By MOLLY TOWNSEND
The Union Democrat
Sonora High School special education teacher Rob Mayben, of Angels Camp, continues to meet his goal of leveling life’s playing field and promoting independence for disabled individuals through the invention of his desktop desk.
Mayben has since had the device patented in November 2010, and now owns and operates his family-run company, Mayben Assistive Devices LLC, which has made the device available for purchase online through companies such as Amazon and FlagHouse.
The primary distributor of the desktop desk is now Sammons Preston Medical Supplies of Bolingbrook, Ill., which has distribution worldwide, according to Mayben.
The desktop desk is portable, adjustable, weighs a little more than 20 pounds and is designed to meet the needs of individuals with orthopedic impairments, limited mobility, fine motor deficits, visual impairment or processing deficits and hyperactivity.
It is priced at $495.
Several groups have participated in the desktop desk sponsorship program in the Sonora area, according to Mayben. The Sonora Rotary Club, Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 391 and other groups have donated desks to Sonora High School, Sonora Elementary School, Adult Transition School and WATCH Resources Inc. Mayben also donated one to the Sonora High School program.
The sponsorship program was set up by Mayben in coordination with Special Education Local Plan Area, which makes recommendations on where the desktop desk would best be utilized within its programs, according to Mayben.
Maureen Peacock, Sonora Elementary School special education teacher for grades five through eight, spoke of how her classroom recently had one of Mayben’s desks donated by the Vietnam veterans.
“It’s a very big asset,” Peacock said. “(Mayben) has done a wonderful job on this. I just really like it and the students enjoy it. It’s motivating for them.”
Peacock noted that the desk is extremely accessible for wheelchairs due to its adjustable angles, and can be easily moved and stored as well.
“I’m so thankful and appreciative of the Vietnam veterans association,” Peacock said. “The students truly are benefiting, and able to do so much more.”
Mayben first came up with the idea for the desktop desk several years ago when a student with cerebral palsy was placed in his woodshop/math special day class. The student’s ability to communicate as well as fine and gross motor skills were severely limited, making it difficult for him to actively participate in classroom activities, particularly because the tables could not be accessed by his wheelchair, Mayben said.
The invention of the desktop desk allowed the student to independently participate in academic and social activities, day after day, according to the desk website, www.desktopdesk.com.
“It just started as an idea working with a kid, and I made a business out of it,” Mayben said. “It’s moving in a real positive direction and hopefully after this year it’ll get moving really fast.”
Desktop desk was featured on Fox News and included in the January edition of Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Research and Health magazine, Quest.
Aside from teaching and operating Mayben Assistive Devices, Mayben owns Goldcreek Vineyard in Angels Camp, where he and his family sell grapes to wineries around Calaveras County.