Play With A Purpose

“When a child experiences play, he or she can depart from the world of struggles, tasks, therapies and treatments into the joyful experience of play and through that accomplish more than anyone ever dreamed possible.”

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with Selima Hargadon at Lekotek.  Selima is the Able Play™ coordinator at the National Center in Chicago.  As we spoke, I was so inspired and encouraged to learn more about how this wonderful organization shares FATWHEELS’ passion for helping individuals with special needs reach their full potential.

History

Lekotek is a nonprofit that provides an array of services to improve the lives of children with special needs through the utilization of toys and play.

The first Lekotek was begun in Sweden in 1963 by parents of children with dis­abilities. They coined the word “Lekotek,” using the Swedish root word lek,” meaning toy or play, and the Greek suffixtek that connotes library.

Lekotek was established in the United States in Evanston, Illinois, in 1980 by two special educators.

Today

Lekotek Centers Offer: (varies per Lekotek site location)

Affiliate Play Centers

Lekotek has affiliate sites in 8 states, (including Michigan), but there is a need to service more children in more areas.  Starting a Lekotek site can interest individuals, groups or organizations. There is a simple Litmus test you can take to decide whether or not you or your organization is a good fit for starting an affiliate site:

The Passion Test

 Do You……

Have a special interest in children with disabilities? Yes No
Love playing with children? Yes No
Understand the therapeutic value of play? Yes No
Realize children can grow and develop through play? Yes No
Wish to eliminate play deprivation for children with special needs? Yes No
Want to use play as a vehicle of inclusion? Yes No
Believe in encouraging strong family involvement through play? Yes No

If you or your organization would like more information about starting a Lekotek affiliate site contact:

Executive Director Kathryn Lavin, National Lekotek Center (773-528-5766 ext. 408) klavin@lekotek.org

To view the AblePlay™ Toy Guide for Children of All Abilities visit:

https://www.lekotek.org/images/stories/files/pdf/ableplay_toyguide_FINAL_web.pdf

 

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