Suggestions For Making And Adapting Equipment:
A number of times I've been asked to speak to college students who are majoring in either occupational, recreation or physical therapy. I have done several webinars for Nazareth College, SUNY Cortland and have spoken at Clarkson University. While the topics vary a little bit based on their majors, there are certain concepts which apply regardless of the field, to creating and making adaptive equipment. I thought it might be helpful if I put some of these on Handihelp along with a video explaining what I have learned over 18 years of making and adapting equipment for myself. Andy Dahmen, who is also a C6 quadriplegic, as also had great deal of impact on this topic.
The single most important concept to grasp is the understanding that there are almost ALWAYS alternative ways for doing a particular task. Accepting that concept is ESSENSIAL to discovering alternative ways of doing a certain task. Why, because the belief that a solution is feasible will keep one working when others would have given up.
Often to prove the point I would discuss,the number of methods of catching a fish or the some of the different ways to start survival fire or make electricity. Hopefully people will begin to understand there are quite a variety of ways to complete a certain task.
Other important suggestions include:
* More than one way to solve a problem
* Know there is a way
* Try to keep things simple
* Don’t get discouraged and give up
* Think of failure as an opportunity for learning and growth
* Think outside the box
* Be willing to change and modify your approach
* Be open to the suggestions, ideas and help from others
* Creating and adapting should be looked at as a process
* Revisit “finished” products often to improve
Need is always the motivational factor for me. If I wish to participate in, or solve a certain challenge the process begins. Over the years, a general approach had developed in my mind and when I began talking to groups I wrote it down for part of my PowerPoint Presentation.
In the following video I’m going to show 2 concrete examples of the process gone through developing adaptions needed to participant in activities I loved. The first was Mounting a Firearm on a Power or Manual Wheelchair. The second was the making a Fishing Pole Holder. Please look back at my suggestions for making and adapting equipment to see examples of different points I made. Notice how the process continues to make improvements or modifing existing adaptions for a different application.