05/25/06 - Institute children benefit from inventive high school senior
Date: May 25, 2006
Siskin Children's Institute Students Benefit from Inventive High School Senior
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—Each morning, in the preschool classrooms at Siskin Children's Institute, students sit in a circle on the floor for music and learning. Until recently, not all students could participate in the same way as their friends.
Cody Stewart, a five-year-old with cerebral palsy, is one of those students. He has a condition that does not allow him to sit on the floor unassisted. High school senior Adam Albright, a student at Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, saw this as an opportunity.
As part of his senior project, he worked with Siskin Children's Institute physical therapy staff to design and build 12 corner chairs for the Institute, allowing students like Cody a chance to sit on the floor with his friends during classroom activities.
“A corner chair offers a child who can’t sit on their own the opportunity to sit on the floor and play with their friends at their eye level—which is key for children to feel included and a part of the group,” says Lisa Battersby, physical therapy assistant at Siskin Children's Institute.
The preschool classrooms at Siskin Children's Institute are inclusive, with children of all abilities learning and playing side-by-side. In a setting like this, it is important that children with special needs are able to participate in the same ways as children without disabilities whenever possible.
The new chairs allow Cody and other students to sit together during songs, games and lessons. The chair is not limited to the classroom floor. It can also be used in sandboxes or the grass on the playground.
The Institute had two corner chairs that were used in the classrooms prior to Albright’s project, but the additional chairs will allow children to use them in a broader way. “Now that we have 12 chairs, we can use them more in the classrooms, and we can loan the chairs to Institute families so that children can use them in their homes,” Battersby says.
This will allow families to continue using the chairs during the months when students are on summer break. The chairs will also be useful to other departments at Siskin Children's Institute, such as the Family Training Program, which reaches out to families in the community by providing therapy and training in the home.
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