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									NEWS AND NOTES FROM

THE FAMILY CENTER
ON TECHNOLOGY AND DISABILITY
November 2002                                                                                      Issue 9



                        In this Issue. . .
                                                                                    National Lekotek Center's Top 10
                                                                                        Things to Consider When
  The holidays are fast approaching, and gift-                                       Buying Toys for Children With
  giving is on everyone’s mind. Whether it is
  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or another time
                                                                                               Disabilities
  of celebration, many of us find ourselves in a
  quandary as to what to give our children with                                   The National Lekotek Center is a non-profit
  special needs. This issue of the Family Center                                  organization with a national network of 43
  on Technology and Disability newsletter is                                      affiliates dedicated to making play and learning
  devoted to providing you with ideas for those                                   accessible for children with disabilities and
  gift giving occasions.                                                          provides supportive services for their families.
                                                                                   For additional information on toys, play and
  First we are featuring an article from the                                      technology for children with disabilities, please
  National Lekotek Center, a non-profit                                           call the Lekotek Toy Resource Helpline at 1-
  organization that hosts learning centers across                                 800-366-PLAY, or e-mail lekotek@lekotek.org
  the United States. Next, we are excited to host                                 or visit us at www.lekotek.org.
  an interview on the therapeutic use of toys with
  a leading Occupational Therapist, Grace                                         Holiday time is exciting for all children, and
  Williams. To conclude our feature topic of                                      children with disabilities are no different. There
  gift-giving ideas, we include many resources                                    are nearly 6 million children with disabilities
  for adaptive toys. And of course, we are not                                    (including 12.7% of school children) who will
  forgetting our network members that we feature                                  receive holiday gifts this season. Yet because
  each month.                                                                     gift givers are afraid of selecting the "wrong"
                                                                                  toy, many children with disabilities find
  We hope you find all of the information                                         pajamas and socks wrapped up in those
  provided helpful and enjoyable. Happy                                           brightly-colored boxes. Not the toy of their
  shopping and happy holidays to all!                                             dreams.

                     Table of Contents                                            The National Lekotek Center recommends the
                                                                                  following Top Ten Things to Consider When
  Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying Toys for                                  Buying Toys for Children with Disabilities:
  Children with Disabilities .............................................1
                                                                                  1. Multisensory appeal: Does the toy respond
  Interview with Grace Williams, M.Ed, OTR/L ..........2
                                                                                  with lights, sounds, or movement? Are there
  Adaptive Toy Resources ...............................................4         contrasting colors? Does it have a scent? Is
                                                                                  there texture?
  Knowledge Network Members .....................................7




                                                                              1
2. Method of activation: Will the toy provide a          success rather than a sense of frustration to
challenge without frustration? What is the force         their children. This Top Ten List should give
required to activate? What are the number and            parents and their family members more
complexity of steps required to activate?                confidence when they go to the stores to make
                                                         their toy purchases."
3. Where toy will be used: Can the toy be used
in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on       The National Lekotek Center leads the way for
wheelchair tray? Will the toy be easy to store?          accessible play for children with disabilities
Is there space in the home?                              and their families through a nationwide non-
                                                         profit network of 62 play centers, toy lending
4. Opportunities for success: Can play be open-          libraries and computer play programs. For more
ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it         information, call the Lekotek Toy Resource
adaptable to the child's individual style, ability       Helpline: 800-366-PLAY.
and pace?
                                                         CONTACT: Diana Nielander of National
5. Current popularity: Is it a toy most any child        Lekotek Center, 847-328-0001
would like? Does it tie-in with other activities
like T.V., movies, books, clothing, etc?                 EVANSTON, Ill., Dec. 4, 1997
6. Self-expression: Does the toy allow for
creativity, uniqueness, and choice-making?
Will it give the child experience with a variety
of media?                                                Interview with Grace Williams, M.Ed,
                                                                        OTR/L
7. Adjustability: Does it have adjustable height,              By Jean O’Malley and Jackie Hess
sound volume, speed, level of difficulty?
8. Child's individual characteristics: Does the          As the holidays approach and thoughts turn to
toy provide activities that reflect both                 gift giving, we thought it would be a good idea
developmental and chronological ages? Does it            to interview a professional with expertise in the
reflect the child's interests and age?                   therapeutic use of toys. We were lucky enough
                                                         to discover Grace Williams, Special Education
9. Safety and durability: Consider the child's           Coordinator for Occupational and Physical
size and strength in relation to the toy's               Therapy Services and Assistive Technology
durability. Is the toy and its parts sized               Coordinator for Arlington County Public
appropriately? Does the toy have moisture                Schools in Virginia. In an interview with
resistance? Can it be washed and cleaned?                Family Center staff members, Jean O’Malley
                                                         and Jackie Hess, Ms. Williams gave
10. Potential for interaction: Will the child be         informative and thought-provoking answers.
an active participant during use? Will the toy
encourage social engagement with others?                 What role do toys play in occupational
                                                         therapy (OT)?
"With thousands of toys on the market, it is
hard for parents to know which types of toys             “Toys are the therapist’s way of interacting
are good matches for their children," says Beth          with the children. Play is a learning process;
Boosalis Davis, Executive Director of the                it’s a child’s natural way to learn about his or
National Lekotek Center. "We have received               her environment. The occupational therapist
thousands of requests from parents asking us to          considers toys to be tools. We use toys for
help them identify those toys that will bring            remediation, for getting the child’s interest and


