By Nancy Kline

Sentinel Staff Writers

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OTTAWA – Sixth students at Ottawa Elementary have developed special devices to assist another student in holding a pencil.

Peyton Goecke has cerebral palsy. To write she needed a special device to assist her in holding a pencil. Students in Mrs. Schroeder’s sixth grade Design & Modeling Class at Ottawa Elementary were asked to help design her an adapted pencil grip.

“I had worked with Mrs. Schroeder before and asked her if she would work with her students to develop a device,” said Trisha Klausing, She is Goecke’s occupational therapist.

Mrs. Schroeder said the students were excited to develop the special grip. “Especially when they found out they were making it for another student at the school,” she said. The

The students worked closely with Klausing and the student to ensure a proper fit. They made several rough drafts of a grip before coming to a final one that fit and were functional.

“Now Peyton can write like other students,’ Klausing said. “This is something all students want. To be able to do the same things other students can do.”

Schroeder said work fits into the curriculum for the class.

Students in Mrs. Schroeder’s 6th grade Design & Modeling class created therapeutic toys for kids with specific fine motor goals. They recently presented their prototypes to the school’s Occupational Therapist and Intervention Specialists during a {Therapeutic Toys Showcase}.



As the students spoke with excitement and pride as they described their projects.

Some of the students developed drums to assist students with learning to control their wrists. Some drums had targets. Others were of different heights and tones.

Other projects included puzzles to teach shapes and fine motor skills. A “make your own burger” was a project to allow special needs students to pick and choose their condiments while learning fine motor skills.

All the students individualized their projects to make them interesting for the student who would use it.

Two students teamed together to make a child-size walker. “It wasn’t easy, but it was fun,” said Ragen Vorst, who helped make the walker. Vorst and Jessa McCrate watched as Emily Rawling tried the walker.

Special needs students visited the STEM classroom last Friday to see and try the projects. Going from desk to desk they smiled and laughed as they tried the drums, fit shapes through different holes, put together puzzles and built a hamburger.

“It’s been a win-win for Ottawa Elementary,” Klausing said. “Students are learning while doing a project and also helping other students.”

Mrs. Schroeder said while they were designing the pencil grip the students also learned about cerebral palsy. She also said the projects worked well with the curriculum she needed to teach.