Every Activity Can Be Adapted Using AT
This rule may need a bit of defending because I am sure there will be some people that will start citing examples of activities they believe cannot be adapted.
First, let me make sure I am clear about what I mean by “activity”. I do not mean a specific level of proficiency. For example, someone might try to tell me that I cannot adapt playing Major League Baseball. That is a level of proficiency. However, the activity of playing baseball can (and has) been adapted. There may be some purists out there that will watch a Challenger League Baseball game and claim it isn’t baseball. Well, it’s been adapted. Some of those adaptations are equipment, some are rule changes, some are fan perceptions. If you get the chance to talk to a Challenger League player try telling them they are not really playing baseball.
Another challenge that someone might offer is that a particular adaptation would be cost prohibitive. Granted that cost is an issue in creating some AT, it is not proof that it cannot be done. In fact it actually proves that an activity can be adapted. Just recently “Fearless” Felix Baumgartner jumped from space and successfully sky dove to Earth. Do you think he paid for that endeavor out of his own pocket? If he had equated cost prohibitive with impossible it would not have happened. He thought the jump was possible and found a way to fund it. Unfortunately, Red Bull is probably less likely to provide a corporate sponsorship for a new AT solution to help an individual in a wheelchair to fly on commercial flights in their own chair. However, if that individual in a wheelchair wanted to set a record for sky diving from space . . .
Finally, someone may point out a specific activity cannot be adapted because they do not know how to adapt it. I would say that the activity can be adapted – it just may take some tools that are not in their toolbox. I know I drive AT Mom crazy some days when I bring up my latest to bring J’s wheelchair to a local custom motorcycle shop for some metal working that I cannot do myself. Just remember, just about every commercial AT solution started with one person having an idea and finding the extra help and resources they need to make it a reality.
In other words, EVERY activity can be adapted using AT. If you find an activity that isn’t adapted it just means nobody has adapted it yet. Allow yourself to be creative and dream. Even if you don’t think you have the right tools yourself to build a solution, sometimes just having the idea is enough. Finding someone who can do metal working, woodworking, electronics, or any other specialty skill is the easier part. The idea and inspiration are the trickier part.
So I encourage you do dream, sketch, whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Also, share your ideas. Share them with your child’s team, other parents, adults with disabilities. Share them here on this blog. I actually started this blog to encourage tinkering and to get inspiration from other people playing with AT. Together there is NO activity we cannot find a way to adapt.