Thursday, December 19, 2019

Eating and writing made easier, thanks to UATP

Sharon poses with her customized tray
Sharon Ross
BRIGHAM CITY—Sharon Ross needed a way to eat and write from her wheelchair. So she bought a $300 shelf that attached to her chair—and found it still didn’t work for her. 

“Signing papers, that was a battle,” she said. If she wanted to write, she didn’t have much room to do it. If she used it to eat, dinner plates hung off the edge. The tray interfered with her arm rest, and it was too far from her body. So she turned to the Utah Assistive Technology Program in Logan for help.

UATP lab techs Brandon Griffin and Ray Emmart worked together on the project. They made a template from cardboard before shaping the final shelf from a big piece of acrylic. The design brought the tray closer to her body, so she’d have more usable space.

They welded a support bracket and designed the tray so it would slide easily on and off.

Their work doubled the usable tray space for Ross, using materials they had on hand. The cost was $40.

“I think it’s perfect for me,” Ross said. “I can drive with it on.” The tray is so stable, it doesn’t rattle.

Need help adapting equipment? UATP has two fabrication labs in Utah, where they can modify assistive technology or build it from the ground up, usually for the cost of materials. Contact Dan O’Crowley in Logan and Cameron Cressall in the Uintah Basin for more information.

The customized tray doubles the usable space for Sharon, at a fraction of the cost. 

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