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Instructables members with disabilities? Solutions or needs? Answered

Hoping to trigger some interesting discussions... I wonder if those of you with disabilities (physical or otherwise!) would be willing or interested in posting examples of techniques or equipment you use to actually build your projects. A lot of shop equipment is decidedly non-accessible, so how do you get done what you want to do? More broadly, what sorts of custom equipment, tools, procedures, etc., have you come up with to make your lives easier? Even simple things can be very interesting, and/or spark ideas for other people. If there are things you "wish you had" but don't, what are they? How do you think they'd work, for you or for someone else? Disclaimer -- I do not have a disability myself. My wife does, and I've had a lot of fun working with her on small personal projects over the past decade. I have also been interested in access issues, both technical design and the civil rights/IL perspective, since before I met her. I will try very hard to use appropriate, inclusive language in these discussions; please don't take offense if I fall short, but do remind me!

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love4pds (author)2011-06-15

Sorry so long but wanted to explain in detail. I am severely disabled and have not figured out how to get around it. But my problem is, if I could just sever my spine from the thoracic part , I would be more free than I am now, but docs wont do it and husband wont either and haven't figured out how myself and too chicken anyway..lol. So I am only able to sit for more than about 1/2 an hour in a day before I am in such severe nerve pain (sitting in boiling oil) that sleeping and laying flat the rest of the day or 3 is my ONLY way of recovering. So the nerve pain is my waist down to my feet and things like hemorrhoid pillows cause pain because anything I touch from my waist down causes more pain, laying flat hurts too, but it doesn't seem to cause more pain, it is the pain from what I have been doing. The only way I can escape the pain is floating in water so that nothing below my waist touches anything. So my thought is making a chair filled with water like a cheap water-bed but to sit in where even my legs wouldn't touch a wall, in my mind it would have to be there to hold the water, and soft wall doesn't matter (BTW) it does the same damage. But the plastic that would hold the water would have to be loose because if it was tight I would be sitting on plastic not floating in the water. I just cant think of a good way to do it and am not really capable of doing it very well, so I thought I would post to see if anyone would help me make one or come up with something better?. I have a chair that has a very stable wood frame but the problem is trying to make it myself and also the front piece of the frame would touch my legs the way I picture being able to do it and I cant touch the bottom. I would have to have the top to where I am floating not sitting on the plastic covering the top (so it would not be able to be stretched over the water) and I also wouldn't be able to hit the bottom which isn't too bad that I only weight right now 92 lbs(trying to gain but not working). So my thought is to make it feel like I am floating on the water and not touching anything and not fighting gravity. I had to find my own DX which took all my insurance, retirement savings, ability to work, and family. I am also loosing everything such as my home so I cant afford to pay much for it. I have been fighting for 6 years with doctors to get a DX and SSD for medicare to get any medical help. So I cant even get any medical help to try and fight this disease if it is even fightable? But 6 years of not sitting makes me want to give up more than anything. I still fight and did make a dress and entered it into a contest. It took me months to make. So obviously started before I found this site. And slept 2 days after I finished it.....It would be awesome for the idea to be mobile as a wheelchair but I can walk a limited amount and it would be nicer sitting it is the biggy! Would love to have all your smart brains helping me think of something? I miss sitting more than walking and would give up walking if I could sit and use a wheel chair,sound weird I am sure but I would have more freedom than I have now, nothing much you can do flat in bed all the time. I have for 6 years been having to lay flat on my back (not because of career choice) 80-100% of everyday, imagine how boring that is!!! I am a very hyper person who loves making things and can make all kinds of things but cant make them very fast or at all because of you HAVE to be able to sit!! I was DX with FM and CFS and all kind of stuff but low and behold I read alot and my DX is Lyme disease un-DX for 35 years or so.

