The center is the first of its kind to be designed specifically for children and young adults with special needs.
This program is provided through a partnership between Devon Energy and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. While the two organizations have installed more than 100 STEM centers together across the country, this is the first one designed specifically for children and young adults with special needs.
“Our goal is to introduce STEM learning to as many young people as possible, so it was critical to make the STEM center accessible to students of all abilities,” said Devon President and CEO Rick Muncrief. “We hope this adaptive STEM center becomes a national model, like other projects we’ve pioneered with the Ripken Foundation.”
The experience at Special Care will help students hone their problem-solving abilities and stretch their imaginations. The adaptive STEM center includes innovative learning equipment like 3D printers, Snap Circuits, Ozobots and Bee-Bots.
“We believe in helping our students discover their abilities, and this STEM center is a wonderful addition to our curriculum,” said Special Care co-founder and executive director Pam Newby. “The commitment Devon and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation have made to developing this unique learning opportunity is greatly appreciated — and I know the kids will have a lot of fun with it.”
League of Dreams, a nonprofit dedicated to providing all individuals regardless of physical or mental capacity learning opportunities, helped CRSF modify its curriculum and materials to accommodate all abilities. Some of the adaptive features of the center include:
- A component that travels to classrooms for students unable to physically visit the STEM center.
- Communication supports, such as visuals demonstrating how tools work.
- Enhanced instructions and checklists.
“STEM learning helps all students develop critical and essential skills,” said CRSF President and CEO Steve Salem. “This first-of-its-kind adaptive STEM center ensures those of all capabilities can play and learn in the space.”
The Ripken Foundation also provides training, a curriculum guidebook and activity kits to enhance the tools in the STEM centers. The organization has opened over 315 STEM centers nationwide, helping strengthen America’s most vulnerable communities by supporting and advocating for children.