Adaptive technology helps student achieve goal

Blackhawk School District  |  Posted on

Lucy Houk, an eighth-grader at Highland Middle School in the Blackhawk School District, is learning to play the cello in her school’s orchestra — with only one full arm. She was inspired to learn to play after hearing the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform on a school field trip. Born prematurely with a congenital abnormality that caused her right arm to stop growing, Houk is used to finding alternative ways of achieving her goals. With the help of the district’s orchestra director Eric Baker and technology and engineering teacher Dale Moll, Lucy is able to manipulate the cello’s bow with an adaptive holder that attaches to her elbow. Moll was able to print the device on a 3D printer using a template he found online.

Baker was pleased to put to use what he learned in an adaptive instruments class and symposium he attended, to help one of his students. In an article in the Ellwood City Ledger, he said, “I hope more people don’t think because they have a physical limitation that they can’t do something because there really are so many ways to work around this kind of thing especially with all the technology we have around these days.”

For now, Houk is still learning the basics from Baker and has received free lessons from Brighton Music Center in New Brighton.