                                                     2
increasing exploration; we use them to support
the student’s fullest participation in their             Is there a difference in approach with pre-
learning environment.”                                   school youngsters?
What is the importance of toys in school                 “Not for preschoolers with physical
settings?                                                disabilities. The focus is on play because that’s
                                                         how young children learn. We use the same
“In the school system we are guided by the
                                                         toys you find at any preschool. Assistive
Individualized Education Program (IEP). We
                                                         technology has been very important in making
look at the direction in which we want the child
                                                         play available for students with disabilities and
to progress, then we use toys and educational
                                                         in helping them be available for play. The use
tools to facilitate that growth.”
                                                         of picture symbol cueing and the physical
When is it important to have the continuity              structuring of environments, such as in play
of having the same toy at home?                          boxes have allowed children on the autism
                                                         spectrum and children with cognitive
“In situations with children with severe                 disabilities to participate in the learning
physical disabilities. If you are using a specific       experiences of play.”
set up with an adapted toy it may be very
important to have the same or similar toy                Do you have specific recommendations for
setup at home.”                                          adapted toys?

How does the choice of toy vary when                     “It depends on what the goal is. We do have
addressing cognitive versus physical                     favorites. With respect to computer programs,
impairments?                                             for introducing cause and effect and early
                                                         language learning try
“The choice of toy depends on the outcome you
                                                         www.LaureateLearning.com, www.mayer-
are looking for. When that outcome is
                                                         johnson.com, www.funsoftware.com. For
cognitive the OT supports acquisition of
                                                         supporting academic participation when there
sensory, motor, attention and other underlying
                                                         are cognitive and/or motor disabilities try
skills to support success within the curriculum.
                                                         www.intellitools.com and
Depending on what is interfering with this
                                                         www.donjohnston.com. If a school uses
success a toy or educational tool would be
                                                         specific software with a student, parents should
chosen to teach and then practice the
                                                         check with their schools to see if they have
underlying skills. Occupational therapists in
                                                         software licenses that allow a piece of software
the school system frequently work with
                                                         to be loaded on a home computer to support
children after they have already experienced
                                                         homework use.
failure especially in the area of written
language. We frequently use play to decrease
                                                         Therapists are always seeking games and toys
the frustration and get the student to try again.
                                                         that support their objectives with their students.
Toy choices for students with physical
                                                         I would suggest parents ask their child’s
disabilities are frequently motor toys, for
                                                         occupational therapist for specific toy
example, scooters, adapted tricycles, adapted
                                                         suggestions.
toys with switches that encourage reaching, or
rolling. Frequently we will try to find any way
                                                         For an extensive catalog of adapted toys please
to allow the student to explore their
                                                         explore www.enablingdevices.com. It includes
environment independently.”
                                                         features such as light sensitive devices,
                                                         alternative and augmentative communication


                                                     3
devices, bubble blowers, and manipulative               You can pose questions to and share
toys.”                                                  observations with Ms. Williams in March 2003
                                                        when she serves as an expert in the Family
What advice do you have for parents                     Center’s national online discussion of assistive
concerning play between the child with                  technology tools used by Occupational
disabilities and his/her non-disabled                   Therapists.
siblings?

