TADSA has completed many projects for special schools/units over its 40 years. Our volunteers not only design, build and modify equipment, but they have also repaired devices which a school may have had in a broken, unusable state for months if not years. Fortunately our volunteers have had the skills to complete the necessary repairs making the equipment useable once again. We hope to help more special schools with the specialised equipment they need.
The following are a few of the projects we have completed for special schools and their students.
One recent project was to build busy boards for the Hamilton Unit at Hamilton Senior College. Busy boards, activity boards or sensory boards, whatever you call them, all help kids with disabilities. A busy board is basically a board on which tactile and visual objects are attached to be explored. TADSA volunteer John Stevens built the boards, raiding his shed (as did several other volunteers) to find interesting things which open and close, slide, ring, rattle or spin. Sensory play using these boards strengthens the neural pathways in kids’ brains. Its benefits include the development of motor skills, cognitive development (learning), physical skills, emotional development, communication and social skills.
Hamilton Unit teacher Sonya said…
“These boards were very welcomed by the students who are enjoying them. They were so excited when I brought them to their classrooms. You could say they were an instant hit as a couple of students started playing with them immediately. I was so happy that I was able to have these boards made for them. I really value and appreciate the TADSA team. I have recommended your organisation to a few people and will continue to do so. Great job, keep it up.”
Scissor blocks allow children who have poor dexterity or limited strength and control, to cut paper safely. Special one handed scissors are mounted on a wooden block and activated by pushing down on the top handle, causing the cutting motion and removing the need to hold the scissors altogether.
The St Morris Unit at Trinity Gardens School had one working scissor block and six pairs of one handed scissors that had no blocks. TADSA volunteer Rod Hollitt took the working scissor block and made six identical blocks.
TADSA volunteers also built a ball chute, mounted a smart board so that children in wheelchairs can write on it, modified an art easel’s legs so four children in wheelchairs can use it and made some electronic tablet frames for children who can’t hold tablets.
TADSA volunteers Tom Brauer and Bob Martin made bolster swings and Klaus Maurer made platform swings for Modbury Special School. Other projects completed for the school include a scooter board and ramp to develop upper limb strength, coordination, motor planning and timing skills and a T Stool which develops balance and core strength. A teacher at the school said…
“The swings provide movement input which supports positive attention and provides opportunities to develop skills such as gross motor coordination, visual coordination, balance, core strength and endurance. The bolster swing can also be used to calm students who may not be ready to sit for table tasks by rhythmical linear movements.
The equipment built by TADSA allows children to develop a range of skills and abilities including gross and fine motor skills. The equipment supports student attention and ability to focus in preparation for learning and social interaction.
Ultimately all items assist children to develop explicit skills whilst having fun and providing new experiences supporting motivation and participation. The school appreciates the work of the TADSA volunteers in building the equipment “