Pediatric activity ideas for Occupational Therapists

Misericordia prof working with Pride Mobility engineers develops way to aid disabled.

EXETER – While teaching a Misericordia University class on the environmental aspects of disabilities, professor Denis Anson thought he saw too many “deer in the headlights” looks on student faces when explaining how to assess a place’s accessibility for the disabled.

“I realized you have to figure out a better way to explain and give students a better tool to do their assessments out in the real world,” said Anson, of Noxen. And so a quest began to create an easy-to-use tool kit to analyze a building’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With the help of some design engineers at Pride Mobility Corp. in Exeter, Anson brought a prototype of the kit to a professional conference in Orlando last summer. It drew positive reviews and agreement from colleagues that there was indeed a market for it.

A year later, Anson has revealed the ADA-CAT, or Americans With Disabilities Act – Compliance Assessment Toolkit, 11 pieces that fit neatly into a nylon bag and weigh less than 4 pounds.

He demonstrated the kit throughout Pride Mobility’s offices Friday morning as employees watched.

From sound and light monitoring equipment to a device that tests to make sure a key can turn with ease for someone with hand strength problems, the kit had what many occupational and physical therapy workers would need to evaluate a home, business or public building.

The first batch of kits is being manufactured in Pittsburgh and retails for $499. But who will buy them?

“We aren’t sure yet,” Anson said with a laugh, but he has some ideas based on his personal experience.

“Anybody that teaches environmental assessment is going to buy this; any school with an occupational therapy or physical therapy program. If they have to teach environmental assessment, they’ll have to have it because there isn’t an easier way.”

Jay Brislin, a Misericordia graduate who studied occupational therapy and now works at Pride Mobility, said the kit “is pretty cool from a therapist standpoint. … It can tell you immediately whether you have a compliant home or not.”

Construction crews, architects and engineers, Anson said, often design and build without thinking about the needs of the disabled.

“If you walk through the world looking at what’s done you’ll see that architects don’t get it. They don’t think about what it’s like to be blind,” said Anson, who also serves as director of research for the Assistive Technology Research Institute at Misericordia University.

Coupled with the kit is an online program that allows the user to create a compliant checklist and a test guide customizable to the type of disability and the type of building.

Source: Tool kit determines disabled accessibility | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

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