Cognitive and Physical Disparities   

Where Disability becomes Ability

One Toy Can Make A Difference
Emma was given Zoey, a teddy bear, during one of her holiday hospital stays. She held onto Zoey throughout her stay. Years later she still has Zoey. The teddy bear has been a constant companion throughout surgeries, medical tests and doctor visits.
Toys in the hospital have the power to comfort, ease fears and bring sick or injured children cheer during their stay. The ability of a toy to provide comfort is the reason why Overcome Birth Defects has been donating toys to Manatee Memorial Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Easter Seals of Southwest Florida for eight years. Overcome has held a Holiday Toy Drive because children enter the hospital scared and while some may be in for a short time others stay for several days or weeks.
Toys soothe fear and anxiety. Pediatric patients wrestle with the fear of going into the hospital for an illness and often have overwhelming worries regarding pain, the unknown, being separated from their parents and even death. Their stay includes unfamiliar staff, the loss of comfort, control and power over their environment. Fatemeh Ghabell, a medical researcher for the National Institutes of Health, reports “The management of anxiety in children leads to the best psychological and physiological response to surgery and better managing of their health. Toys, create a positive mood in children, allowing them to cope with hospital conditions.”
Toys help children become familiar with hospital staff, how they view healthcare workers, the hospital environment and help the staff familiarize the children with the procedures. One toy can make a difference.

Teddy Bear Care

Finding out you are pregnant is an exciting time but when there's news of a disability often parents don't know who to turn to for advice.  The Teddy Bear Care program provides each family with a Teddy Bear who holds a complete list of services available to parents and their disabled child.  If you wish to receive a Teddy Bear Care package please contact us and we will deliver them to you.

Dr. Manatee's Toy Chest

Throughout the year we collect toys, books, art and other supplies for children who are hospitalized.  We deliver the toys to local hospitals and Easter Seals of Southwest Florida so they may distribute the toys to children in need of comfort. We also provide books for the children and parents to read to their child while they're in the hospital.  Donations are always accepted.

A Little Love

A Little Love is inspired by Dr. Manatee's Toy Chest and  the work done by those in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, NICU.  The uncertainty a preemie faces can be stressful and may make an older sibling feel left out.  A Little Love strives to bridge the gap between the children by providing a gift from the baby in NICU to their older sibling.

We also provide books for parents to read to the babies as they fight to grow stronger.