Innovation That Matters

Standard toys adapted for children with disabilities

Work & Lifestyle

The University of North Florida’s Adaptive Toy Project brings physical therapy and engineering students together to customize kids’ ride-on electric cars.

As the amount of gendered children’s marketing continues to drop, equality and inclusivity grow. Unfortunately for parents of children with severe disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, there are still very few, if any, relevant toys available. Helping to change that is the University of North Florida’s Adaptive Toy Project. Running for five years, the grant-funded project brings physical therapy and engineering students together to adapt off-the-shelf toys for children with distinct needs.

Each toy is fully customized based on the individual child’s needs. The student designers meet the child and his or her carers, attend therapy sessions and visit the children’s school to get a full understanding of the challenges facing the family. So far, the project has focused on customizing ride-on electric cars, providing 18 families with the new toys. The work done to the toys greatly increases the value, up to USD 1,000 per car. The project provides the toys for free. Children can be referred to the project through the Adaptive Toy Project website.

Other Springspottings making life easier and more enjoyable for people with disability include superhero-themed bionic hands for young amputees and a smart fork that counteracts tremors to help people with limited mobility feed themselves. With many projects focusing on customization for disability challenges, how could some solutions be scaled-up for bigger impact?



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