Marcie, an engineer at Goodyear, learned about RePlay for Kids like many parents do. She was visiting United Disability Services in Akron, to borrow toys for her daughter, Lucy, who was six years old at the time. Lucy was born with a neurological disorder, resulting in multiple disabilities. Lucy uses assistive devices, including adapted toys, as a part of her day-to-day activities. She uses them to play by herself, to interact with her siblings and peers, and to learn communication skills. The toys she uses have been adapted with different types of switches, so that she can control them herself, even with her disabilities.
Lucy’s family has purchased a few devices and adapted toys of their own, but the lending library at United Disability Services allows them to try different types of switches to see what works best for Lucy, and to rotate their supply of toys, so she remains challenged, interested and engaged.
One day, as Marcie and a staff member were looking through the toys and testing them, she noticed that many were not fully functional, and watched as the broken toys were placed into a box labeled, “RePlay for Kids.” The staff member explained that RePlay for Kids repairs and adapts toys for UDS, free of charge, so they may be borrowed by families, therapists and child care centers who have a need.
Marcie was immediately intrigued. An engineer herself, she thought she could help RePlay by organizing a toy repair workshop, and recruiting her engineer and techie friends to join in. The very first workshop was a great success. While she was most interested in helping to provide adapted toys for children who need them, other workshop participants simply enjoyed fixing the toys!
Many productive workshops later, Marcie is just as enthusiastic about RePlay for Kids. She appreciates the adapted toys and repair services they provide for children with special needs like Lucy, and she enjoys being a part of the process by repairing and adapting toys herself.
Some parents attend the workshops to learn how to adapt their own toys. 3-yeor-old Rakaya was born with cerebral palsy.
"(The toys) teach Rakaya cause and
effect," as well as independence, Rakaya's mom said. "She wants to play with them by herself, and I never thought l'd see that day."