To those with FM:
Anyone thrown in the FM box please go to Lymenet.org and read the info there. I recommend a couple of the papers to read first one is a long one but best: Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease (2000 Burrascano Treatment Guidelines) which includes a great symptoms list but it is very long and the other is "The Lyme Disease Network Medical / Scientific Literature Database" which is search-able, to find medical papers about specific subjects including a symptoms lists and shorter and maybe more understandable papers. The library also explains the politics of it all which is a fight with the CDC which is also included in that area so you can see the differences. It is a mess, a lot of reading, and will not be fixed quickly if at all, but there are things you can do to get better, if the docs havent dont too much damage to you before you find out. Number one thing is getting DX (diagnosed) by a LLMD (Lyme literate doctor) which you can find one close to you on that site also, VERY IMPORTANT. Most docs know nothing of Lyme even in the NE because they are plugged into the politics and lazy and dont want to deal with appts that take more than 5 minutes. All about money!!! I know I have it, most of my family that summered or lived at my aunts lake home have now be DX with it, the neighbors and those in graduating class of my cousin's and they only had one stop light!!! They all now live in different states and were DX by diff docs and labs, because of me bugging them to get tested. Anytime FM comes up I ask people to go to this site. Hope this help you folks in the FM bucket.


And now back to me, please help I need this, I am giving up every other day now and one day soon it will be over for me, unless I have something to do! 6 years is too long to be alone 24/7 and in this pain with no money or medical support and not able to sit. My hope is very low and I am at the point of giving up the hope I have left!! I try to keep hope with small projects but they are so painful to do I am just barely wanting to even try anymore!
Thanks for this site its amazing, I wish I found it when I could make all this cool stuff because this is what I am good at, but cant do anymore. I may be making things worse mentally for me coming here to look at all the cool ideas, not sure, I want to play!!!! But can just cry about being grounded all the time. You are welcome to email me with questions or help ideas or offers and go from there?
Thanks in advance,
Conny

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RedneckEngineer (author)love4pds2011-06-18

After reading this I had an idea for you to think about. I don't know if it would work but if enough people read the idea and expand on it I'm sure something could be worked out.

My idea is to take a wheelchair and create some type of frame above where you "sit" and have a sling around your chest that holds you off the seat. Your feet could be used on the foot pads like your standing but in the sitting position. I hope that made sense.

Your wanting to use water I feel would make a design too impractial to get in and out of, not to mention moving around in it. With 1 gallon of water wieghing about 8lbs you would be looking at 40lbs of wieght with just 5 gals, even if that was enough water to float in. You will still sink to the bottom of the water unless you have the salt content of the Dead Sea to make your body more boyant.

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love4pds (author)RedneckEngineer2011-06-19

Dear RedneckEngineer,
LOL, no not real salty, but I am only 92 lbs if that helps. Would salt in the water help make me float higher in the water? I am not sure about a sling thing because the problem is my ligaments, tendons and soft tissue are deteriorating and the pressure I would put on them would make things worse. Holding my weight could potentially cause more damage to new places I think. My spinal ligaments are turning to "Mush" (His words to us...lol, not formally in records) but that is what the doc found after one of my surgeries, ligament laxity in the longitudinal ligament of my spine. Hanging I think may just pull on the spinal ligaments and make them elongate and could make them not snap back even more, like a rubber band that is overused, which is what causes pain now. Because they get in the way of the spinal cord and nerves. I can't even use a cane because it has started new pain above the waist in the thoracic part of my spine, so I had to stop using it, but that pain isnt a big problem to the touch yet, but it is bad not to be able to use it because I fall a lot too. I am grateful you are trying to come up with something and grateful for you reading my very long post. I can not do anything with my feet like you have in your post because the nerve pain and the pressure on my feet would push on my waist and spine which is what I am trying to avoid. I will try the sling part though and post the outcome because it may help, testing it may lead to something? THANK YOU SO MUCH for caring!!!

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RedneckEngineer (author)love4pds2011-06-19

The reason I said salt water like the Dead Sea is I've seen a documentary once on the Dead Sea and people were floating in it almost like they had floaty devices under them. And the narrator was talking about how the salt dense water made people float much greater than regular water. My wife is disabled with l-4 l-5 fusion and constant pain with musle and soft tissue cramping along with a host of other issues so I can relate to the problems your having.

As for a sling. What I had invisioned was some type of straping that goes around the chest area and then maybe around the hips/upper thigh. This could be rigged so the pressure would be distributed on these areas not on the joint/ligaments. Not sure if this would really work without testing but maybe if you researched some mountian climbing websites and talk to someone more experanced with them it could work. Hell you could create a new type of system and become rich. Goodluck and if you need more ideas just PM me. I'm good at thinking outside the box most times.

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Gorfram (author)2010-07-06

I have Fibromayalgia so severe that I am unable to work and am on Social Security Disabilty.

The thing I really need is an easily programmable ReminderBot: somethiing that would make some sort of noise to say "Okay, you've been standing up washing dishes (or some other standing activitiy) for 20 minutes now. If you don't take a break, your feet & lower back are going to make you suffer for it later." or "Okay, that's two hours you've been working at (some seated activity). Take a break now or you'll wear yourself out."

The device would need to be pretty darned idiot-proof: I've set my kitchen timer but forgotten to hit its "Start" button more times than I can count. Same thing with the microwave. And the oven. And the dryer...

Individual devices for "you've opened and closed the front door but haven't locked it" and "you've left the faucet dripping" could save me risk and expense.

The timer function on my cell phone (which, being circa 2006, was made out of stone knives and bearskins) is embedded about four wildly non-intuitive menus deep; and if there's a calendar/scheduler function to it, I haven't found it yet.

(But one thing I really, really need is an "you've forgotten and left your cell phone somewhere and the battery's run down and it's shut itself off" alarm.)

I do have an iMac with iCal, which might have a sufficiently user-friendly reminder function to help with some of this - maybe I should see if I can hunt that up.
(One big problem with Fibro is that the analysis-&-problem solving part of my brain shuts down when I'm tired; and I have to try to prioritize my use of it. Managing finances and trying to prioritze and accomplish ADLs use up the vast majority of my "brainpower budget" on most days. (yeah, I blow some of that budget here on 'Ibles, but 'Ibles is also actually good for me in re the "use it or lose it" problem).)




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love4pds (author)Gorfram2011-06-19

I saw a DIY reminder bot for multiple medication times here somewhere but cant find it now but maybe it could be modified for your purposes? I downloaded a program called speaking clock for my computer that you can set multiple reminder and I don't know how well that would work because you would have to set it up the same for each day or set it up all the time and could be more trouble than a simple egg timer. Good Luck, I have to think about everything I do also so I know how you feel. I get myself into trouble all the time. Have you seen the letter written called 'The Spoon Theory' it is amazing for explaining what it is like for us to healthy people in our lives. It's worth the read.
Bunches o Hugs!

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Goodhart (author)Gorfram2011-06-18

If done with an electronic timer of one sort or another, you could place the "set switch" under a plastic mat in front of the sink; a weight sensor maybe; and have the circuit set up to start when you "arrive" and stand on the mat....you could have it "reset" once you leave the mat.

There'd be a lot of ways to do this from using all kinds of sensors, timers (decade, etc), and electronic switches; or it may be easily controlled with auC

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mom2maddy (author)2010-07-09

I'm desperately searching for instructions on building a pediatric bath chair similar to this: http://www.rehabmart.com/imagesfromrd/8500_8600_8700_Tilt.jpg . I am not about to pay approx. $500 for something made out of PVC! Any ideas on how to build something similar?

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love4pds (author)mom2maddy2011-06-15

Could you cover a video gaming chair from a thrift store with a few plastic bags and use it? Not sure is it would float though, just seen them, not actually even touched one to know how it is made.
My 2 cents,

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caitlinsdad (author)mom2maddy2010-07-09

I do not think PVC pipe would be strong enough for that. It is most likely enameled or coated steel/aluminum tubing. You might be able to convert a beach sand chair. They do lie low/recline and you might have to mod it slightly to get it to fit in your tub. Shortening the width should not be too bad. I would not worry too much if you submerge it in water, it wouldn't be constant exposure once you let it drain and dry after the bath. Good luck.

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benhur (author)2010-07-06

Great idea. I have been trying to make some stuff for my brother who has a rare muscle decease like MS. I am trying to make a sit-to-stand device that will allow him to move from a standing position on his walker to a sitting position at a desk. Any ideas or hints would be appreciated. On another note, I just found a dealer that is selling a Sit-To-Stand Power Chair call Hero 1 for $4,300. The dealer's web site is www.medshopdirect.com. I have not checked this product or dealer out yet so I am not ready to recommend either yet.

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TextualFury (author)2010-05-28

Well this thread gave me a reason to finally sign up for Instructables, though I was planning to once I finished figuring out a few things.

I have a sunshade I have to repair so i will be posting a repair thread on that. My wheelchair needs one for two reasons. The sun is hot and burns me (sun allergy) and also the height makes me far from invisible so cars don't run me over on accident (though I can't do anything about on purpose...)

I am working on a combination of a grabber, a light switch flicker, and a door knob catcher (to pull the door closed) since I live in an apartment that was built in the 1930s during war time. Accessibility is growing because I am making changes happen.

I also have other projects, such as making your own chair bags or adding a money belt to your seatbelt that are in the works because I think it'd be better than paying $50 dollars for an ugly bag that doesn't fit my personal needs. I am also modifying the pendulator cupholder just a bit to make it fit where I need it.

Then there's the addition of speakers/mp3 player to my chair without any permanence, and because my hamstrings are too short for my legs I added a cushion to take care of some pain issues that my chair was causing me. My doctor and I designed this cushion (pretty basic in the end) and it really did fix my issue and has kept my feet from either freezing or frying on the metal plate since I eschew shoes.

Mind you, all of this is a work in progress. There's more stuff too including adding a sort of shelf between the sunshade and the headrest that can hold my service cat's stuff and maybe a wheelchair slanket mod for winter and or looking as unfashionable as I can.

I am also going to rework the waterproof cover I have for my joystick because it doesn't quite stay on right but it's already saved my joystick from a drowning when it rained. (I;'ve had this chair for two weeks and it's already showing some love...)

I think this is more along what you were looking for in the thread commentary? Also that wheelchair crib is fantastic. I don't know why you had to modify yours, why can't the industry make one? (Patent and manufacture).

Now I am off to murder a few of my handbags.... and maybe a cat carrier (though that would so widen the footprint of the chair it would work for travel!)

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lemonie (author)TextualFury2010-05-29

Have you seen this user's stuff? Might be helpful to you
www.instructables.com/member/DarkRubyMoon/

L

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TextualFury (author)lemonie2010-05-29

I have thank you. Most of their stuff doesn't quite match what I have going on but I figure if I get stuck I have someone to ask!

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hunter47 (author)2009-08-04

I invested, about five years ago, in a miniature lathe and mill (Sherline) so that I could move into metal machining as a home hobby. last year I was diagnosed with Atelectasis, COPD and Destructive Sleep Apnea. I now spend all of my waking and sleeping hours breathing supplemental oxygen while under going various therapies. The oxygen is either supplied from an oxygen concentrator or a bottle (which I wear with a sling) and is delivered to my lungs via a nose cannula. These devices put a crimp into my metal working hobby because my tools are located in my basement. Using bottled oxygen is impractical because I have to conserve it for work and trips outside of my home. The line from the concentrator does not reach and lengthening it involves snaking it through out the house. So I had to do something to continue my hobby. My wife forbids my relocation of the mill and lathe to the upstairs so I drilled a small hole in the living room floor next to a wall directly over my basement work bench. I feed the oxygen tube through the hole, attach my cannula to it and happily pursue turning perfectly good hunks of metals in to chips.

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kelseymh (author)hunter472009-08-04

That's a cool and interesting solution! Thank you very much for sharing it with us.
I have a question about equipment and other possible solutions...

I've met people who have what looks like a portable (shoulder-bag sized) O2 concentrator, rather than carrying a bottle with them. Does it make sense to use one of those down in your workshop, or to have a second fixed conentrator into which you plug in?

I have no idea what the costs are for these devices, or whether more than one is normally covered. So if my question is silly, just let me know :-)

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hunter47 (author)kelseymh2009-08-05

I have a concentrator in my house but another one would be the answer to working in my shop area. However my insurance will only pay for one concentrator in my house and one at work. One can buy concentrators on line(Ebay is one such site) but they are far from inexpensive. I was unaware of a shoulder sized concentrator. I will have to look into it since it would be an ideal way to work in my shop. It is also possible to arrange for a liquid oxygen storage tank at one's residence from which smaller bottles can be recharged with gas. The drawback is that the liquid tank has to be refilled once a week and someone is required to be present when the delivery is made. This is not a good option for me. My oxygen intake is 2 ml/min (not too sure of the units). This is not a large flow compared to what some folks have to use. Consequently I can get 4-6 hrs out of a small tank (which I can carry from a sling over my shoulder) and an "On Demand" regulator (omits a puff of oxygen only when I inhale). There is some hope that I will be able to get rid of the supplemental oxygen with weight loss. I have about 100 lb to loose. I cannot stress enough how insidious obesity can be to one's long term health. I am living proof of that. Thanks for the questions. They were timely and have helped me think through possible new strategies for coping with my disability.

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Goodhart (author)2008-11-02

The problem is, there are still a number of Docs that discount the reality of Fibro. because of it's lack of a pathology. Symptoms, without a definable cause. The Sarc, although she has definitely been diagnosed with it, though it is mostly in remission, so they are hesitant to blame that. What it comes down to then is appeasing her whims (for those that do not accept/understand Fibro).

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jessyratfink (author)2008-10-31

I don't really struggle with much - I'm legally blind without the help of glasses or contacts, and I have a blood disease. The second bit only bothers me if my platelets get low, but then it's "hello, Gush City!" I am, however, taking a class about disability sport and activities. I'm becoming really interested in it. And after hearing the prices people pay to continue doing things they love after they become disabled I really would like to do something about it. I'm honestly thinking about interning with some local disability organizations for my school credits.

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kelseymh (author)jessyratfink2008-10-31

Thanks, Jessy! Besides glasses/contacts, do you use anything special when you're building projects, sewing, or laying out designs? Have you put together anything custom to help you with your work?

Interning is a great way to learn more about the community, get involved, and (if it's your interest) develop the contacts to work for those organizations. I would definitely encourage you to contact your local Independent Living Center (if your profile is accurate :-). Besides doing your own Google search, they'll be able to both point you in a direction that interests you, and help you with contacts.

Good luck!

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jessyratfink (author)kelseymh2008-10-31

Thank you for the link! I'm also hoping to get in contact with Down's Syndrome of Louisville for a paper I'm writing. :) I'm really not at the point where I'm using extra bits and bobs for my projects yet! (Thankfully!) I have been thinking about it, though. Next time I visit my mother I think I want to check out some of the aids my grandmother used for sewing to help with ideas. I'm more worried about losing a contact or my glasses going missing. I'd like to get a system going where I won't be stuck somewhere without what I need. Or even a way to prevent me from losing glasses. They've been knocked off the nightstand before and I almost always have to wake my significant other up because I can't see them or feel them and I go into a panic. :P

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kelseymh (author)jessyratfink2008-11-01

You wrote, "I'm more worried about losing a contact or my glasses going missing. I'd like to get a system going where I won't be stuck somewhere without what I need. Or even a way to prevent me from losing glasses. They've been knocked off the nightstand before and I almost always have to wake my significant other up because I can't see them or feel them and I go into a panic." Now that's an interesting idea for some brainstorming. The obvious glasses-hang-around-your-neck string doesn't help with nighttime, and besides, glasses around your neck certainly wouldn't do justice to your current avatar :-) Some little embedded RFID (the rice-grain sized ones)? And what about contacts? It'll be interesting to see if anyone follows up to this....

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Goodhart (author)2008-11-01

It is hard, since my wife tends to react to meds poorly (especially if she has read the side effects panel). It is a hard road, and already I have 15 years of commitment into it....

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Goodhart (author)2008-10-30

I never realized how much is actually out there already ( like the Fire alarm Jane mentions... ). Thanks for getting me to look closer at this.

My wife has sarcoidosis that has been latent for about 10 years or so, only cropping out on the skin of her legs now and then. The enlarged lymph node in her lung has not gotten worse in about 10 years or so. She has also been diagnosed with a case of fibromyalgia for a few years now. Because she is on Thyroid meds and anti-depressants, and a number of other things, pain relief is almost out of the question. She may find some relief in a new perscribed medicine, Lyrica. But only if she decides to actually use it and not get herself worked up over side effects (she drives herself to distraction this way).

On MY side of the fence, I am only stricken with an acute case of anxiety. It WAS disabling at one time, but I am on a very low dose of Lexapro and that takes enough of the edge off without making me drowsy, so I am able to function again. Other then the heart surgery I recently had, I am good (and bouncing back better then before the surgery through exercise and weight training).

I am not sure what aids would be useful, if any, for my wife. She has been told repeatedly that she needs to move around more to feel better. Living in an apartment (first floor) makes it harder....we can't install anything.

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jessyratfink (author)Goodhart2008-10-31

How much activity can she physically stand, on average? I might be able to help with suggestions, if nothing else. I know it's tough living in an apartment. :)

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Goodhart (author)jessyratfink2008-10-31

One thing to clarify, our APT. has 3 full bedrooms, a decent bath, a BIG dining room, an even BIGGER living room, and a half decent kitchen....all on one floor. This is not small by any stretch of the imagination. Her Fybro-Doc keeps telling her to move around more, and she will feel better for it, but she moves a bit less each week. Standing and doing the dishes has become a bit of a chore, now. So they are backed up for weeks (we eat off of paper with plastic ware mostly now). We do have to lug the wash to the laundry and she is able to help some there. She can stand for long periods of time when she is distracted (like when shopping for food or clothes). I don't know what to say anymore, really. I shouldn't make the judgment, but she even comes across to her own family as someone that whines about every little thing, like it were the end of the world.

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kelseymh (author)Goodhart2008-10-30

Mike, I am really impressed at your comfort level, discussing issues like this in a semi-public venue. I can't imagine how I would handle your situation.

I can say one useful thing, though -- you can install things in your apartment, if they are needed as accommodations for a disability. Your landlord may require that your uninstall them when you leave, but s/he can't prevent you from making accommodations.

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Goodhart (author)kelseymh2008-10-31

I have always been pretty open (we all have similar problems, just in different doses many times, so private doesn't mean much to me personally....now, my wife is a completely different animal altogether ;-)

The first, and most effective change that could be made would be for HIM to reinstall spouting on the north side of the building, so that the rain does not fill the walls and cause the plaster to blister and get moldy.
The next greatest thing he could do would be to tear out the buckling paneling, and fumigate the walls, clearing THEM of mold (but doing it before the spouting is a waste of time).

Those two things would move both my wife and I at least 300% further into health than anything we could install.

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skunkbait (author)2008-10-30

My wife has Lupus and Fibromyalgia. On good days, she's strong and active. On bad days, she hardly leaves the bed. I'll point this topic out to her and to another family member who's totally disabled with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'd be happy to see anything I could build/make for either of them to make their lives easier.

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JaneBV (author)2008-10-30

One thing to be aware of before reinventing the wheelchair is that there's an increasing number of accessibility features built into mainstream technologies--whether by design or good old dumb luck. I'm currently 1/2 of Access on Main Street, a blog that tracks and comments on these features. Please check us out!

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kelseymh (author)JaneBV2008-10-30

Very true, and thank you for the post! (Before reading your link) some obvious examples are the increasing use of larger buttons and raised icons on remotes, the ever-evolving architectural codes for positioning switches and plugs, lever door handles, etc. I'll add your link to the description of the AT Group.

At the same time, many of us live in older homes (my wife and I just moved from a 1950's tract home to a development built in the mid-80's --- like night and day as regards access!), or own existing older stuff without the latest improvements.

Finally, just me being snarky --- the target audience and "solicited" feedback for this discussion (not restricted, just what I originally hoped for!) are people with disabilities who are building or making DIY projects, and the kinds of AT/AE they use in order to do that. I am excited and interested in the broader topics that have been contributed, including yours, and absolutely do not want to discourage them.

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JaneBV (author)kelseymh2008-10-30

Thanks, Kelsey. Besides buttons and icons, some of the things we've tracked have included cell phones for dogs, fire alarms that spray horseradish, and LED signs that display the subway stop for dozing riders...all of which have accessibility implications.

Back on topic: there's an incredible database of all types of AT called Abledata. If you click on the home page Products link, then on Workplace and scroll down until you see Tools, there are links to a variety of DIY tools. Some of these are commercial products; other are DIY instructions.

