Our goal is to foster an inclusive, sustainable, and multidisciplinary community supporting accessible design and play technology through:
Teaching students, engineers, clinicians, and community members toy adaptation
Increasing access to adapted toys in Washington state by donating toys and creating adapted toy libraries
Inspiring diverse future problem-solvers in accessibility through outreach efforts with elementary, middle, and high school students
What we do
This project strives to teach students, engineers, clinicians, and community members how to adapt toys for children with disabilities – creating an innovative and inclusive environment for adapted play.
Play is an important part of childhood development, as it enhances motor skills, introduces the idea of cause and effect, and promotes independence. Yet, children with disabilities often cannot use commercial toys as they were originally designed. For example, a child with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that impacts muscle strength, may struggle to press a small button to activate a toy.
An adapted toy, however, can be activated by an alternate method such as moving a finger or tilting one’s head. This adaptation process makes toys more accessible to children of all abilities while fostering education, equity, and inclusion.
Why we we do it
For the Adapted Toy Recipients
Adapted toys can be purchased online, but often cost 3 to 5 times that of an unadapted toy. By adapting toys right here in Seattle, we can grant more users access to adapted toys and their developmental benefits. These adapted toys are donated directly to families,clinics, schools, and adapted toy libraries.
For the Toy Adapters
Through the process of adapting toys, individuals learn complex concepts such as circuitry and reverse engineering while also learning transferable technical skills like soldering. Perhaps most importantly, our adapters become engaged in broader conversations about accessibility and universal design. Toy adaptation gives people a concrete example of how their education can be utilized to promote inclusivity and make a substantial difference in their community.
Types of Projects
We have held toy adaptation events with students of all ages (from elementary through graduate students), clinicians (physical, speech, and occupational therapists), and other community members. Adapted toys have been donated directly to families and to adapted toy libraries.