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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 17, 2003

CDD Suggests Holiday Gifts For Special People

Have you ever found yourself looking for a gift idea for a child who has special needs? Are you tired of buying an elderly parent or grandparent the same thing each year? We all want that perfect gift for that person we love. To help you find something new, the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has a few suggestions.

For children, there are a variety of adapted toys with switches or special controls if the children have limited mobility. You also can buy modified games and puzzles. Books on tape or CD are great for children with vision disabilities. For teens and young adults you can get simple environmental controls to run CD players, DVDs and televisions. A number of adaptations provide better computer access, such as track balls, adapted keyboards and voice input.

The October 2003 issue of Exceptional Parent is its 10th annual toy issue. The magazine's staff reviews dozens of toys, games, media products and books that are especially appropriate for, and appealing to, children with special needs. You can find the review online at

The United Parents' Syndicate on Disabilities (UPSD) has again partnered with Toys"R"Us and the National Lekotek Center to offer the "Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids." This guide should be available in Toys"R"Us stores or online at This link takes you to a new page at for Toys"R"Us and the toy guide.

For adults with disabilities or that special senior on your list, there are a host of simple adapted devices called Aids for Daily Living, or ADL. These include devices for personal hygiene, dressing, housework, cooking, recreation, hobbies and gardening. ADLs not only make life easier, but can help prevent injury and may keep your elderly relative independent longer.

How about giving the gift of a home project? A number of home modifications ideas can actually allow a family member to enjoy their home more. You could build a ramp to their door, modify their bathroom with grab bars, help them set up a more accessible garden space with containers or assist them in making some changes to their kitchen to make life a little easier.

For more information on adapted equipment, call Iowa COMPASS, a program of the Center for Disabilities and Development. Iowa COMPASS is a service that offers Iowans up-to-date information about disability services, assistive devices and funding for assistive devices. The COMPASS product specialist can help you find that special gift. Lists of companies that offer Aids for Daily Living and Adapted Toys are also available. You can contact the companies directly for catalogs or you can visit many of them online. Copies of the lists are available by calling 1-800-779-2001, or online at with direct links to many of the companies listed. Click on Center for Disabilities and Development in the first sentence and then scroll down to the section titled "New!"

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa 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

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT(S): Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, Writer: Amy Mikelson