Over the years the world has come up with all kinds of words for children with special needs. They were “handicapped”, then “disabled”, then “physically challenged”, and now “special needs”.
But there’s one thing a lot of people don’t call these children that they should: kids. Despite whatever physical ailments they have, they are at the end of the day kids. They laugh, they play with toys, they want to run and jump and be silly, and they cry, sadly more than other kids.
I really love what Toys R Us has been doing for the last 20 years. They’ve released a guide called the Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids that should be required reading for any parent, family member, health care giver or friend of a family with a child with special needs. What’s great about this toy catalog is that it’s not just a list of toys placed in categories that is intended to sell more products, but it goes into the individual needs of each individual child, pointing out toys that reinforce skills such as Auditory, Language, Social Skills, Creativity, Fine Motor Skills, Gross Motor Skills, Self Esteem, Tactile, Thinking, and Visual Skills. They collaborated with the National Lekotek Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides an array of services to improve the lives of children with special needs.
You can view a copy of the guide here.
Here’s a message from the great Albert Pujols, himself a parent of a child with Downs Syndrome and one of the all-around good guys in baseball and in life, to talk more about it.
Toys R Us is a great supporter of multiple charities that benefit children with needs, including their own Toys R Us Children’s Fund, the American Society for Deaf Children, Autism Speaks, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Down Syndrome Society, Spina Bifida Association, Hollyrod Foundation, MDA, National Federation for the Blind, the Special Olympics, and United Cerebral Palsy.