By Associate Professors Jayne Shepherd & Tony Gentry
Every spring in Jayne’s Activities Class, Grad II students invent, build and adapt devices to support people with disabilities in the community. We’re proud to present the projects completed by this year’s class:
Sensory Board for Sarah Anna Elementary
I have created two different sensory boards for a classroom. One is a framed quilt to expose the students to different fabric textures. The second one allows students to experience different textures, sounds, and lights independently.
Adaptive Art Equipment for CMoR (3 locations)
This art equipment enables children with special needs to participate in art activities at the museums using adapted materials to tap into their strengths and support their areas of need. The purpose of this project was to extend the availability of adaptive art equipment beyond the Central location of the Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) to the Chesterfield, Short Pump, and Fredericksburg locations.
This tool is used in the treatment of phantom limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, stroke, and other diagnoses. The tri-fold design is compact, portable and made of easily cleaned plastics.
Mobile Arm Support for Tree of Life
Using items from the VCU OT ADL lab, I constructed a mobile arm support (MAS) for a woman (Miss Joan) at Tree of Life who has experienced both a stroke and a TBI. I also adapted a manual describing how to put the MAS together as well as functional activities that can be completed using the MAS. The MAS will Miss Joan allow her to more easily use her left UE to eat and use her computer.
Sensory Board for Spot On Therapy
This sensory board has a “Day at the Ocean” theme. The purpose of the board is to help children who receive OT services at Spot On use various textures, sights, and sounds to aide them in emotional regulation. The facility preferred a board with multiple removable pieces as well as activities that would challenge children’s fine motor skills. The board contains many different kinds of fabric, a rain stick, a calming glitter bottle, bubbles, a pin-wheel, a weaving activity, and sorting and fine motor activities related to the ocean.
Adapted Bowling/Skee Ball Game
Creating a ramp that uses an easy-to-operate lever will allow children with physical and/or cognitive challenges along with limited mobility the opportunity to participate in a game of either bowling or skee ball without requiring a significant level of assistance.
Activity Boards for Sensory Tent at Short Pump Middle School
Megan Anderson and Kristen Huenerberg
Several activity boards (busy, sensory, etc) will be mounted to a “sensory tent’s” wooden walls. The structure is enclosed by a clear shower curtain splattered with glow-in-the-dark paint and a see-through linen roof. The structure will have twinkle lights mounted around the roof.
The “sensory tent” structure was created by school’s maintenance team and includes a padded bench.
Fastener Practice Dress Up Clothes
Ashley Abraham, Reny Wilcher
The Bon Air Therapy Center of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond serves a number of children in their outpatient therapy clinic who struggle with dressing and manipulating fasteners. Dressing is often a stressful and unfavored activity for children who struggle with this skillset. The purpose of this project is to find ways to make the activity more enjoyable.
Adjustable Activity Board
Similar to a slant board, the adjustable activity board’s work surface can be adjusted to five different angles ranging from 20° – 80° and can accommodate paper inserts up to 2’ x 2’. The purpose is to provide an adjustable surface for visual and cognitive tasks that can be completed in the seated or standing position.
Adaptive Art tools and stylus for Treehouse Pediatric Therapy
The adaptive art tools and stylus are designed to promote a dynamic tripod grasp pattern for children with fine motor difficulties. The adaptive art tools would enable children with special needs to access to art and education. The adaptive stylus would allow children with special needs to access to an ipad for communication and/or recreation use.
Activity Inserts for Adaptive Activity Board
Poster Board inserts that slide into a large activity board. These were made for one of Sheltering Arms outpatient clinics. The different puzzles are helpful for visual scanning, problem solving, visual-sequential memory, shoulder/arm/wrist/finger ROM, and play/leisure just to name a few. I made 10 boards in total (double sided) (2) Sudoku puzzles, (2) Letter Finds, (2) Number Finds, (2) Mazes, (2) Word Finds.
Adaptive Game and Sensory Bin tools for Treehouse Pediatric Therapy
Adapted Guess Who? by creating a new board with animals, large cards and a card holder for each player for those with visual and visual motor deficits. I built up handles for two scoops and tongs and made a funnel holder that attaches to the side of a sensory bin for those with decreased hand strength, limited prehension, and limited bilateral coordination.
