WB Middle School Students Innovate Toys and Games for Therapeutic Support | News, Sports, Jobs


Occupational therapist Michele Dunham introduces Denise Ginocchi’s seventh grade STEM students to cerebral palsy and the role occupational therapists play in supporting and developing skills for those affected by cerebral palsy. (photo sent)

BELOIT — Seventh-grade students at West Branch Middle School have become innovators of toys and games to support the growth and development of children with cerebral palsy in their STEM classrooms this fall.

Students learned about cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect movement, balance and posture. The students heard from Michele Dunham, the district occupational therapist. They learned about occupational therapy, the settings in which an occupational therapist works, and how occupational therapists help and support people with cerebral palsy.

The students then presented games and toys they created with the specific abilities – and skills requiring growth and development – ​​of people with cerebral palsy in mind.

“It was such an encouragement to see the innovative and creative work our students produced when given the task of meeting the needs of students with cerebral palsy,” said Lindsey Szymanski, Director of Special Services, who had the opportunity to sit with the class and both hear Dunham’s presentation and watch the students perform their adapted games.

“I am so grateful that Ms (Denise) Ginocchi and Ms (Lisa) Lucente have put this unit in place. Our goal in the district is always to promote awareness and support for students with different abilities,” said Syzmansky. “We want our students to be lifelong advocates of equal opportunity for all, as we give all children access to grow and learn at West Branch.”

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