BREYDON’s supports to pursue

First published March 2021.
Updated 24 July 2021.

A list mainly of assistive tech / re: N.D.I.S. Incomplete (for privacy and tiredness).

Compare with past & current supports.

1. Mobility

I’m getting injured and falling multiple times a day, and am stuck much of the time; the present situation is ridiculously dangerous.

1.1. Posterior walker

[Occupational Therapist] could organise a trial in a shop, once I can get around again.

A posterior walker could hopefully help a bit around bathroom/kitchen sometimes.

1.2. Wheelchairs

Something nimble (eg RMA SK8R or Box WCMX) and something for going places (eg GRIT Freedom Chair or Mountain Trike MT eTrike). I’ve put together more information on wheelchair trials.

Some other wheelchair‐related supports are listed below.

1.3. Adaptive cycle

Came across this fumeless possibility a few years back, when hunting for ways to be safely picked up and dropped off places: Nihola Flex2. It is a tricycle that can safely dink a wheelchair occupant, without the need for any sketchy transfers. The tailgate forms a ramp for easy access.

Dutch Cargo Bike of Moorabbin seem to have some expertise in this area.

1.4. Portable ramp

A folding metal ramp could be an appropriate solution for doorways that open away from a step, for outdoor ledges, and for travelling/visiting inaccessible environments. I can see it helping me get reinvolved in gardening activities!

1.5. Commode

Could be self‐propelled — would need to trial (and/or to know dimensions) to determine whether can navigate doorways. Another concern is stability: not worth it if liable to tip forwards like a hospital chair, for instance.

2. Communication

2.1. Stenography

Stenography requires much less dexterity, in my experience, than typing or handwriting, and usually remains practicable for longer than speech does when paralysis is setting in. I have touched on some practical considerations regarding stenography in Typing Computers Better and Past and Current Supports. As I obtain more appropriate equipment, compile a bigger lexicon, have more practice, and figure out means of access in different situations, I can benefit from the use of stenography more regularly

Once I have an appropriate day chair, I would like to try mounting a Georgi low‐profile, split‐layout stenography keyboard on it. With the right software and compatible computer (that is: phone, tablet, or similarly low‐power, portable means of producing output), something like this could radically open up my opportunities for written work and spontaneous communication.

I do have a Georgi, but it is from a batch that had soldering defects, so does not work yet. I have not been up to organising repair, myself.

2.2. Speech‐to‐text

May sometimes be viable when cannot type/etc. [Physio] mentioned ones that plug in? Sounds convenient.

2.3. Speech pathology

[Speech Pathologist] made some recommendations (detailed in report re: initial assessment of communication and swallowing).

Intending to first address communication needs for emergency situations.

3. Dexterity

3.1. Talking microwave

I would benefit immensely from one of these (eg Vision Australia Talking Microwave) for the following reasons:

  • Fewer buttons/controls to accidentally knock.
  • Informative aural feedback, so can concentrate on operating the controls, rather than constantly wasting up limited motor capacity on getting eyes in position to read screen.
  • Volume is (easily!) adjustable. Button beeps of typical microwaves can really hurrrrt my head and ears, triggering sensory overload / general uselessness.
  • It very kindly reminds you that the contents will be hot. And yes, sometimes I get distracted enough by all the body‐wrangling to forget.
  • Being a microwave: Quicker and less messy for warming up hot packs (for help with poor temperature regulation) and reheating meals independently than saucepan. Reduced burns risk compared to conventional oven.

So I’d be able to doooooo these sorts of things again.

3.2. Cutlery

[Occupational Therapist] has suggested that a light‐weight camping set could work for me (and from my experiments with other sorts, I agree). Being a mainstream product, NDIS funding for this is not a sure thing, but we could find out? (And if not, I save up).

3.3. Cooktop with lower burns risk

Seen these in the independent living centre directory. (Always forget what they’re called! “Induction”?) Would have fantastic impact on my independence cooking.

3.4. Music therapy

I think percussion in particular could be really effective for finding ways to work with my difficulties controlling my hands and timing/extent of motions.

4. Etc

4.1. Dog help


4.2. Art/Dance therapy

Many possible benefits.

4.3. Personal alarm

[Occupational Therapist] has advised of two options:

  • ease of wearing and lesser tangles of the touchscreen (ugh, why not just BUTTONS) wristwatch style
  • public recognisability and simplicity of operation of the lanyard style

I am leaning towards the wrist one, but continue to doubt the practicality of either. Hanging something around the neck sounds foolish when I have already had trouble from clothing getting tangled up. The touchscreen problem could be ameliorated through the use of a stylus.

It might be worth considering some kind of emergency app on a more programmable smart‐watch, so that we can make the device easier to operate?

4.4. Masks

Someday I should test an N95 mask to see:

  • If I can wear one without the mask itself making me unwell? (Maybe by double‐masking with cloth?)
  • If N95 masks make a difference, help buy time?

Back‐up thought: likely not as effective, but maybe could also try out filters in cloth masks that have pockets for these?

5. Wheelchair‐related tools

There are associated things that it would be wise to obtain — some in the meanwhile. The latter items will depend on the particular chair to which they are to fit, but the first few will be applicable immediately.

5.1. Wheelchair gloves/cuffs

Gloves would help protect my hands from injury, particularly friction burns and blistering. Gloves designed for those of us with reduced hand function would make propelling myself easier. These are both massive issues influencing my access to the community and health.

5.2. Bottle holders (for water)

The obvious option might be to use water‐bottle–holders (probably preferably something that can be mounted in different positions as needed). However, these are rarely any good for more than 500mL each. This capacity is insufficient for a day out, or even a decent‐sized walk with the dog (particularly given that we often need to share the supply).

The more practical option is to use small oxygen‐bottle–holders (up to 2L?), so as to carry enough water for a whole outing. An added advantage is that these tend to be of more robust construction than products more oriented towards takeaway coffee. Also, a 12cm diameter is big enough to cart around long equipment, such as mic stands at work. The question, though, is how to mount such large fixtures unobtrusively — and this will vary from chair to chair.

5.3. Pressure cushions(s)

I have found shaped ones to be by far the most suitable.

5.4. Soft‐surface runners

These are designed to facilitate movement across packed snow. I do occasionally encounter snowy conditions, in‐chair. It would be very handy to keep a pair of Wheelblades S stashed in a backrest pouch of my daychair when travelling. I wonder if they might also work on some sand or awkwardly plush carpets?

This sort of product would also open up my hiking prospects into exciting territory! Larger skis on off‐road castors would be really interesting to try.

5.5. Torso harness

See: notes on straps and harnesses, in Past and Current Supports.

5.6. LapStacker or similar

This is a versatile cargo strap, to keep one’s hands free when shifting books, boxes, and so on. It would go some distance towards solving the problem of stuff‐lugging.

5.7. Some way of carrying my daypack, while leaving the body uninhibited

Such as a pouch, basket, or sling, underseat. It might be possible to weave something out of damaged innertubes.

5.8. Spoke guards

To stop my hands getting caught and injured. There are some important considerations around this, so please refer to my notes on spokeguards in Past and Current Supports.