Toys With A Purpose: Adapted Toy Lending Library

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract/Project Description: Play is part of normal child development and is essential for developing creativity, imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play can improve children''s abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math and social skills, and even helps children cope with stress. Toys are integral to play, however, off-the-shelf toys have been designed to serve children without disabilities and often have specific characteristics that make them inadequate or unusable for appropriate developmental play for children with physical and developmental disabilities. To address this challenge, toys can be adapted to allow interactive and positive play. Toy adaptations are simple modifications that make toys easier to use. These adaptations could be as straightforward as adding a stick or padding to make pages on books easier to turn or can be as elaborate as needed. Toys can be adapted to have switch controls; large buttons make it easier for children to turn the toys off and on. These are some of the more complex and most useful adaptions. Other common types of adaptations include adaptations to minimize sounds or lights, page turners, and adding handles to cards and art supplies. It has been shown that access to adaptive toys and devices for children with various disabilities can improve play behaviors due to the easier methods of manipulating. However, physical and intellectual disabilities are diverse and each condition requires different adaptions to the toy or device. While adapted toys can have a significant impact on the children that use them, parents are either unaware of their availability or financially unable to purchase them. Improving access to adapted toys and devices will benefit the children who use them The goal of the new Toys with a Purpose adapted toy lending library is to support child development and promote play through access to free adapted toys, devices, and educational materials. Toys with a Purpose is an extension of and established program based in Appalachian eastern Kentucky. Project CARAT (Coordinating and Assisting the Reuse of Assistive technology) was established in 2012 as a collaboration between University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN), The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH), the Kentucky State Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center. Project CARAT is focused on improving community participation and quality of life of individuals with disabilities in Kentucky through the refurbishing and redistribution of used assistive technology (AT) and durable medical equipment (DME; wheelchairs, walkers, etc.). Project CARAT started with 2 sites in eastern Kentucky, one is overseen by our team at the UK CERH in Hazard, and has expanded to 6 sites across Kentucky and to date over $3 million worth of DME and assistive technology has been refurbished and provided to those in need. Recently we received funding through the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disability to expand the capacity of the original Project CARAT concept into a multifaceted intergenerational program that provides needed resources, such as adapted toys and devices, to children with disabilities living in rural Appalachian Kentucky. This new program engages rural high school students and community members, with and without disabilities, to adapt toys and devices and engage their communities. This new program is a collaboration between the University of Kentucky and Multiple stakeholders in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky. These collaborators include the Perry County Central High School, The Hazard Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky River Area Development District, and the Perry County Fiscal Court. We are also currently developing a new collaboration with the Commonwealth Foster and kindred Care programs. The geographic region that will be initially served is a 6 county region in southeastern Kentucky including Perry, Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, Harlan, and Leslie counties. The number of kids who will be served initially is approximately 50 children each year. Once the lending library capacity increases, service can be provided to a larger geographical portion of Kentucky. We have basic supplies to adapt toys and devices but in order to promote creativity and increase the ability to adapt toys to meet a greater number of types of disabilities efficiently, equipment such as 3D printers are needed. Therefore, we are requesting funding for two 3D printers, a 3D laser printer, and desktop computers to support them. In addition, we request support to purchase equipment to adapt the desktop computers (e.g. adapted key boards, voice activation software, etc.) to accommodate high school students and community members with disabilities to participate in the program. With the purchase of the additional equipment and materials, we will be able to expand the capacity of our program to more effectively meet the individual needs of children with a variety of disabilities and provide adapted toys and devices to support play and community participation in children with disabilities living in rural Appalachian communities.
Effective start/end date9/1/227/17/23


  • WHAS Crusade for Children: $5,300.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.