Many wheelchair users face multiple challenges to perform everyday tasks. That’s why we love hearing about people coming together and getting creative to find a solution. You won’t believe these amazing adaptions that solve problems wheelchair users face.
Peter is a New Jersey resident with cerebral palsy. He wrote to Sony complaining about his PlayStation touch-pad interfering with his gaming experience. Alex, a Sony employee, wrote back promising a solution. He put in about 10 hours of work to create a custom controller with a second button that rerouted the touch-pad’s functions. Now, Peter can play and enjoy his games without interference.
“The email you sent definitely struck a chord within,” Alex replied in a letter back to Peter. “It killed me to hear how something you used to enjoy thoroughly was being ruined because of our new controller design.”
Alex asked for feedback on how the controller performed and told Peter he was making a second controller in case the first breaks.
Brin is a sixth grader with cerebral palsy. Her limited motor skills made opening her locker a challenging task. When classmates caught wind of her difficulties, 8 seniors in an engineering class designed an adapted lock over 5 months. After several prototypes, the students redesigned the lock into one motion to easily pop the lock. The lock was printed using a 3D printer. Brin said she wants to be an engineer when she grows up so she too can help others with disabilities.
“It certainly gives me more independence,” said Brin, who said the old lock was frustrating and she’s thankful to the seniors who came up with the solution. “A simple design on a computer turned into something that could help me. It’s pretty amazing!”
Sharina is a first-time mom that lost the use of her legs when she was shot as a child. When she was pregnant, she was concerned about handling a stroller with her newborn. Sharina called the local university as they work with high school students to give them college-level research projects. 16-year-old Alden was assigned the project to create an adapted wheelchair stroller. His biggest priority was making sure the device was safe for the baby. Alden was motivated by Sharina’s due date to get the project completed in a timely manner. The device is made from stainless steel piping with connectors that attach it to Sharina’s wheelchair. The teenager is hoping the device can be used by other new parents as well.
“I love it,” Sharina said of the stroller attachment. “It makes everything so much easier. He’s [Alden] a great kid. He is going to be an amazing engineer.”
Mary, a 7-year-old with muscular atrophy, can now swing in her backyard thanks to an accessible swing her father built her. Her father, Ryan, has a background in mechanical engineering. He had drafted plans to build the swing to hold Mary and her 450-pound chair. Ryan won a parenting website grant to fund the project so Mary now enjoys the coolest swing in the state of Alabama.
“The accessible playgrounds are 10 or 15 miles away,” Ryan said. “Mary said she wanted a swing that her chair can go in. So, I said I would do it. The only thing Mary is limited by is our imagination. You have to be the person who enables your child to live a normal life.”
Matthew was born with cerebral palsy. Since he was born, he has overcome many limitations doctors predicted for him. Tying his shoes was still a challenge. Matthew wrote a letter to Nike saying, “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
The letter landed in the hands of Nike designer Tobie who has worked with Special Olympians. The two worked together for three years to develop the Nike FLYEASE sneaker. The wrap-around zipper solution opens the back of the shoe making it easy to slide the foot in and out. Matthew is now a student at Florida Gulf Coast University and can be seen wearing his FLYEASE sneakers all over campus.
Amphibious All-Terrain Vehicle
Alfred owns 650 acres in Florida and has always considered himself to be an outdoorsy person. He purchased a 6-wheeled amphibious ATV and knew he had to bring it to MobilityWorks to convert. The Tampa location installed driving controls, extended the shifter handle and added a chest strap and taller backrest, among other adjustments. The service team even added a remote jump port connector that would jump start the vehicle for Alfred if it lost power while in the water.
“Hats off, awesome job!” Alfred said of the Tampa team’s commitment. He enjoys taking the ATV out every day with his son and at family functions. Alfred’s mobility challenges no longer stop him from fishing and enjoying his land.
Transportation can be a huge challenge for wheelchair users. That’s why we offer many solutions from lifts to adapted vehicles. Find out how an accessible vehicle can offer you the freedom you deserve by clicking here.