SHORT HILLS, N.J., May 2, 2016 — The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life for people living with paralysis, has announced the creation of Adaptoys – adapted versions of popular toys that allow people with physical disabilities to experience the joy of actively playing with their families.
“Technology has been such a powerful force for individuals with disabilities. However, there is a void when it comes to technology and accessible toys,” said Peter Wilderotter, President and CEO, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “Adaptoys will help eliminate inequality by reimagining playtime for parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles or aunts who are living with paralysis. We are excited to partner with 360i on this innovative campaign to ignite a global conversation and share these life-changing toys with more families.”
Play is a universal connector—it improves quality of life, connects people emotionally and wards off stress and depression. But for the one in 50 people who face some form of paralysis, these experiences are difficult, if not impossible, and that inability to fully interact and play with their family can be a challenging barrier. Adaptoys is bringing the power of play to the 5.6 million Americans living with paralysis by equipping toys with voice activation, motion sensors and sip-and-puff (SNP) assistive technology.
Advertising agency 360i partnered with technology company Axios to create the initial Adaptoys prototypes. A remote control car is powered by a headset equipped with a straw, into which users can exhale to cause the car to accelerate, or inhale to reverse. Motion sensors on the headset steer the car left or right based on the user’s head movement. And a voice-controlled pitching machine throws a ball on the user’s command, tossing pop-ups, groundballs and strikes.
To bring accessible toys to more families nationwide, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, in partnership with 360i, has launched a crowdfunding campaign at Adaptoys.org to raise funds to support the research, development and cover production costs for at least 100 adapted remote control cars, which will be distributed to qualified recipients through a random lottery selection. The more successful the crowdfunding effort, the more toys will be produced and families will be reached.
Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down during a highly publicized game in 2010, illustrates the impact these toys can have for individuals living with paralysis in a compelling film as he plays with his young nephews. Donna Lowich of New Jersey, also living with quadriplegia, is featured as well, playing with her granddaughters. The film was created by production company Tiny Giant and director Charlie Mysak, with support from Jim Rubino of Fluid Editorial.
“I have never let paralysis slow me down. However, I look at my nephews and it can be frustrating when they want to play ball and I can’t join the fun,” said Eric LeGrand. “With Adaptoys, I can fully participate with my family and create new memories with my nephews so that they never feel as though their ‘Uncle E’ is sidelined at playtime.”
“As a grandmother, you dream about playing with your grandchildren. But for people living with disabilities, playtime can be isolating and inaccessible. My granddaughter lit up when I was able to race cars with her,” said Donna Lowich. “Adaptoys will allow me to be part of her childhood in a more meaningful way and my only hope is that we can bring these accessible toys to many more families. Everyone deserves to play with their loved ones.”
For more information and to help bring Adaptoys to life for more families, visit adaptoys.org.
About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. For more information, please visit our website atwww.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-225-0292.