SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An innovative aquarium is being credited for helping spark communication for the very first time among some special needs preschoolers in Sanford.
The tank, called an 'iQuarium,' was donated by Eddie Hanson, whose son, Daniel, attends the Fraser-Ford Child Development Center at Waban in Sanford. Hanson, an aquarium designer, built the tank with colored lights and speakers. The tank can also be used with an iPad.
Hanson says his son is very drawn to the tank, and it has helped his counting and naming colors. A little girl, who had not spoken previously at the school, said her first sentence when she saw the tank in the classroom.
Teachers say the tank has also fostered social and behavioral skills, as students have learned to take turns feeding the angel fish.
“More talking, colors and things like that when we are able to switch out the theme of the fish tank. They really enjoy telling who is new in there,” said teacher Amy Knapp.
A new autism wing at the center will be completed this fall and will feature an 'iQuarium' in one of the classrooms.
Hanson says he hopes to donate more tanks to special needs preschools in the future.