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Murfreesboro Students Create 'E-Z Swing Suit' To Help Kids With Special Needs

Posted at 8:48 AM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 10:07:39-04

According to the CDC, about one in six American kids, ages 3 through 17, have a one or more developmental disabilities. Some of these special needs keep kids from interacting with other children their own age. Now, a group of students at Erma Siegel Elementary School have come up with a way everyone can play.

"We love swinging and it's really fun for us," said Skye Roberts.  

Roberts and her fifth-grade friends make a bee-line for the swings at recess.

"I've always just enjoyed coming out to the swings with my friends and we've always just had funny conversations and just did funny things on the swings," said Kameryn Galland. 

But not all of their friends could join them on the swings without the fear of falling.

"I came up with the idea to do something that would help our little buddies," said Erin Higgins. 

"When [friend] Reese was swinging she would either lean really far back or really far forward. And it made us afraid that she would fall back or forwards off the swing," said Higgins. 

So when their teacher, Angela Pope, asked the class to find a problem and fix it, the three girls knew what their prototype would be. They created a safety vest that would make normal swings accessible for everyone.

They dubbed it the E-Z Swing. 

"They knew that there were swings out there that were made for special needs children. But they knew that they very much looked like baby swings and it became a matter of these kids dignity and they didn't want them to have to feel like they had to sit in a baby swing and so they went to work," said Owen Davis, with the Comprehensive Development Classroom at Erma Siegel Elementary School. 

The the girls took their invention to competitions, including ESE and the Entrepreneurship Expo in Washington DC.

They walked away with several awards, including The Henry Ford Student Innovators of the Year Award; the Accessibility Award; the Sports, Games, Entertainment and Toy Award; and 2nd Place in the 5th grade division. The girls said they plan to patent their product.