Finding the Right Toys for Special Needs Can be Fast and Fun: The National Lekotek Center's AblePlay Offers Free, Independent Reviews and Advice

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buttons which link straight to the manufacturer's website.

AblePlay ( makes choosing the appropriate and safe toys for special needs children easy. The National Lekotek Center, a Division of Anixter Center, is a leading expert in the benefits of play and toys for children with special needs. They have recently upgraded their Ableplay website to provide better and easier access to free, independent research, ratings and reviews of play products for children with disabilities.

According to Children's Hospital Boston, Children's News, "Opening Doors for Children with Disabilities," (January 2007), "Studies show that an estimated ten-million families in the United States have a child with physical, developmental or emotional disabilities and chronic medical problems."

"AblePlay sees the rise in diagnosis of children with special needs along with an increase in research of how play can positively impact the development of young children," comments Raiko Mendoza, Director of Business Development "To meet this need, we recently revamped our website. It delivers all the pertinent information in an easy to read format, displays great graphics, and offers quick and convenient purchasing."

AblePlay cuts through the confusion and makes the process fast and fun, and answers the right questions like:
1.    Is this toy right for my child?
2.    How will this toy help my child?
3.    Are there other ways to use or play with this product?
4.    Where can I buy this toy?
5.    What is the price range for these toys?

AblePlay takes toys from the current marketplace and puts them through an extensive, independent product evaluation. Evaluators synthesize their findings into a simple, easy rating which provides a snapshot of a toy's appropriateness by # of disabilities categories. Finally, they detail all the features and benefits of each toy as it may relate to the needs and abilities of an individual child. " I find the AblePlay website useful because I can look at toys that are already pre-sorted with my grandson's disabilities in mind. This makes it easy to shop for him." Says Gwenn Christianson.

Children who have disabilities need their toys to work a lot harder. "There are lots of current toys that can offer not only hours of recreational fun, but real concrete developmental aspects with the right directions and suggestions," according to Ellen Metrick, chief toy evaluator for AblePlay. "Many of our parents have purchased expensive adaptive toys before and do not realized that there are regular toys out there that work just as well or better for a fraction of the cost," adds Metrick.

AblePlay enhances the toy reviews by suggesting creative play ideas and easy ways to adapt these toys to a child's own abilities. Mendoza further stated, "Our job is to connect parents with toys that have real value and offer sustained play opportunities for these children. Additionally, time is usually an issue for all parents, but we find it is especially true for those who have children with special needs, so for easy purchasing we included "Buy It Now" buttons which link straight to the manufacturer's website. "

About Lekotek
The National Lekotek Center is a nonprofit that provides family-centered play-based services for children with disabilities. Lekotek uses interactive play experiences, and the learning that results, to promote the inclusion of children with special needs into family and community life. Nationwide, there are 32 Lekotek sites that offer family play sessions, toy lending libraries, Compuplay family computer centers, and other innovative community-specific programming. The National Lekotek is a division of Anixter Center, one of Chicago's largest provider of community-based social services for persons with disabilities.

For more information contact:
Raiko Mendoza
773-528-5766 ext. 401
rmendoza (at) lekotek (dot) org


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