Difficulty Level

AT in the Cloud


Maintaining communication page sets on an AAC device can be overwhelming.  In this video I discuss one of the tricks I use to edit J’s page sets on my laptop while making sure that J’s Tobii C12 is kept up to date with the latest edits.

For those interested in how to make use of DropBox as a way of editing AAC page sets on Tobii devices, here is the how to video:

Categories: Beginner, Caregiver Tech, DIY, High Tech | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bench Walking AT Home


One of the things J is working on in Physical Therapy is assisted walking.  Here is a look at some AT J’s PT built to help facilitate bench walking around the house.

Categories: Beginner, Casual Hacker, Cerebral Palsy, DIY, Low Tech, Therapist Adaptation | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing the AT Battle Tank


The second stone in the AT Arms Race from the AT Skunk Works labs.  Last week I showed you a switch adapted squirt gun, now let me introduce how that became the AT Battle Tank.

Categories: Casual Hacker, DIY, Just For Fun, Low Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let the AT Arms Race Begin


While it has been a quiet month on my YouTube channel and blog, I have been busy in the AT Skunk Works labs on a top secret project.  Now that it is finished let me throw the first stone in the AT Arms Race.  🙂

Categories: Casual Hacker, Cerebral Palsy, DIY, Medium Tech | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

No Tech Eye Gaze AAC


Since last week people seemed very interested in AT Rule of Life #1 (Every High Tech AT Solution Needs At Least One Low or No Tech Alternative), I thought I would share a No Tech Eye Gaze AAC solution we use at the AT Household as an alternative to J’s High Tech AAC device.

 

Categories: Cerebral Palsy, Newbie, No Tech, Rules for an AT Life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer AT On A Shoestring


A beautiful summer day at the AT household inspired me to share a little summer Assistive Tech on a shoestring budget.

Categories: Beginner, Cerebral Palsy, DIY, Low Tech, No Tech | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

AT for the Caregiver


Assistive technology (AT) isn’t always for the individual who happens to have a disability.  AT can also be something utilized by caregivers to make life easier as well.  This weeks DIY AT entry is one of those helpful life hacks for the caregiver.

Part of J’s life includes a G-tube.  Due to various issues, J receives a continuous drip feed through that G-tube using an enteral pump.  That means a carefully measured amount of food is pumped directly into J’s stomach at a predetermined rate over a prolonged period of time.  That also means that the carefully measured amount of food must be made every day.  This is where today’s low-tech AT project comes in.
Continue reading

Categories: Caregiver Tech, DIY, Low Tech, Newbie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inspiration–Automatic Dog Ball Launcher


As you may have read in a recent post, I am exploring ideas to help J participate more fully in Challenger Baseball games by modifying a switch adapted pitching machine to help J throw the ball while fielding.  That project of mine received some attention from another parent who was looking for a way to help their child play fetch with their service dog.  Their child happens to have Cerebral Palsy, happens to use a wheelchair, and happens to need a little help throwing the ball.  A very similar situation to my desire to help J participate in the fielding half of the inning during baseball games. Continue reading

Categories: Casual Hacker, Cerebral Palsy, DIY, Inspiration, Medium Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AT the Ballpark


As I wrote earlier, J started playing Challenger League Baseball this year.  AT Mom and I may have been more excited than J with the approaching first game.  The last practice before the game J received a uniform – a Blue Jays jersey and ball cap. 

The day of the game arrived!  We got dressed, packed up, and headed out for the ballpark.  We arrived for warm up with the team.  AT Mom and I had the biggest smiles on our faces watching all of the kids arrive in their uniforms complete with huge smiles on their faces, ready to “play ball!”  It was a very sunny day, perfect for a baseball game.  AT Mom whipped out the sunscreen and started protecting J’s exposed skin.  (I was too excited for the game to start, after all J and I were about to play baseball!)

After AT Mom finished applying sunscreen I moved to complete the uniform by adding J’s ball cap.  I took a step back to admire “J the baseball player.”  J’s head turned to look at a friend and J’s ball cap fell forward.  I stepped up and fixed the ball cap and took another step back.  Again, J’s head turned towards the crack of a bat from one of J’s friends taking batting practice.  Again, the ball cap fell forward.

For then next couple of minutes there was this sort of dance going on, J’s ball cap falling forward and AT Dad stepping in to readjust the ball cap.  The problem was that whenever J’s head moved the ball cap would rub against J’s headrest.  After a few minutes I realized why some of J’s teammates simply did not wear their ball caps, and we went capless ourselves.

The first couple of games involved the same dance each time.  I would try to help J wear the ball cap, constantly fixing it, then give up and go without.  J was happy to not wear the cap and focus on playing baseball.  I think it helped that J could feel more wind through J’s hair as we ran the bases without the ball cap.

Then one game I got to talking with one of the other parents about possible adaptations for the ball cap.  I thought about building a sort of halo that could suspend the ball cap above J’s head.  AT Mom thought that would just be visually distracting.  (She was right.)  Then I hit on an idea that I thought would work great.

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Side view of my ball cap to show before adaptation.

