DesignAbility volunteers develop and build unique assistive devices to aid persons of all ages with physical disabilities to be more independent and to participate at school and work, to parent, to take part in recreational and social activities, and to generally live more fulfilled lives.
Persons with disabilities often face unique problems. Activities like reading the morning paper, pouring a glass of milk or pursuing a favourite hobby can be a formidable challenge.
- work with clients to understand their specific challenges related to mobility or daily living
- create unique design solutions that are not available in the open market
- consult and work with occupational and physical therapists to create truly accessible solutions
There are guidelines to project selection. In general, we do not develop devices or solutions for which health care professionals receive funding. The need must require a unique device that is not commercially available. The development of devices such as lifting mechanisms that could endanger the user and anything that falls under a regulatory category is not usually undertaken by DesignAbility volunteers. Simply put we deal with projects that improve quality of life for which there is no product and no funding available.
The only costs to the client are those associated with materials and transportation incurred by the volunteer while working on a particular project.
DesignAbility, one of the March of Dimes programs, carries liability insurance coverage for volunteers and handles the program administration which includes the screening of volunteers and the approval of potential projects.
The Ottawa Chapter of DesignAbility has completed a number of devices in the last ten years. These include a pill dispenser, a bookstand that fits on a wheelchair tray, levers to operate the pushbuttons on a tape recorder, elbow operated control for a sewing machine, a shower system, and wheelchair modifications.
Doug Harvey-Smith, Elaine Darling
Ottawa Chapter Chair DesignAbility Coordinator
Phone: 224-0733 (res and bus) March of Dimes Canada
Email: [email protected] 1-800-263-3463-ext 7211