Layla’s is a six-year-old girl who was born with premature birth defects. Her parents and therapists wanted a sensory wall designed not only to entertain her, but to stimulate her and encourage creativity. A group of UTC students took on the challenge of designing the wall for Layla. The group included Braxton Tawry, Casey Hale, Katie Zager, and Wesley Donesky.
“I enjoy helping people develop and I enjoy kids. I want to be a camp counselor. I also enjoy a lot of the toys we put on the walls and I thought this project would be a great fit for me,” Zager said.
Because the project was designed for use by a child, the group had to take particular care to make sure it was safe. The structure had to be stable and sturdy, as well as free from sharp edges.
The group included objects such as a xylophone, a pinwheel, a feather duster, light switches, Christmas lights, and a motorized fan. The design of the wall places these activities two feet off of the ground, to encourage Layla to stand while playing, practicing balance and coordination.
“Some of the objects we chose ended up being used differently than we initially intended, and I wish we would have gotten more light switches and Christmas lights, because I think those are really stimulating,” Zager said.
The base of the wall features a compartment that houses the batteries for the fan and the Christmas lights, as well as wheels which can be used to roll the device. This compartment is behind a locked panel that can be opened by Layla’s parents.
“Though we had to correct a few things, like gluing a few pieces down better, I feel like it’s a success, and I’m glad we could make this for Layla,” Zager said.
The team project was presented at the 2015 Engineering Showcase.