Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please comment on Toys R Us Differently-Abled toy catalogue


A friend of mine who is an OT is working with Toys R Us on toys for special needs kids. I had mentioned to her my issues with the Toys R Us  "Differently-Abled" catalogue and now Toys R Us have asked for some feedback from special needs parents. The purpose of this is to see if Toys R Us and their special needs catalogue is appropriate and caters to the varied needs of special needs kids. Please take some time to post a comment on my blog so we can give our honest feedback to Toys R Us. The type of things they would like to know are what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Differently-abled guide and what would be valuable to us as parents when shopping for toys for our special children.

Please ask all your fellow special needs parents to participate so we can make a difference!!

Please give me your feedback via a comment on this blog and I will be giving the feedback to Toys R Us

15 comments:

  1. Great Idea!

    How do you leave the feedback though as I am having trouble finding where on their site?

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  2. Please leave your comments here on my blog and I will be passing everything on to Toys R US.. Thanks so much for your quick response and please tell anyone else you think may be interested. XXX Cath

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  3. Very interesting but not nearly complete. For starters, there should be a key to those colored squares that indicate gross and fine motor skills, cognitive skills and ???. VERY hard to see and/or understand within the 3 seconds an icon is supposed to relate it's meaning. I like the blurbs but think they need a PT's input for gross motor skill benefits of any given toy. Also, speech therapist input would be invaluable too. Maybe each toy description could be simply divided into speech, OT, PT and Cognitive benefits. In truth, instead of a differently abled catalogue, adding the icons and benefit blurbs for gross & fine motor skills, language and cognitive skills to the general catalogue -- given nearly any toy can be used to benefit children's development whether typical or delayed -- would be more inclusionist (instead of segregationist) which is what the research shows us is far more effective to aide development. Just a thought for Toys R Us. (Thanks for asking ;o)

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  5. I wrote this big long rambling comment but it was stupid, so I'm back to say I want to echo everything MaggieMae wrote. Her ideas would help a lot!!

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  6. They need more toys for visually impaired kids. My daughter has a cortical visual impairment and has trouble seeing busy patterns. She needs simple, solid colored things to look at and I always have trouble finding it. Thanks for passing this on...

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  7. I'm impressed that #1 -- they are even doing this and #2 -- well, that they are doing this. Yeah. I would have never thought of it, but I think MaggieMae is dead on. Thanks!

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  8. It's a great start. I somewhat cringed at the differently-abled business. We're people with disabilities...there's nothing wrong with that so why not call it what it is. It doesn't model appropriate language either...but anyways-I know not everyone agrees on this and there are other battles to fight.

    I think the catalog lacks a description to let parents know exactly how each could be helpful to particular challenges. I clicked on the Time Tracker. This is an AWESOME toy for kids with ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, and others who may have trouble with self help skills. None of this was mentioned though. It seems like they started with the idea using the icons but they need to further promote the products with our community in mind.
    Great start:)

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  9. If you have a few other toy ideas to spare, I just shared a similar (but earlier in the process) request from P&G to research what the "perfect toy" for a child with a disability would be. The creator of the Care Bears will be visiting a center here in Cincinnati for kids with CP and she's also asked for thoughts from families.
    I know the idea of ONE toy "perfect" for all kids is a little silly, but could you just toss out one idea based on your child? http://www.wheelermom.com/2010/08/21/the-perfect-toy/

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  10. Hi. I agree with Tiffany and Devon's first comment. The guide is a good thing in theory but it assumes the child has movement, vision, hearing etc. It seems to be more appropraite for children with mild learning disabilities rather than special needs as such. Good idea but not really appropriate. Ann

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  11. I agree with everyone that said that it's a good start, but we need more information as to HOW exactly the toys can be used for whatever area they are meant to help in. I like the idea of adding the icons to the regular catalog so there is no segretation between the "differently-abled" and the "typical" kids, too, but if they choose NOT to do that, then they need to go all out, and take out the "recommended ages" that are listed with each toy, because let's face it, many of our children don't fall within those ranges, and it is frustrating to see sometimes.

    I think it's a good idea, but it really just seems like people were contacting Toys R Us about this idea, so they threw out this catalog to appease people. It's not enough. Instead of asking for help from the parents, they need to send hire developmental specialists to help them with this, and actually watch to see how special needs kids utilize their products in order to more effectively market this catalog.

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  12. Thanks for taking this on, Cathy. Compared to last year, this catalogue is available much earlier I'm pretty sure. Perhaps with the intent of getting feedback well-before gift-giving season? The only criticism I read last year was that the toys were too expensive - the prices being jacked-up for the reason of marketing to a special population.

    I like Holly R Peete as spokesperson but was surprised her introduction ended with "these children". I expect the 'word police' might note that. (Not me.) ;)

    I like the idea of incorporating the whole 'separate' catalogue into one general catalogue. But, companies are known to specifically market to target groups and so why should parents of children with diagnoses be different?

    The symbolic categories have toy selections that appear random to me (a child development specialist). Who in the world selected the toys for 'self-esteem' and 'creativity'?

    So here is my primary suggestion: give very complete descriptions of each toy - perhaps a video of each without suggestion of what developmental domain may be 'enhanced' by using the toy. Instead of recommendations-by-toy provide a general recommendation to parents to consult with their child's therapists for choosing toys for their child.

    Thanks again, Cathy.

    Barbara Boucher, PT, PhD, OT

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  13. I am so glad to have come upon your blog and I agree that they totally need more toys for VI children. My daughter is completely blind and finding toys for her is a nightmare. What I do find is EXPENSIVE..lol So some affordable learning toys (and fun toys) for blind children is definitely something that must be improved on with these companies. I get a little tired of having to visit the baby section to find something my kid will find interesting. I always have to go for noisy because I can never find anything tactile or sensory filled enough for her that isn't music driven.

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  14. First off they need to learn about the majority of special needs. Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy to name a few and have toys labeled for those. There are regular toys out there that this children could use. My son has Cerebral Palsy and it would be nice if they got a lot of the toys that you are in the catalog of Enabling Devices but with a must cheaper price. The only difference for these toys are there is a plug that I can plug in one button that he could push instead of the ones on the toy.

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