All children are diverse in their abilities and preferences. UD assumes and embraces this diversity by incorporating flexible, adjustable and useable features into products and systems. For early childhood it goes beyond accessibility to developing through interactive experiences. UD is about inclusion and the ability to make choices.
For young children, play is the primary activity by which they learn and grow. Toys are the tools of play that guide and expand their development. However, children with disabilities may be limited in their access to toys and play in general due to the barriers their disabilities present.
Children with vision impairments may not be able to see the pictures in a book; physical disabilities prevent exploration with small plastic blocks; and children may not understand how to make a toy work. However, if toys are designed with a universal approach that uses multi-sensory and multimodal experiences, they can then be used by more children as a vehicle to discovery and learning, resulting in a better toy for all.
UD attempts to embed diversity in its design. For children with wide ranging abilities (cognitive, physical, communicative, social), levels of interest, levels of maturity, learning styles, and cultural identities can interact with the materials and experiences while having fun doing it.