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Teacher, Student Modify Game For Paralyzed Boy

September 22, 2009, 9:57 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Teacher, Student Modify Game For Paralyzed Boy
Nintendo Wii is a popular game, or at least it is for a third grader in Highmore. Because of a physical disability, there was only so much he could do on his own while playing. But that’s changed now.

There's plenty of room for some eight-year-old trash talk at the Highmore Elementary School. But there's plenty of room for gratitude from Jacob Moser, too.

Jacob is paralyzed from the neck down because of a condition he developed when he was a baby. But as his teacher Janie Pratt can tell you, that didn't stop him from loving video games just like many boys his age.

"We used the Wii as a way to reward Jacob for other behaviors so we brought the Wii in and he would play it with the other kids," Pratt said.

But people had to put the remote in his hand, help him move it and push the buttons.

"We decided that there has to be a way that he could do it independently," Pratt said.

The school has a device Jacob puts on his forehead that allows him to move a mouse and work by himself on the computer. Pratt asked science teacher Jackie Knox if the same would be possible with a video game.

"When they first said it, I thought there probably is a way," Knox said.

But they couldn't find any information to tell them how. So Knox, her husband and a student came up with their own solution.

They harnessed a controller to his head so he could move it. Then they ran wires from the controller to levers at his side so he can nudge those instead of hitting the controller buttons.

"And it was so exciting that it actually worked and got to see Jacob using it and he caught onto it like he'd been playing it for years," Knox said.

Jacob still has to thank them. But he isn't short on gratitude for their work, any more than he is on the trash talking he can now do because of it.

Another school has already called to find out how it could do something like this.

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