Volunteers design, build hundreds of devices for MPS students with special needs

November 25, 2018 10:35 PM

A unique program at Minneapolis Public Schools is aimed at helping kids with special needs. 

It's called the Assistive Technology Center Workshop. Two days a week, 12 volunteers design and build customized equipment for MPS students who have special needs.


They have made 70 adapted seating systems, which retail for about $800 each. They've made a magic marker holder and adapted scissors for a student who only has one finger on each hand. 

They even made a plow-like device for the front of a middle schooler's wheelchair so that she can push a ball in P.E. class.

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"I like the problem-solving part of it," said volunteer Tom Christensen.

Not only is their time donated, but all of the wood and varnish as well.

"That's one of our goals: to try and level the playing field a little bit for these kids, so they can participate with their peers, so they can sit at the table with their peers," said Jesse Morgan, lead staff member for the Assisted Technology Center.

Last year the center made 700 devices for students with special needs. It's estimated that the program has saved MPS close to a million dollars over the 33 years it has been in existence.

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Ellen Galles

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