Adaptive Toy Libraries

An entire industry is devoted to toys and educational materials for children with special needs. These are either toys that are made especially for this population, or are “off the shelf” toys that are adapted to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Unfortunately, there are few, if any, stores where these toys can be purchased. It is primarily an Internet and catalog industry. The toys also can be expensive, which is difficult for parents. It is impossible to know which toys a child will connect with, which they will enjoy, which they want to continue to play with for hours on end.

Assistive Technology of Ohio has a service that will give children access to these special toys. Parents have an opportunity to “try out” these toys to find out which ones best suit their child. In partnership with local county libraries, we have made a selection and checkout of these toys available, much like you would check out a book. This allows parents the opportunity to see how their child reacts to the toys and, if appropriate, make a more informed purchase decision if they decide to buy.

The table below lists the Ohio counties that currently have adapted toys.

 

 
County Library Name Location
Cuyahoga Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma
Fairfield Fairfield County District Library Lancaster
Franklin Westerville Public Library Westerville
Perry Perry County District Library New Lexington
Shelby Amos Memorial Public Library Sidney

 

What types of toys are available?

The size of the selection and the types of toys available are different at each location. There are several national companies, however, from which toys are selected toys that are part of our programs. Among these companies are:

Other adaptive toy and techology libraries
Additional resources
  • Lekotek --Advisory organization for parents

AT Ohio Blog

Many Anniversaries to Remember, Learn and Grow
 

As many folks know, July 26th was the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). October is the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. June 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the national Vocational Rehabilitation program.

In Ohio, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (housing our state’s vocational rehabilitation program) and by legislation in 2016, the month of October is designated as "Disability History and Awareness Month." During this month, schools in Ohio are encouraged to provide instruction and events focused on disability history, people with disabilities, and the disability rights movement.

Many states designate either the first two weeks or the entire month of October as Disability History and Awareness Month.

Given the intersection of all these observances, let’s ponder a few questions.

Many times when you meet someone their first question is “What do you do?” Employment seems to be the first measure by which we assign identification or even value to a new acquaintance. Next, might come where do you go to school, where do you live, who are your parents, what else do you do or where do you volunteer?

Employment and access to opportunities are a strong part of everyone’s ongoing growth, learning, and progress. As a state and a nation, we are continuing to recognize that people with disabilities, like all citizens, learn and contribute and should have equal access to growth and value in their communities.

People with disabilities have pushed, advocated, and even changed laws to achieve “nothing about us without us” so that we can make our own choices, join the organizations we choose, work in our communities, and look to leaders that are people with disabilities themselves – or perhaps be a leader yourself.

We still have a long, long way yet to wheel, walk, and crutch to real equality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, 19.3 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, the employment-population ratio for persons without a disability was 66.3 percent. While we have strengthened Home and Community-Based Services, many do not have the informed choice to live where they wish.

Knowing our history helps to inform our future. As we focus on disability history, the history of another movement reminds us too. 2020 is the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. Remember women who simply picketed the White House for the right to vote were jailed for 6-7 months, some on multiple occasions, and were force fed through tubes down the nose and throat to stop hunger strikes.

Read the National Council on Disability 1986 report – Toward Independence: An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons with Disabilities - With Legislative Recommendations – that lead to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Remember and read about Justin Dart – many call him the father of the ADA – as he traveled across the county gathering stories and data supporting the need for and passage of ADA as well.

Learn about the sit-ins in federal buildings by people with disabilities & the disability community to push the issuance of long-delayed regulations on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Capitol Crawl up the U.S. Capitol steps where many left their crutches and wheelchairs to show the lack of access to the U.S. Capitol and the immediate need for the ADA. Remember and review the demonstrations at Gallaudet University to appoint the first University President who is a person who is deaf.

Remember how hard we have worked for equal access to technology in the workplace and how technology has improved access to reasonable accommodations – and the Assistive Technology Act. In this time of COVID-19, it is technology that has kept us connected and increased access as many with underlying conditions have sheltered in place.

October this year is both a time to learn from new pressures and opportunities, to care for ourselves & others, and learn of our anniversaries. As we move forward, Assistive Technology of Ohio will continue to bring you news & interviews via technology, transcripts, and articles as we continue to learn current ideas, issues, and happenings.

My hope is Ohio’s Disability History and Awareness Month gives future generations the opportunity to learn from our past too

 

-- Mark Seifarth, AT Ohio consultant