Modified toys bring holiday cheer to kids with disabilities

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The gift of play isn't always easy to give, but on Thursday night, a Knoxville group worked hard to create a little magic for children with disabilities.

"Not everybody is the same and different is just different," Teresa Zimmerman said.

The toys SPARK created might be a little different, but the smiles are all the same. The toys at the non-profit's annual Toy Tech are modified for children with disabilities.

"It's about independence," Zimmerman said. Her 10-year-old son, Nate, can't press play on most toys. He's one of seven kids in the Zimmerman family, from Blount County.

"[It's hard] watching our other 6 kids be able to open things up and use it right away," she said. "For Nate, he needed a little more help."

SPARK, formerly the East Tennessee Technology Access Center, gave just the help Nate needed. With some modifications, now he can use these toys with his brothers and sisters.

"Play is probably one of the most important aspects of our life," Mary Thom Adams, SPARK's executive director, said.

The organization has been building the toys with Knox Makers for weeks. This is the moment they look forward to.

"It's about seeing them play," Thom Adams said. "It's seeing their families have a good time."

The annual Toy Tech gave out more than 50 toys to families. However, even after years of the event, organizers said they aren't done yet.

You can donate toys and money to their cause by going here.