by Sandy Masayko
The Assistive Technology Department, working in collaboration with our grant funder Comcast and our community partners Science Leadership Academy, Drexel University, Project Vive and MakerBot, is excited to report that our development of Maker Spaces at Easterseals SE PA is well underway! This project consists of two parts: Education of Easterseals staff and local high school student education to provide the basis for creation of Assistive Technology (AT); and setting up maker spaces at each Easterseals SE PA approved private school. The maker spaces will be supplied with 3D printers, soldering kits, moldable plastics, tools, and more. But before anyone can use this new high tech equipment, they need to learn how to design solutions to meet needs and the basics of use of the tools. To meet this need, the AT Department organized two workshops in the fall.
Workshop 1 was held at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Design in September and focused on 3D printing. After a review of AT by Sandy Masayko and an overview of the multiple use of 3D printers by Laurie McGowan, Laura Slatkoff shared her personal experiences in discovering 3D printing and using it to make a customized keyguard for a student. Marcia Leinweber introduced step by step instructions for Computer Assisted Design. Mary Elizabeth McCulloch of Project Vive presented concepts to consider in the design process. The thirty participants then got to work on their shared computers to design the top of a switch. AT Staff members, assisted by Science Leadership Academy (SLA) students who were familiar with 3D design, coached the participants. During the workshop, the SLA students increased their knowledge of AT, and they also videoed and photographed the workshop. At the end of the workshop, Easterseals staff members had homework to complete over the two months before the next workshop: participants were asked to finish their designs and email them to Marcia for printing on the Makerbot 3D printer.
The next workshop, held at SLA in November, allowed the participants to complete their design by constructing a switch for AT. Switch assembly necessitated soldering and wiring of the switch, activities taught by Mary Elizabeth and Joey McCulloch from Project Vive. The participants also learned what tools were in the Maker Spaces and how to use them. Laurie McGowan led participants in creating battery interrupters that can be used to enable toys and devices to be activated with a switch. Sandy introduced how to use a moldable plastic that can be used to create adaptations. As with the first workshop, the SLA students proved to be great coaches to ES staff members as they learned to wire and solder.
Response by the staff to the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. In our pre and post testing for each workshop, the staff members indicated that they significantly increased their knowledge of AT, 3 D printing and tools for creating solutions for people with disabilities. The next phase of the project will be establishment of the Maker Spaces at each approved private school sites. We can’t wait to see what our staff will create!
Classroom space donated by Drexel University Westphal College provided an ideal location for participants to engage in education and design. (Workshop 1)
Occupational Therapist Laura Slotkoff displaying keyguards she created through 3D printing. (Workshop 1)
Participants collaborated on Computer Assisted Design following a guide developed by Marcia Leinweber. (Workshop 1)
SLA students and teachers provided coaching to Easterseals staff to design switch tops. (Workshop 1)
In Workshop 2 participants learned about materials that would be in their Maker Spaces.
Mary Elizabeth from Project Vive taught soldering and switch assembly to ES staff members in Workshop 2.
SLA students coached ES therapists.
Laurie McGowan taught participants how to make a battery interrupter in Workshop 2.
Therapists learned to use moldable plastic to adapt devices and handles.
Success! The battery interrupter and switch work!
by Kathryn Wallace
In Bucks County, our Occupational Therapy department organized a workshop to help revamp the hallways and meet the needs of the students. The students in our school take daily walks around the building. These walls will give the students may opportunities to interact with a variety of sensory experiences. We are so excited for them to be mounted! A big THANKS to our wonderful OT Department.
