NDSU engineering students adapt toys for local kids with disabilities

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 2:34 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Engineering students at North Dakota State University are putting their skills to the test to make the holiday season more enjoyable for children of all abilities.

Playing with off-the-shelf toys is often not possible for children with physical and motor disabilities, depending on their unique abilities. However, toys can be modified so the original switches are rerouted to a larger switch that is more accessible and easy to operate.

“I got involved with the Toy Adapt-a-thon because I thought it was a good way to use knowledge acquired from my electrical engineering classes in a more impactful way,” said Noah Vandal, a first-year biomedical engineering master’s degree student from Barnesville, Minnesota. “I am able to modify toys that can be immediately used by kids with disabilities, something that I am sure they appreciate.”

Toy modifications are scheduled during the fourth annual Toy Adaptathon at NDSU on Monday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 8, starting at 5 p.m. Switch modifications will be made in the Electrical and Computer Engineering building’s room 223A.

Parents, families and friends of children with physical and motor disabilities are encouraged to drop off their switch-activated toys at NDSU’s Main Library or Disability Services before Dec. 2.

“We have several student volunteers, using the skills learned in the classroom, committing their time to adapting toys for children with disabilities in our area,” said Mark Coppin, NDSU Disability Services director. “Our goal is to make toys accessible to all this holiday season.”

Donations from the public also are requested for the families who cannot afford switch-activated toys for their children. Donations can be arranged by emailing ndsu.disability.services@ndsu.edu.

NDSU is partnering with area therapy groups to distribute the donated toys, but also encourages suggestions for any child in need of an adapted toy.