NYC Department of Ed Invests in School Therapy Equipment

As a way to try and improve conditions for children with special needs, the New York City Department of Education has sponsored introductory training programs across the districts.

Physical and occupational therapists in the south Bronx completing the first three-day program to learn to design and build custom equipment for children with special needs.

While students with disabilities are legally entitled to the use of adapted equipment like customized wheelchair trays, classroom chair inserts, and easels to facilitate reading or writing, many commercially made suppliers sell adaptive equipment in standard sizes, which seldom fits to specific educational and therapeutic needs.

But now, the New York City Department of Education has appointed specialists from Adaptive Design in a series of pilot training programs aimed at tackling the equipment problem.

Adaptive Design is a NYC non-profit that works to ensure children with disabilities get the customized equipment they need to participate fully in all aspects of their lives.

Executive Director Alex Truesdell and her team led a course for 15 school-based physical and occupational therapists at PS10X at PS304 in the Bronx to learn basic fabrication techniques by building devices for case study students.

District 75 Occupational Therapy Supervisor Joel Levine, and Physical Therapy Supervisor Cynthia Aridas said:

"The level of customization our therapists are learning from Adaptive Design is not currently available from commercial equipment vendors.

"We are excited about this new training program and hope to see our therapists take this knowledge back to their schools and put it into action by designing, adapting, and building equipment for NYC students."

Truesdell said:

"The Adaptive Design Association offers introductory through advanced training, and builds customized devices for individual children in collaboration with parents, therapists, and teachers.

"When a therapist—when anyone—learns to transform ideas into actual adaptive devices, wonderful things happen: students make gains, new ideas flow, and the whole school community gets really energized."

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