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Tulsa Students Design & Build Theraputic Toys for Special Needs Kids
TOPICS | Special Needs | Video Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 (633 views)


It's a story of caring and compassion, involving several University of Tulsa students, and preschool kids with special needs at the Little Lighthouse.
Will LePage and several other TU mechanical engineering students, spent months designing and building developmental devices for the kids at the Little Lighthouse, as part of their senior project.

Will told us, "This is what makes it all worth while, just seeing the smiles on the kids' faces. "Will's team created what they call "The Magic Ride," a small remote control car, the size of a tricyle. Put a child behind the wheel, we found out, and a smile magically appears.Another team of students put together "Surfin' Tubes." Several tubes on a toy that looks like a teeter totter. It's non-stop downhill fun, and motor development. Lee Bailey's on that team that built the Surfin' Tubes. "It's cool to see everyone of the kids can play with it and each of the kids can benefit from the therapy it's going to provide."

Make no mistake, physical therapists at the Little Lighthouse say, these types of custom made devices provide wonderful benefits for the children here.
You only need to look at one built by TU students last year.Like bees swarming to honey comb, kids swarm to what they call the Honey Hollow. It looks like a giant honey comb with several pods, each with lights and switches, that the kids loving playing with.

Eli is one of those kids. Eli's dad says he loves those lights and switches. Will Luper says she's seen the Honey Hollow make a difference in his son's physical and sensory issues, as he safely climbs through the pods and takes in all the lights. "Anything that can help him figure himself out and to have more interaction with the kids, other kids like him, it's great for him to build his self confidence. "Stories like that, are music to the ears of those TU students. At first, Will says it was all about his school project.

But then, something changed, something inside. Will decided to volunteer here, too, every Monday morning. "Early on, there was a moving in my heart, a deep felt caring for the kids. "The rewards, Will says, are great.

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