Visual Card Sort
Large board displaying a full randomized deck of cards. Second set of matching cards with velcro attachments creates a game for a variety of clients (e.g. neurorehabilitation). Game can address a myriad of goals for a client, ranging from utilization of a variety of body functions (ROM, joint mobility, reaching) and mental functions (attention, memory).
Occupation-Based Activity Board for Sheltering Arms
Allison Erfort and Maggie McDermott
Tri-panel table-top activity board that focuses on improving fine-motor, gross motor and cognitive reasoning skills for clients at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Activities are geared towards an adult male population and include a knot-tying activity panel, a nuts and bolts activity panel and a an electric box activity panel. Each panel can be used standing up or sitting down and can be graded and used various ways.
Developed for a student in elementary school, this weighted vested was created with the weight distributed on top of the shoulder girdle muscles and the upper back. In this manner the weight is not simply pulling on the fabric but instead applying deep pressure to the child involved.
Wheelchair Sleeve & Car Protector
Riz Baul and Christine Yang
Created for the VCU OT Department for student use during their wheelchair experience. This device is intended to assist caretakers with loading and unloading a wheelchair into and out of the trunk of a vehicle while using good body mechanics and ergonomics to prevent injury. Along with the wheelchair sleeve, a car protector was also fabricated to assist in performing this task as well as to protect the vehicle from being damaged by the wheelchair as it is being transported in and out of the car.
Binder Activities (+ Fine Motor Task Boxes)
Developed for students in a high school special education classroom: (1) three binder games (making a sandwich, picking out clothes for different types of weather, and matching different textures–for the sensory kids) to work on fine motor manipulation, problem-solving, following directions, and getting them to start thinking about important life skills; (2) two fine motor task boxes with different types of containers & pom poms to practice opening/closing lids and categorizing by size/color.
Adapted Materials for SwimRVA Autism Swims
Liat Damari and Corinne McLees
Fabricated materials include (1) one ‘social story’ video that is intended for the child to view prior to entering the SwimRVA facility and depicts how to enter the facility, how to check in, where the bathrooms/changing rooms are located, & where to wait for swim instructor; (2) 38 skill videos (with & without subtitles/audio) used as video modeling of swim skills during lessons; and (3) 10 visual board schedules with buttons for specific swim skills, breaks, and rewards.
Weighted Vests for Richmond ARC
Caitlin Johnson and Courtney Walker
Two weighted vests of different sizes were created in a gender-neutral color for Richmond ARC therapists to use as a loaner vest for their clients to trial before deciding to purchase their own weighted vest. The vests were made with an adjustable amount of weight so that they can be used to fit a greater number of individuals.
Foot rests allow students to maintain a more ergonomically sound and stable position while seated, which facilitates greater distal control (e.g., practicing handwriting).This wooden foot rest is designed with a slot that allows the front two legs of a chair to hold the foot rest in place. The slot on the top of the foot rest was made in such a way so as to accommodate various dimensions of chairs (which will allow it to be used by a variety of students).
Upper Extremity BAPS Board Game for Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation Hospital
Tabletop game on top of a fulcrum, in which participants roll a marble through a maze in the center of the game, by tipping the maze in different directions. There are forearm troughs on either side of the maze to faciliate sensory input to the UEs and weightbearing in different directions while rolling the marble through the maze. Intended for use with clients with stroke/affected UE.
Sensory Tools for Self-Regulation
A variety of calming sensory tools created for use at Hallmark Youthcare, a residential facility for youth who have experienced trauma. These tools are intended for use during times of anxiety & stress, assisting with emotional self-regulation.
Weighted Pillow Pets for Children’s Museum of Richmond
Rebecca Cooper-Mullin and Kathleen Freeze
Two pillow pets were modified and adapted to contain a weighted insert that can be removed, so that the outside animal covering can be washed. The benefit of the Pillow Pet is that the object can be transformed into a weighted animal if the velcro attachment is in place, but can also function as a lap blanket when left un-velcroed. The stuffed animals are also incredibly soft, providing an additional calming sensory support.
Adapted Underwear for Potty Training
This project was individualized for a 2 year old little girl who has Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFF). She has a prosthetic right lower extremity that is secured by a thick strap that wraps around her waist. I adapted underwear for her to use as she begins to potty train so that she will not have to take her entire leg off to use the bathroom. This will be especially important when she needs to use the restroom in public and as she starts preschool. I made additional adapted panties to fit her baby dolls for use during play and for her older 6 year old sister to use to model and normalize the use of the clothing.
Weighted Objects for Virginia Treatment Center for Children
A variety of weighted objects were created for the Virginia Treatment Center for Children to be used with children ages 3-17. Objects include: a 10 lb blanket, 2 lb stuffed animal, 3 lb neck roll, and 2 lap pads (3 & 5 lbs). Removable coverings made out of soft material were created for each item so that they can be washed and used with multiple children.
Individualized kits that contain a variety of calming and alerting sensory tools, activities, and strategies that were created for use at Hallmark Youthcare, a residential facility for youth who have experienced trauma. These kits were designed and made in conjunction with a sensory-based group that was conducted by VCU OT students on the boys’ unit throughout the semester. These kits utilize the Zones of Regulation model to enhance self-regulation through sensory-based strategies.
The adjustable footrest was created for a preschool room at Cold Harbor Elementary School and will be used for several different students. The footrest is made out of PVC pipe and is adjustable between 1-11 inches from floor height.
Adaptive Hand Attachment
Nelson Clinic Hand Management
This device was created for someone who has a middle cord brachial plexus injury and wants to be able to perform bilateral activities. It was adapted from a wrist guard, with a steel hook constructed and attached to the wrist guard. There is a detachable aluminium piece that is shaped at a 90 degree angle, has slits for velcro to fit through and can attach to an array of items such as a broom, kayak, or a milk bottle.
Telephone Remote Pocket for Client with Multiple Sclerosis
I created a pocket for a client with MS, who has limited ability of her arms. The pocket is intended to allow easier access to her remote in order to answer her telephone.
Communication Keyrings for Children’s Museum of Richmond
The keyrings are communication tools for children ages 2-8 years who have difficulty with receptive or expressive language to improve communication with their caregivers while at CMoR. The keyrings are comprised of double-sided pairings of images and words in English and Spanish, and the images are organized by colors in five topic groups: (1) exhibits, (2) basic communication, (3) “something is wrong”, (4) needs, and (5) emotions. The cards are laminated for durability and ease of cleaning, and they were made using Boardmaker software.
SmartBoard Interactive Activities (for High School Students in Special Education Classroom)
Four files were created for high school students to be used in the Special Education Classroom at Atlee High School. It was requested that these files incorporate lots of color, sounds, and activity that encourages the students to learn and engage in basic topics. Topics include: Matching opposites, sports, counting money, and community signs.
Mirror Box for Acute Care
Purpose: To rehabilitate and reduce pain by creating a reflected illusion of a healthy, pain free hand in place of an affected hand.
Who: For individuals affected by phantom limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, stroke,and hand injuries.
Boardmaker Studio Programming for Greenfield Elementary School (CCPS)
Individualized programs were created to help students learn to sequence the letters of their name and/or digits of their phone number, match shapes and letters, and click and drag using a single button mouse. Students get feedback throughout the task and are rewarded with specific, preferred songs, videos, or images when they complete the tasks on screen.
SmartBoard Interactive Activities (HCPS, K-12 Special Education Classrooms)
Three interactive activities were created to help students learn concepts from the ZONES of Regulation program, specifically “Perspective Taking” and “Expected vs Unexpected Behaviors.” The adaptive project partner specifically requested a game (i.e. Candyland) with an Inside Out theme to best fit the interests of her students. Because these activities would be used with students across a wide range of age and ability level, they also needed to be easily modified (for grading) and incorporate specific language familiar to students.
Prana for pediatric patients at an outpatient facility to help them understand sequencing and the flow of time (temporal understanding). There are 48 individual manipulatives that children can use with the colorful wooden calendar board in a variety of ways to support sequencing skills and temporal understanding.