Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toys"R"Us Unveils Annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

/PRNewswire/ -- Toys"R"Us, Inc. today announced the release of the 2009 Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use toy selection guide that matches specific skill sets with a wide range of everyday playthings. Released annually, this complimentary resource will be available in Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide and online, in English and Spanish, at Whoopi Goldberg, mother and grandmother, Oscar , Tony, GRAMMY and Emmy Award-Winner and child advocate, is featured on the cover along with Grace Kurowski, a five-year-old girl from Skillman, NJ.

New this year, the Guide features a special section dedicated to providing critical safety tips to help parents and caregivers avoid playtime injuries. While the 2009 edition includes updated features and an enhanced website, the fundamental elements that remain family favorites year after year, like the recognizable skill-building icons, still appear in this beloved resource.

"I am honored to appear on the cover of the 2009 Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids and advocate on behalf of children of all abilities who persevere in their efforts to reach new heights," said Whoopi Goldberg. "With the help of the Guide, caregivers can find appropriate toys for a child's individual abilities, providing an equal opportunity for all children to enjoy playtime."

"All children regardless of ability can imagine new worlds and share the joy of learning through the magic of play," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "We love kids and, as part of our ongoing mission to help keep them safe, we've included safety tips in the 2009 edition of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, ensuring playtime is a positive, memorable experience."

Helping Kids with Special Needs Enjoy Safe Play

Research shows accidental injuries occur more frequently among children with special needs, and most significantly among children with cognitive, emotional or social limitations. To help those who care for a differently-abled child prevent accidental injuries during playtime, the 2009 edition of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids features safe play tips for children with special needs. Tips range from basic advice about supervision to suggestions for effective communication. These safe play tips include:

-- Never Leave a Child Unsupervised: It is especially critical that a
child with special needs is properly supervised by an adult or trusted
caregiver at all times.
-- Survey the Play Area: Designate a specific area of the home for
regular playtime - one void of hazards, such as electric wires across
the floor that a child could trip over, hanging cords that could cause
strangulation and pools or windows that may pose a threat.
-- Use Visual Warnings: Post notes with phrases, such as, "Don't Touch!"
and "Off Limits!" on toys for older children, as well as power tools,
the stove, the kitchen drawers or any other potential source of
-- Review and Repeat: After setting playtime rules, create visual
reminders to post somewhere in the house or play area to serve as a
constant reminder to the child.

National Lekotek Center Partnership and Toy Selection Process

Since 1994, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has partnered with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world accessible to children of all abilities, to assess the play value of hundreds of toys for children with special needs. Through therapeutic play sessions with some of the toughest toy critics - kids - the National Lekotek Center assigns at least two skill-building traits to each toy that appears in the Guide. Color-coded symbols signify the specific benefits of each item. Following are examples of the toys and corresponding skills featured in the Guide:

-- Auditory: Rock 'n Rollin' Piano from Sakar
-- Creativity: Fold & Go Barn from Melissa & Doug
-- Fine Motor: My First Duplo Set from LEGO
-- Gross Motor: Fold-2-Go Trike from Radio Flyer
-- Language: Laugh & Learn(TM) Say Please Tea Set from Fisher-Price
-- Self Esteem: Yo Gabba Gabba Muno's Groovin' Guitar from Spin
-- Social Skills: Spongebugs Kids Fun Bowling Set from Gamenamics
-- Tactile: Color-Fillz(TM) from Crayola
-- Thinking: Disney Netpal(TM) Netbook from ASUS
-- Visual: Nerf(TM) Cosmic Catch from Hasbro

To further assist consumers, the Guide also includes a list of the "Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys" from the National Lekotek Center.

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