Anderson District 5 finds unique way to help special needs students

Local News

ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Anderson District 5 is working together to make learning easier for special needs students, through 3D printed objects.

The devices made at the Anderson Institute of Technology have braille and symbols on them for visually and verbally impaired students, and they don’t have to travel far at all to make a difference in special education.

The connection between McKenzie Moules and her student Rocker is strong.

Rocker is a visually impaired student at Southwood Middle School.

“Rocker is my little cuddle bug. He comes in and he’s very visibly excited,” Moules said.

They spend hours together in the classroom, learning different words and how to put sentences together.

“It’s taken a lot of one on one work with him. We’ve just kind of formed this bond,” Moules said.

Moules has had a lot of tools to teach Rocker, but some she says aren’t helpful.

“This is something that we tried last year. Some things work and some things are frustrating for him,” Moules said.

However, when she came across a new device being used in special needs programs, she knew it could be brought to her classroom.

The issue was these devices usually cost hundreds of dollars, but that’s when the district came together and found a way.

Students at the Anderson Institute of Technology, right down the road, are now using a 3D printer to make the vision come to life.

“The Special Ed Department had actually reached out to us and said that they had a visually impaired and they sent us some blocks the student can use to communicate, they sent us some models for those,” Teacher at AIT Brett Hungerford said. “Being able to assist other students within the district by using the skills that they’ve learned and the equipment that we have is really beneficial for them.”

Now, Moules has the chance to increase the success for students like Rocker.

“The progress, we can see it already and he likes it and it’s hard to find something that he really enjoys and that doesn’t upset him because when things are difficult to communicate it’s frustrating. So he’s actually using these and he’s talking more with them,” Moules said.

The hope in Anderson is that these devices will be used in special education programs across the state and even across the country.

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