3D printing allows patients at Blythedale Children's Hospital to celebrate Halloween

ByMarcus Solis and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, October 20, 2023
3D printing allows children's hospital patients to celebrate Halloween
Marcus Solis has more on the Halloween festivities at one children's hospital.

VALHALLA, New York (WABC) -- A children's hospital in Westchester went above and beyond Friday to make sure its patients have a very happy Halloween.

From pumpkin carving to drawing ghosts, the hospital used all sorts of technology to bring fall fun to children who otherwise may not have had the chance to celebrate.

For children with limited mobility and cortical visual impairment, participating in activities like pumpkin carving and painting can be a challenge. However, the Assistive Technology team at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla made fall-themed activities accessible to all of its patients by using 3D printed switches designed by their rehabilitation engineer.

The event, called "Get Your Glow on with Switches," included activities like "Ghost Race," where the press of a switch could make a ghost fly and "Pumpkin Glow" where the press of a switch splattered a pumpkin with glow-in-the-dark paint.

Switches and buttons like the ones used during the event are crucial to the development of many of the patients at the hospital.

"That button can control anything from a power wheelchair to move in their environment, it can control an AAC device to communicate their needs, but it also can control a computer to do their schoolwork," said Jean Marie Florkowski, a senior occupational therapist at the hospital.

Over the last few weeks, the children decorated various fall-themed crafts that were incorporated into interactive stations for them to participate in Friday.

"It's amazing, it keeps the kids happy," said Maria Goldrick, a parent. "They see something different, and they are allowed to play with toys that do not have every day."

Friday was the first time the hospital held an event like this, but they say it will not be the last one they have.

"Therapists are always pushing function. Today we (got) to put the fun in function," said Florkowski.

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