Tag Archives: project vive

Sharing, Networking & Learning at ATIA 2018

by Sandy Masayko

From presenting sessions to volunteering and networking, Easterseals of SEPA was an active presence at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida at the beginning of February.

Joy McGowan, Melissa Spada and Sandy Masayko presented “Eye Gaze Technology: Supporting Preschoolers in Participation, Play and Communication” to a standing-room-only crowd of over 60 people. The audience asked many questions and shared some of their experiences with the technology as well.  Laurie McGowan joined Susan Tachau of the PA AT Foundation and Kirby Smith of SunKirb to share “Smart Home Technology” to a group that included technicians who install this kind of technology as well as therapists and consumers.  Using easily acquired commercial devices has revolutionized home adaptations and has decreased costs significantly.  The presentation was well received.

As a volunteer, Marcia Leinweber assisted presenters in setting up their sessions and attendees in finding the workshops that they wanted to attend.  Sandy and Marcia also attended a workshop to develop the AT program at Easterseals.

Melissa Spada participated in a workshop where she learned to make adapted toys from low cost materials and picture symbols.  She even won a sample toy to bring back to Easterseals!

Networking was an important part of the conference too.  Our team caught up with Mary Elizabeth McCulloch of Project Vive, who shared her latest prototype of a low-cost speech-generating device.  Mary Elizabeth will be visiting Easterseals soon to explore some new switches and to pick up some of our adapted cars that need repair and additional adaptations.  Sandy visited with Lori Binko of LessonPix to hear about her experience of introducing adapted ride-on cars into her inclusive preschool class.  Easterseals of SEPA actually purchased one of the cars for her program several years ago for engineering students at University of Florida to use as a prototype when the students coached us on adapting the ride on cars.  We donated the completed car to Lori’s program, and it was gratifying to learn how the use of the cars increased her students’ abilities to move, socialize and develop cognitive skills.

Engineers to the Rescue!

by Sandy Masayko

Three amazing groups of volunteers have given Easter Seals of SEPA valuable service by repairing adapted electronic toys and speech generating devices for our students. Each repair saves Easter Seals at least $60 and, more importantly, puts the toys and equipment back where it belongs: in the hands of our students. The three groups that have helped us are the Senior Engineering Students at the Science Leadership Academy, a Philadelphia public high school; Dan Frank, graduate engineering student at the University of Florida, who has organized groups to help us at least three times in the past; and Project Vive, a non-profit under the direction of Mary Elizabeth McCulloch in State College. Here are the details about each group’s contribution:

After visiting Easter Seals to see the kinds of toys that our students need, the Science Leadership Academy students repaired toys in their lab at their high school. They returned them in December and then spent more time in the classrooms seeing how adaptations can promote participation. Their next project is to design toys and switches.

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Toy repairs completed by Science Leadership Academy

Dan Frank, a doctoral student in engineering at the University of Florida, has organized toy repair and ride-on car adaptations for Easter Seals in the past by recruiting his friends and fellow students. This December he came through for us again by spending a day of his vacation at our Bucks County Division repairing toys. Each year on the day before holiday break, Dan brings a few of his friend with him in what is becoming a yearly tradition for the AT Center at Bucks. This December, for the third year in a row, he came through for us again by spending a day of his vacation repairing toys with his sister Janelle and longtime friend from high school, Samantha.

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Volunteers Janelle Frank, Samantha Ahern and Dan Frank

Project Vive really came to the rescue! This organization, which is dedicated to designing low cost speech generating devices, took away broken items in October and returned at the end of January with 62 toys and speech generating devices. The toy delivery coincided with Project Vive’s leadership in conducting a workshop to switch-adapt commercially available electrically powered child sized ride on Jeeps for our students. Muchas Gracias to Project Vive! To learn more about Project Vive visit: http://www.projectvive.com

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Easter Seals AT Department was amazed by Project Vive’s delivery of 62 toys and speech generating devices on January 30, 2017.

Here are some photos of Project Vive in action repairing toys:

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Project Vive’s soldering, rewiring and TLC got these cows to moo and a bug to squeak.

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Elmo required thoracic surgery at the Project Vive hospital.

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Project Vive took responsibility for testing the repairs!

Thank you to all the engineers who helped repair our toys and speech devices!

Project Vive

by Sandy Masayko

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Project Vive has partnered with us at Easter Seals to repair and adapt toys for children with disabilities.  Recently Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, an engineer and the founder of Project Vive, visited Easter Seals at Bucks County to see our AT Department and to get a feel for the kinds of toy adaptations we need.  She took back several large boxes filled with broken toys for her team to take apart, repair and adapt. We are very grateful for Project Vive’s assistance.  We are discussing whether Project Vive may be able to help us with adapting children’s ride-on cars to adapt mobility for children with disabilities.

To find out more about Project Vive, visit http://www.projectvive.com/