Technology for the Rest of Us

The title for this post does not come from an "us or them" mindset. The title for this post is inspired by a program that is being sponsored by a local hospital called "Bikes for the Rest of Us". I'm at the point where I'm going to have to declare a major - special ed or something else - you can tell where my heart is...

Every day as school, I see a different kind of technology - it's a life thing.

For most of us, going to school (even if it's homeschool), eating,
breathing, moving are a normal part of life. For the rest of us, things aren't that easy.

Because of technology, the rest of us can go to school every day.

We have about thirty school buses that come to our school every day. Most of them have lifts like this one.

Some of the students come to school in "ambu-cabs" - but most of them come to school on buses.

Because of technology, kids can go places - a lot of places!There are chairs with all kinds of colors and sizes.

Technology helps the rest of us breathe easier.

It helps the rest of us eat.

Some of our students get all of their nutrition with the help
of this technology, others just need a little help.

But there's so much more to life!

Thanks to technology, kids at my school can walk.This is a walker (I think the brand is Rifton). It can be used with or without the "seat". With this walker, kids develop leg muscles and more)

Thanks to technology, kids can ride a bike.This bike (from Rifton) has a padded "seatbelt" and velcro feet straps so that little feet won't slip. The handle on the front is so an adult can help steer or pull.

They can even ride with a friend.

This "bike for two" is so much fun! It is, however, very expensive.

Kids can walk with a buddy.
(This is less complicated than it looks - really. With the support of
the seat - between the big wheels - a student can "stand" and push
the walker with his or her hands, like a wheel chair, only standing up, putting them at eye level with the person they're walking with.

Sometimes they just need a good squeeze.

This is a "squeeze machine". Some folks with autism or ADD/ADHD come through this feeling more "organized." I don't know why it works...but it works.

And (last but not least) the rest of us like playgrounds, too!

This is a "wheelchair swing". The gate is let down and with both front and
back gates up, the chair is secure. For a lot of kids, just being able to feel the wind in their face as they swing back and forth - the look on their faces says it all.

But for all the technology, for all of the great things it does and lets us will never replace...

I have a request. If you have a desire to be a part of this "technology" - it is so rewarding and there are so many ways to help!

Donate time. Volunteer at a local school - we are a "center-based" program - all of our kids have special needs. Hold a hand, walk with a kid, read a book.

"Fix stuff". The school I work at has a few volunteers that come in every so often to just fix stuff. There are a lot of wheels, a lot of chains. Just keeping them all oiled can be a challenge.

Donate money. This equipment is expensive! Every little bit helps and our governments generally don't provide enough.Donate stuff. "Ensure", diapers, pull-ups, towels,'s all needed.

This is what I do - it's where my heart is. Most days, I can't imagine doing anything other than what I'm doing (although some of the difficulties in our classroom I could do without).

It's not easy - but it is worth it.

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8 thoughts on “Technology for the Rest of Us

  1. This is neat...I think I was to your blog before...just surfin' around...I've bookmarked you now!! Anyway this post/pictures reminds me of the school that we have in our area called the Meyers Center. Some friends of mine had their child there. So cool to see what is being done now for these kids.

  2. we call our school "the best kept secret in the district" - once people come out there to work they don't leave very often.

    there are three different schools on our campus -

    there's a post-high-school building where area businesess send work, like packaging, for the kids to do and they get a paycheck for doing it.

    there's a building with kids that are severely impaired, but that are higher functioning and are more mobile.

    there's a building that has very low kids that are more physically fragile - that's the building that I'm in. I don't know why, but the physically-ok, but very mentally impaired students with autism are in this building and that's the population I work with.

  3. Thanks for hosting the Carnival, Ellen. I had to come over here and sneak a peek at your Carnival entry, and your post about technology brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing the good things about technology, such as how children with special needs can thrive in our world today.

    My children go to a public school where all the special needs children in the county come also. I often see a mother about my age dropping off her son, whom she lifts up and carries to put in his wheelchair. She's always smiling and cheerful; I don't know how she does it.

    My kids are learning that it's a blessing to be able to walk on two legs when they're surrounded by other children who are in wheelchairs. They've also learned that a bald head is not something to laugh at -- this child has cancer and is going through chemotherapy, another form of techonology.

    Your post was a good reminder to thank God every day for these things I take for granted!

  4. Thanks for reading - a dear friend told me that this post could be very difficult for people who were not used to seeing these things...but it's a big part of my life.

  5. Wow - I had now idea. I think that is a very hard job, but as you said also very rewarding. It always make me sad to hear that the goverment doesn't support much these extra programs that are very much needed.
    Thank you Ellen for sharing your job with us.

  6. Those are some of the most thoughtful tools I have ever seen in my life. Things that make people able to walk and bicycle together. Wow.

    Yeah. I had no idea.

    Really great presentation too.

    Thanks for linking back!

  7. I had some idea, because my daughter has used equipment like that you show here. What I'd really like her to have is a bike with a long handle on the back that I can push to help her pedal. But she's 19 now, and it gets harder as they get older, plus we've homeschooled her since we adopted her at age 6, so we never did government funds for the things we did with her.

    My mother works for a center for kids who have left school, and one of the receptionists has a husband who comes in regularly and builds things to make the lives of the clients more functional.

    He's made a lazy susan sort of thing that holds candles (dozens at a time) so that the disabled can put wicks in them for one of their employment opportunities. It's very cool.

  8. unfortunately, I think the bikes only come with pull handles.

    It's amazing - out of the five kids in the classroom I'm in, two of them are adopted. Or maybe not so amazing - or rather, it's God that is amazing.


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