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Toys'R'Us unveils its annual Toy Guide for Differently-abled Children

2009 Guide Offers Toy Suggestions and Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs

Toys"R"Us, Inc. released of the 2009 Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use toy selection guide that matches specific skill sets with a wide range of everyday playthings. Released annually, this complimentary resource will be available in Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide and online, in English and Spanish.

Whoopi Goldberg, mother and grandmother, Oscar®, Tony, GRAMMY® and Emmy® Award-Winner and child advocate, is featured on the cover along with Grace Kurowski, a five-year-old girl from Skillman, NJ.

New this year, the 2009 Toy Guide features a special section dedicated to providing critical safety tips to help parents and caregivers avoid playtime injuries.

While the 2009 edition includes updated features and an enhanced website, the fundamental elements that remain family favorites year after year, like the recognizable skill-building icons, still appear in this beloved resource.

"I am honored to appear on the cover of the 2009 Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids and advocate on behalf of children of all abilities who persevere in their efforts to reach new heights," said Whoopi Goldberg. "With the help of the Guide, caregivers can find appropriate toys for a child's individual abilities, providing an equal opportunity for all children to enjoy playtime."

"All children regardless of ability can imagine new worlds and share the joy of learning through the magic of play," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc.

"We love kids and, as part of our ongoing mission to help keep them safe, we've included safety tips in the 2009 edition of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, ensuring playtime is a positive, memorable experience."

The 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, to assess the play value of hundreds of toys for children with special needs.

Through therapeutic play sessions with some of the toughest toy critics - kids - the National Lekotek Center assigns at least two skill-building traits to each toy that appears in the Guide.

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

Auditory: Rock 'n Rollin' Piano from Sakar
Creativity: Fold & Go Barn from Melissa & Doug®
Fine Motor: My First Duplo Set from LEGO®
Gross Motor: Fold-2-Go Trike from Radio Flyer®
Language: Laugh & Learn™ Say Please Tea Set from Fisher-Price®
Self Esteem: Yo Gabba Gabba Muno's Groovin' Guitar from Spin Master™
Social Skills: Spongebugs Kids Fun Bowling Set from Gamenamics
Tactile: Color-Fillz™ from Crayola®
Thinking: Disney Netpal™ Netbook from ASUS
Visual: Nerf™ Cosmic Catch™ from Hasbro®

To further assist consumers, the Guide also includes a list of the "Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys" from the National Lekotek Center.

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Helping Kids with Special Needs Enjoy Safe Play

Research shows accidental injuries occur more frequently among children with special needs, and most significantly among children with cognitive, emotional or social limitations.

To help those who care for a differently-abled child prevent accidental injuries during playtime, the 2009 edition of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids features safe play tips for children with special needs. Tips range from basic advice about supervision to suggestions for effective communication.

These safe play tips include:

  • Never Leave a Child Unsupervised: It is especially critical that a child with special needs is properly supervised by an adult or trusted caregiver at all times.
  • Survey the Play Area: Designate a specific area of the home for regular playtime - one void of hazards, such as electric wires across the floor tha
  • Use Visual Warnings: Post notes with phrases, such as, "Don't Touch!" and "Off Limits!" on toys for older children, as well as power tools, the stove, the kitchen drawers or any other potential source of injury.
  • Review and Repeat: After setting playtime rules, create visual reminders to post somewhere in the house or play area to serve as a constant reminder to the child.

A Virtual Guide Experience for Online Shoppers

Gift-givers who prefer online shopping can still enjoy all of the resources available in the printed copy of the Guide when they visit Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled.

The online functionality allows shoppers to search by skill, price and age range to select and purchase toys directly from the digital pages of the Guide. This year, personal commentary from families of children who served as models for the Guide will be incorporated into the updated online website.

Ellen, mother of Annie writes, "Annie wants to do everything her older brother does, and it's wonderful to see her follow his lead without any concept of limitations." Edward's [featured on page 16] mom, Sharay, expresses her emotional connection with her son by sharing, "Edward was born deaf and now has a cochlear implant. It brings such joy to my heart when he says, 'I love you, mommy' and hears me when I say, 'I love you, too.'"

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 which 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 Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Special Olympics, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy.

About Toys"R"Us, Inc.

Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. It currently sells merchandise in more than 1,500 stores, including 847 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States, and more than 700 international stores in 33 countries, consisting of both licensed and franchised stores.

In addition, it sells extraordinary toys in two FAO Schwarz stores in the United States. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com, FAO.com and babyuniverse.com, it provides shoppers with an unparalleled online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. In addition, the company operates ePregnancy.com, an online resource for parents. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs approximately 72,000 associates worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need.

WAYNE, NJ (August 20, 2009) ToyrRUs.

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