“The Music Table”: Unique Accessible Music Created for ADI

Or Sofer and Shahar Yehuda, students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at SCE, the Shamoon College of Engineering, Be’er Sheva campus, developed a musical table adapted to accessibility for children with special needs. The two research partners donated their musical table to the children of the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village who happily enjoyed the new and unique musical experience.

Under the direction of Naama Agassi of the SCE Mechanical Engineering Department, Sofer and Yehuda devoted themselves to a final project aimed at enhancing the lives of children with intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy. The two developed mechanisms capable of interfacing with musical instruments, enabling youngsters with special needs to make music without the assistance of a therapist or caregiver. The completed project was presented at the college’s SCE-TECH-FEST 23 conference.

The musical project was developed with the support of TOM, Tikkun Olam Makers, a non-profit organization that works to create high-quality technological solutions for people with disabilities. TOM communities in the Negev collaborate with ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran and Shamoon College to produce original sustainable solutions in response to a host of challenges facing village residents and patients. Prototypes are then adapted and upgraded into real products and technical specifications are distributed to end users worldwide through the TOM website at no cost.

Professor Yehuda Haddad, rector and founder of SCE visited ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran this past week together with the SCE management team to observe the cooperation forged between the college students and village staff.

Sofer and Yehuda expounded on their unique project: “Our goal was to enable children with physical disabilities to take part in musical activity during music lessons. As part of our preliminary research, we toured the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran rehabilitation village and were exposed to the difficulties and challenges facing the children. We chose to focus on therapy and physiotherapy through music in children with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy. After mapping the needs and consulting with professionals, we realized that the difficulty inherent in playing a musical instrument during group sessions, without help from a therapist, may cause frustration among the children, possibly even to the point of endangering them, as the therapist’s attention is simultaneously divided among a number of children. For that reason, we sought to create musical instruments that are simple to operate. Children can play safely and independently and the therapist can focus on more efficient lesson management that leads to longer treatment time for the children.”

Children of the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Special Education School and their caregivers were very excited about the new product. “Seeing the children smile and play with the product we developed was worth everything. It is a happiness that cannot be described in words,” said Sofer and Yehuda.

Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at SCE, Dr. Gadalia Mazor: “SCE graduates bring with them high engineering knowledge and abilities, but above all creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. The study method introduced at the college and known as Project Oriented, combines theoretical studies with practical experience and real tasks in the world of engineering and allows our students a practical introduction to the worlds of health, engineering and welfare. As a result, they also develop quality products and devices that have public benefit and social value.”

Rector and founder of SCE College, Professor Yehuda Haddad: “A strong society is tested by its concern for the weak. The ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran rehabilitation village is a huge contribution and importance to society as a whole. They are the spirit and the way that connects people and children with disabilities to society. I look forward many more collaborations.”

Avi Wartzman, CEO of the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran  : “I was very happy with the visit of Professor Yehuda Haddad, Rector and founder of the Shamoon College and the college’s management team. Collaborations of this type are important for continuing Tikkun Olam. Together with the college we will be able to promote and lead new and accessible technologies to all of the students and residents of the village. Special thanks to Shahar Yehuda and Or Sofer, mechanical engineering students who invested their heads and their hearts in the unique project they created in collaboration with the TOM organization. I would like to thank all the staff in our Special Education School and physiotherapist Dor Nassimian for their continuous improvement and for establishing our collaboration with the Shamoon College of Engineering.”

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