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Assistive Technology Projects

Storm Zone Learning Lab

The Carolina Hurricanes’s Kids N’ Community Foundation awarded New Voices a grant to establish the  Storm Zone Learning Lab. Located at Easley Elementary School in Durham, NC,  the Storm Zone Learning Lab,  is home to the switches, devices, and materials used by students with significant communication and mobility disabilities.  The Storm Zone is adjacent to the Durham Model Assessment Classroom to allow for instant access to the technology for trial and use.  The Storm Zone was officially dedicated by Hurricane’s mascot, Stormy on January 30, 2013.  Sandy McMillan,  School Programs Director for New Voices, commented at the ceremony, “It is my sincere hope that the shine will soon be worn off all this beautiful equipment because of all the small hands that will be able to use it.”


Tadpole, the lending library that provides toys, educational material, and assistive devices to NC children with developmental disabilities, reopened its doors in September, 2011 thanks to support from New Voices, Walmart, and the Murdoch Center Foundation.  Tadpole’s original funding was impacted by state budget cuts. Tadpole now offers its services to a 22 school district region. New Voices’ plans include expanding Tadpole services region by region until the entire state is served.

Bio-Medical Project

New Voices has partnered with Biomedical engineering programs at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NCSU to provide equipment repair and adaptation for Tadpole and for the children in the New Voices Assessment Classroom. The Biomedical Project is made possible by a grant from the Peter J. and Prudence F. Meehan Fund of Triangle Community Foundation.



  • Planned and designed a regional model to assess and prepare New Voices children to transition effectively into regular school environments.

  • Collaborated with the Center for Development and Learning at UNC-CH to create and refine a comprehensive assessment program to prepare New Voices children for educational transition into the public schools

  • Funded for two years the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC-CH to implement the New Voices Interdisciplinary Consultation Project, which assisted schools and teachers to serve New Voices children.

  • Collaborated with Murdoch Developmental Center to restore and strengthen a statewide communication devices lending library for teachers, parents, speech therapists and assistive technologists—Tadpole.

  • Provided funding to the Kenan Fellows Program at NC State University for fellowships to support the professional development of assistive technologists in the public Schools.

  • Partnered with the NC Assistive Technology Program and NC Central University to hold workshops for Speech and Language Pathologists on communications technology.

  • Sponsored an educational track on Augmentative Communication at the Assistive Technology Expo 2010.

  • Joined forces with Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh to outfit the museum to accommodate to the special needs of New Voices children.

  • Created linkages between the Biomedical Engineering Programs at Duke University, NC State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Project Tadpole, the communications devices lending library at Murdoch Developmental Center, and the New Voices Assessment Classroom.

  • Partnered with Footpath Pictures to design and produce an award winning documentary—Certain Proof—about New Voices children and their families. Shown at the Vail, Seattle, Los Angeles, Southern Appalachia, and Wilmington Film Festivals.

  • Cooperated with the UNC Center for Public Television’s North Carolina People with William Friday program in interviewing Certain Proof co-producer, Susan Ellis and New Voices Board member, Sandy McMillan.

  • Raised funds to support programs and scholarships in excess of $500,000 from CVS -Caremark, Walmart Foundation, Glaxo Smith Kline, Bojangles, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Triangle Community Foundation and many private donors.

  • Received grants to plan and establish a model New Voices model classroom.

  • Partnered with Durham Public Schools to establish the New Voices Assessment Classroom.

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