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Createable Learning Concepts on 11 CBS

NW Ohio company goes from garage to global

In these tough times, a Northwest Ohio couple is striking out with a new idea, hoping to score big in the classroom.

Createable Learning Concepts' products are for preschool children learning how to cut and trace. The products, called Cuttables and Traceables, are the brain child of long-time occupational therapist Elisabeth Wharton.

In her more than 20 years in Toledo Public Schools, she found special needs children had a difficult time with basic skills like cutting and tracing. Wharton was determined to create something to help.

"I wanted something with the hand on the outside for tracing, because there's nothing in the catalogs. I've been doing this for years, and I want something to help them cut," said Wharton.

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Createable Learning Concepts on 13 ABC

Createable Learning Concepts package fun and learning

The owners of Createable Learning Concepts are a therapist and an engineer by trade. They're now business owners too.

A simple idea they had to help children work on motor skills has now gone national. The educational tools the children are working with are rolling off the presses at Plastic Technologies in Holland.

The big, colorful shapes help children learn to trace and cut. The products were developed by Liz and Randy Wharton.

Randy says, "It's been rewarding to see this going from just an idea, a sketch on paper, to actually seeing packages going out the door."

The Whartons worked with the Regional Growth Partnership. Vice president Tasha Hussain Black told us, "Their goal is to keep the manufacturing here in northwest Ohio. That aligns with the RGP's goals as well."

Plastic Technologies has developed packaging for some of the most recognizable products on store shelves, like Coke and Colgate Palmolive. But now they make thousands of educational tools, too!

While Createable Learning Concepts is not creating a lot of jobs, it is bringing new work to existing businesses like Plastic Technologies and plenty of smiles to children's faces.

Plastic Technologies Helps Createable Learning Concepts Launch
Tracing, Cutting Tools For Special-Needs Children

Learning how to trace and cut shapes can be a challenge for many preschoolers-even more so for those with developmental and physical impairments.

Patent-pending Traceables and Cuttables from Createable Learning Concepts, LLC, Toledo, Ohio, now offer a colorful and easy-to-use path for success.

Traceables enable kids to trace an entire shape without having to pause to go around their wrist. Cuttables secure the paper for cutting via two matching shapes held together by magnets.

Special needs children in northern Ohio have already reaped the benefits. Feedback from students, parents and teachers has been encouraging...

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Cuttables and Traceables, New Aids to Teach Basic Cutting and Tracing Skills
Elisabeth A. Wharton, MOTR/L

As an occupational therapist in a preschool environment, I work with many special needs children to help them function at their highest level. Some of my childrens’ problems include fine and perceptual motor deficits, autism, blindness and cerebral palsy. Learning shapes is a pre-math and pre-writing fundamental skill and is very important in a child’s cognitive development. The tracing and cutting of shapes lays the foundation for higher learning. But sometimes, teaching tracing and cutting skills can be challenging.

With tighter and tighter budgets, we frequently find ourselves in school systems looking for creative ways to develop aids for the children that will help them develop their skills. Tools such as glued together lay-ups of shapes can create templates the children may use as guides to develop cutting skills, but these never have a very long life when faced with a determined pair of scissors. Tracing aids frequently are solid shapes that the children have to hold while they trace around, and at some point, the hand holding the shape will always be in the way. For some children, this obstacle is difficult to overcome. Tracing aids are frequently stencils, generally of thin material, and the child’s marker tends to slip over the edge, possibly ruining the drawing in their eyes and thereby creating frustration.  But I always worked with what was available to assist my children… until I met Alex....

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Taking Your Idea from Concept to Reality

In the last eight months, I’ve seen an idea go from a concept to reality in a relatively short period of time. During this time, I’ve met a number of people who have had wonderful ideas of their own, but who told me that they just didn’t know how to take an idea to reality and get it into others’ hands. Hopefully, this article will provide some insight into how a process worked for me and enable others to learn how they, too, can get their products to market.

As occupational therapists we are always being asked to find creative ways to solve basic issues.  We need to solve obstacles that confront our patients to enable them to complete a task independently, for our goal as occupational therapists is to allow an individual to function at their highest level. The majority of therapists are creative in a variety of ways. We are always calling upon that right brain side of ourselves to find a simple way for our patient to perform an activity by themselves. The technique must be easy to use and one the individual would want to use. This latter part is very important. We can design many tools that may assist an individual, but the individual must enjoy using it as well as finding it useful. I have worked as an occupational therapist for over 20 years in a variety of different settings; inpatient acute care, outpatient, rehabilitation, long term care and currently in schools. Working as a preschool and grade school therapist, one area of concern with the children I assist is fine and perceptual motor development...

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Making It Happen

In the last eight months, I've seen an idea go from concept to reality in a relatively short period of time. I've also met a number of people who have had wonderful ideas of their own, but who told me that they just didn't know how to get an idea into others' hands. Maybe I can help them.

Working as a preschool and grade school therapist in the public school system, I serve a variety of children with different diagnoses including autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, blindness or decreased vision, sensory processing disorder, apraxia and fine- and perceptual-motor deficits. Fine- and perceptual-motor skills are needed to draw and cut shapes...

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Patent-pending learning tool helps kids get a firmer grip on life

What do you get when an occupational therapist brainstorms with a nuclear engineer?

If you're a child with a disability, you get a chance at a better future.

Elisabeth Wharton, an occupational therapist for the Toledo Public Schools, wanted to help her pupils develop very basic skills. She asked husband Randy – trained to study and solve problems – for some ideas.

"Some of her kids had problems with gross motor skills, they couldn't do things like other kids because their hands got in the way," Randy says...

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Shape up!

When you have an idea, run with it. That’s what occupational therapist and inventor Elisabeth Wharton did when she came up with products to help special needs and typical preschool children develop their motor and visual spatial-perceptual skills.

“These children are learning basic geometry, coloring, labeling and what shapes are,” says Wharton. “It’s pre-math and pre-science, and it also helps with developing pre-writing skills, language, and fine-motor coordination, too.”

With 20 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and more than 16 years teaching children in Toledo Public Schools, Wharton has seen a lot of children through the integral early stages of development and education. Over the years, she noticed a lack of tools, support, and resources to help special needs children with basic motor skills and elementary activities, such as cutting and tracing. “I really don’t know why no one came up with this idea sooner,” she says...

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