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REVIEW: Inclusion Works! | Why We Use a Brisbane Toy Library

Inclusion Works Numeracy

Inclusion Works! (previously Noah’s Ark) is an educational resource and toy library focused on kids with a developmental age from 0 to 8 years.

Whether you are a parent of young children and love the idea of being able to constantly rotate your games and toys, or you’re a special needs parent who needs to focus on a particular area of development, you can become a member and borrow up to 10 resources at any one time.

Why use a Brisbane Library like Inclusion Works!?

When I took out my first membership with Inclusion Works!, the question wasn’t “why use a toy library”, it was “why didn’t I think of this sooner?”.  But to address the initial question…

  • It will save you a fortune.
  • It will save your sanity.
  • It will save you finding a place for half a million toys that are used once then thrown in the back of the cupboard.
  • Realistically, it’s some combination of the above.

I’m a Mum of twins, one is special needs, we took out our first membership when the kids were just about to turn 3 years old.  At the time, the decision was based on needing resources to help with Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy.  We were thrown into the world of therapy and buying special needs resources is really expensive.

While one of my little ones went off to therapy, I would pop over to Inclusion Works! (at the time it was called Noah’s Ark) and select some “fun things for him to play with”.

When I brought home the toys, my other twin was extremely jealous and wanted them for himself.  I discovered that “resources” are simply “toys” …  and toys can be used with a purpose for special needs, developing skills such as teamwork, problem solving, social skills, empathy and more.  However, for a child, toys are also just toys, and toys are so much fun!

As a result, I started recommending Inclusion Works! to all of my friends.  Here are the reasons that I want to share this little gem with the world!

What Kind of Toys are there?

They basically have everything, from special needs resources, games, play sets, to books and puzzles and balance toys.

It’s never ceased to amaze me how every child that comes for a visit thinks that our kids have an amazing range of toys, yet the second we have a play date at someone else’s house, inevitably, the car ride home will start with a statement from one of my children like “our toys are so boring, I wish we had their toys!”.

Inclusion Works! will stop the boredom, help your child’s development and therefore {edit: help to} save your sanity.

Members have the ability to borrow up to 10 resources at a time and rotate them as often as they like.  If you have a quick look at the picture below (which a teeny tiny snippet of what they have to offer), you’ll see all kinds of toys that you’d buy in the shops from $50 – $100+.

Inclusion Works

Literacy and Numeracy Resources

As mentioned above, the resources are generally focused on children who have a developmental age of 0 – 8 years, that takes us to roughly year 3 in a mainstream school.

Once our children started school, we found we needed less toys, however, keeping up with the academic pace of school can be quite challenging at time.

Inclusion Works Literacy

Photo above: sample of some literacy resources 

All of a sudden, the kids are sitting at a desk for hours on end, and when they need a little extra help at home, the last thing they want to do is more worksheets.  That’s where the literacy and numeracy games can help.  Obviously, there are a lot that can be used for pre-school children too to help them learn the alphabet, colours and counting, but there’s still great value for the first few years of school.

Inclusion Works Numeracy

Photo above: sample of some numeracy resources 

Special Needs Resources

If you have a child with special needs, chances are you’ll know the following terms:

  • fine motor
  • gross motor
  • sensory
  • perceptual and cognitive development

Most of us with a new diagnosis end up visiting an Occupational Therapist and/or a Speech Therapist and receive a crash course in these terms, we attend the sessions week after week and eventually realise that a single 45 minute session once a week isn’t going to progress our children at the rate needed.  We need to do some work at home too.

Inclusion Works Fine Motor

Photo above: sample of some resources to help with fine motor skills

But it’s really never that simple is it?  In therapy, the kids will sit nicely at the table and do what they are told.  At home, we get the real, raw, rough and not so ready version of our mini me and we need to provide stimulating activities in order to get the same level of focus.

Seasoned special needs parents are very aware what kind of resources to select for “fine motor” or “gross motor” (as an example), but when we’re new to the experience, it can be a little overwhelming.

Inclusion Works Gross Motor

Photo above: sample of some resources to help with gross motor skills

In the beginning, I’d turn up to Inclusion Works! and say “my Occupational Therapist said we need to work on, hang on… I have it written down”.  The staff would ask a few questions then help me select the appropriate toys and resources.

Inclusion Works Sensory

Photo above: sample of some resources to help with sensory issues.

They have amazing staff (many with childhood development backgrounds) who will help select the resources you need, and show you how to use them properly.

Membership

The cost of a family membership at Inclusion Works! is $275 per year, giving members the ability to:

  • speak to staff about any developmental concerns and seek assistance with matching resources or toys to your child
  • borrow up to 10 toys and resources at any time
  • rotate toys and resources as often as you like and hold them for up to 6 weeks (extending for another 4 weeks on top of this if they haven’t been placed on hold by another member).

Inclusion Works! is located in Yeronga, on the south side of Brisbane, members can visit the library directly and choose the toys themselves.  Alternatively, they can order toys online and have them couriered out to their home at a small cost.

If you have a child with special needs you will be aware of the changes of funding with the NDIS roll out – stay updated and talk with your planner about how you can access Inclusion Works!.

In Summary

If you’re located in the Brisbane region, and you’re not near Yeronga, your initial thought may be “that’s a little too far”.  However, there’s a reason this isn’t the case.  Taking the time out to make the trip provides the kids with hours of entertainment.  It will save you time (and money) in the end!

If you’re remote or just can’t get there to select your toys, they do offer a courier service where they take a $100 deposit and you can draw down on this amount with courier fees.

For us, the membership was a small price to pay for the service on offer, and eventually we asked Grandma and Grandad to give our family a membership for Christmas each year.  It was the present that kept on giving.

Head to their website for more information – http://www.inclusionworks.com.au.

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