News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 26, 2012

Library donates toys for children with disabilities

Toys available through United Cerebral Palsy of the Wabash Valley

TERRE HAUTE — Susie Thompson was like a child in a toy store Wednesday as she looked through several very large, cooler-sized containers donated from the Vigo County Public Library.

Thompson, executive director of the United Cerebral Palsy of Wabash Valley, was presented Wednesday with a permanent library loan of hundreds of unique toys from Nancy Dowell, executive director of the public library.

“These are toys that are specific for children with disabilities,” Thompson said. “They are adaptive to meet the needs, be it sensory or cognitive. We are working in the five developmental domains which are social/emotional, cognitive, language, gross motor skills and fine motor skills.

“All children, whether they have a disability or not, need to develop in those areas to build one on another so that their brain can grow and they can get the most potential,” Thompson said.

The toys can be borrowed from a lending library at UCP’s office, 621 Poplar St.

Some adaptive toys include a “Georella Tool Box” which has two pegboards with gears and building shapes. “This can help a child with a muscular disorder to put things together because they can work on a firm surface,” Thompson said.

It also has colored circles. “This is cognitive development, colors and shapes and how things integrate together. It is the same concept as building, but it is something different for a kid with a disability,” Thompson said.

These toys are not inexpensive, such as a “textured carousel busy box,” at about $219. The toy increases visual attention, tactile awareness, color recognition and auditory development. The toys can be borrowed for up to 30 days.

 “We have about $2,000 to $3,000 [in toys], which we take out of our materials budget,” Dowell said, “because in our opinion this is a library material. It will be circulated. It just is not coming directly from our building, but we are working through another agency. That is what libraries should do,” Dowell said.

Many parents don’t have the means to purchase many of the learning toys or know about the toys, she said. “This is a much better way to reach the clientele.”.

UCP has operated the library, located in the lower level of UCP’s building, since the 1980s, Thompson said.

Bethany Noe of Terre Haute earlier this year began using the lending library at UCP for her 10-month-old daughter, Elizabeth.

“I think it is a wonderful program. We can get toys that she can learn with and have fun with,” Noe said of her daughter. “I have let my daughter play with the toys, and she is doing way better learning wise. She is also walking. That library is just amazing,” Noe said.

Noe said she has borrowed stacking toys and blocks. Her daughter puts the blocks into different shapes on a board.

“It gives her more opportunity with different toys and gives her a hands-on of different feels of different materials” which helps with learning, Noe said.

Thompson said the library also works with therapists and teachers in the Vigo County School Corp. who have a special need for some learning toys in the library. The library now has more than 2,000 items, Thompson said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or

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