Sometimes things can be harder for me, so my family, OTs/PTs, and I find ways to make adjustments or think of hacks so that I am able to do these things! Continue reading to learn about several of these adjustments/hacks that make things easier for me and/or help me be more independent!
In my room, I have an Elfa desk with drawers on the side. The Elfa desk is adjustable, so as I grow and my wheelchair grows, it can grow with me! I also have drawers on the side of the desk, and these open and close very easily, and are very accessible for me to pull up to and reach for.
My family and I have several Amazon Alexa’s around our house. An Alexa is a virtual assistant, and is very helpful to me in my everyday life. While Alexa can play music and do so many cool things, she can also turn lights on and off! It is very difficult for me to reach a light switch and turn it on/off, so Alexa is there to help!
In fourth grade, I got a school laptop provided by the DOE. I can easily get tired when writing by hand, especially when writing for a longer amount of time. Having a school laptop is incredibly helpful to me, as I don’t have to use up as much of my energy as I would writing by hand. While a laptop makes writing easier for me, it is also a great way to stay more organized with your school work!
Pencils aren’t the easiest thing for me to write with. At school, I would always write by hand in particular classes like math, and my hand would get tired when writing with pencil, so I started using erasable pens! Erasable pens are easier for me to write with, and I can erase (which is especially helpful in classes like math, where I need to erase things often).
When I have sleepovers with my friends, (obviously not in the current situation), I like to watch movies on my TV, which is in front of my bed. I also might like to read or work on my computer in my bed. However, it’s not easy for me to sit up and do this. Because of this, I have a bed frame with an adjustable base, so that I am able to sit up, watch TV, and/or work with the support of the bed behind me.
I also have a portable laptop desk with adjustable legs. This helps me when I am sitting up in bed and reading/working. I am able to put this desk on my bed and rest my computer and/or book on it!
As my muscles are weaker than others, this means that I have a hard time feeding myself with typical silverware. Because of this, I use lighter and smaller silverware so that I am able to be more independent and feed myself on my own without having to rely on someone else to feed me.
I have to wear orthotics on my feet every day to help me stand easier and to keep my feet straight and as aligned as they can possibly be. It can be hard to find shoes that fit my feet because of my orthotics, so I got a couple of pairs of shoes from BILLY footwear. As BILLY footwear describes, the shoes “incorporate a zipper that go along the outside and around the toe, allowing the upper of each shoe to open and fold over completely.” This allows me to easily slide my foot and orthotic inside of the shoe. I also have other shoes that work for various reasons. Dr. Martens are one of them. Dr. Martens have a zipper on the side of the shoe which allows the shoe to open up a bit more, allowing more clearance for my foot to fit inside. Another example are my Nike Air Force 1’s, which are pretty stretchy, making it easier for my foot to slide in.
The most comfortable place for me to read is at night in my bed. When using an actual book, it is hard for me to hold it comfortably in bed and turn pages. However, I started using an Amazon Kindle, which has been a huge game changer for me. It is much easier to hold, as it is lighter, and it is so easy to turn pages, all you need is one single tap!
I love to go in the pool but it is tricky because I have to be careful that my trache doesn’t go underwater. My best friend with the same disability has a floatie that someone made for her and we made a similar one. The floatie is an innertube that has fabric that crosses below to hold me in a safe seated position. It is hard for me to go off my vent, so we also place my vent in a rubbermaid container that sits in a cooler floatie. This allows me to move around on my own in the pool.
When I used to take the school bus in elementary school, it was very hard for me to keep my head in control. The ride was so bumpy and my head would fly around like I was on a roller coaster. My mom made a head support that attached to my headrest with velcro. It was made out of a styrofoam half ball that she cut and we wrapped fabric around it. My head fit snugly inside and it made for much easier bus rides.
The last thing I use quite a bit is a suitcase ramp. I use two of these to get out to our terrace. They fold up, have a handle and are very easy to carry and store. Sometimes we take it with us in our van in case there is a step to somewhere I want to get into. This was especially helpful to have with us when we were looking to buy a house and they weren’t accessible.