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Release: Dec. 13, 2002

Center for Disabilities and Development suggests toys for children with disabilities

Do you struggle with finding that perfect gift for a child? Shopping for toys for children who have disabilities can seem to be an even more difficult challenge.

Specialists in the Center for Disabilities and Development at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics say there are numerous safe and appropriate toys for children of all ages and abilities.

There are electronic toys adapted with switches for children with limited mobility, or you can purchase switches to adapt your own toys. Toys have been developed to stimulate children with sensory disabilities, and there are simple communication devices to help children speak to their friends or participate in daily activities. Games and puzzles have been adapted for children with limited finger dexterity. Environmental control devices help teens play their CD players, boom boxes or other electronics, helping them take more control of their surroundings. You can even find modified controls and joysticks to use with popular video game systems or even special adaptations to access home computers.

Some adapted toys and equipment are available in larger toy stores. The United Parents' Syndicate on Disabilities has partnered with Toys 'R' Us and the National Lekotek Center to develop the "Toys 'R' Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids." Visit their Web site at for more information or a copy of the guide.

You can also call InfoTech toll-free at (800) 331-3027 or contact them via e-mail at InfoTech is a free information and referral service on assistive technology and can help you find information on the type of adapted toy you're looking for or devices to help with a specific need. InfoTech is one of many programs of the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) that provides services and supports to persons with disabilities and their families. The CDD is located in Iowa City and is part of the UI Health Care.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at