizations, offer basic suggestions, such as never leaving a child unsupervised, as well as specialized tips, including avoiding trigger toys.

To assist family and friends shopping for the differently-abled kids in their life, the Guide also includes an easy-to-use Skill-Building Toy Finder index. Located at the back of the book, the section categorizes every toy by the skill it helps build, allowing shoppers easily to find toys that benefit the child in their lives.

A Long History of Support for the Special Needs Community

Toys“R”Us, Inc. has a long history of supporting the special needs community through the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company. Organizations that receive support include: American Society for Deaf Children, Autism Speaks, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Down Syndrome Society, National Lekotek Center, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Special Olympics, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy.

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