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With Ford grant, Taskar Center aims to expand the power of play for children of all abilities

Volunteers adapt toys at a hackathon on the University of Washington campusThe Allen School’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, working in partnership with the HuskyADAPT student organization at the University of Washington and the non-profit PROVAIL Therapy Center, has won an award as part of the 2018 Ford College Community Challenge to create a lending library of adapted toys and switches for children with diverse abilities in the Pacific Northwest. In line with the competition’s theme, “Making Lives Better,” the lending library will enable families and caregivers to borrow and trial adapted toys and equipment to ensure that they meet an individual child’s needs.

HuskyADAPT — short for Accessible Design & Play Technology — is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Taskar Center and the UW Departments of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering focused on developing resources and infrastructure to expand access to inclusive play technology. The program has trained hundreds of students and members of the community in toy adaptation — skills that come in handy every year at the Taskar Center’s annual holiday toy hackathon.

Through HuskyADAPT, the lending library project, and other activities, the Taskar Center is working to expand toy adaptation globally through education, research, and hands-on projects.

Ford College Community Challenge logo“Play is an important part of learning, growing, and socializing as a child, but most toys are not designed with all users in mind,” said Taskar Center director Anat Caspi. “Thanks to the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund, we will be able to extend the power of play to kids who are often overlooked while improving awareness of accessibility issues and community engagement for everyone.”

Learn more about the winning C3 proposal here, and view a video about the project here. Interested in supporting toy adaptation or borrowing adapted toys? Sign up to receive updates from the Taskar Center here.

Congratulations to Anat and the entire team!