New toy store caters to autistic children

Therapyware in west Edmonton specializes in toys for kids with developmental challenges.

Profits from Therapyware will go to Children’s Autism Services

Therapyware is run by Children's Autistic Services of Edmonton and focuses on toys designed for kids with developmental challenges. (CBC)

The shelves and racks in that line the walls of Therapyware make it look like any other toy store in Edmonton.

However, the store opening up in Edmonton’s west end is designed for a specific type of customer — children with special needs.

Terri Duncan says before Therapyware opened, many parents looking for toys designed for autistic children had to look as far as the United States. (CBC)

"Sometimes you just have to engage kids and have something fun that will help you through the learning process," said Terri Duncan, executive director of Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton.

She says the organization started the store, which had its grand opening on Saturday, as a place to cater to parents with autistic and developmentally-challenged children.

Toys that are designed to help teach autistic kids are important, Duncan says, but often hard to find. Before the opening of Therapyware, she says parents were often forced to order toys from catalogues. Usually, toys were shipped from the United States, making the process expensive and time consuming.

With a store in the city, Duncan hopes parents will have an easier time finding games and books designed to help children with special needs.

"We have tools that can help them … staying calm and focused and regulated. We have tools that can help them build their language skills and social interaction."

Duncan says all of the proceeds from the store will go back to Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton, a non-profit organization.