Where is the AT for Individuals Without Limbs?

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by Kim Lathrop, Administrative Staff at CFILC

Hi!  My name is Kim.

I am a 29 year old single woman and I live with my two Shih Tzus in my own apartment.

Now, all of that may not seem too out of the ordinary, but I did leave out one detail…. I was born without any legs or arms.

Before I go any further, I want to say that yes, I have personal care attendants. They do assist me with major tasks that go along in my day-to-day life and in my home. With that being said however, half of the time I am home by myself. During those times, it is important that my apartment is set up and that I have what I need to function. For example, I have different lengths of mouth sticks that I use for flipping light switches on and off, for bringing items that are out of reach closer to me, and to operate the t.v., phones, etc.

My mouth sticks help me out tremendously, but there are many other things I could do on my own if I just had the right equipment.

picture of kim at her desk using a mouth stick for her computerWhere is this AT for individuals with no limbs? Does it even exist? I have so many ideas for new and needed assistive technology items!

For instance, I think I’d be able to brush my own teeth and apply my own make-up if there was some kind of a portable platform with a mirror against the back of it. On this platform there could be holders of different shapes and sizes and with different adjustable grips.  These holders would be able to secure a toothbrush, lipsticks and other items in place so that I could use them.

It would be really cool, too, if one of the holders held a washcloth so that I could wash my own face.

Another idea I have is to somehow attach a mouth stick to the security chains on my sliding glass doors, so that I am able to lock/unlock them.

I would also love it if there was a mouth stick that had a claw-like clamp at the other end of them, so that I could really grab things. I used to have something similar to that, but it would not close all the way and stuff would easily slide out of it.

My mouth sticks help me out so much and I am very thankful for the equipment that I have so I am able to maintain as much independence as I can.  However, there seems like there could be more AT out there for individuals like myself and I look forward to the day my ideas become a reality.

If anyone out there has any suggestions or wants to design and make this AT, please leave a comment below or contact Ability Tools at info@abilitytools.org.  I am looking forward to hearing from you!

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