Sunday Feb 21 2010
Lions provide 'desktop desk' for special needs students
By: Katy Fries Special to the Journal
Donation in place for Placer and Del Oro high school programs
The Auburn Host Lions Club and the 49er Lions Club have made schoolwork a little easier for students in the Functional Skills and Independent Living Skills programs at Placer and Del Oro high schools. The “desktop desk,” a portable work surface for students with visual, orthopedic and Autistic Spectrum diagnosis, was given to the High School Special Education programs to assist students with needs that are not easily met with standard desks. Roy Kleger, Leo adviser for Placer High School, and Debra Oldziewski, president of Auburn 49er Lions Club, checked out the new furniture on Feb. 11, seeing it in use at Placer High. The donations were inspired when Rob Mayben, a special education teacher from Sonora High School, visited local Lions Clubs to discuss his invention. His desire to promote independence and level life’s playing field at school, home, work and play for his students is at the core of his inspiration, he said. The “desktop desk” was built to help his students with cerebral palsy. The work was created with students who could sit on benches or use large flat table tops to create their work. Prototypes of the table were made out of the various materials, to accommodate other disabled students Mayben took his idea around the United States searching for a manufacturer, and marketing his product to service clubs and regional centers. After five years, he found a manufacturing company, and 160 of the tables were built. At Placer High, the table went into immediate use with David Davison, a 17-year-old with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. Davison had not been able to write or draw academically for many months due to an advancement of his disease. When he moved his electric wheelchair into place, and had his arms placed on the slanted table, he cried out, “Get me a pen! I want to draw!” His wide smile and enthusiastic efforts at writing his name and drawing a heart for his mother were the happy result of this innovative invention. Details about the “desktop desk” can be found at desktopdesk.com, or call Mayben at (209) 736-9200.