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Universal design (UD) is a framework for the design of places, products and information to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design.

UD is not a definitive single style but an orientation to design in which the goal is to initially incorporate features that make each design more universally usable. UD results in better, more useable products that work for as many potential users as possible and that also enhance everyone’s experience.

Universal Design for Play is a federally funded project examining the application of UD to toys. Toys must be made available that are accessible, flexible and adjustable so that all children can use them. An inclusive toy design will promote its use by all children when playing alone or together.

The needs and preferences of children including those with disabilities, must be taken into consideration from the onset of the design process. When certain features are present in a toy, more children can successfully use it. We propose to address the play needs of children with disabilities by identifying characteristics that will guide a better design of toys for all children.

Articles and Presentations on UD and Toys

Learning materials for children of all abilities: Begin with Universal Design by Kirsten Haugen, Childcare Exchange (2005)

Universal Design means toys for everyone by Kari Anderson, edplay (2005).
(Used with permission, edplay magazine, Fahy-Williams Publishing Inc.)

Universally designed curriculum (DEC)



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