Adapting a toy for a single switch workshop

I  recently had the opportunity to do a workshop for Seneca PS in Toronto.  Two of Sunny View’s Ed Asst’s (Rita and Shami) helped me out.  We had 15 participants and each one wired a toy and kept it for their classroom.  What a great group, we all had fun and they were finished in record time.  We also got a tour of the school, it is always interesting to see how the different schools are set up and how they function.  We are doing two more workshops in a week and a half.  One for adapting a toy and another on cardboard construction.  I hope to post more about the cardboard construction in the near future.

Thanks Seneca for a great morning.

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Adapted 2 wheeler bike

I have finally finished the adaptations on a 2 wheeler.  The student’s left leg was going into abduction and would fall out to the side when he was pedalling. You could see that it was bothering him as he would hold onto his leg trying his best to hold it in place.  I added a “guard” made out of abs plastic and attached it to the back of the seat.  Because of rubbing when he was wearing shorts, I needed to add another piece of ABS with a flared edge which also extended a little further than the last one.  I also added a wide blue burfab strap to hold him around the upper torso and 2x 42″ velcro straps to wrap around his feet to keep them on the pedals.  So far, so good, we will continue to monitor him on the bike to make sure he is comfortable when using it.

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Adapted musical instruments

These instruments have been adapted for use on a wheelchair tray.  The upper wood bar is removable to drum on the lower bar or the upper instrument.  This would be good for a student who may only have the use of one hand and is unable to hold the instrument with the other hand.

These are some more instruments adapted for use on a wheelchair tray.  The stick to strike them with is in a clear plastic tube on the right side and is held onto the board by a ribbon.

A guitar mounted at a slight angle for wheelchair or tabletop use.

A mounted tambourine that can be turned vertical or horizontal depending on the ability of the student to move their arms.

One of my early mounted musical instrument boards.  I have now learned that if you mount them on a board that stands up like this, the kids can’t see over the board.  So newer ones are lower or on a slant and include a base that can be clamped onto a tray or table.  This one was fun though because it had so much going on.  The top right corner makes a great sound when you slide the drumstick over it.  The kids love the bell and the dog chain makes a great rattling sound.

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Marker holders and adapted paint brushes

For lots of our kids, holding a marker in their hand and drawing is not an option.  Hand over hand has become the norm.  These 2 marker holders give some independence to students by enabling them to move a marker around a page.

This one is made from an old computer mouse.  I have taken out the insides and inserted a burfab (velcro friendly material) band.  The students hand is placed on the mouse and the band is closed over their hand and velcroed snuggly.  Once they have chosen their colour of marker,  it can be inserted into the holder on the front of the mouse.  They can now slide it around the page.

This marker holder is made from plexi glass and lifted up off the page with 4 small legs.  The marker is inserted into the holder and it can be knocked or slid around the page.  For some students, this will be the first time they have independently made a mark on a page.

These paint brush holders have been made with a ball grip and a T grip to make them easier for a child to grasp.  I cut the paint brushes off short to make them easier to use.  The paint brushes can be removed for easy cleaning or to change the colour of the paint being used.

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Ipads, ipads, ipads, everywhere you look!

This is a link to a youtube video of the ipad cases that I make.  This one was made for a child who already had a communication device and a mount so I reproduced the mount on the back of the case so it could fit onto the existing post.  These cases are pretty good protection in the event that the ipad is dropped.  There is no guarantee, if it is dropped, it is bad.  But this does add some stability to the unit and makes the chance of it dropping a lot less.

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Fun with the camera

This is a case I made for my little point and shoot camera.  In  the lid there is a small piece of glue stick I have glued to the top of the lid that corresponds to the button you push to take a picture.  When you put the lid on the box, the sponges you can see around the top edge (blue box) hold the lid up so the glue stick is sitting just above the button.  When you push down on the lid, the stick hits the button and takes a picture, basically turning the camera into a single switch.  The oversize base allows it to be clamped in place, either on a wheelchair tray or a table.

You can see it in use in the youtube video here:


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Communication and Art

Here a carpeted board has been added to the armrests of a child’s walker.  This encourages them to keep their head up and to communicate with people they see while moving about the school.  The communication button is velcroed onto the carpet and can be moved to a convenient spot for the user.

This is a folding communication board/bookstand.  It is covered in carpet to be velcro friendly.  It can be used as a bookstand to raise the work up for the student to encourage posture.  It can also be used as a communication board with velcroed pic syms or photos and as a stand to hold other communication boards.

In the back is a pic sym stand made from plastic wood so it is fully washable.  In the front (both) is a pic sym strip with a handle on the back.  This makes it portable, easy to use at circle time and also acts as a stand when you set it down.

This is a portable communication board with a handle, covered on both sides with burfab (velcro friendly material).  It is light weight and can be carried by a child if need be to keep communication or schedules close at hand.

This is an adapted paint shooter.  It is one of those mega water guns, disguised, as no guns are allowed in school.  It was one that ran from batteries and you don’t have to manually pump it.  I adapted it for use with a single switch and mounted it on a lazy susan so it can move easily back and forth.  This one has canisters you can prefill so they can be filled with different colour paints and switched out.  With 2 kids, one who can only access a switch and one who can move it back and forth, this picture was created on a huge canvas and will be part of the art sale at Holland Bloorview in the fall.  It will be used to raise money for the art programme here and towards the Infinity Lab installation at Sunny View.

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Adapted pedals for bikes

This is an adapted foot pedal for a child who is unable to keep their foot on a pedal.  The pedal is enlarged by bolting on a wooden cutout of the sole of their shoe.  I then added an ankle hugger strap and a toe strap.

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Some other older stuff!

This is a juice box holder made of plastic wood.  They can also be custom made to hold a specific cup a child may be using.  The base on these are oversize so that they can be clamped onto a table and used without the use of hands.

Marker holder made from plastic wood.  The caps of the markers are embedded and glued into the base.  To make it easy for a child to use them, you loosen them before giving them to the child.  When finished you can push the markers back tight into the caps.

This is an adapted chair I made from corrugated cardboard.  I glued and laminated 5 layers of open boxes and then cut them all out with just a knife.  Then the pieces were hot glued and taped in place.  To finish the chair you would cover it with paper mache and paint it.  I made it as an example for my cardboard construction course where I teach how to make communication boards from cardboard and tape.

This is a mouth stick holder made to support a student on a work placement.  He needed a place to put the mouthstick when not in use but be able to have it positioned correctly so he would be able to retrieve  it on his own.  This was the prototype.  Much to big and colourful for a teenager.  The final version was black and used a much smaller diameter tube.  Like this one, you could adjust the angle of the tube, but the final one also swiveled on a base so we could get the perfect position no matter where he used it.  Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the final one.

This was a custom piece done for a student who was in a reclining chair for most of the school day.  This rested snuggly on the arms of the recliner and was adjustable to the proper angle.  This surface was a white board.  Another carpeted surface velcroed onto this so pic syms could be placed on it.  A mirror could also be velcroed on top of the carpeted surface so she could see herself.  She LOVED that! – this is a youtube video of the t-ball launcher.  I have redesigned the bar you touch to launch the bat and it is now much more sensitive and easier to use.

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Late Friday night…..

I have finally figured out how to add the picture to the header and am now working on adding pictures to the posts.  I hope to include a lot of pics so you can see what I am doing.  I will download a couple of videos also.

Dicing and slicing!

These are one of the very first things I did.  A simple pair of loop scissors mounted on a piece of plastic wood.  For one handed use or for someone without a grip.  Yeah, I did it.  On to bigger and better posts.  ( I hope! )

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