WAYNE, N.J., Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Toys"R"Us, Inc. announced the release of the 2012 edition of the 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. Published annually, this complimentary guide is available now in Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® stores nationwide and online, in both English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. This year, mom, TV host and philanthropist Nancy O'Dell appears on the cover alongside Saskia Vogt, an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome.
"I have a strong personal connection and commitment to the special needs community, so I am proud to partner with Toys"R"Us in supporting this valuable resource," said Nancy O'Dell. "Growing up, my best buddy was my Aunt Ellen, who was born with Down syndrome. Because of my memories of her, to this day, she remains my inspiration for promoting inclusion for individuals of all abilities. In raising awareness of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, I hope to help moms, dads, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends of differently-abled kids create magical play moments like those I shared with my own Aunt Ellen."
Nancy O'Dell has long served as an advocate for those affected by physical, cognitive and emotional challenges through her involvement in charitable organizations like Best Buddies, as well as Muscular Dystrophy Association and National Down Syndrome Society. Now, with the launch of the 2012 edition of the Guide in "R"Us stores nationwide and through her partnership with Toys"R"Us, O'Dell has yet another avenue through which she is able to support differently-abled individuals.
History of the Guide and Its Impact on Families of Children with Special Needs
For nearly two decades, the Guide has served as a trusted resource for family, friends and caregivers of children with special needs, providing a carefully selected assortment of toys that can help kids explore new worlds and achieve personal victories. Each of the nearly 100 toys featured in the 64-page resource has been selected in partnership with National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible to children of all abilities. Each item featured helps children with physical and cognitive disabilities develop critical skills through the power of play, including fine and gross motor, visual, language, creativity and more.
In addition to toy recommendations, parents will also find value in the Guide's "Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys," prepared by the National Lekotek Center, as well as "Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs," which were created with guidance from leading safety and special needs organizations to help avoid playtime injuries.
"It's a wonderful thing to bring joyful play experiences to children of all abilities, whether it's helping them become an amazing superhero, an adorable princess or a fearless ninja through the magic of play," said Sloane Lucas, Director, Corporate Philanthropy, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "The Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is a labor of love for the Toys"R"Us family that we're proud to have provided to our customers for nearly two decades. We're so excited to share the 2012 edition."
Shop by Skill In-Store or at Home to Alleviate Guesswork
Since 1994, Toys"R"Us has partnered with the National Lekotek Center to assess the play value of toys for differently-abled children. The organization assigns at least two skill-building icons to each toy that appears in the Guide. These color-coded symbols help users easily identify toys most suitable for the child they're shopping for by signifying the specific benefits of each item. Following are select examples of toys featured in the 2012 Guide, corresponding to each of the ten skills:
- Auditory: Fijit Friends™ from Mattel®
- Creativity: Duplo® Creative Cakes from LEGO® Systems, Inc.
- Fine Motor: Color Wonder Metallic Paper from Crayola
- Gross Motor: Imaginarium® Deluxe Pounding Bench from Toys"R"Us®
- Language: Barbie Voice Changing Rockstar Boombox from KIDdesigns®
- Self Esteem: Imaginarium® Wooden Ramp Race from Toys"R"Us®
- Social Skills: Mr. Bucket from Hasbro®
- Tactile: Lalaloopsy™ Silly Hair Doll™ from MGA Entertainment®
- Thinking: Light n' Sound Busy Giraffe from Toys"R"Us®
- Visual: Zibbies from Toys"R"Us®
Toys"R"Us Leverages Digital and Social Channels to Reach Consumers
At Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled, shopping by skill is even easier, as visitors can narrow the selection of nearly 100 toys featured in the print edition of the Guide to those more appropriate for the special needs child in their lives by simply clicking on any of the ten skill-building icons. The application will then show users a refined list of toys that can help a child develop that specific skill. Also, for shoppers who prefer to browse the Guide from the comfort of their own home, this dedicated microsite offers a digital, flippable version in both English and Spanish.
Additionally, through its various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, Toys"R"Us will provide its fans and followers with product highlights from the Guide throughout the year, as well as safe play and toy-buying tips for children with special needs. The company will also offer exclusive and engaging content, including special video messages from Nancy O'Dell, behind-the-scenes footage and photos from the cover shoot, toy trivia and more.
Company's Ongoing Commitment to the Special Needs Community
Through the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has long supported the special needs community. Organizations that receive support include: American Society for Deaf Children, Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Eva's Heroes, HollyRod Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Down Syndrome Society, National Lekotek Center, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Special Olympics, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy.
About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 873 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 625 international stores and over 145 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Additional information about Toys"R"Us, Inc. can be found on Toysrusinc.com. Follow Toys"R"Us, Babies"R"Us and FAO Schwarz on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus, Facebook.com/Babiesrus and Facebook.com/FAO and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.