book week, kurt fearnley and those “guns”…

Book Week 2012 is here.  School has once again gone with a theme… this year “Come as a Champion”.    While I admit,  my book week purist heart would like a straight ‘book character’ theme one of these years, it didn’t deter us from helping Mac find his perfect ‘champion character’.

In a nice stroke of serendipity the Paralympics are also on.  This has created much discussion at school about what event Mac might be able to compete in when he’s old enough.  The suggestion that maybe “sport isn’t his thing” hasn’t really been readily accepted… we’re still working on an acceptable answer. 😉

After throwing up a few options Mac settled on Kurt Fearnley.  For our non-Aussie readers – Kurt is one of THE legends of wheelchair racing and fits the ‘champion’ requirement perfectly.

In another twist the kids have been studying ‘simple machines’ in Science.  I offered Mac the opportunity of ‘bulking up his guns (arms)’ with a bit of “engineering” while sneakily providing some congruency to their recent learning… all in the guise of “dress ups”.  Mac was hooked… we were sorted.

NB: check your volume settings – there is some ‘muzak’ that hopefully won’t blow your ears out.

When it came to the crunch I probably should have sat in on a couple of their classes as my fading knowledge of fulcrums and pivots started making my head hurt.  Thankfully my Dad was a willing  assistant… although his full mechanical spring action metal arm system was soon discarded when I was able to prove my much simpler method would actually suffice.

Mac took the iPhone on stage and one of his classmates pressed the right button in Proloquo2Go for him so he could announce who he was (just as the other kids do).  It was nice to see the young kids at school get exposed to the idea of AAC and Mac’s method of speaking  (it was pretty cute that he got extra applause after he spoke – we really do have a great group of kids at our school).

Here’s some extra pics of the ‘wheelchair racer dude’ in all his glory.


Filed under Inclusion... straight up!

9 responses to “book week, kurt fearnley and those “guns”…

  1. That is the coolest dress up ever – I’m sure Kurt Fearnly would love to see it!

  2. Gina @

    Thanks Alison. Pretty fun to do LOL. I tweeted him a link 😉

  3. Claire

    Kurt Fearnley has seen your video Mac! He has tweeted about it!

  4. Gina! This is all sorts of awesome!!! Max is sleeping as I type this, showing it to him before he’s off to school in the morning! How in the world did you make those arms?! Bowled over by the craftmanship!

  5. Gina @

    Thanks Ellen, Maya and Clair.

    Ellen: Arms are from iStockPhoto and just enlarged to print on about 4 A4 sheets (had to pay more than I wanted 15 credits… sheesh) but they were the best choice. Glued them onto foam board for the upper arm and some scrap laminated wood for the hand & black marker to tidy up edges and detail. Then top pivot attached to a temporary timber bar on his chair (same one we used for his eggs on legs attachment linked below)

    Elbow pivot was just a nut/bolt combo and then the hand pivot another nut/bolt combo through the wheel. The wheel covers were just old foam floor tiles cable tied on. The front wheel was an old pram jogger wheel attached with a bit of water pipe (not very stable LOL) and hose clamped on underneath. More offcuts from the foam tiles made the side ‘flares’. Simple really… 😉

  6. OK, you are far more inventive than I’ll ever be! Brilliant!!!

  7. Raf

    Boccia could work, if someone figures out how to get information about the position of the balls – I don’t remember how much functional eyesight Mac has. The most severely physically impaired Boccia players use an assistant who they direct to position the ramp (that the balls roll down). There were Paralympians using switches or eyegaze to direct their assistants.

  8. Gina

    Raf, yes you are right, we too have come to the conclusion that unless there is a new sport invented that Boccia is the most likely option. The school sport co-ordinator has kept that in mind as there may very well be opportunities for a Boccia day at school. And, yes, eyesight will be the tricky thing – If there was a camera for him to zoom in on the balls he might be ok. At this stage he is still convinced he will be ‘famous for maths’… 😉

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