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Toys “R” Us Releases 20th Anniversary Edition of Shopping Guide for Families with Differently-Abled Kids

toysrusLast week, Toys “R” Us published the 20th anniversary edition of its Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a complimentary shopping guide for parents, caregivers, and other gift-givers in search of appropriate toys for children with special needs.

Available in both English and Spanish at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, as well as online at toysrus.com/differentlyabled, the 63-page Guide is packed with everyday playthings selected for their unique ability to help kids build critical skills–such as creative, emotional and cognitive skills–through play. Skill-building icons are paired with each featured toy to help parents select the most developmentally appropriate toys for their kids.

All of the toys in the Guide were vetted in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities. The guide’s 2014 cover features baseball World Champion, father, and special needs advocate Albert Pujols, who appears on the cover alongside Cameron Withers, a five-year-old boy from Southern California.

Toys “R” Us Shows Support for Autism Awareness Month

toysrusAs part of its ongoing support of the special needs community and to commemorate Autism Awareness Month, the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund has provided a $600,000 grant to Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization. The grant will support the charity’s research and advocacy efforts in the U.S. as it strives to provide resources for families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

Toys “R” Us will serve as the national sponsor of the organization’s Walk Now for Autism Speaks program, a year-long series of more than 100 walk events taking place in communities across North America that allows supporters to personally raise funds for Autism Speaks. In addition, Toys “R” Us and the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund have collaborated with Autism Speaks and the not-for-profit National Lekotek Center to identify toys that can help kids with autism develop language, creativity, and social skills while playing with siblings and friends.

The list of Ten Toys That Speak to Autism is a special subset of the company’s Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, and can be found in stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled.

Since 2007, Toys “R” Us Inc., the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund, and customer contributions together have provided Autism Speaks with nearly $19 million.

ASTRA Adding New Resources for Children with Disabilities

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) will present updated information on toys and play for children with disabilities for specialty toy retailers and manufacturers at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Nashville, Tenn. An educational session, Connect Children with Special Needs to Toys and Games on Your Shelves, will be offered on June 16 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a new publication titled ASTRA Guide to Toys for Children with Disabilities will be available at no charge for ASTRA members at the Marketplace & Academy. Non-members may purchase the publication.

Ellen Metrick of the National Lekotek Center will present the Connect Children with Special Needs session at Marketplace & Academy. The session will focus on helping parents, grandparents, occupational therapists, and teachers select toys and games for the special children in their lives. It will include a basic understanding of some common disabilities and specific features of play that children with these challenges can enjoy. Retailers will learn what questions to ask customers and how to train store employees to serve this very special niche.

The ASTRA Guide to Toys for Children with Disabilities is designed as a handbook for manufacturers, sales reps, and store staff. It summarizes characteristics of common disabilities and types of toys that work well for children who have those disabilities. It also includes ideas that ASTRA retailers can give to parents for adapting toys and play activities to fit the needs and abilities of their children.

Toys”R”Us Unveils 2012 Edition of its Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

Toys”R”Us, Inc., has announced the release of the 2012 edition of the Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use toy selection resource for those who know, love, and shop for children with special needs. Published annually, this complimentary guide is available now in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us stores nationwide and online, in both English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. This year, mom, TV host and philanthropist Nancy O’Dell appears on the cover alongside Saskia Vogt, an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome.

In addition to toy recommendations, parents will also find value in the Guide’s “Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys,” prepared by the National Lekotek Center, as well as “Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs,” which were created with guidance from leading safety and special needs organizations to help avoid playtime injuries.

Since 1994, Toys”R”Us has partnered with the National Lekotek Center to assess the play value of toys for differently-abled children. The organization assigns at least two skill-building icons to each toy that appears in the Guide. These color-coded symbols help users easily identify toys most suitable for the child they’re shopping for by signifying the specific benefits of each item.

To download behind-the-scenes b-roll footage of the 2012 Guide cover shoot, please click here and to download high-res photos, including the cover image, please click here.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

TRU Releases 2010 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, featuring actress Holly Robinson Peete, mother of a son with autism, and 6-year-old Tommy Austing on the cover. Released annually, the guide helps parents of children with special needs select toys that will help their child develop skills. This year’s guide is the largest edition ever in the publication’s nearly 20-year history, spanning 60 pages.

The toys featured in the guide are assessed by the National Lekotek Center. The association assesses the value of hundreds of toys and at least two skill-building traits are assigned to each toy that appears in the guide. The skills include auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. Additionally, the guide includes “Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys” from the National Lekotek Center and “Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs.”

The guide, in English and Spanish, is available in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled.