Quiz Answer – It’s an adaptive finger-loop

For holding your phone

Ungrip – in use

This clever loop, called Ungrip, helps solve the problem of securely holding the increasingly bigger and slimmer smartphones on the market. Even with hand and arm weakness, keeping the phone close at all times becomes quick and simple.

  • EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE: Unlike metal or plastic rings, the fabric is comfortable for the fingers.
  • HIGHLY FLEXIBLE: Ungrip‘s design allows you to hold the phone in dozens of ways!

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BLOG – Learning to Fly

The ups and downs of traveling with a wheelchair

By: Cindy Kolbe

Note from the editor:
Cindy’s Kolbe’s daughter, Beth, became a competitive quadriplegic swimmer, during her sophomore year in high school. It required traveling by air to swimming meets – internationally and in the US – which meant they had to figure out how to handle flying with a wheelchair. 

My family had rarely traveled before my daughter Beth’s C6-7 spinal cord injury. From our small hometown in Ohio, she had been on a plane once, to Orlando, Florida.

Two years after Beth’s injury, she happened to meet a Paralympic coach, who encouraged her to try competitive swimming. She registered for the USA Swimming Disability Championships while she finished 10th grade. I was clueless, completely unaware of the details of traveling with a wheelchair.

We decided to order a manual wheelchair, instead of a power chair, during Beth’s inpatient stay in rehab during the summer of 2000, even though she could barely push it. With no thoughts of travel, Beth and I had no way of knowing that her new manual chair would be the key to simplifying the many flights in her future. That’s because a power chair is more vulnerable to significant damage, and may not work at all after a trip in the cargo hold of a plane.

Beth and her swim coach, Peggy

On our very first flight to Seattle, I transferred Beth to an airport wheelchair and innocently handed over her manual chair at check-in. At the gate, she had to transfer again to a narrow “aisle chair” to be carried on to the plane. I helped with transfers and tamed the leg spasms that followed. There were three seats together in our row. With my daughter on the aisle, the window seat passenger had to crawl over Beth before I followed him to sit in the middle. Her wheelchair survived under the luggage pile with only a bent brake lever, a stroke of luck.

A year after that Seattle trip, Beth was invited to Alberta, Canada with the U.S. Paralympic National Swim Team. At the airport, she wheeled her own chair to the gate. We left the side guards on her gate-checked chair and ended up losing one, but she earned her first stamps in her brand-new passport.

After graduating from high school, Beth’s first flight on her own took her to the National Youth Leadership Network conference in Washington, DC. I carefully packed her suitcase, and she carried my list of important phone numbers and a health card in her wallet.

“It was my first independent flight,” Beth said. “I’m not sure why, probably just something new and being nervous, but I got teary when Mom left me at security.”

Lifted into an aisle chair to board the plane, she asked flight personnel to wait with her while she calmed her leg spasms. At home in Ohio, I watched the clock and waited. When the plane landed in DC, she called me, reclaimed her wheelchair, and made her way to the conference.

Through her college years, she flew across the country and around the world with the U.S. Paralympic National Swim Team. She often traveled on her own, and getting to the airport was a challenge at first. Accessible taxis worked with early reservations, but after one was late picking her up, she experimented with the subway, friends with cars, and taxis—which rarely stopped for a young woman in a wheelchair.

Temple-of-Heaven in China with a friend

In Montreal for a swim meet, Beth had a flat tire on a Sunday during a snowstorm. Miraculously, I found an open bike shop with the right inner-tube. She has used foam-filled tires ever since!

Beth competed at England’s first Paralympic World Cup in 2005. At the hotel, her bed was too high. She asked another swimmer to put her mattress along the wall. Beth slept on the box springs because she would not ask for help to get into bed. At her next World Cup, two years later at the same hotel, her coach moved the box springs along the wall instead of the mattress. Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s an adaptive handle for the car!

Tool provides a 'leg-up' plus a lot more

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-38-24-pmThe HandyBar is an automotive safety tool that allows the user to assist themselves in safe wheelchair transfers while entering or exiting a vehicle. It offers leverage and support and helps protect from falls. It fits securely into either the outside passenger or driver side doors of almost all types of vehicles.

Even for those with hand and arm weakness, the HandyBar can provide needed stability. Continue reading

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Blog – ‘You-Tuber’ with Quadriplegia is not a Cyborg

And other gadgets his adaptive technology has been compared to

We have shown you his videos before. Dan, a young man with quadriplegia from the YouTube channel, Just Happened To Be has done it again.


