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Assistive Tech Makes Learning Accessible

Ed.News Flash - Student working at the Toys 4 All Hack-a-thon

Long Beach Unified School District speech pathologist Emily Perez-Yi joined forces with her colleagues, parents and students recently to fuse and solder wires during a two-day “hack-a-thon,” installing buttons or switches on dozens of battery-operated toys to make them accessible to students with disabilities.

The self-named “Toys4All” group of volunteers adapted the toys for students in the school district’s Specialized Health Care Program.  For many of these students, fine movements like a pinching motion using the thumb and index finger can be difficult due to severe motor impairments.  Adding buttons and switches makes the toys more accessible.

The two-day event happened at Alvarado Elementary School and Buffum Total Learning Center.  All of the adapted toys were wrapped to be given to students for the holidays.

Many of Perez-Yi’s colleagues are part of the school district’s Assistive Technology Team, also known as the “A-Team.”  These professionals provide access to education for students with disabilities through the use of technology and tactile tools, meeting with teachers and parents to help them problem-solve and determine the most ideal educational experience for students with disabilities.

View a recent Board of Education Workshop presentation on Assistive Technology.

TOYS FOR ALL – A student volunteer modifies a toy as part of a recent "hack-a-thon" to make battery-operated toys more accessible to students with disabilities.