Tag Archives: Cerebral Palsy

100 Best Blogs for Disabled People and Carers

 3d Grandpa with his walking frame works online on laptop

Blogging is a great way to share stories, information, personal experiences and practical advice from all corners of the world. It can bring people together in remarkable ways, particularly when the article is uplifting, inspiring or even when they touch a nerve and are hard to read for their brutal honesty.

When a blog is written about something personal, such as dealing with a medical condition or life changing experience, good or bad, it gives the reader an insight into an area that they may not have experienced themselves and by sharing the information, it gives others a greater understanding of the issues and the challenges faced.

In many cases, disability can be isolating and to read a blog written by someone that has had a shared medical condition or disability and to see how they are dealing with it can be hugely reassuring, just to realise that you are not alone. For family, friends and carers, it can also provide greater understanding for the person they care for and the physical and emotional impact of their condition, that they might otherwise find difficult to discuss.

Blogs can also be a great resource for a host of providers, such as travel, holiday accommodation, places to go and things to do, reviews on products and services which can be invaluable.

We were recently contacted by StairliftsReviews, informing us that we have been included in their listing of the 100 Best Blogs for Disabled People and Carers, which of course, we were delighted with  - we are number 19 in the list. The list has some really inspiring blogs, showing you how much some of these bloggers have achieved, along with a whole range of practical advice from finance to travel. So enjoy reading and perhaps follow your favourites to keep up to date with what they are doing.

 

 

Surf Therapy

Adapted Surfboard for disabiity

Image: Surfability

Surf’s Up!

An exciting new development in surf technology is making headway for wheelchair users to experience the waves first hand.

Cerebra Innovation Centre,  in partnership with Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy, have begun designing bespoke surf boards for people with limited mobility and neurological difficulties, allowing wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water.

Kai Lewis is a thirteen year old boy from Port Talbot, who suffered a stroke at age one and consequently lives with cerebral palsy.  He helped to test out the new products recently out on the water at Llangennith Beach in West Wales. Onlookers watched as Kai surfed his first wave, with a little help from his tandem surfer, a trained surf instructor riding on the back of his board. The board is a pioneer surf product, with a supportive “bucket” seat and space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. Kai had a very successful day out on the water, catching waves with a huge grin on his face and his mother looking on proudly.

Adapted surfboard

Image: Surfability

Surfability UK (surfing for disabled children) and Tonic Surf Therapy (working with surf and ocean therapy programmes in the UK and the USA) have teamed up with Cerebra Innovation Clinic to develop this product. Surfability UK was founded in 2013, as a response to increasing demand for inclusive surfing lessons that would allow people living with disabilities to experience the surf first hand. They design specific surf lessons and experiences for groups and individuals based on their needs, in a safe and supportive environment. Amongst their equipment are Tandem Surfboards, Surfing Helmets, Buoyancy Aids and Beach Access Wheelchairs. They also use innovative communication with IPad software to ensure clear communication and instruction between teacher and student.

They aren’t the first to make progress in making surf more accessible to wheelchair users, but they are the first to create individualised products for specific conditions.  Ross Head, CIC Product Design Manager, says that “since its inception, CIC has made a tremendous difference to the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK. The unique strategic vision for CIC means that we are able to respond to individual requests for help and can make small numbers of bespoke products that focus heavily on individual requirements and inclusion into society.”

Overall, the day was a great success, supported by top weather conditions and a supportive team by Kai’s side. His mother,  Leanne Lewis, expressed her pride, saying “hopefully it’s going to get more children out of their wheelchairs… The more you can get them out the better.” Most exciting is what these continuing innovations in surf and mobility technology represent for the future, for wheelchair users, and for surf lovers alike. If you’re a surfer, or you simply love the water, you’ll know the thrill of the wave, and the residual calm, and how the water becomes like a meditation when you immerse yourself in it. Everyone deserves to experience that feeling, and now they can, thanks to CIC, Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy.

For more information on innovative surf technology and therapy, take a look at the following:
Surfability UK:  http://www.surfabilityukcic.org/
Cerebra: http://w3.cerebra.org.uk/
Tonic Surf Therapy: http://www.cynnalycardi.org.uk/

Author credit:  Rosie Moreton for designed2enable.co.uk

Self Lacing Shoes and Footwear for Disability

Putting on a pair of shoes can be a daily struggle and a chore if you are disabled or elderly.  But shoe designers are coming up with some interesting, futuristic designs that could help make life easier.

As a result of an open letter sent  by a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Nike have developed a cool pair of trainers designed for people with disabilities. Matthew Walzer, then 16, wrote asking Nike to make a pair of accessible shoes that would provide support and a closure system that could be used by everyone.

Nike Flyease

Nike Flyease trainers

In his letter, Matthew said “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday”

In response to his plea, Nike have developed Flyease, a trainer that uses a wrap around zipper system to secure the shoe, whilst a larger opening has been created to make it easier to slide the foot in and out.

In a posting on the Nike website, designer Tinker Hatfield said “While varying levels of mobility make it difficult to provide a universal solution, we feel this is a significant development for anyone who has ever struggled with independently securing their foot within Nike shoes.” Matthew responded by saying “There are not enough ‘thank yous’ in the world to express my undying gratitude.”

Limited quantities of the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE are now available on Nike.com website.

 

Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto has joined forces with Italian shoe maker Vibram to create the Vibram Furoshiki; a minimalist piece of footwear that has been described as Origami for the feet.

Vibram-furoshiki shoes

Vibram Furoshiki

Furoshiki-Vibram-shoes-stretch

Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese technique of cloth wrapping which is still used today for gift wrapping and transporting goods. This ancient technique has been used to create a minimalist piece of footwear with an innovative and anatomical grip sole that literally wraps the shoe in place. This is a really interesting concept which may help those with limited hand dexterity. You could imagine they would feel like second skin footwear; whether they will be waterproof or more of a slipper shoe is unclear but we will watch the shoe’s progress with interest.

 

Later this year, Nike is planning to release the Nike AIr MAG, a pair of self-lacing shoes, inspired by the time travel film  ’Back to the Future II’ worn by the fictional character Marty McFly when he is transported in the movie to 2015.

nike-mag-2015-release

Nike Air MAG

Rollers embedded in the sole of the Nike Air MAG  would be activated by a control system which senses weight in the sole of the shoe. The power laces then respond by tightening and wrapping themselves around the shoe. Teasers have been dropped recently by Nike’s designer Tinker Hatfield as to the launch date later this year for the Air MAG so watch this space…