“Make sure the sibling who is typically
developing has the right to protect his or her                   Adaptive Toy Resources
favorite toys from the over-exuberance of their                   By Family Center Staff and
sibling with a disability. Favorite toys and                    Simon Technology Center Staff
games of all children in a family can be adapted
so that the disabled sibling can share in playing
with that toy. The occupational therapists are          The qualities of a toy and how it is used are
ingenious in making those adaptations; I refer          important considerations in deciding on a
the parents back to the occupational therapist          specific toy. In addition to the resources
working with their child.”                              previously listed, we hope to provide you with
                                                        both resources for ideas and places to find that
Do Occupational Therapists make toy                     special toy for that child with special needs.
recommendations as part of the IEP
process?
                                                        Let’s Play! Projects
“Occupational therapists do not make specific           http://cosmos.ot.buffalo.edu/letsplay/
toy recommendations for inclusion in the IEP.           This Web site features information about
The reasoning is to not limit the team to               assistive technology, adaptive toys, play, and
specific toys, when you will probably change            vendors.
the toys you are using as the child progresses
                                                        Disability Resources Monthly Guide
during the year. Assistive technology is
                                                        www.disabilityresources.org/TOYS.html
considered at all IEPs and recommendations
                                                        This site offers resources to find toys for
may be made for adapted devices so the student
                                                        children with disabilities.
can benefit from their educational plan. In the
area of physical education and recreation,              Alliance for Technology Access
occupational therapists go out on the                   www.ataccess.org/resources/wcp/endefault.htm
playground and into PE (Physical Education)             l
and view the environment with respect to                A Web site providing ideas, articles, and links
adaptations. They do make recommendations               for information on play and children with
in discussions with families following the IEP          special needs.
conference.”
                                                        Laureate Learning
In addition to the positions noted above, Grace         http://www.laureatelearning.com/
Williams, Masters in Ed, OTR/L, serves as               Founded in 1982 by two speech pathologists,
Northern District Chair of the Virginia                 Laureate Learning Systems publishes software
Occupational Therapy Association.                       for both children and adults with learning
                                                        disabilities.




                                                    4
Exceptional Parent Toy Recommendations                    Flaghouse Special Populations
http://www.exceptionalparent.com/toys/                    150 No. MacQuestern Parkway
Includes recommendations for both the best                Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 14222
new toys and toys produced in the past three              (800) 793-7900
years by a panel of certified toy testers.                The catalog contains an extensive selection of
                                                          adaptive toys and therapy products.
Dr.Toy                                                    www.flaghouse.com/special.htm
http://www.drtoy.org/
Dr. Toy, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., has                    Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
developed a comprehensive year-round Web                  40 E. 9th St. Suite 14M
site of information on award winning topics. It           New York, N.Y. 10003
also includes an excellent 2002 Holiday Gift              (800) 544-8697
Guide.                                                    A reviewing organization with a full chapter in
                                                          their book, The Best Toys, Books, Videos &
The Dragonfly Toy Company                                 Software for Kids, dedicated to choosing and
http://www.dragonflytoys.com/                             using "ordinary toys for kids with special
The Dragonfly Toy Company                                 needs".
291 Yale Ave.                                             E-mail: Stephanie@toyportfolio.com
Winnipeg, MB, Canada                                      http://www.toyportfolio.com/
R3M 0L4
(800) 308-2208                                            Sportime Abilitations
PLAY pen has tremendous resources for                     One Sportime Way
shoppers including various articles on special            Atlanta, Ga. 30340
needs children with information on recreational           (800) 850-8602
and educational play.                                     Fax: (800) 845-1535
                                                          Sportime currently distributes two catalogs
Toy Directory.com                                         for movement, physical education and special
http://www.toydirectory.com/specialneeds.htm              populations professionals.
ToyDirectory.com® Inc.                                    E-mail: imd@sportime.com
12249 Santa Monica Blvd                                   http://www.abilitations.com/
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 979-4330                                       Toy Manufacturers of America
Fax: (310) 979-4350                                       200 Fifth Ave., Suite 740
This site includes an on-line newsletter with             New York, N.Y. 10010
short articles providing toy-related                      (212) 675-1141
accommodations. This Web site enables                     This organization has a toy resource catalog:
the shopper to access toys by category,                   Guide to Toys for Children Who are Blind or
manufacturer or retailer.                                 Visually Impaired.
                                                          http://www.toy-
Center for Creative Play                                  tma.com/industry/publications/blindcurrent/cov
http://www.center4creativeplay.org/adapted.ht             er.html
m
(412) 371-1668                                            Toys "R" Us
This site contains a variety of tips for adapting         Guide for Differently-Abled Kids
or creating toys for children with disabilities, or       P.O. Box 8501
making the play environment more                          Nevada, Iowa 50201
accommodating.                                            Endorsed by the National Parent Network on
                                                          Disabilities and designed to be used in the Toys


