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Tip site for the handicapped

Craft & Design
Tip site for the handicapped

Before my hip replacement surgery in 1999, I was sometimes relegated to a wheel chair. You cannot imagine what it feels like to give up your freedom of movement and your self-sufficiency. And you cannot imagine the joy and sense of independence you reclaim when you get some ability back, through an assistive device or some technique you learn. I remember when I got my first grabber/picker-upper tool and no longer had to call someone into a room to pick things up for me.

So I have to admit to getting a little verklempt when I saw Spinalistips, a Swedish site run by a couple of occupational therapists, that’s sort of an Instructables for folks with spinal cord injuries and others confined to chairs or otherwise severely handicapped. There are some 875 tips on the site and growing. They cover everything from tools and techniques for dealing with the bathroom, to work tips, to working in the garden (wheel chair accessible chicken coop above) to boating with a handicap.

It’s so wonderful that there’s a site like this for people who want to retain as much mobility and self-reliance as possible and to share tools, tricks and tips with others. Hack your handicap! Yet another reason why I loves the innernets.

BTW: The tip about Spinalistips was sent to us by Ulf Benjaminsson. He writes:

I am unaffiliated with Spinalistips. I’m just another Maker-in-disguise, working as a programmer and teacher for the GAME-department at the University of Gotland.

I love to browse their archive of ingenious little solutions, and find they give me tremendously concrete insight into the many “invisible” issues facing those living with a disability. It’s just pure inspiration and knowledge.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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