Alyn’s Make-A-Thon children and adults find solutions for disabled kids
A unique invention won first prize on Tuesday at Alyn’s third annual Make-A-Thon, held in the hospital’s enclosed parking lot.
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICHUpdated: MARCH 15, 2018 12:53
Jerusalem schoolchildren and adults spent weeks on finding a way to help Elkana feed his guinea pig with chopped lettuce and carrots. This might not seem a real challenge, but Elkana, who is so severely disabled physically that he can only lie in his wheelchair, can move only a few of his fingers.The team from Pico Kids – an effort aimed at strengthening education in the fields of science, technology and entrepreneurship in the capital through experiential and creative education both inside and outside the school – helped develop technology that finally elicited a smile of satisfaction from Elkana.The teen, who lives at Alyn Rehabilitation Hospital for Children and Adolescents, was able to press a button that, with a small motor and piston, pushed a vegetable salad through a transparent tube and into a plate for his pet to eat.This unique invention won first prize on Tuesday at Alyn’s third annual Make-A-Thon, held in the hospital’s enclosed parking lot.The seventh- and eight-graders (with a girl from third grade joining in) participating in Pico Kids worked closely with the disabled children, engineers and other professionals to find viable solutions to daily functioning problems. Not only were the children able to find solutions to problems, but they were also able to relate to severely disabled youngsters of their own age as human beings of worth.Second prize went to the team that developed a biofeedback system to ease swallowing, while third place was earned by a group that created a game of tag for children in wheelchairs that prevented them from colliding.Other finalists included a folding sling to practice leg exercises at home; a computer system enabling a teacher of six children who communicate with artificial speech by moving their eyes to know who was speaking at any time; and a bowling game that collects balls and pins.The encounter at the Jerusalem hospital will enable to find solutions for disabled children in Israel and around the world through Pele, an innovation lab aimed at encouraging the development of products to assist the disabled that can then be moved to the market.The PICO kids participated in “Meet the Other” workshops where they learned about the patients’ varied coping strategies and participated in a soccer wheelchair game.Hospital director-general Dr. Maurit Be’eri said: “We see great importance of the event for developing products for other children, and we are proud to continue to fight for every possible improvement in the kids’ daily functioning. We hope to promote essential solutions to the daily problems of the children of Alyn and those experiencing similar difficulties in the world.”