I have the pleasure of teaching medically fragile, physically and developmentally delayed special needs students, ages 16-21. All of my students are non verbal and non ambulatory except for one. Our school serves students with special needs in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Even though my students abilities are limited, we are able to adapt items to be accessible by using a button switch.
Some students have more mobility and range of motion than others, but all have a feeling of satisfaction when they are able to activate a smart board, sensory board, domestic device, or power tools, just to name a few.
The facial expressions, vocalizations and body language that express their achievement when they activate a device is heart warming. My students and staff enjoy the challenge of finding a way to do just about anything their same age peers can do.
All students want to feel empowered. The use of power tools in a structured, calm setting provides m special needs students another cause and effect activity to create personalized crafts. The sensory experience is different for each student. Some students enjoy the vibration a tool provides when assisting to hold and guide. Others like the control of powering a machine, and then there is the smell of a wood working shop. These are experiences many students do not have let alone a student with physical and developmental delays.
Our class motto is "Giving back to those that have needs different then ours".
With adapted materials the students have been able to create wonderful gifts for their families and also to sell, with profits going to such organizations as the "Honor Flight" and "Jump Rope For Heart."
The materials that we have been utilizing are second hand tools that need replacement parts. A drill bit set, replacement jig saw blades and an all terrain wagon (to transport materials, and utilize for other class needs such as delivery/collection jobs around the school building, and for field trips) would greatly assist the students creativity.
Providing the opportunity to access the simplest thing as a power tool has brought motivation to my students, hand made keepsakes for their families, and the ability to give back. The ability to Empower others is amazing.
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