Health

Lekotek: Making a Difference for Children with Disabilities

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What is Lekotek?

Although children with disabilities face challenges, they are welcomed at Lekotek with encouragement and opportunities for success. Lekotek envisions a world where children with special needs are included and empowered through play. Lekotek provides accessible play, adaptive technology and toys, information and resources to facilitate inclusion in family and community life.

The word “Lekotek” comes from the Swedish work “lek,” meaning play, and the Greek suffix “tek” meaning library.#Loosely translated, Lekotek means play library, but to the hundreds of families we help, it is much more.#Using adapted toys and computer equipment, Lekotek is a safe haven from medical appointments and therapies.#It”s a place where parents find resources and support while children have fun and learn along the way.

Five-year-old Louis, who has spinal muscular dystrophy, is enjoying a play session at Lekotek. His favorite characters are Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Dora the Explorer and everyone who lives on Sesame Street. Using a large adapted trackball, he helps Clifford spell and read, Dora keep the environment clean and Ernie and Bert learn to count. He”s sad to leave but glad that all the toys and computer games he”s played with get to go home.

Since 1983, Lekotek of Georgia has made a difference for more than 4,500 families traveling from metro Atlanta, rural Georgia and beyond.# Approximately five hundred children with a wide range of disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hearing and/or vision loss, spina bifida, mitochondrial disorders and genetic conditions benefit each year. Staff members have backgrounds in special education, child development and occupational, speech and recreation therapy.# Coupled with the staff”s knowledge and inventory of adapted toys, educational materials, iPad applications and computer devices, Lekotek makes it possible for every child to participate with siblings at home and peers at school. During hour-long play/learning sessions, Lekotek leaders with training in special education model the use of these materials and all are loaned for families to use at home.

Lekotek services are available at the main center in Atlanta and at five satellite locations. The Gwinnett Lekotek is located in Children”s Healthcare”s Rehab Center at 2660 Satellite Blvd. in Duluth. The phone number at this site is 404.785.8423. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, call (404) 633-3430, or visit www.lekotekga.org