Lekotek helps children with autism and other special needs participate in, learn from and enjoy playing. Lekotek has 32 play and learning centers nationwide that make play accessible to children with disabilities through traditional toys, adapted toys, books and computers. Through play, children with special needs learn the skills necessary to build a foundation for literacy, mathematical reasoning and computer use.

Lekotek’s mission is to promote the inclusion of children with special needs into family and community life through the use of interactive play. Lekotek play sessions, lending libraries, Compuplay computer centers and community-specific programs are available to children with special needs and their parents, siblings, extended family members and caregivers. 

Lekotek was founded in Sweden in the early 1960’s by two parents of children with disabilities who were seeking ways to help their children during their formative years. Their goal was to develop a program that would both foster their children’s development and facilitate their full inclusion in society. Their efforts resulted in the creation of the first Lekotek facility in Stockholm. Today, Lekotek centers are widespread in Scandinavian countries and are a mandatory component of the social welfare service delivery system in Sweden and Norway. 

Each Lekotek site has its own fee schedule, and many sites offer sliding fee scales. For more information, contact your local Lekokek center or call (800) 366-PLAY. Click on the link if you are interested in starting a Lekotek site in your community. 

Michelle McFarland-McDaniels provides information about grants, financial assistance, funding strategies and other resources for families coping with autism and other disabilities on her blog, Autism Assistance Resources and Information. She also publishes Funding Autism Treatment and College Resources for Students with Autism.

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