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Assistive Technology Increasing Inclusion in Classrooms and Beyond


Creating inclusive environments involves problem solving, something Sonora High School special education teacher Rob Mayben knows quite well. Mayben invented the Desktop Desk, an assistive technology (AT) device that enables better access for students with disabilities in classrooms and other environments. Recently Think Inclusive caught up with Mayben to learn more about his invention, including a special back to school sale which could help land you the AT device at a discounted price.

Origins Behind the Desktop Desk

One student’s needs initiated what eventually became the Desktop Desk. In 2008 Rob Mayben found himself with a student named Neil. Due to his cerebral palsy Neil uses a wheelchair. The way Neil’s wheelchair and the classroom’s surfaces configured limited the learner’s ability to participate in class. Mayben began brainstorming ways to change that. The video below featuring Neil captures the final product.

During the invention process Mayben realized the Desktop Desk possessed potential to help more students than just Neil, something we discussed in a previous interview. Explaining how his invention increases inclusion Mayben said, “Instead of a student being in their chair away from everybody else it hooks up to any table and now they’re right next to everybody.”

Desktop Desk Increases Computer AccessMayben also pointed out the Desktop Desk can benefit more students than those with physical disabilities. “We’ll use them for kids who just need to focus a little bit better. Sometimes we have autistic kids that they have a lot of stuff that distracts them so we set it up for them.”

Great for Outside the Classroom Too

Over the last half decade The Desktop Desk proved a great catalyst for inclusion outside the classroom too. “Whether it be for a laptop or at a table for a meal, it’s been making a huge difference” remarked Mayben. The picture to the right shows how the Desktop Desk can assist with computer access. Meanwhile the following parent made testimonial video demonstrates the Desktop Desk’s versatility as both a writing surface and eating surface.

Back to School Special

Driven to get the Desktop Desk to those who could benefit from the assistive technology Rob Mayben remains amidst a special back to school sale. Now until the end of September 2014 you can purchase the Desktop Desk for $199 by visiting www.desktopdesk.com. Regularly the Desktop Desk sells for $374.99. Said Mayben, “I’ve never done it this much before but the goal is to get as many of these out as possible to help folks.”

He added, “It’s just me so I’m going to be up late at night getting this stuff processed, packaged, and in the mail. So it’s probably going to be a busy month for me but that’s cool. I’m excited.” With each Desktop Desk Mayben will throw in a Desktop Desk carrying bag (normally $49) at no cost besides shipping and handling.

In the past community groups like rotary/service clubs partnered with Mayben to sponsor Desktop Desks for local schools and adult centers. Mayben invites any interested parties to contact him about taking advantage of the sale to do something similar.

“If there is a rotary group or just a service club or a business that wants to sponsor a district, that’s even better. They can actually contact me and I’ll work with them and whatever the school districts are in their area. If they need help finding them, I’ll find a place to put it (the Desktop Desks) to benefit kids. “

Contact Mayben via email (rob@desktopdesk.com) or phone (209-768-9242). He teaches full-time at Sonora High School but promises to return any messages received during the workday.

Photo Credit: kev-shine/Flickr

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