CHICAGO - A unique and interactive one-stop shop for parents and educators of children on the autism spectrum.
A first-of-its kind toy store specializing in toys for children with developmental disabilities has opened here in Chicago.
In the heart of Roscoe Village, there is a toy store like no other. Spectrum Toy Store provides sensory toys, adaptive equipment, specialty products as well as therapeutic programing. Store owner Jamilah Rahim says she saw a need and for this type of store.
"I did in home behavior therapy with families and I was able to see firsthand what kind of toys the kids played with, what they we into and I found out most parents got their toys online mainly because there was nowhere for them to shop locally. So with that being said I decided this was a great idea to get in to," said Rahim.
Families that stop in the store get the option to try before you buy.
"They are able to come in here, play with the items, touch them, feel them, see them and then determine what works for their child,"Rahim said.
But it's not just a toy store. Spectrum is the only nonprofit toy store in the state of Illinois specializing in children with disabilities and one of few in the country.
"It focuses children with disabilities ages 3 through 13. We do different activity groups. We focus on different core areas like communication skills, life skills, cognitive skills, gross fine motor skills ad sensory play. All of the classes are play based since we are a toy store we try to gear everything around play so we do different activities with different toys to help support the skill deficit that children may have," Rahim said.
So far feedback from the community has been positive.
"The turnout has been wonderful. The community has been very accepting. People come in all the time and ask what we're about, what we do. Hey give suggestions about what works well for their children so we try to keep items in the store that fits the community," Rahim said.
This holiday season Spectrum plans to launch a new monthly toy subscription service with the proceeds going to scholarships for area families to take part in summer day programs next year.
For more information on that and Spectrum Toy Store, visit spectrumtoystore.com.