Westchester company creates inclusive and interactive toys for kids with severe disabilities
The holiday season is almost upon us and one Westchester company is making sure children across the country have a bright and merry holiday, by creating inclusive and interactive toys for children with severe disabilities.
Luke Hobbert, 19, was born with a rare chromosomal deletion that made him nonverbal. He has the mental capacity of an infant, is in a wheelchair and requires 24/7 care.
"Anyone who's around Luke just adores the time they have with him, he's just such a special child," says his mom, Karen.
It's his sunny disposition that people notice the most, but Karen says, he wasn't always this way.
"I mean he was such a different child. He didn't smile, he never played with anything. He was a very sullen child," she said.
After hearing about Enabling Devices and the modifications they can do to toys, she got in touch with the company.
"I explained the regular toys were not working for Luke, they were too difficult for him to activate to get any reaction out of it," she says.
Maybe they were too small for him to hold, or the colors weren't bright enough for him to see or he wasn't able to press the buttons.
Problems that the team at Enabling Devices are familiar with. They spend their days manufacturing toys for kids like Luke.
"The core of what we do are these capability switches, any switch works with any device," explains Enabling Devices CEO Seth Kanor.
"Let's say we have someone who is quadriplegic and can only move their head, they could then activate the toy this way," says Kanor. "We must have 50-60 capability switches. So, we have a sip-n-puff switch if you can only control your breath. We have an eyeblink switch if you can blink your eye."
They make these modifications at their warehouse in Hawthorne, with the help of 120 3D printers.
These modification changed Luke's life, along with every other kid that can now for the first time interact with a toy.
"They've allowed him to be like a regular kid who wants to play with toys," says Karen, "and just the joy he gets from playing these toys its just amazing."