For nearly 20 years, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has provided parents, caregivers and gift-givers with reliable toy recommendations for the children with special needs in their lives through the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. Continuing that tradition, the company has announced the launch of the 2011 edition of the Guide featuring actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria on the cover, alongside Elijah De La Cerda, a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome from Fresno, CA.
Released annually, this complimentary resource is created with guidance from the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible to children of all abilities. The Guide is available in Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide and online, in English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled.
Along with the company’s long-standing commitment to children of all abilities, this year’s Guide cover model, Eva Longoria, also has strong ties and a deep passion for the special needs community. One of her sisters was born with developmental disabilities and inspired her to establish Eva's Heroes in 2006. Based in Longoria’s hometown of San Antonio, Eva’s Heroes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals with special needs to interact, play, learn and enrich their lives.
“Growing up in a tight-knit family and watching my sister face – and overcome – everyday challenges, I came to understand the critical importance of teamwork and socialization in the development of differently-abled individuals,” said Eva Longoria. “The Toys”R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids helps foster inclusive play environments by featuring toys that kids with special needs can enjoy alongside siblings and friends. I’m so honored to appear on the cover and lend my support to Toys"R"Us for this project."
To help alleviate the guesswork in selecting toys most appropriate for a child’s physical, cognitive or developmental needs, all items featured in the Guide are paired with colorful icons to indicate the skills that can be developed during playtime. With more pages and more toys than any past edition of the Guide, this year, the trusted resource has increased to 64 pages, filled with everyday playthings specifically selected for their ability to help kids build critical skills, including fine and gross motor, social, creativity, auditory, language and more.
“At Toys”R"Us, we know that bringing home the perfect toy for a child, and watching their joyful reaction, is the ultimate victory," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. “Delivering that experience to all parents, gift-givers and the kids they are shopping for – regardless of ability – is what we strive to do every day. It is with great pride that we introduce the 2011 Toys”R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids to our customers nationwide who know and love children with special needs, helping them to make informed toy-buying decisions."
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, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, 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.