VIDEO “Being Human” or: A Thing About Wheelchairs, Robots, and Evolution

He has created something new to show others – able-bodied or not – what living with paralysis actually means. And how it hasn’t changed him that much as a person.


The three-plus minute video is cleverly written and produced, comparing Dan’s adaptive devices to particular points in the evolution of the world and its creatures. If that sounds like a stretch, it is not. Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s a water-bottle bidet!

Personal hygiene made discreet and simple.

If you have a bottle of water, you can clean yourself in the bathroom quickly — even while you’re out and about. This pocket-sized accessory called the Hygienna Solo attaches to a water bottle very easily. It can be discreetly carried in your pocket, purse, briefcase or bag.


The Hygienna Solo

The most important feature is the angle of the nozzle, which is designed to provide a direct flow of water to the desired wash area. Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s an adaptive oven rack pusher/puller!

This is an oven aid designed for use by individuals with neurological, fine motor, grasping mobility or upper extremity disabilities, have a spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy, and other people who use wheelchairs. This device with a U-shaped notch at one end and a long handle at the other so that the user can push in a hot oven rack without being burned. It also has hook-shaped notches that can be used to pull a hot oven rack out of the oven.

Stay cool handle. High heat resistant to 645°F/340°C.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-50-31-pm Continue reading

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BLOG – New Video about Sex and Intimacy

Hear peoples' experiences coping with "intimacy impairment" after Spinal Cord Injury.

Recently, two peer mentors from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA self-produced and released an eight-minute video called Spinal Cord Injury and Intimacy because they were tired of the lack of resources when it came to talking about sex, intimacy and love. In it, men and women with spinal cord injuries talk about their experiences with intimacy in a stream of beautifully candid answers to the questions many people have. Each person interviewed comes from different backgrounds and are of varying ages.

Here is the video’s description:
Genuine intimacy in human relationships requires dialogue, transparency, vulnerability, and reciprocity. Intimacy combines passion, commitment, friendship, and love creating a desire for ongoing close interaction. Intimate relationships are social, intellectual, spiritual and can be physical. They support work, leisure, and learning. Unfortunately, at a time of catastrophe like Spinal Cord Injury, diminished body image, self-worth and therefore probability of success in developing intimate relationships, might lead one to believe their time would be better spent learning how to be “comfortably alone.” This can create a great sadness. Hear from these peoples’ experiences coping with intimacy impairment after Spinal Cord Injury.

You can watch the video below:

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Quiz Answer – It’s a Wheelchair Wheel Pouch

Store your stuff - at a convenient distance

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-11-09-16-amYet another great invention some wheelchair users can’t live without. That’s because it’s a great place to store frequently used items for short term use. This item also makes it much easier than a backpack to access.

The large outer pouch can carry reading materials, clothing articles and personal items. The larger inner pouch secures cell phones, remotes and valuables.

It even has an easy to launder quilted, fabric which attaches to most wheelchairs with secure hook and loop fasteners.

Some reviews of the product claim;

“This is something I really needed but did not know existed. I can store all of his catheter supplies in here and other things with no fear of them being lost. There are three pockets, which are all useful.” Continue reading

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Blog – A Closer Look at Adaptive Technology

Facebook has changed the way people talk about spinal cord injury

Recently, FacingDisability.com began an interactive Facebook quiz called, “What the Heck is It?” – a game that asks our fans about simple pieces of adaptive technology to see if they can guess what they are. One example is this image of an adaptive steering wheel handle. It got people talking. Even though the object was easy to guess, it prompted lots of arguments about using it. Some thought it was  too dangerous, while others said they couldn’t live without it. This single post brought almost 90 comments.

The responses reminded us that the way adaptive technology is used is highly personal. What makes the wide range of adaptive technology available today so necessary is that not every person with a disability will like using the same adaptive tool or will use it in the same way. Continue reading

Quiz Answer – It’s a guitar pick!

Adaptable Zero Gravity Orbit

Even with certain types of finger and hand weakness, those with paralysis can play the guitar.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-10-57-29-amThe grippy soft rubber tether is molded over and through the unique pick-head to create an ergonomic handle. The Orbit keeps the guitar pick where the musician wants it; always in dynamic playing alignment. The custom design fits all hand sizes, and can accommodate both left and right-handed players.

People that have tried it say they like the idea – and the best part is they can’t drop it. screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-11-16-41-am

For a quick video demonstration and review of the Orbit, see this lovely young woman walk you through exactly how it works here.

For more on adapting through occupational therapy see: http://www.facingdisability.com/expert-topics/what-does-occupational-therapy-help-patients-with-a-spinal-cord-injury-to-accomplish/sarah-harrison

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