When the Michigan Assistive Technology Project provides device demonstrations, a favorite item for some participants is the Handy Bar. The Handy Bar is a portable handle the attaches to the U-lock in the door frame to provide a secure grip for getting out of the car. It is well-loved by older adults and others with pain in their hips and knees, and can allow people to travel by vehicle easier and more independently. I was delighted when flipping through the pages of Therese Willkomm’s newest book, AT Solutions in Minutes Book II, to see an even more inventive and practical use of the Handy Bar. In her book, Therese devotes an entire section to the use of flag pole brackets as mounting units for things like cupholders and umbrellas on wheelchairs. In addition, the book outlines how the same concept can be used with the Handy Bar to attach an umbrella outside of the car door. This is particular useful for people who use wheelchairs, who often need to assemble their chairs back together before transferring in – there is nothing like a wet seat cushion to start your day. Without giving away all of Therese’s secrets (we highly recommend purchasing the book and all proceeds benefit the New Hampshire Assistive Technology Project) the design involves using 3/4″ PVC pipe, flagpole mounting brackets, a Handy Bar, Tommy tape, and cable ties.
Some of the best assistive technology is homemade, products of the ingenuity and creativity of teachers, occupational therapists, people who work in assistive technology, and people with disabilities themselves. For many more inexpensive, easy assistive technology creations, check out Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes, you’re bound to learn something new.