A Toy Guide for All Children

 

#Toys for All Twitter Chat Planned for August 26 at 2:00 p.m.

On Wednesday, Toys”R”Us® released of the 2015 Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®, an easy-to-use toy selection resource for those who know, love and shop for children with special needs. This annual, complimentary publication is available now in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us® stores nationwide and online, in both English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. For more than 20 years, this beloved catalog has been a go-to shopping guide for families in the special needs community, showcasing specially selected toys that aid in the skill development of children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. This year, Toys”R”Us is partnering with Nick Lachey, father, philanthropist, multi-platinum recording artist and television personality, who appears on the cover of the Guide alongside 5-year old Josephine Gonzalez from New Jersey.

Cover of 2015 Toys R Us Toy Guide with Nick Lachey

While Lachey has worked on numerous exciting projects around the globe throughout his career, he is most proud of being a father of two and an advocate for children’s causes. Inspired by his brother Zac, who lives with Asperger syndrome, Lachey established the Nick Lachey Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need within the United States in 2007.

“Children’s causes are a huge passion of mine, so I was honored to collaborate with Toys”R”Us to lend my support to something as special as the Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids,” said Nick Lachey. “Building on a 20-year reputation of being a beneficial resource for parents and gift givers shopping for special needs children, the Guide is so valuable because it removes the guesswork, providing trusted recommendations of toys that will appeal to a child with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.”

#ToysForAll
On Wednesday, August 26 at 2pm, Toys”R”Us, along with its special needs partners, including the United Cerebral Palsy will host a Twitter Chat to provide followers with tips for selecting toys for children with special needs. The company is encouraging fans and followers to join the conversation and support the power of play by using #ToysForAll.

 

Young Girl with Toy

 

Identifying the Best Toys Based on a Child’s Individual Needs
Because all children are unique, regardless of ability, toys in this catalog are not categorized by disability, gender or age, and are everyday playthings that can be enjoyed alongside siblings and friends. Instead, the Guide pairs toys with icons representing a variety of skill sets, such as Auditory, Language, Social, Creativity and more, helping gift-givers choose toys most suitable for the child they are shopping for.

To identify items that best contribute to the development of children with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities, Toys”R”Us has collaborated with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities, to vet each of the toys featured in the 64-page buying guide.

Gift-givers who prefer to shop from home or on-the-go can take advantage of the shop-by-skill option at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled, where they can select a specific skill set to refine their search. The dedicated website also features a special Toys”R”Us App Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, providing recommendations for mobile apps, using the same skills criteria featured within the traditional Guide. The App Guide is available to make app discovery and mobile technology accessible to kids of all abilities by identifying apps that help build individual skill sets, and are appropriate for children with special needs.

To Download Behind-the-Scenes Footage of the 2015 Guide Cover Shoot, Click here: https://toysrus.sharefile.com/d-s98336cb65b84b978.

Charitable Giving at Toys”R”Us
The philanthropic mission of Toys”R”Us, Inc. and the Toys”R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys”R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various organizations. Each year, several UCP affiliates use grants from the Children’s Fund to expand or improve upon toy/play therapy programs for children with disabilities.The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations, furthering the company’s commitment to children of all abilities. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys”R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.

UCP Honors Sprint Relay in Connecticut

 

Over the last two years Sprint has developed a partnership with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), a nonprofit organization that educates, advocates and provides support services for adults and children with disabilities, in order to increase awareness of Sprint Relay’s Enhanced Speech-to-Speech service. As a result of this affiliation, Sprint Relay’s state services have been able to build a close relationship with their local UCP chapters.

Sprint Relay

Michelle Vicino, Account Manager for Sprint Relay Connecticut, has developed one of these outstanding relationships with the UCP Association of Eastern Connecticut (UCPECT). Michelle’s personal story has led her to have a true passion for the services and solutions that Sprint Relay provides. Michelle was born with full hearing, and went through life easily able to utilize the telephone and keep in touch with family and friends. However, a progressive hearing loss became suddenly noticeable when Michelle found herself unable to understand words over the phone at the age of 25. At the time, she had no access to TTY services, CapTel services, or any other technology those with a hearing loss have in order to communicate. Today, she advocates for Sprint Relay services by providing outreach through Relay Connecticut. She touches the lives of parents who are struggling to find solutions for their children, as well as adults who are unsure how to move forward with a newfound hearing loss.

The outreach provided through Relay Connecticut led Michelle to a request from the UCPECT. Michelle was able to secure a sponsorship that included promotion of Sprint Relay services on the UCPECT website, social media channels, events and more.Sprint RelaySprint Relay CT Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a result, Michelle received an award in recognition of the outstanding support provided by Relay Connecticut.

