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CTE students create communications board for kids with special needs

Other side of the project has games for the younger children to play
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 6:31 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - As of today, kids who attend Gordon C. Barkell Elementary School in Hancock not only have a new piece of playground equipment, but also a new helper.

Students from the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s Career and Technical Education program put together another project: a large board that bridges the divide for younger students trying to express their ideas during recess.

The school district’s Autism Consultant, Janel Summers, says this gives students a boost.

“The kids can interact easily, and it finally gave them a voice for recess time,” Summers said. "That’s awesome because these boards are everywhere else in the building; but, at recess, they did not have their voice.”

When we last covered students at CTE, the welding class had presented a dueling tree for the Houghton County Sheriff. In a matter of a week, the construction students put together a large board to give students the opportunity to say what they need to say while playing outside.

Jeffers High School and CTE student, Andrew Kinnunen, explained how the kids would properly use the board.

“If, for example, they can’t say the word ‘like’ or something,” Kinnunen explained, "they just point to it, and it helps them communicate with people.”

While this is meant to help those certain kids, there is also a game side of the equipment. Using pipes, the CTE students made ways for students to interact with one another, as well put balls through the pipes for them to catch.

Kinnunen was proud to be a part of the project.

"It means a lot knowing that I helped on that and took my time to work on it and stuff,” he stated.

Summers is thankful for the program’s hard work and dedication.

“The CTE kids ran with it, and they went above and beyond anything I could have imagined,” she expressed.

With this board, children with autism -- and others with communication challenges -- will not only receive the help they need to communicate with their teachers as well as their peers...they will find it is fun, too!

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