A Step Up

Derek Riley needed a lift.

As one of the younger students in Mrs. Gaige’s 12:1:3 special education class, he would often sit with his feet propped on a stool to take part in the academic and social activities at the table at the center of the classroom. However, the stool would move, was not adjustable, and not fixed to his specially designed chair.
“When we were using one of the other chairs, his feet were dangling. We were trying to find solutions. The stepstools weren’t stable enough. His mom found a model of something online and Emily was able to modify that design,” said Mrs. Gaige.

Emily is Emily Wood, a physical therapist from BOCES who works in the class.

“Derek needed the adjustability to go up and down while sitting since he’s smaller that his peers to socialize with his peers with academic and social activities,” said Wood. “We wanted to give him a nice basis of support to be optimal for learning.”

Wood sent the design to Windsor Central High School’s Engineering Design and Development class. The students got to work and created the Step-a-roo, an adjustable stool with grip tape for a more stable surface, and two oval-shaped cutouts to fit the legs of a chair.

“We do a lot of activities and play games at the table, and now he can take part with his peers at the table and have an appropriate seat,” said Wood. “It could work for most any chair. If this chair wasn’t something he needed anymore, he could use this stool with another chair.”

Engineering students Hunter Adornato, Adam Peret, and Francis Peret presented Derek with the stool Tuesday, finishing a class project that was more than just an assignment.

“I think it’s more meaningful. It’s specially made for someone,” said Adornato.

“Derek will use it for a lot of years to come. Taking that load off the teachers and finding a design for him means a lot. It will help in the classroom, help with Derek, and help with everyone,” said Francis Peret.

“It feels great,” said Adam Peret.

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