Toy story

Toy story

Photo by: Cal Powell

Seven-year-old Ella Everett (center) examines a new toy while (left to right) UGA student Jeri Stewart-Juba, grandmother Martha Everett, UGA mascot Hairy Dawg and mother Mitzi Everett watch. Christmas came early for Ella and five other Athens-area children who received specially made toys in early December. Designed by students in an assistive technology course, the toys were tailored for children who live with motor disabilities and have difficulty operating the often small and challenging buttons found on toys. Changes to the children’s gifts included bigger switches and easy-to-manage controls made from inexpensive household items. The class was part of theFirst-Year Odyssey seminars, courses offered for one credit hour and designed for freshmen to explore topics related to faculty interests and area of scholarship. Taught by Zo Stoneman and Rebecca Brightwell, director and associate director of the Institute on Human Development and Disability, part of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the class of 16 students learned the practicality of cheap and easy homemade solutions. In their quest to enhance the children’s toys, the students gained useful skills, like the ability to strip and solder wire and reconfigure a switchboard.