Students help young boy overcome disabilities

Local News

LORETTO, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Inclusion. That’s the key word for St. Francis University Senior Special Education majors Nicole Lagan and Emily Haupt when they work with Thomas Lill, an 8-year-old boy who is almost completely blind and deaf.

“He makes me excited for my career path,” Lagan said.

The students are a part of a “Community Engaged Couse”, which uses their skills to meet a need in their community.

“He’s been a blessing to all of us to work with,” Haupt said

Several Chemistry majors are joining the Education students, to print 3D models of objects like a stop sign and toilet, for Thomas to use to communicate what he needs. The models also help others communicate with him better.

“It’s been so much fun coming up with different ideas of how to include students like Thomas into the general education classroom and how he can participate in different things,” Haupt said.

The team is trying to put unique smells on the objects to help Thomas learn what each of them means.

“It’s been great really applying what we’ve been learning in our classes to a real world situation,” Hannah Boyd, Senior Chemistry major, said.

The special education students started working with Thomas two years ago. They said he;s grown a lot, and they hope this project will inspire people to include more students like Thomas in the classroom.

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