- Academy Learning Center
Assistive Technology Donation Helps Build Vocational Independence
So often we take for granted the simple things that we do each day, like stapling two pieces of paper together. For some of our students though, this task is not so easy because they do not have the fine motor skills, motor coordination skills, and/or muscle strength to do so. Todd Efaw and his company, The Commando Technology Group, LLC, has made it their mission to change that.
A retired USAF aviator and an electrical engineer by training, Todd has long envisioned a world where assistive technology is available to every person so that they may live a productive, independent, and dignified life, without regard to disability. The Assistive Technology Division of The Commando Technology Group conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation of assistive hardware and software to increase the affordability and availability of these technologies.
ALC speech and language specialist, Ann Marie Lusquinos, learned about ATMakers.org at an assistive technology workshop in the fall. While picking up an order at a local pretzel store, Ann Marie noticed they had a coupon stapled to each of the pretzel bags that were given to customers. She spoke with the manager to allow her to bring the bags and the coupons back to ALC so our students could staple them together for the store.
While Ann Marie wanted to have several of her students work on this meaningful task, but there was a problem. The students could not physically utilize a manual stapler, nor could they manipulate the bags and the coupons to use an electric stapler. After posting on the ATMakers.org Facebook page to inquire about adapting an electric stapler, Todd reached out to Ann Marie to assist, and in less than a week had a solution to our problem. Todd took an everyday electric stapler and placed a mechanism inside that deactivated the automatic stapling function and allowed a switch to be connected to the outside of the stapler. The button part of the switch was then placed at an appropriate access point for the student (such as behind the head), they press the button, and the stapler is activated.
Not only did Todd make this customized stapler especially for our students, he graciously donated it to our school! We are so grateful to Todd and The Commando Technology Group for their ingenuity and their generosity. Two of Ann Marie's students, Nicole and Kevin, utilized the switch activated stapler to complete our latest batch of bags for the pretzel store and they, and we, are so proud of their work.
Thank you Todd!