wheelchair hacks

Hacks!

GimpHacks’ 6 Quick Tips on Being a Disability Ally

Recently I watched 14-year-old visually-impaired dancer Benjamin Yonattan compete in the Judge’s Cuts on America’s Got Talent and simultaneously I want to cheer him on because I want there to be awesome dancers who have visual impairments on TV, and felt cynical because I know that nothing will matter to his judges and audience except the fact that he’s “inspiring.” (side note: new drinking game? do a shot for every time they say the word “inspiring” to Benjamin during his appearances on the show.) We talk about inspiration porn a fair bit at the GimpHacks Podcast, but beyond a very short-lived drinking game, how do we constructively deal with inspiration porn, the rubber charity bracelet of social media? How about going beyond it to become a real ally – someone who seeks to better understand our* reality and support the causes and needs that affect our wellbeing. I respectfully submit this handy and somewhat irreverent list that will help you have something more to say when you meet people with disabilities beyond “you are SO inspiring!:” 6 tips on Being a Disability Ally Probably best to leave the reclaiming of labels to those who actually have to hear them and use them regularly for themselves. Language matters and labels matter, and so while we use the term “gimp” for shock value and sometimes irony around the GimpHacks Podcast, listen to people you want to learn from and ask them (gasp!) what terminology you should use. When asked, I tell people that I don’t get too worked up about correct language, though I cringe at ‘handicapped’ and ‘cripple’ is out mostly because you should just know better (and I don’t want to send well-meaning people into a... read more

How to Build a Household Wheelchair Ramp

This video offers useful help on building a removable, inexpensive and simple wheelchair ramp for home use. The ramp depicted is for a rise of 16 inches or less.The one piece ramp was built with under $50 in materials and weighs just under 60 lbs.

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Umbrella Coat

The issues wheelchair-users have with umbrellas and rain could fill a blog of their own… and of course it would be a humor blog because of most of the proposed solutions to these problems. Case in point: The Umbrella Coat. It recently won a design competition, and it’s still in proposal stages, so if you’re keen on a coat that makes you look like a condom-meets-ice-cream-scoop, you’ll have to wait until it hits production. Here’s how NL Designs’ designer Athanasia Leivaditou describes her creation: This raincoat is a combination of a rain coat, an umbrella and waterproof trousers. Depending on the weather conditions and the amount of rain it can be adjusted to different levels of protection. For example the coat can be converted to trousers if the water level is high. In advance the hood of the raincoat is hybrid between a hood and an umbrella that can really protect the face even from heavy rain. A transparent plastic membrane can be an extension of the hood for almost full cover and during windy days strings can keep the hood in its position. His unique feature is that it combines raincoat and umbrella in one item. With the “umbrella raincoat” your hands are free. Also, it can be perfect for people with walking disabilities or sport activities like riding a bicycle. In addition in a crowded street you do not bump into other umbrellas as the umbrella-hood extends above your shoulders. As strange as this design is, it’s actually been helpful because in my searching for pictures of the other ridiculous ways people have tried to solve this... read more

He Built a DIY Elevator

When Dmitry Bibikow, a paralyzed 32-year-old man from Russia, bought his apartment, the building owners promised to build an elevator for him. They lied. Dmitry waited six years and with no elevator in sight, decided to build his own. Because of bureaucracy or ineptitude or deceit or whatever happens that make people go back on their word, the local council never built Dmitry his elevator. Dmitry, who lived on the 5th floor of the apartment, said: “Living on the fifth floor without a lift was a nightmare because I couldn’t get in or out of the block without someone’s help. It was like being in a prison—so I decided to sort it out myself.” Here’s how he fixed... read more

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