by Sarah Garman
My client, Trey, and I went to the Germantown Cricket Club (GCC) for some of our physical therapy sessions over the summer. Trey enjoys coming here with his family to use the playground, fitness center, or swim in the pool. One of the ways I try to keep physical therapy fun and interesting for Trey is trying new sports and activities out in the community. The indoor tennis courts at GCC are the perfect space to escape the heat and humidity for exercise during the summer months. During our therapy sessions, we focused on speed and agility training, in addition to spatial and body awareness – all important components to playing tennis! We used visual, auditory, and kinesthetic feedback to enhance Trey’s learning experience when performing various tennis drills. Trey and I had so much fun playing on the tennis courts this summer in our all white uniforms!
by Sandy Masayko
These beautiful customized chairs and slant boards not only meet children’s seating needs, they reflect the children’s interests and are very attractive. All of this adaptive design work has been done by our talented and valuable Cardboard Fairy, Dorothy Hess, who meets with the children’s therapists to determine best seating. Thank you, Dorothy, for continuing to work with the children who are served by Easterseals!
by Sarah Dubrow
I always love pairing a fun book with a sensory activity to get kids excited about speech therapy, and any ocean themed book will work! Stories that are repetitive are much more engaging for children, because they can feel confident about what’s coming next.
This book, Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck and illustrated by Valeria Petrone is an awesome repetitive story that keeps kids engaged with vibrant pictures and words that kids can learn quickly.
Skills to Target:
||– Ocean themed vocabulary
– 3 – 4 word utterances
(e.g., I see a __)
– Pragmatic skills like waving “hi” and “bye” to the animals
||– Various speech sounds
– Syllable pacing (Turning books into a songs helps kids follow and sing along!)
And… For the Sensory Activity!
Once we finished reading our ocean story, I let the kiddos find different sea creatures in a variety of sensory bins. They were able to find and label the various sea creatures they saw in the story. We also talked about the different kinds of textures and feelings in each bin (cold, rough, squishy, wet etc.).
From left to right, I used sand, water with blue food coloring, and water beads or Orbeez (you can get these on amazon or at Target).
by Sarah Dubrow
- Pick a simple recipe (Or add miscellaneous ingredients into a bowl)
- If possible, have toys that resemble the cooking supplies
- Or give your child safe real materials
- Decide what words or phrases you would like to target with your child
- Use the provided strategies throughout your cooking session to elicit communication from your child.
Techniques to Increase Language Use
- Modeling – Hold objects close your mouth and say the target word. Having them make eye contact with you will draw their attention to you and help with imitation
- Descriptive Play – Describe what your child is doing as they are doing it . For example, you might say: “You are putting the flour in the bowl”
- “More” – Give your child only 1-2 pieces of something or give them less of what they need. This will encourage them to ask for more
- Repetition – When your child wants a certain item (or you are giving them an item) model the word 2-3 times before proceeding. After you model the word 3 times, give them what they want
“Ingredients” (Useful Words)
- Adjectives: Big, Small, Cold, Hot
- Prepositions: In, On, Under, Behind
- Nouns: Mommy/Daddy, Spoon, Bowl, Cup, Food, Drink, Mouth, Fingers, Hands, Belly/ Tummy
- Social Words: More, Please, Thank you, All Done, Help
- Verbs: Want, Drink, Eat, Clean Up, Mix, Stir, Shake, Pour, Dump
Common First Words Adapted from: The Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale (2006)
Other Language Rich Situations
In addition to cooking, use other daily activities to enhance language development.
- Going Shopping: Line up empty boxes or toy foods and have your child “go shopping” for foods they want or enjoy
- Singing: Incorporate familiar songs or sound effects into your cooking routine. For example, using “Clean up” song when the activity is finished
- Daily Routines: If a cooking session is too complex or time consuming, the provided techniques can be incorporated into other daily activities such as snack time, brushing teeth, dressing etc.
Other Helpful Online Resources:
by Kathryn Wallace
I am constantly looking for resources for parents who want meaningful ways to engage with their children. I found this great idea tool to promote engagement through limited/supervised media time. You simply put in your child’s name and age. It sets you up with a media plan. The best part is that it was created by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Take a look and I hope you find it helpful!