Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's Like Riding a Bike

There is no end to the opportunities we have at Capabilities to be part of human goodness. In October we were invited to participate in the first annual bike fair for children and young people with disabilities. Sponsored by the non-profit organization, Assisted Cycling Tours, this day was about families and their kids doing something that many of these young people cannot do, ride a bike. Bob Matter, Founder of Assisted Cycling Tours, has created a tandem bike riding experience for kids and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Bob and his son, David, who has autism, worked together to create this Westminster, CO non-profit organization.

The event offered families the opportunity to enjoy a bike ride with their child or to watch him or her ride with a trained Assisted Cycling Tours expert. We brought some of Capabilities' practical tools to help children with disabilities do some of their everyday activities more easily, like eating, drinking and writing. Weighted utensils help stabilize a trembling hand and provide sensory feedback. The remarkable Steady Spoon, designed with a tiny gyroscope, that keeps the bowl of the spoon steady regardless of movement caused by tremors or paralysis. Cups with straws that hold liquid are great for some people with Down Syndrome, autism, and cerebal palsy, helping with motor and muscular development. For writing we featured the Writing Bird, the Ergo Writer, and grips that add texture and weight to pens and pencils making it easier to grip. The Writing Bird encourages the individual to grip the body of the bird to move the pen held in the beak of the bird. Some people with fine motor skill challenges can move in broader motions. The Writing Bird optimizes this approach. The Ergo Writer is ideal for those who cannot grip a pencil or pen. The lever on this tool is designed to hold the thumb providing the appropriate leverage for writing.

We also brought products for the caregiver, meant to soothe, comfort and help chase away fatigue and more. Among the more popular items were some of our incredible teas and very cool steepware for brewing those teas.

What are your particular thoughts and ideas about caring for children with disabilities? What are the types of tools and experiences that you have found useful or would like to see. Post your comments to this blog.

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