Talaria addresses the educational limitations that some students with disabilities face to give them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Many existing assistive devices — though necessary for students with certain types of disabilities to interact and learn at school — are often costly, clunky and a burden for teachers and classroom environments. These obstacles often result in a lack of available resources, additional educational challenges and removal of students from inclusive classrooms, limiting social interactions with peers — a critical component to healthy growth.
Talaria aims to use readily available technology to address these barriers.
Talaria will work directly with one to five students with moderate to severe physical limitations to create user interface devices for use with computing platforms at school, at home, and other environments. Talaria has two main objectives for the initial two year phase:
- Design, create and install assistive technology devices for specific student(s) with disabilities at the Manassas Park City Schools — a committed Talaria partner. UCP will develop one or more wireless input device prototypes using common off-the-shelf components and low-cost, readily available electronic equipment.
- Establish an accessible, interactive website — tentatively named www.talaria-project.org — that will host all documentation, schematics, parts lists, instruction and supporting software materials as well as real-time project status updates, forums, a blog and RSS feed to promote collaboration between educators, individuals with disabilities, and the electronic device engineering community. This information would be available for others to replicate.
Creating customized assistive devices out of existing equipment and software, Talaria will have a direct impact not only on the specific students in the initial program phase, but additionally their family, their peers, their teachers and their greater community. By documenting and sharing the steps and processes of the design and implementation, Talaria will be a resource and guide for others to create individual cost-efficient adaptive devices for other students with similar challenges potentially impacting a limitless number of students and classrooms and schools.
Talaria will encourage and empower a new generation of youth with disabilities by supporting them with the tools they need to achieve full participation and citizenship in today’s society.