                                                      5
"R" Us stores in choosing appropriate toys for       Bryn Mar Associates, Inc.
the child with special needs.                        128 Buckingham Road
                                                     Yonkers, N.Y. 10701
Worldwide Games                                      Voice/Fax: (914) 963-7935
P.O. Box 517                                         E-mail: sales@brynmar.com
Colchester, Conn. 06415-0517                         http://www.brynmar.com
(800) 243-9232
This catalog contains specially designed and         Leap Frog
adapted board games and activities for               1250 45th Street Suite 150
recreation and therapy.                              Emeryville CA 94608
http://www.ssww.com                                  (510) 420-5000
                                                     http://www.leapfrog.com
Toys for Special Children & Enabling                 TFH (Toys for the Handicapped)
Device                                               4537 Gibsonia Road
385 Warburton Ave.                                   Gibsonia, PA 15044
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. 10706                       (800) 467-6222
(914) 478-0960
(800) 832-8697
Fax: (914) 478-7030
                                                     Come Play With Me
E-mail: info@enablingdevices.com
                                                     Developmental Toys for Infants and Children
http://www.enablingdevices/
                                                     (888) 798-2855
Funtastic Learning                                   Fax: (415) 673-2125
206 Woodland Road                                    E-mail: info@comeplaytoys.com
Hampton, N.H. 03842                                  http://www.comeplaytoys.com/
(603) 926-0071
                                                     Touch Heal Feel
(800) 722-737
                                                     4537 Gibsonia Road,
Fax: (603) 926-5905
                                                     Gibsonia, Pa. 15044
E-mail: jay@funtasticlearning.com
                                                     (800) 467-6222
http://www.funtasticlearning.com
                                                     Fax :(724) 444-6411
Tools For Life                                       Email: tfh@tfhusa.com
Tools For Life Demonstration Center                  http://www.tfhusa.com/us_home.html
College Of Health And Professional Studies
                                                     Crestwood Company
Georgia Southern University
                                                     6625 N. Sidney Place
P.O. Box 8098
                                                     Milwaukee, Wis. 53209
Statesboro, Ga 30460-8098
                                                     (414) 352-5678
(912) 681-5961
                                                     Fax: (414) 352-5679
TDD: (912) 681-0136
                                                     E-mail: crestcomm@aol.com.
Fax: (912) 871-1787
                                                     http://www.communicationaids.com/adaptive
E-mail: tools@gsaix2.cc.gasou.edu
                                                     _toys.htm
http://www2.gasou.edu/tools/dolls.htm
                                                     Innovative Products, Inc.
Lakeshore Learning Materials                         830 South 48th Street
2695 East Dominquez Street
                                                     Grand Forks, ND 58201
Carson, CA. 90810
                                                     (800) 950-5185
(800) 421-5354


