The world got a crash course in #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow when people with disabilities posted nearly 20,000 tweets with the hashtag. Covering everything from common misconceptions, to personal stories and social advice, the hashtag trended globally and received coverage on many major media outlets.
Imani Barbarin, a blogger and content creator who focuses on disability, race, and feminism among other topics, started the hashtag. “When hashtags like this take off,” she says, “I’m surprised at how many nondisabled people seem shocked with the realities of living with disabilities. At times, some become belligerent at the idea that what they’re conditioned to know doesn’t reflect the community.”
Sip-and-Puff Skiing: The TetraSki
Considered “the world’s first independent alpine sit-ski for any physical disability,” the TetraSki combines a joystick and custom-designed sip-and-puff system to offer unprecedented levels of control for people with all types of mobility. The TetraSki is the result of five years of engineering and development at the University of Utah Rehabilitation Center and Tetradapt, a nonprofit. Thanks to a grant, they were able to build five TetraSkis, which were then spread around the country this winter for users to try and provide feedback.
“I didn’t think I would ever go skiing after my injury,” says Lina Nguyen, a C4-5 quad. “I’d never skied before but it was a really cool experience.” Nguyen, who lives in West Valley City, Utah, tried using the joystick on her first few runs but found she had more control with the sip-and-puff. “Once I got the hang of it, it was much easier.” She’s used the TetraSki twice now and says knowing a facility had one would definitely make her more likely to go there.
Ross Imburgia, a research engineer on the TetraSki, says Tetradapt is looking at launching a fundraising campaign to build more skis. Follow their progress at Tetradapt.
The Ingenious Lapstacker
An invention that helps people who use wheelchairs carry items hands-free reached its $10,000 funding goal on Kickstarter in less than 26 hours. The LapStacker features two retractable straps that snap together like a seat belt over whatever the manual wheelchair user is carrying in their lap.
The campaign runs until March 8, and backers can have their own LapStacker with manual buckles for about $134, or with magnetic buckles for about $154. The two models are expected to retail for $259 and $289, respectively. See Adaptdefy for more information.
Image credit: Photo by Author