Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Utah Assistive Technology Lab Experience

By: Zach Waxler
Clay Christensen, Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator for Utah Assistive Technology Program, has been busy with repairs and modifications for power chairs and other products for persons with disabilities. The clients of UATP are very grateful for these low-cost repairs.
“A lot of people come in with special modifications being made on their power chairs and scooters to make them more assessable,” Christensen said. “Right now there is almost an epidemic in trying to get wheel chairs repaired because manufacturers want to just replace the part instead of just fix it.”
Christensen said that in the last few months, the type of work he has been doing has changed.
“I’m adapting chairs and other products to better fit the person’s individual needs,” Christensen said. “Lately, I have moved into repairing a lot more power chairs for people, which is normally not what I do.”
For UATP, the experience of the client is first and foremost the most important aspect.
“Sometimes people aren’t able to get a new chair because their insurance either won’t pay or it’s too costly to take it anywhere else,” Christensen said. “I will never turn anyone away, so if there is a problem with being able to pay, we will work it out and get their chair fixed.”
Christensen said the experiences with clients are rewarding.
“The fact that with every person, on a daily basis, I get to do something for someone and see just a bleak smile on their face,” Christensen said. “When you make that repair or adapt that device, it makes their life so much easier and gives them that freedom that they didn’t have. That’s a pretty rewarding aspect of what I do.”
The client reaction when getting their power chair or assistive product back is the most important aspect to Christensen.
“It’s not uncommon to see a tear come across someone’s face,” Christensen said. “You get tons of things like cards when sometimes they can’t afford to pay, but, I’ll have people come by and bake me some homemade cookies or just something small as a token of gratitude. That just shows how grateful they are and that is just so rewarding for me.”
To learn more about Utah Assistive Technology Program, visit Also, follow us on Facebook/Twitter at Utah Assistive Technology Program.

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