UAH Rise School in national competition to win "Lily LightAide" teaching device for special needs children


Students at UAH Rise School are drawn to the light and movement of Lily LightAide, an LED teaching device specifically designed for children and adults with learning disabilities. Lily LightAide recently made a stop at the UAH Rise School for a three week visit.

photo courtesy of UAH Rise School

"Lily" has visited families across the United States and in Canada. She has met many new friends, but now she wants to go to school.

Lily LightAide™ is an LED teaching device specifically designed for adults and children with learning disabilities such as Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI-visual impairment caused by brain injury), Autism and ADHD.

There is a place for Lily LightAide at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Rise School.

"We are in a contest with five other schools in the nation to win a special learning tool called Lily LightAide," said Caroline Bradford, director of the UAH Rise School. "The school with the most votes will win a free teaching device. Voting begins Tuesday, May 12, and continues through Thursday, May 14."

The UAH Rise School is an integrated early childhood program for children with and without special needs located on the campus of UAH. The school has classrooms serving children 18 months to five years of age.

"We encourage the university community to visit our Facebook page on the morning of May 12, to begin casting votes for UAH Rise School's Lesson Plan," Bradford said. "Our Facebook page has pictures and stories to provide you with more information, about Lily LightAide and its benefits for children attending the school."

The teaching device began visiting the six schools earlier this year. Lily LightAide made its stop at the UAH Rise School on Sunday, March 8, for a three week visit. Bradford said the learning tool will be most beneficial for the current two-year-old classroom. "The classroom serves children with diagnoses ranging from CVI, Cerebral Palsy, Auditory Neuropathy/Dysynchrony, Bilirubin Kernicterus and Down Syndrome," she said. "Over half of our students benefited from using Lily LightAide during the short period it was at the school. We plan to use this amazing teaching device to assist in meeting individual goals such as tracking, cause and effect and switch usage."

Bradford said further, that switches (independent usage) offer children with limited motor skills, the ability to control and participate in just about everything. Lily LightAide encourages student interaction by:

  • Teaches children basic concepts such as cause and effect, taking turns and identifying/building patterns
  • Sets the foundation of pre-literacy skills by encouraging learners to practice visual tracking from left to right, a skill crucial for literacy
  • Introduces mathematical concepts such as basic counting skills, identifying numbers and building patterns with blocks

The teaching device's 224 bright multi-colored LED lights do not get hot and respond to switch interactions with up to four players at a time. It is preloaded with 10 activities (with the option to purchase up to 66 more activities) that range in price ($75-$125 per set) and level from easy to more complex. LightAide, manufactured by Phillips and Perkins Products is portable with oversized switch buttons that are manageable for little hands with limited motor skills. LightAide launched in 2013, and sells for $999. The learning tool was the recipient of a 2014 Edison Award.

The other five schools participating in the competition are located in Yakima, Wash.; Buda, TX; Booneville, Ind.; Nicholasville, Ky.; and Darien, Conn.

Wonderbaby, an online resource for parents with visual impairments and multiple disabilities, partnered with Perkins Products to create the Lily LightAide Backpacking Program.



Joyce Anderson-Maples