If you want to be introduced to the wonderful
world of assistive technology (AT), you must visit The New England Assistive
Technology (NEAT) Marketplace in Hartford - a one-stop-shop for AT
resources. I was lucky enough to attend NEAT's Total Access for
Everyone Now! Expo on Friday, April 8. The expo featured
hundreds of helpful low tech and high tech products that help a wide variety of
people with disabilities from vendors all over the
Among the latest technological wonders
featured at the expo was the ibot, a revolutionary mobility device that
allows you to climb up stairs and talk and travel at eye
level, among other incredible features. While the ibot is not
appropriate for all people, it is a mobility system that empowers the user with
unprecedented levels of self-reliance and
Goldstein was 11 years old when she discovered she had a problem
coloring with her broken crayons. Due to her weak hand grasp, she
wasn't able hold the broken pieces of crayon. Cassidy's solution?
Create an adaptive crayon holder to make the crayon easier to use.
Cassidy didn't realize she was about to design a low-tech assistive
technology device. In other words, a piece of equipment that adapts an
item to make it easier for people to use, including a wide variety
of people with special needs or disabilities.
just so happenened that her father had bought her mother some roses
for Valentine's Day. Each rose had been purchased in a plastic tube
filled with water to transport them home. Her dad had
thrown the plastic tubes away. Those plastic tubes became Cassie's
inspiration. She fetched them from the waste basket and inserted
a broken crayon into a tube. While it wasn't a perfect fit, it was
the birth of an idea - the crayon holder.
father, Norman Goldstein, was so impressed with her ingenuity and her
invention he created By Kids For Kids, a company dedicated to inspiring
kids to use their imaginations. Today, kids from all around the
country submit their inventions to BKFK. And like Cassie's adaptive
crayon holder, many of the kids inventions are designed to help kids
with a wide variety of special needs and disabilities.
following prototypes of assistive technology devices and adaptive
equipment designed by kids were demonstrated on this segment,
is great for kids who have trouble organizing their school work in
their single-pouched backpack. This backpack has color-coded sections
built in for multiple categories of homework, greatly reducing the
stress of the "messy backpack" syndrome.
Rocketz Backpack Wheels This
is not just any backpack on wheels. This one actually fits in a school
locker and is considered "cool." Perfect for the student who can't
sustain the weight of a loaded backpack, but provides an easy-on,
easy-off wheel attachment option.
Wheelchair Backpack Holder This
young inventor saw his neighbor struggling to retrieve her backpack
hanging from the back of her wheelchair, or relying on someone else to
get it for her. This ingenious backpack holder attaches to any
wheelchair allowing the user to flip a lever which brings the backpack
to the side of the wheelchair, allowing the user to retrieve items with
Sponge Blocks These
clever blocks are made out of a feather-weight sponge material with
built-in magnets, allowing them to attach to one another. These blocks
are great for kids with a wide variety of special needs that allow them
to successfully grasp and build. As an added bonus, they were designed
to be vacuum-packed for condensed storage.
Learn how kids can participate by visiting the By Kids For Kids website at www.bkfk.com