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Melissa & Doug Special Needs Toy Guide Page 2



Dear Parents and friends,

25 years ago, we began making classic toys for kids ... and opened a dialogue with families that have been ongoing ever since. One of the most rewarding things about doing what we do has been talking with those families, and hearing about the ways they play with our toys-sometimes in ways we never imagined! Especially close to our hearts are the moms, dads, teachers, and therapists who use our toys to help children with special needs.

We've heard from the family of Robbie, whose passion for our puzzles gives his days focus and opens channels for communication. Eli’s parents told us how four different therapists used our toys to help their partially blind son understand the world around him. The father of Truman, a two and-half-year old with brain injuries, wrote to us about the unexpected developmental strides he credited to his son's beloved chunky puzzles. We got a note of thanks from the mom of Matthew and Jake, two puzzle-loving brothers with autism (and a call from then-seven-year-old Jake himself!). You've shared with us your stories of morning play routines, growing interpersonal connections, a newfound interest in game play, end first words. You've warmed our hearts and inspired us to do our best every day to bring you the very best toys we can.

Dr. Melissa Liguori also reached out to us with her story. As a child therapist, she was always on the lookout for activities to engage her patients, keeping them entertained as they worked on cognitive, sensory, learning, and other developmental areas. She was struck by how well suited Melissa & Doug toys are for exceptional children, and began working many of them into her therapies. Through her close work with families, she was also aware of their concern over the high cost of therapy and therapeutic products, and was proud to be able to recommend our toys as an affordable option!

Your letters and Dr. Liguori's trained eye are the force behind this catalog,  designed for parents, therapists, and educators of children with special needs. In its pages, you can shop by developmental need, get play ideas, and read expert advice on adding skill-building fun to playtime. We hope the ideas inside bring you and your child new horizons and lots of joy!

Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed.D:

After studying early childhood education at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Liguori began her career as a classroom teacher in one of the nation's top school districts, Montgomery County, Maryland. There she fostered an environment where play and learning were synonymous, and her reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to toys began. Dr. liguori completed her doctorate in Developmental and Learning Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at prestigious private schools in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding suburbs before settling her family and practice in Westport, Connecticut.

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