Assistive Technology Finding ways to help students with disabilities find a meaningful, proud place in a school band has always been one of the most rewarding challenges that a band director might face.  Find out how technology allows a student with almost no arm or hand control play euphonium in his high school band program.

 

For a boy named Lukas in Spokane, Washington, playing an instrument in the band was very important, but aside from the challenges that come along with learning any instrument, Lukas had another chip stacked against him.  Born with a birth defect that greatly limited the use of his arms, hands, and fingers, most people would think that he would never be able to contribute in any meaningful way to an ensemble.  For a long time he was content to just play one or two notes whenever that harmonic came up in the music, but his teachers and friends saw a way to use technology to allow Lukas to play every note on the euphonium without having to flex a single finger.  Through the use of a joystick and a mechanical piston device attached to his horn, Lukas was now able to participate in jazz, concert, and even marching band as an active and proud member of the band.  See how they did it!


The story is inspiring, even to those who think that accomplishing such a feat is an impossible task.  So often students with disabilities are simply thrust onto percussion instruments simply because their instructors see no way to allow them to learn any other instrument.  It is wonderful to know that it is indeed possible to give these students other options if they desire them.  

 In the coming weeks I am hoping to contact Lukas' school and obtain more information about this story and how the device was created.  Check back on this blog post for links to any additional information that I am able to obtain.

For the full story and a wonderful video that shows that device and Lukas' story visit the Edutopia web site article.

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