ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Students in southern Utah are innovating practical ways to help children with disabilities.
A new class aims to infuse empathy into science, technology, engineering, arts and math subjects (STEAM). The unique class already earned the school $25,000 worth of technology from one of the world’s largest tech companies.
At Sun Rise Ridge Intermediate School Tuesday, physical therapists and engineers work alongside 7th graders to find a better way for a Mesquite two-year-old to sit upright, after she suffered a stroke in the womb.
The students are designing and building assistive furniture and devices for local children with disabilities.
“They are looking for the special adaptations that will help that person,” Angie Frabasilio said, STEAM teacher.
“It’s awesome. It’s awesome. I love it,” Ashlee Crandall said, whose 12-year-old daughter will benefit from the class.
Jaycee Crandall suffers from TAR Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, and also the effects of a brain bleed. The students work to build a support to help her stand while reducing pain.
“Which will be huge for her,” Ashlee Crandall said.
Frabasilio came up with the idea for the class launched in August 2016.
“I expected to make it happen no matter what. I didn’t expect the whole Samsung and the contest to come in. That was really exciting,” Frabasilio said.
The innovative class beat out all Utah schools to win the Samsung ‘Solve For Tomorrow’ contest, which earned the school thousands of dollars in new technology.
But the kids say the work isn’t about winning.
“Usually they don’t get stuff made for them, just for them,” Gracy Langston said, 7th grader in class.
“I’m helping someone so it makes me feel good,” Sam Payton said, 7th grader in class.
The class is still in the running for the Samsung competition and could earn up to $150,000 worth of technology.