This is our final post from our trip to India. Vanessa and Emily have been doing a fabulous job developing and posting on this blog for the last 17 days. It has truly been an honor traveling with both of them and watching their interactions with staff and students. They are both going to be amazing OTs. They spoke with confidence and passion as they discussed what occupational therapy is to so many people.
I must say that this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I conducted a total of 12 hands-on assistive technology workshop days in 17 days to over 1000 students at three different colleges. This must be a world record of the most number of students fabricating assistive technology solutions in minutes. A total of 320 solutions were fabricated by students. Students worked in teams and often fabricated three or more solutions per team in addition to the items fabricated during the hands-on portion of the workshops. I must say- the students and staff were our professors in teaching us creative uses of materials that can be found in India.
We would like to thank the following individuals who worked so hard in coordinating these workshop: Padma, Guruswamy, Ravi, Sujana, and Chairman Vishnu and everyone one else affiliated with the Vishnu Educational Society and the Assistive Technology Labs. Also a special thanks to Alan Rux from UMASS Lowell for his guidance, inspiration, and encouragement.
Our hope is to produce a book of all the solutions that the students developed using materials found in India and that this event becomes an annual event to challenge students to think outside the box.
From December 12-29th, UNH’s Dr. Therese Willkomm, along with two UNH occupational therapy graduate students Emily Hames and Vanessa Tocco, will be traveling to universities in India to promote the continued development and use of low-cost assistive technology for people with disabilities in a high tech world. One university we are excited to visit is the Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) at Padmasri Dr. B. V. Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT) in Narsapur, Medak dist, Andhra Pradesh. The mission of this program is to work towards the development of assistive technology through utilizing the skills of the engineering students. The program works in collaboration with UMASS Lowell and we are looking forward to adding UNH to that partnership.
Check out Therese’s New Book at the UNH Institute on Disability Website
Assistive technology “MacGyver” Therese Willkomm, Ph.D., returns with her second book of five-minute, low-cost approaches for taking ordinary items and turning them into extraordinary solutions for individuals with disabilities. Picking up where the first book left off, AT Solutions in Minutes II demonstrates creative DIY problem solving without the need for power tools or electricity, empowering everyone to be spontaneous and create solutions to everyday challenges using everyday materials. This full-color text contains over 750 photographs with step-by-step fabrication instructions. Every solution can be made using simple and readily-available tools like a utility knife, pliers, scissors, a wire stripper, and a mini blowtorch, among others. The book also comes with a DVD featuring 115 “how-to” video clips and printable PDF “recipe” sheets for easy sharing. The DVD also contains an accessible copy of the book with picture descriptions for individuals who experience visual impairments. Thanks to a grant from the Gibney Foundation, one hundred percent of the proceeds from this book will fund assistive technology devices for New Hampshire’s device loan and demonstrations provided through ATinNH, New Hampshire’s assistive technology program at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability.