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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project A.D.A.P.T.

Today, we were invited to the grand opening of a much-needed, long-awaited workshop for therapists to make custom adaptive equipment for kids with special needs.

Some background: Our fantastic therapists--all employed by Southwest Human Development--helped their company win an amazing grant from Humana last year. Their pitch included detailed plans about how Southwest would use the money to found an adaptive workshop as part of their Project A.D.AP.T. I spoke on their behalf to give testimony to how critical this workshop is, how the adaptations they have made for my home and for the twins have improved our daily lives (not to mention the kids comfort and skeletal health) immeasurably, and about how much more they could do for all these kids and families if they had the space and the right tools and supplies.

Six months later, the workshop has opened. It's not large, but they've used the space well and have used their grant money to wisely invest in some critical tools and supplies. Congrats, Southwest! And a huge thank you to Humana for your commitment to improving our community through such a grant, and for seeing the value in our therapists' efforts to help small children and their physical and emotional health and developmental progress. I already know that dozens/hundreds of kids will find huge benefit to Gayle's "Happy Chair" now that she can make them at will, and I can't wait to see what sort of custom foot rests she will concoct to work with the twins' high chairs.

Note: I am aware that my captions are not lined up correctly with my photos. I have no idea why this is, and after 20 minutes trying to fix it, I give up. Sorry, readers.

Thank you, Humana!

Lauren tried out one of several iPads purchased with the grant money--and on one of those nifty Gorillapod-type things. She firmly told me that she wants an iPad know. I firmly replied that she should ask Grandma.

A view of the main room of the workshop. Through the window in the background is a wheelchair/mobility seating evaluation room. Very cool. And check out that totally huge green band saw on the right! (I understand that it's impressive, if you know what a band saw is.)

Construction table, with foam and other supplies stored on the shelving beneath.

More shots of the work table, with examples of the types of adaptive seating that Gayle can make, now that she has the right tools. The white teddy bear is sitting in Kyle's Happy Chair. Gayle named it the "Happy Chair" because it was the only thing that made Kyle happy way back when. The name stuck, and now all her clients and coworkers call it by the same name.

The placard next to the Happy Chair.

In Kyle's left hand, you'll see a red button. It's attached via a black cord to a Winnie the Pooh automatic bubble blower. It's an adaptive switch that therapists commonly use for kid's toys and electronics to allow a child with limited strength/mobility to access the device. Kyle is obsessed with buttons. Lauren is obsessed with popping bubbles. It's like yin and yang, but in a good way.


  1. Is the gorillapod style iPad stand a custom build? I'm looking for something that allows me to use my iPad in bed/reclined and can't find anything suitable that isn't really expensive. I need something that clips to my bed-side I think.

  2. Catherine, I can find out the exact brand name of that. It's a therapy-related device, meaning that it probably costs 10x the $ of a Gorillapod, but I can see how the clamps there and the iPad mounting mechanism would be valuable in your situation.

  3. It's not too bad on cost. Here's the link It's from modular hose. It held up great with a number of kids using it and moving it around. I was impressed!
    Thanks again Cassandra for speaking at the Humana presentation and bringing your two beautiful kids to the open house! Now we can get busy producing the things kids need. I love that big green band saw!!! We can cut the pieces for the happy chair in a hurry!