On June 2nd 2017, a group of five team members ventured to Mrs. Hunt’s house to gain more information for their new prospective project; helping a young girl with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. At first, Team 135 was unsure of how they would be able to help this young girl become more independent. But thanks to nonprofit groups such as ATMakers, they were able to learn about the challenges this little girl has to face on an everyday basis. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 prohibits her from developing muscle which hinders her capability to move and speak on her own. Due to this lack of communication, she struggles to express herself with her peers – especially kids she goes to school with. Although traditional speech methods are’t possible for her, she can still communicate with the use of an amplification device called the Eye Gaze. The goal for Team 135 was to improve the quality of her life by developing technological solutions to everyday problems that people overlook, such as our ways of communication and entertainment. Their first objectives were to improve her power wheelchair, replicate her finger sensor holders, and prototype new versions of her arm stabilizers. All of these projects were definitely attainable and a great start to the new year.

          Upon their first consultation, Team 135 learned many things, not only about this little girl, but about her family and their lifestyles. Team 135 states that, “We arrived to the Hunt’s house and entered through the garage, upon which we went directly to their cleaning room to disinfect our things. The ‘neat room’ was equipped with all the primary cleaning supplies, and even some new gadgets that we hadn’t seen before, like a phone sanitizing box. We swiftly cleaned our things and walked into the house to personally meet this little girl. She was laying on a table watching her favorite YouTuber, Ethan Gamer. As she was watching this young YouTuber, we discussed the  improvements her mom would want in the near future. We also showed her the devices that we finished, such as the mounts for her buttons that she uses to drive her chair. Another improvement was a new program that enabled her to drive her chair more reliably.”

This young girl’s name is Ella, and Team 135 is helping Engineer Ella to find her strength.

Ella’s story is just one of the millions worldwide. If you would like to help people like Ella get the help they need, click the “Become a Maker” tab to see what you can do.