Interprofessional Toy Fair and Expo Serves Families, Benefits Students

child playing on colorful mat with healthcare professionals

The event is for children who receive early intervention services for developmental delays and disabilities

On October 15, the Office of Interprofessional Education (IPE) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) hosted its seventh annual Interprofessional Toy Fair and Expo, created for children ages birth-to-three who receive early intervention services for developmental delays and disabilities.

Michelle Kiser, Ed.D., Assistant Managing Director for the Office of Interprofessional Education, said that the toy fair is one example of the office’s community engagement activities.

“Community engagement activities provide the opportunity for interprofessional learning, as interprofessional teams of students work side-by-side to respond to challenges faced by communities,” said Kiser. 

Kiser also explained that community engagement activities provide families access to interprofessional teams of health care professionals and educational materials that they might not otherwise be able to access, which can improve the health and well-being of the overall population.

Since 2016, the Interprofessional Toy Fair and Expo has been held in the fall of each year, in either October or November. The primary population for the event are families with children up to three years in age who were served by Lubbock Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). 

Young girl playing with toys at the IPE toy fair

The IPE Toy Fair and Expo has been an annual event since 2016

There are 12 counties served in the Lubbock ECI geographical area: Cochran, Hockley, Lubbock, Crosby, Dickens, Yoakum, Terry, Lynn, Garza, Kent, Gaines and Dawson county. 

During the event, interprofessional teams of TTUHSC students from audiology, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology provide valuable information to the families present.

“Our students educate between 150 and 250 families on the use of books and toys to increase physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional and self-help development,” Kiser said. 

Each year, the participating families receive student-developed educational materials about the use of books and toys to foster development, while each child receives a board book and a therapeutic toy appropriate to the child’s developmental delay or disability.

Through experiences such as the toy fair, IPE community engagement not only benefits the lives of those within the community, but also allows students to advance their skills working side-by-side. 

“The office promotes a collaborative environment,” said Kiser. “Students learn about, from and with each other to improve health care outcomes, as well as improve the overall well-being of our community.”

Find out more about the Office of Interprofessional Education on their webpage.

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