ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Starlight School received a donation for their students to make play time a little more simple.
Muskingum University’s engineering students and Associate Professor Doctor Sandra Soto-Cabán presented the school with interactive toys that were adapted for children with disabilities by adding an extension and large button for the students to press making the toy react.
The program started last summer when Muskingum University’s Undergraduate Senior Staci Wilson and Junior Warren Wilson became Muskie Fellows and started an internship with Dr. Soto-Cabán.
“We did an internship with [Dr. Sandra Soto-Cabán] and we worked with her on how to create the toy with an extension in them and then we wanted to do it with the First Year Seminar Students,” said Warren Wilson.
“With a small University, we make a pretty big impact on the towns around us. So do this, made a big impact here,” said Undergraduate Freshman Colton Kowalak.
The undergraduate engineering students explained during the presentation the original buttons on these interactive toys can be difficult to find and press for children, so this large button makes it easier.
“With there help we got today, 15 toys that have been adapted and donated with 10 sensors that are going to be used,” said Dr. Soto-Cabán.
Zanesville’s Noon Rotary funded the toy adaptation program after Muskingum University initially approached the Rotary Board. President, Don Mason says if this program continues in the coming years the Noon Rotary will assist.
“What we would like to do in subsequent years is actually have a toy drive,” Mason said. “Where we actually go out and buy the toys our-self individually and turn around and donate them to Muskingum University students.”
Mason expressed his excitement in seeing the children react to pressing the button.
“This is a wonderful concept when you see the children very quickly learn that they can just touch the button and the toy will play as it’s programmed to,” Mason said. This way it’s not very complicated, in fact it’s very simple.”
Dr. Soto-Cabán hopes to expand and continue the program in the coming years.