story & photo
by Maren Schober
The Tech Tot Library, sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Quaker Hill, is good news for parents who have a child with disabilities. The good news is that the parents do not have to go to the library for toys and books, the library comes to them! All it takes is a phone call to UCP to set up the home visit.
Shannan Farr, Disability Support Coordinator, UCP, is the one who does the lending through home visits. This is a free service! “Our office has a large supply of toys and books available for loan to these children and we want to get them out to as many children as possible,” Shannon explains.
“The toys give the children an opportunity to play, interact with others and learn. Many of the toys are adapted for use so that a child with disabilities learns how to use language, gain physical strength, develop cognitive skills, gain confidence and become more independent. The toys are ideal for preschool children through age 12. They include puzzles, videos, balls, toys, and materials for older children. I visit the child in his or her home, deliver the toy, interact with the child and I bring back any toy or book that needs to be returned. It is very heartwarming to see the child learn to play independently.”
The toys are stimulating and motivating! They can be musical, produce a breeze, or vibrate when touched or assembled correctly. Some are action toys, clowns, animals or cars.
Peg Morrison, one of the Exec. Directors of UCP, tells a story about one of the musical toys. “One little girl used a piano mat through the library. The mat made noise and music as she moved over it. With the combination of therapy and adaptive toys, this girl began to move more and graduated from limited mobility to crawling to walking. While the piano mat did not do this alone, the toy supplemented her therapy and allowed her to work on goals from home in a fun way.”
Peg continues, “The kids with disabilities have trouble playing with siblings and friends because they don’t have toys to play with independently. These toys are things that the child can use independently, but are also toys that are fun for children without disabilities.”
The Tech Tot Library also offers a wide selection of switches to adapt many commercially available toys for children physically unable to handle conventional toys. This enables the special needs child to fully enjoy them.
To receive a toy simply phone Shannan Farr at 860-443-3800 ext. 11. The UCP of Eastern CT Tech Tot Library has a representative who will meet with the family and child or children to assess needs and preferences of the child and make appropriate toy selections. The representative will then return to exchange toys.