When I was 14, my first personal computer, a Texas Instruments 99 was equipped with TI Invaders (TI’s version of Space Invaders) and Munch Man (TI’s version of Pac Man). I spent (too) many hours in the basement of my home trying to achieve the highest levels, of course when I should have been studying my Algebra 1 lessons. Back then, I never dreamed that I would ever be one of the people who didn’t know what the “hot, new video” games were. As I approach my 40-ahem birthday, I must admit that I have become one of those people.
The same cannot be said about our Recreation Therapy team at Magee. Our AYA Assistive Technology (AT) Suite (AYA stands for Adolescent/Young Adult) has recently opened on the spinal cord injury unit at Magee’s main hospital, thanks to support from a grant funder. Our Rec Therapists know what our young patients want to do their recreational time, and what systems require for the best audio and visual display. In addition to state of the art gaming and digital displays, this room also hosts karaoke, Wii and access to educational programs for when our patients need to spend some time studying their Algebra 1 lessons.
The Suite is specifically designed for our younger patients who are recovering from traumatic injuries such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and amputation. Magee serves a significant number of adolescent patients (approximately 50 adolescent patients each year) and is the only rehabilitation hospital in the urban center of Philadelphia that specifically serves adolescents.
The AT equipment chosen for the AYA Assistive Technology (AT) Suite is focused towards the interests of adolescents and will enable access to the following activities:
· Gaining access to school (reading, researching, writing papers, attending classes via Skype or other video conference software)
· Age-appropriate recreational opportunities (video games, surfing the web, listening to music)
· Online, social media and instant messaging (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
· Teaching age-related skills (for example: virtual reality environments to teach driving skills)
The AYA Assistive Technology (AT) Suite provides access to life activities that our young patients would otherwise not be able to participate in while simultaneously encouraging young patients to move their arms, torso, head, and feet –activities that further strengthen their physical rehabilitation. The positive emotional response of young patients to having a room where they can be themselves, explore, play, and socialize will help our patients with the emotional adjustment to being injured and living with a disability.
We are currently recruiting students and volunteers to staff the AYA Room – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.