                                                 6
AbleNet
1081 Tenth Ave                                        advocates, low-cost assessments for attention
SE Minneapolis MN 55414                               deficit disorders, informational seminars and
(800) 322-0956                                        trainings, counseling for parents interested in
                                                      dispute resolution and mediation, diagnostic
Toys for Special Children                             referrals, and social skill training for children
385 Warburton Avenue                                  with disabilities.
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
(800) 832-8697                                        If you are interested in more information about
                                                      PADDA, or wish to attend a seminar or
                                                      training, please contact them at:

                                                                          PADDA
    Knowledge Network Members                                     813 Forrest Dr., Suite 3
                                                                 Newport News, VA 23606
                                                                   (757) 591-9119 phone
The FCTD Network is composed of over 800                            (757) 591-8990 fax
member organizations, and we welcome                             (888) 33-PADDA toll free
members to get to know one another. We are                          mjacob@padda.org
again featuring Network Member                                     http://www.padda.org
Organizations as an opportunity to get to know
members and to share information. In a
Knowledge Network, organizations share their
expertise, resources, and organizational              Another of our featured network members is
memory. This is in an effort to strengthen each       the Center for Persons with Disabilities
other and the network as a whole.                     (CPD). The CPD was founded over 30 years
                                                      ago and is located in Logan, Utah at Utah State
One of the organizations we are featuring this        University. CPD’s vision is that individuals
month is People with Attentional and                  and their family members exercise
Developmental Disabilities Association                independence and self determination across
(PADDA). PADDA was founded in 1988 by                 their lifespan as communities support full
its current Executive Director, Mark Jacob, and       participation and informed choices.
is a Community-Parent Resource Center
located in Newport News, Virginia.                    CPD operates over 60 projects that serve
                                                      consumers with disabilities through direct
PADDA’s mission is to improve the quality of          services, dissemination, training, research, and
life and education for all children with              technical assistance. Some of the projects
disabilities through advocacy, training and           include teaching university courses; providing
participation for parents; working to ensure          students with stipends to participate in the
equal protection to children under the law; and       Interdisciplinary Program in Assistive
research and advocacy for proven methods of           Technology; and technical assistance to
learning and teaching.                                community organizations, educational districts,
                                                      and service providers.
PADDA provides parents with information in
all areas of special education through on-site



                                                  7
Other projects include newsletters; a Family           (Access Utah Network), the state’s information
Resource Library; an Adult Skill Center                and referral center for disability issues, with
providing social academic living and                   funds to promote pubic awareness initiatives
prevocational skills; clinical evaluations and         and staff training related to assistive technology
medical services; zero-interest loans to               issues. UATP also provides funds to purchase
individuals and their family members to                devices for Rural Independent Living Centers
purchase assistive technology devices and              to act as Assistive Technology Access Centers.
services; and an Up-to-Three program
providing services to families with infants or         To find out more about UATP’s programs,
toddlers with developmental delays,                    contact them at:
disabilities, or diagnosed conditions.
                                                            Utah Assistive Technology Program
For more information on CPD’s services and                          6588 Old Main Hill
programs, contact them at:                                        Logan, UT 84322-6588
                                                                  (435) 797-3824 phone
     Center for Persons with Disabilities                           (435) 797-2355 fax
             6800 Old Main Hill                                       uatp@cc.usu.edu
           Logan, UT 84322-6800                                    http://www.uatpat.org
            (435) 797-1981 phone
           (866) 284-2821 toll free
             (435) 797-3944 fax
           http://www.cpd.usu.edu



Another of our network members is the Utah
Assistive Technology Program (UATP), a
project at the Center for Persons with
Disabilities (CPD). The UATP has been in
existence for over 13 years, and is located in
Logan, Utah.

The mission of the UATP is to expand
availability of assistive technology devices and
services through a consumer responsive
statewide program of technology-related
services. This is completed by providing
information on assistive technology devices
and services, training and training materials,
and technical assistance in regards to funding.

One major project of the UATP is the statewide
alternative financing program. This allows
consumers to purchase assistive technology             Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Radicia
devices and services through zero or low-              Electronic Publication Specialist: AnaMaria
interest loans. UATP also provides AUN                 Gutierrez



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