News and Events

Temple OT Students create special adaptations to improve quality of life for HMS students

Temple Occupational Therapy students made very special deliveries to 12 of our students this month: various three-ply cardboard, custom-fitted adaptations that will help them participate in their favorite activities.

The OT students came to HMS at the beginning of the semester and zeroed in on HMS students’ needs. They then built the adaptations, including wheelchair trays, a hockey stick holder and a custom-designed easel, using the heavy-duty cardboard.The material is very durable, portable, low cost and easy to change.

Watch the video below and our students’ smiles will say it all: for Carter, it was a customized wheelchair tray; for Sabina, it was a communication device holder; for Sam, it was a ramp that he can use to launch trucks or balls. The OT students even made additional devices for school-wide use, include a large wheel (pictured above) that can be spun for a variety of games and prize drawings.

Thank you to the talented Temple OTs! We greatly appreciate your dedication to helping our students enjoy greater independence and quality of life.


Gavin’s a Winner!

HMS Student, Gavin, emerged as a Wild Card Winner in the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation’s photo contest, winning an Echo Dot for our School. Gavin uses eye gaze technology and the Echo to speak with his parents, teachers and peers. He also enjoys playing music with the device. Congratulations Gav, and thanks to everyone who voted and cheered him on!


FOX 29’s Bob Kelly turns HMS into “Kelly’s Classroom!

Students, parents and staff were thrilled to welcome Bob Kelly of Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia to HMS on December 4, 2018. It was a proud moment as Bob and his viewers learned how our amazing students learn, communicate and live empowered lives! Thank you Bob, for joining us.


HMS School Hosts 2018 5K Walk/Run
Proceeds from the #HMS5K went directly to HMS School, in support of its mission and programs

PHL Marathon_Article Photo

The HMS 5K Walk/Run took place October 14, 2018, from 7:30 – 10:45 AM, at Fairmount Park, Please Touch Museum.

The 5K event featured a professional pre-race warm-up and stretch, a professional announcer and live DJ, unique HMS School event gear, and an amazing time with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and other charitable individuals like yourself!

Each participant raised $200 for HMS School, with access to fundraising guidance and support.


HMS Assistive Technologies Program: Helping Students Find their Voices
By Diane L. Gallagher, PhD


Recently, our Assistive Technologist Dawn Rainey gave me an update on HMS’s Educational Technologies Program, its current impact and how she sees it evolving.

For our students, communication is key. Many of our students are nonverbal, so they depend on a myriad of assistive technologies for activities of daily living. From navigating their power wheelchairs to communicating, they use these technologies to advocate for themselves and maintain as much independence as is possible. The process of equipping our students with the proper devices is time-consuming and complex, as each of our students has unique abilities and needs. For many years, HMS has recognized the complexities of this detailed process. As a result, we have established a long-term lending library of assistive devices that allows students to try any number of alternatives for an amount of time far exceeding the 6-week maximum time offered by state sources. Click here for the full text.


HMS Dance Collaborations Community Outreach Programs Allow Students to Flourish
By Diane L. Gallagher, PhD


Just last week, I was walking through the Gowen Educational Wing at HMS, when I came upon our after school dance collaborative with Drexel University. While watching the seven HMS student dancers and  seven Drexel dancers warming up together, I focused on Kyle. Wearing his “Just Do It” shirt, he is the perfect example of how collaborations like these can help our students grow and flourish.

When Kyle first came to HMS, he avoided most social outreach programming, Dance Movement Therapy  (DMT) and the recreational dance program, in particular. He was frustrated and did not want to engage  and occasionally disrupted other participants. At first, it was unclear why Kyle was so disinclined, but as  it turns out, Kyle just wanted to hear more up-tempo music – beats more in line with his favorite genre of  music: WrestleMania scores. Once more varieties of music were included, his outlook on participation  started to change.

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HMS Functional Life Skills 
An Opportunity for Personal, Interpersonal and Community-Focused Growth
By Diane L. Gallagher, PhD


At HMS, we know that functional life skills are vital to ensuring our students reach their potential. As they transition from childhood to adulthood, we have our students participate in our Functional Life Skills (FLS) program to help them develop key skills that will allow them to maximize their independence.

HMS’s Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Millie Connelly oversees the FLS program. She explains, “It’s about small gains that over time can make all the difference. As our students grow, we encourage them to develop personal independence and take initiative. Our goal is to promote self-advocacy, encourage community living, foster the development of meaningful choices, and inspire self-confidence in our students.” As a result, the program focuses on four topical areas that promote social and emotional development: sharing feelings and emotions, interviewing and social interaction, party planning, and community engagement.

Click here to read more