MCCTC students donate sensory playground to students with autism - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

MCCTC students donate sensory playground to students with autism

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HOWLAND TWP., Ohio -

Seniors from Mahoning County Career & Technical Center delivered a school project with special meaning to the students of Potential Development on Wednesday.

The students from MCCTC crafted an array of specialized sensory indoor play equipment including a climbing wall and car wash.

The sensory play equipment was designed and built using a 3-D printer.

Students from several different programs including engineering, welding, and industrial arts contributed to the process.

Macie Schrecengost, a Senior at MCCTC, said that the engineers designed the playground, along with spinners, and 3D printed them in a lab. The parts were then sent to auto collision where they were painted, and finally, the welding team put them together. The teachers involved in the project provided the students with the necessary supplies.

Schrecengost said, "It is an accomplishment, that we have had, we have made, and I know that the kids feel really good about it, and that feels good to us, that the kids are happy and they love to play on it."

Mary Brown, an employee of the Potential Development School inside CRC, explained that the program currently has 8 children involved, all of them autistic. The children are offered speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Ms. Brown informed that because all of the children who attend the Potential Development School are nonverbal, it is important for them to focus on nonverbal teaching methods.

"We wanted something that would enable them to meet their goals on their IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and as far as like the autism and the sensory, they took our ideas, our suggestions, and you can see the finished product. It's been a long time coming."

The students at MCCTC weren't afraid to take exact requirements and specifications and run with them, even if they did create extra challenges in the building process.

Anthony Cycyk, a machine team teacher at MCCTC, told 21 News that they got the call that Potential Development needed an indoor play facility/climbing structure for one student, in particular, to use during the winter.

"The ability to be able to push through something that was probably a little harder than what we all expected. Um, that playground piece of equipment, the restrictions to fit it in to a closet that's you know, 36 inches wide, or 38 inches wide, 80 inches tall, it has to wheel, it has to lock, but yet it still has to be something that kids that age can play on,” Cycyk said.

But in the end, the challenge was worth the reward for the MCCTC seniors, and their instructors.

“To see them actually use it makes me happy as can be,” continued Cycyk. “Because that was the hardest challenge by far."
Potential Development says they couldn't be happier with the results.

“Oh, it's truly an honor. We were so excited when they selected us,” said Brown. “Because I know this has been going on all year and we are truly humbled by their dedication to our students and for listening to the needs.”

Erin Fuentes, a mother of one of the children in the Potential Development Program, even had a special message for the students of MCCTC, "We are so grateful and so thankful for the time and energy that was spent and the thought to make every piece that they made, so thank you guys so much."

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