Students create custom mask for child with special needs

Milford high school students in Ohio built a mask for 11-year-old Kathryn Ferrara, who was born with Down syndrome.
3:28 | 04/08/21

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Transcript for Students create custom mask for child with special needs
back now with the helping hands in Ohio, where an 11-year-old girl with down syndrome and autism, she can't wear a mask, so some engineering students took up the challenge to create something unique that could help keep her safe. Look at this. She was born with down syndrome, and she was then diagnosed with autism. Catherine's also nonverbal which makes things very difficult to sometimes know what she needs or wants or feels. So I knew the mask was going to be a challenge for Catherine. She would not wear the mask. I was reading an article about an organization here called help me grow. Help me grow is run by local engineers that volunteer their time to adapt equipment for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. I thought, well, I'll give it a shot. It is a four-year sequence of courses designed to help more kids get into engineering. We work with an organization called may we help, local engineers that solve real problems for people, but some of them are at the scale where our kids can handle it. And he called, ailed me actually one day, and he said he was a teacher at millford high school and said his engineering students had picked up the request, and I was speechless. I thought why would they want to spend their time doing something, you know, for someone they've never met? Here we go. Here W go. We thought Kathryn's circumstance was really unique and we thought if we could help her get outdoors, that would create a big impact in her lif We realized that we're going to need to split into multiple groups, one team that would design slots to hold the shield, a team for sewing on the shield, and then we had a team for researching what the shield material would be and actually look like. It was about three months when we received the project, brainstorming and going through the design process, and iterating through each of our designs. We decided after the brainstorming that the best way to do that would be to sew patches of velcro on the vest so it could be put on and remove and finally meeting Kathryn, it was kind of a shock, it made me realize that what I'm doing is real, what I'm doing is actually going to help somebody, and hopefully even more people to come. These students are all self-starters. None of these students are experts in everything mechanical. Or everything electrical. Or everything programming. But they do become experts in the process. The old mask, wearing a new mask. Good girl. There she goes. I don't think they, the students really understand just how much they touched Kathryn's life. It wasn't just a mask. It was just her, bringing her back into society. Bringing her back into her daily routine. And seeing, you know, seeing the pride on their faces was amazing. And I was very touched. And I'll never forget that day. I usually can talk but I'm actually almost crying, that was so beautiful. And all the stuff we see and this very morning, reporting on some bad in the world, these segments our producers, hats off to y'all, for finding these stories and we have reminders that man there are really great folks in this world. Oh, my goodness. We're both crying now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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