Students adapt toys for peers with disabilities
Lehigh Carbon Career and Technical Institute and Jim Thorpe High School students recently participated in a Toy Adaptation Day to help make Christmas 2018 a little brighter for students with disabilities.
The Toy Adaptation Day took place at Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21, Independence Drive, Schnecksville.
Danielle Argot, M.Ed., CBIS, assistive technology consultant and BrainSTEPS team leader at CLIU 21, was instrumental in organizing the special day on Dec. 6, 2018.
“Toy Adaptation Day fosters the opportunity for students with disabilities to play with toys similar to their nondisabled peers,” Argot said. “Students with physical disabilities often do not have the same access to toys and activities as their nondisabled peers.
“This project will provide accessible toys for students with disabilities.”
Argot said students from LCTI and Jim Thorpe High School used their 3-D printers to print components to switches that were assembled during the adaptation day.
“These switches allow children with physical disabilities access to operating a toy,” Argot stated.
Toys were purchased with grant money, she added.
Argot said a card was included with each toy.
On one side of the card was written: “Happy Holidays! Student volunteers have adapted this toy to make it switch accessible. While care has been taken, it may not be as reliable as an unmodified toy.
“We hope it brings many moments of joy.”
On the other side was written: “This toy and accompanying switch has been funded through an education venture grant from Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit. Local students collaborated and created solutions which allow students with disabilities access to toys.
“If you have any questions about this Toy Adaptation Day, please contact Danielle Argot at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Jordan M. Hower, media facilitator at CLIU 21, commented on the project.
Hower said after the students created the 3-D switches they then rewired the inside components of the toys to allow the switches to work.
“When pressed, these switches trigger the toy’s functions,” she said. “For example, our lava lamp glows; our dog toy barks, and Minnie Mouse talks at the touch of an accessible switch.”
The switches were designed with student access in mind, so they are easy to press, brightly colored and accessible for students who have disabilities.
“In doing this, students learn about kindness and community,” Hower said. “Knowing they are able to help other students enjoy their gifts this holiday has motivated them to do their best each step of the way.”
Stations at the Toy Adaptation Day included toy unboxing and preparation, adaptation, sewing and quality control.
“Toy Adaptation Day was a great way to promote both STEM and community with our students,” Hower said.
“These toys will be given to students with disabilities for the holidays. They will be able to play with their toys just like every other youngster, thanks to the students and staff who made it possible today.”