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Back view of my ball cap to show before adaptation.

The problem was that J’s headrest would rub against the back of J’s ball cap and spin the cap of J’s head. What if J’s ball cap did not have a back to rub against the headrest?

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Side view of J’s ball cap after my adaptation.

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Back view of J’s ball cap after my adaptation.

I cut out the back three panels of J’s ball cap and used barrettes to attach the front of the cap to J’s hair. This allowed J’s head to turn against the headrest without rubbing the ball cap. The first time I tried the new ball cap it stayed in place for nearly the entire game. That includes running the bases.

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J wearing the adapted ball cap.

The next couple of games did not fair as well. The cap stayed on better than before, but J’s fine hair made it difficult to get the barrettes to hold well. Thinking about the design a bit more, next season I will cut out the back three panels but this time I will leave the Velcro strap across the bottom used to adjust the size of the ball cap.  When next season comes around I’ll have to remember to write an update to how well the new design works.

Categories: DIY, Low Tech, Newbie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AT Meets America’s Pastime


A couple of years ago AT Mom and I were invited to bring J to watch a friend play Challenger League Baseball.  J was absolutely hooked.  From the moment we arrived and even before we were fully settled into the bleachers, J was glued to the fence watching all of these kids playing baseball.  J had already been exposed to MLB on television (that’s another story for another time), but this was the first time J got to see other kids, including kids with similar challenges, playing the game.  I think the kids who happened to be wheelchair users captured J’s imagination the most.  One of our favorite pictures of J is one that AT Mom captured of J standing in a gait trainer that is pressed up against the fence.  J’s head is beautifully upright watching the play on the other side of the fence.

Unfortunately, J was too young to play at that time.  A couple of years later though, J got to play baseball for the Blue Jays.  The first couple of games made it apparent that J’s favorite part of the game was batting.  J’s favorite position was Designated Hitter – I guess it was a good thing we were on an American League team.  Winking smile

Fielding was a difficult part of the game for J.  Being a chair user added some challenges to fielding the ball, but those could be overcome with a fielding aide (AT Dad had to dust of my old baseball skills).  However, more than that was the impact of J’s Cerebral Palsy on wearing a glove.  The nature of J’s tone made wearing a typical baseball glove inappropriate.  I took my lead from some of the other parents and help J put a baseball glove on one of the armrests of J’s wheelchair.  I knew there had to be a better way so during one of the games I started talking with some of those other parents about ways to adapt a baseball glove for our kids.

The solution that I came up with was based on an adaptation done by J’s OT I wrote about earlier (AT <3s Velcro).  The simple idea was to attach some hook Velcro to the inside of the heel of the glove.  J could then wear the left Velcro sensitive splint when fielding.  The hook Velcro sticks to the splint and J does not need to hold the glove on.

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J’s adapted glove.  You can see a bit of the white hook Velcro pad.

I happened to choose some industrial hook Velcro.  I was hoping that the “industrial” nature would include a strong adhesive that would help keep the Velcro attached to the glove.  Also, the hook side of the Velcro is made up of what appears to be a lot of tiny pyramids – so it is not as abrasive against bare skin.

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Opening up the glove for a better view of the white hook Velcro pad.

I cut a patch wide enough to cover most of the inside of the heel of the glove.  This would increase the surface area of the Velcro touching the Velcro sensitive splint.  As an added benefit it has meant I have to be less precise when helping J put on the glove during those days that J’s tone is less cooperative.

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A better picture of the hook Velcro pad attached to the inside of the heel of the glove.

The glove I had purchased for J at the beginning of the season was a tee ball glove that had a wrist strap that was fastened by Velcro itself.  That meant I could open up the wrist strap completely when helping J put on the glove, exposing my Velcro adaptation for easy use.

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Helping J put on the glove before taking the field.

Now during inning changes instead of putting J’s fielding glove on an armrest of J’s wheelchair I help J put it on.  I start by helping J put on the left Velcro sensitive hand splint.  Then I open the wrist strap of the baseball glove and help J place J’s palm centered on the hook Velcro pad inside the baseball glove.  I then help J tuck J’s thumb inside the glove.  Finally, I close the wrist strap of the baseball glove and help J tuck fingers inside the baseball glove.  J seems to like keeping that pointer finger outside the glove like the pros do.  Smile

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J wearing the glove and ready to take the field.  Note the pointer finger outside the glove just like the pros!

We then wheel out to the field and take our position (usually around second base).  During the inning it is not uncommon for J’s fingers to come out of the glove.  That would have resulted in the glove falling off in the past; however, thanks to the Velcro adaptation the glove stays on J’s hand.

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J ready to field any grounders towards second base.

Now when we are in the field, J and I charge every ball put into play towards second base.  We cover second base and back up first base on just about every other play.  With all that running we no longer spend any time going back to pick up a dropped glove.  Fielding has become a bit more exciting for J with all the running and activity; however, J still prefers to bat.  I guess I know where J falls on the age old Designated Hitter debate.  It looks like the AT household will be an American League household.

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J taking a break between batters.

 

Categories: DIY, Low Tech, Newbie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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