A few months back, Bluebee Pals sent me an email asking if I’d like to review one of their Bluebee Pals interactive stuffed animals. Since I have five kids of my own, four of which are young, I said most certainly, send one over. It didn’t take long before all four of my younger kids latched on to Leo the lion and we had to designate times for each kid to spend with their new Pal. In the review, I said that Bluebee Pals was this generation’s Teddy Ruxpin and the device still reminds me of that 80’s toy (though Ruxpin is mounting a comeback).
I awarded the Bluebee Pals device a Techaeris Top Pick award because I found the device a great way for the kids to engage in educational apps and instruction. They were more interested in learning when holding and interacting with Leo the lion than they had been before. While my kids don’t suffer from learning disabilities, other than normal short attention spans, I could see this device’s potential in education. My wife is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and she also felt like this device could be super helpful in helping kids with learning disabilities and sensory issues.
So it’s no surprise to me to read the companies blog tonight and hear the story of one autism spectrum disorder (ASD) middle school teacher in Michigan telling a story of how this simple technology is changing their world.
My name is Staci Bull I am a self-contained ASD teacher Riverside Middle School. Riverside is part of the Grand Rapids Public Schools in Grand Rapids, MI. We are an inner city school that teaches underprivileged students. I just found out about your bluebee pals this morning. Our speech path won one at a conference and she tried it out with my students. Today was the first day that the students were engaged the entire speech time and they answered all of their questions and completed all of the activities cooperatively. It is amazing what a talking stuffed animal can do for students with a disability! I saw that your organization partners with some nonprofit organizations. What does it take to become part of the bluebee pal project? After seeing how it motivated my students this morning I am very interested in finding out more.
I have a B.S. in psychology and a minor in sociology. I have a master’s degree in learning disabilities and another master’s degree in psychology. Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan’s fifth largest public school district and the third largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, serving nearly 17,000 students with 2,700 employees, including 1,400 dedicated teachers. The student population represents 55 countries with 54 different languages spoken, creating a value-added educational experience and benefit that is above and beyond a basic education. Our special education mission is to meet the unique needs of students with individualized education programs (IEPs) by providing instruction and training to enable them to meet the district’s rigorous Academic Plan.
For our building we could use four-six Bluebee Pals. We have a couple of classrooms that are self-contained ASD classrooms that have very low functioning students.Our students got to experience a Bluebee Pal for the first time this week and their eyes just lit up! It is amazing how motivating a talking stuffed animal is. We had students doing academic tasks independently for the first time and students were on task for longer periods of time. All of the students loved the Bluebee Pal!
Granted, this device isn’t a ground-breaking robotic wonder. It’s not going to send a satellite into orbit or land us on Mars. It’s a simple device with a grand mission and seeing it being used to change the lives of these children just might bring a smile to your face, as it did mine. There’s been enough depressing news and posts online these past few days, it’s nice to something good and that we still have the ability to care for one another.
We believe in giving back to the communities in which we serve by supporting special needs children through our nonprofit, the Bluebee Pals Project. Our vision is to see all children reach their full potential by giving them the tools they need today. We are committed to making a difference by assisting the professionals who help those with special needs on a path towards their bright and promising futures.
If you would like to participate in The Bluebee Pal Project, please email us at [email protected]
You could show support for the project by considering a purchase of one of these fantastic interactive toys for someone this Christmas, just hit the link below to check out their website.