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kelseymh (author)JaneBV2008-10-30

Very, very cool technology... I've tried using Abledata in the past to find things, and have found the results to be hit or miss. Stuff seems frequently (that may just be my biased memory) to be non longer available, or the links broken. However, maybe I'm not doing the best searches. Thank you very much for joining this discussion! I'd be very grateful if you had interest in starting new discussions in the Group's forum, or adding I'bles of your own or that you've found. An I'ble consisting of pointers to AT/DIY resources on the Web would be quite nice (hint :-).

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JaneBV (author)kelseymh2008-10-30

Delighted to. Could you post instrux on how to set these up? Thanks--

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kelseymh (author)JaneBV2008-10-30

Sure! Follow the Submit link at the top of every page; the first option you'll see is "Submit a new Instructable." It'll walk you right through the process.

Or, you can go to your user profile (follow the "You" link at the top after you've logged in to the site). If you haven't created any I'bles yet, there should be a link there encouraging you to create your first one :-)

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JaneBV (author)kelseymh2008-10-30

Thanks! (BTW, I work about five blocks from Judi Rogers' office--she'll be so happy to know she's an Internet celebrity!)

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kelseymh (author)JaneBV2008-10-30

Cool! I'll send you a private e-mail (they call it "PM" here) with some additional info. Please give Judi our best; she was a tremendous help to us, with a number of great suggestions and ideas. I really admire the work TLG does and wanted to make sure they and Judi were acknowledged.

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Kiteman (author)2008-10-28

My mother has problems reaching, thanks to post-polio syndrome + ageing joints. She uses a length of bamboo with a rubber thimble stapled to the end to be able to open the ventilation grills at the top of her windows. A specific tool to solve a specific problem.

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Big Bwana (author)2008-10-28

What types of tools are you looking at changing, while I'm lucky to not have a disability, I do have kids and therefore I do build things like sleds for cutting plywood on a table saw (( Yes I watched some one cut off there fingers on a table saw cutting a sheet of plywood - hence the kids are not allowed to use it with out a sled - and even I use it from time to time )) And what sort of access issues are you having ?? are you talking about wheelchair access like building ramps because when you say access it's a very broad term (( I helped a senior couple that couldn't lock or unlock there front door because putting a key in the lock was very difficult, even with a larger key, yes if you talk to schlage they make larger key tabs, and I got them a RFID card reader and no matter how much your hands shake the RFID reader doesn't care and it unlocks the door, and the government, in Canada offers forgivable loans for items like this because it was classed as an access issue )) Or are you talking about access issues in general like accessing public buildings or access to public services ??

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kelseymh (author)Big Bwana2008-10-28

You ask many questions (fair enough, given my original posting). Let me try to address each of them in turn:

>> What types of tools are you looking at changing,

In principle, just about anything. I'm not necessarily looking to change things myself; I'm hoping to get feedback from members about what they have actually done themselves, in order to build their own projects. This would allow us to collect resources and information for other members.

I'm also interested in postings and feedback from members who want to use some tool for a project, but can't use it as built because of their disability. That gives us (and others) the opportunity to think about how to solve a problem!

>> what sort of access issues are you having ??

See the "Disclaimer" I wrote in my posting. I don't have a disability myself, I'm just a hanger-on in the disability rights movement. And my physcist/engineering personality likes to solve problems.

>> when you say access it's a very broad term

It certainly is, and I don't want to limit this discussion a priori. If a wheelchair user has problems rolling up to a mill, but good upper-body strength to do positioning and spin the platform wheels, they would have different access needs, and different adaptive equipment, than someone who wants to use a headstick or puffer to drive a CNC machine.

>> Or are you talking about access issues in general like accessing public
>> buildings or access to public services ??

Those broader issues are certainly one of my interests (disability rights is civil rights), but I wasn't intending these issues to be part of this particular discussion. If that's where it goes in a sub-thread, that's certainly fine with me, but it doesn't directly address the question "what tricks or jigs have you built to make your projects easier?"

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GorillazMiko (author)2008-10-27

Noooooo, that's the wrong image!!!

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kelseymh (author)GorillazMiko2008-10-27

Sorry? The blue-on-white icon is here as an anchor for this particular discussion topic, which is specifically addressed to the disability community. I haven't changed the main image associated with the Assistive Technology Group -- I really do like the "joined hands" you found.

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GorillazMiko (author)kelseymh2008-10-28

Thanks. Well, I guess you're right... maybe you could upload both?

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