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Olympus High students help special-needs peers at Hartvigsen with assistive technology
EagleEyes » Electrodes track eye movement to control a computer mouse to play games and learn new skills.


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Another party that’s involved is the Opportunity Foundation of America, whose mission is to provide EagleEyes to people with disabilities.

Debbie Inkley, the foundation’s founder and executive director, said the interaction she has seen so far is impressive and poignant.

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"When the Olympus High kids first came, they were a little bit intimidated, but it took them maybe at the most two or three days," Inkley said. "They have fallen in love with the kids here at Hartvigsen."

To her, it’s important that people with disabilities get to spend time with others their own age.

"They all realized they’re more alike than they’re different," Inkley said. "It doesn’t matter that Krystal can’t speak because they read through her eyes."

On Feb. 22, Olympus High students hosted EagleEyes Extravaganza, an art auction and fundraiser that raised about $11,000. Inkley said she was pleased with the generosity displayed by the 250 attendees.

"There was a gentleman who handed a $100 bill for a soda and said keep the change," she said. "And then he went to get a cinnamon roll and handed in another $100 and said keep the change."

The money goes toward providing for EagleEyes units at Hartvigsen School.

From a mother’s perspective, EagleEyes is life-changing.

"It’s a whole new communication," said Sharon Caldwell, Krystal’s mother. "For 17 years, it was like she was stuck in her own body, and now she’s able to express herself."


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Caldwell said her daughter is absolutely hooked on the EagleEyes unit she uses at home, and she’s grateful to those who raised the money for it.

"Eventually, we’re hoping that would be her communication," Caldwell said. "What the Olympus High students do is incredible."

closeup@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribMid



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