“It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of Sprint Relay,” said Michelle. “I’m proud to be part of the Sprint Relay team, where we have a strong focus on providing solutions to create communication access for people with disabilities.”

Sprint has served as the nation’s largest 711 Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) provider for more than 25 years, and currently provides relay services in 33 states and exclusively for the federal government, as well as New Zealand. In addition to Sprint Relay services, Sprint offers unique products and services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, those with cognitive or neurodevelopmental disabilities and seniors. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, we’re demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in our society. For more information, visit www.sprint.com/goodworks, for people with Speech Disability: www.sprintsts.com, for general Sprint Relay: www.sprintrelay.com, or for hearing loss/hard of hearing: www.sprintcaptel.com

UCP Receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Innovation Generation Grant

United Cerebral Palsy has received a grant for $20,000 as part of the “Innovation Generation Grant” program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, UCP’s Life Labs initiative will distribute universal design curriculum modules through iTunes U and offer an immersive two-day design challenge, called an Innovation Lab, to engage students across disciplines in human centered design concepts.

Life Labs Logo

The Innovation Generation program awards organizations such as UCP that foster and support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives for teachers and U.S. preschool through university students – especially girls and underrepresented minorities, such as people with disabilities.

“It’s amazing to watch people who participate in an Innovation Lab leave with a greater understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face and a new confidence that they can participate in solving some of those challenges,” said Josef Scarantino, Acting Director of UCP’s Life Labs. “This program has the power to change career trajectories and open up a new worlds of creativity and innovation.”

Innovation Lab HeaderAfter several successful Innovation Lab events in 2014 and 2015, UCP’s Life Labs shaped the Innovation Lab into a curriculum, which can easily be adapted to any school degree program. Utilizing Apple’s iTunes U education content platform, UCP’s Life Labs plans to build a large national presence of students and open the curriculum to outside academic and industry collaboration. The curriculum and Innovation Lab events will be made available to UCP’s network of eighty affiliates through a toolkit that combines all the necessary resources.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation grant program overall will impact about 900,000 students and teachers, each receiving an average of 100 programming hours from our partner non-profit organizations and institutions. Programs will support special populations including girls and women, underrepresented minorities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, people with disabilities and the military.

“The Motorola Solutions Foundation created the Innovation Generation Grant program eight years ago to support educational experiences that spark students to turn their dreams into the innovations that will shape our society’s future,” said Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “Organizations like UCP are teaching tomorrow’s leaders that careers in engineering and technology are not only fun, but also within their reach.”

For additional information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants programs, visit: http://responsibility.motorolasolutions.com/index.php/solutions-for-community/ and for more information on UCP please visit www.ucp.org

 

About Motorola Solutions Foundation

The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. The Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Solutions Corporate and Foundation giving, visit our website: www.motorolasolutions.com/giving.

 

 

“Going Solo” gives a voice to single parents raising children with disabilities

This book review was written by one of UCP’s summer interns, Alex Vesey. 

Available through the Woodbine House publishing website for $24.95.

Single parents of children with disabilities face unique challenges. They deal with particular social stigmas as well as the day-to-day balancing act of parenting on one’s own. The book Going Solo by Laura E. Marshak, PH.D., aims to address these issues comprehensively and compassionately. She interviews various solo parents, some who chose to adopt or conceive as single parents and some who became single parents as a result of bereavement or divorce. The parents’ interviews are diverse, candid, and full of the rich details of their lives. After each interview, Dr. Marshak breaks down the “Genius Moments” in this story, to highlight exactly what each parent is doing well and provide advice for other parents. The book is also full of links to websites and information about various organizations that provide support for parents of children with disabilities. 

The opening chapter deals with common challenging emotions for parents, including the grief some parents feel after their child’s diagnosis. The focus, however, is on day-to-day coping and celebrating your child. There are individual chapters for different circumstances including divorce, single fatherhood, bereavement, adoption, conceiving alone, dating as a single parent, military parents dealing with a spouse’s deployment, and parenting an adult child with a disability. The parents in this book come from all walks of life. Many draw strength from religious faith, a recurring theme in several interviews. They seek support from families, friends, support groups, and other parents of children with disabilities. What they do have in common is their commitment to their children, their love and their resolve.  Going Solo puts that love front and center and provides practical advice and resources for other parents in the same position.

*This is a book review. UCP received no compensation, nor is endorsing the above.*