The best toys are tools for learning, too—especially for children with autism. Toys teach kids with autism relationship-building skills and cause and effect, and help them develop fine motor, gross motor or social skills. Sensory toys aren’t just important for education and development—they’re fun! That’s why Chicago’s Spectrum Toy Store, which caters to children with developmental disabilities, started C.A.R.E. Box.
The program is a monthly subscription service for children on the autism spectrum. Boxes contain a combination of activities and toys tailored to your child’s level of development. The subscription form asks questions like, “What skill deficits does your child have?” and, “Are there any core areas that are most important to you?” The store then uses parents’ responses to customize its boxes.
“If a parent is concerned about their child’s math skills, we may include a board game like Chutes and Ladders that involves counting, number recognition and addition. In that box, we may also include an addition and subtraction reusable placemat, fun math flash cards, etc.,” Jamilah Rahim, Spectrum’s owner, told The Mighty.
Rahim, a behavioral therapist, discovered the demand for her service when visiting patients’ homes. Parents often ordered toys online that their children didn’t care for due to their sensory sensitivities.
Each monthly C.A.R.E. Box costs $44.95 and a portion of the proceeds go to scholarships for outside-of-school programming at Spectrum Toy Store.