This week on Spalding’s campus, the rooms of the KITE experience are filled with computers and smart boards for games, writing and drawing; ball pits for jumping; bubble towers that change color; adaptive bicycles and swings suspended from the ceiling that are big enough to crawl into and hide. If it sounds like the perfect place for a child to spend the day, and in many ways it is an ideal setting for kids to play and practice activities of everyday life.
KITE is a technology-based activity program designed to provide positive physical, cognitive and sensory experiences for participants with varying levels of need. Spalding University’s KITE experience is a weeklong program for pre-school through elementary school children held three times each year (typically April, June and July) on Spalding’s campus as a community outreach initiative of Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) and the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT).
“I am most proud of the fact that we have [students from] so many disciplines working together to help form a successful program,” says Dr. Joshua Skuller, Ph.D., OTR/L, ATP, enTECH program director and assistant professor of occupational therapy. “We have students from occupational therapy, education, nursing and psychology all working together to help create successful programming for our participants.” Each participant is paired with a student, who is either from Spalding or an area university, under the supervision of the enTECH staff. Staff and student volunteers engage the children in play, socialization activities, electronic scrapbooking, music and other activities using assistive technology.
“Spalding’s mission is to create a compassionate community of learners. I think you see this in full swing during each KITE session,” says Skuller. “Everyone who comes to KITE is there for these children. If that isn’t compassion, then I don’t know what is.”
enTECH also has the opportunity to extend services to children with greater physical needs as it has been awarded a one-year $100,000 challenge grant from Kosair Charities in support of a new initiative. The grant will fund the Kosair Virtual Immersive Play Environment (K-VIP) at enTECH, which will promote playfulness, motivation and well-being in children with severe developmental, movement and neurocognitive impairments. Kosair Charities will match each dollar raised for enTECH during the 2015 fiscal year in support of this initiative.
Donate to enTECH to support programs like KITE.