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Sale Creek students design assistive technology projects for people with special needs

Sale Creek students design projects tailored to the special needs community. (Image: WTVC)

Local middle school students are learning first hand how to make life easier for the special needs community.

Seventh-graders at Sale Creek Middle School are using critical thinking and problem solving skills to design projects with the special needs community in mind.

They started the assistive technology projects in January.

Some groups designed toys and learning puzzles, others made every day items like a doorknob called the twisty twisty.

All of the projects are tailored to people with special needs.

Brooke Williford explained her project as "a cutting board for people with certain hand disabilities to help them be able to grip easier and cut their food."

"If a kid was born without a hand they could put this on it would be attached by Velcro and they could go out like any other normal kid," Blake Ellis said about his project designed to help children play sports.

One of the goals of this project is getting the students to think of how to include everyone, and then bring those ideas to life.

Greanlei Smith's group designed a jumping apparatus so children without legs can bounce on a trampoline.

"We thought, well we can build them something to sit in to use their legs to bounce," Smith said.

Cara Stiles is the VW eLab specialist at Sale Creek. She worked with middle school science teachers to come up with this assignment.

The kids went on a field trip to the Siskin Children's Institute to see how they use adaptive technology.

"There are all kinds of things they can make they just have to use their imagination," Stiles said.

In this $65,000 classroom filled with laser cutters and 3D printers, you'll find something that's priceless, a never give up attitude.

"We all worked as a team and if we needed help they would be here to help us," Waylon Spencer said.

"We had a lot of hiccups and how to work around them, and having to start and restart and restart over and over again," Rachel Hutchings said.

Stiles said her students gained resilience.

"I think that they walk out of the classroom and they look at the world around them differently because they're like 'oh I know how that works, or oh I wonder if I could make that better I have the skills to do that now.'"

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