Tag Archives: pimp my ride

the society I see… is the society for me!

I watch one of Mac’s classmates, “C” scurry back into the room after the bell had gone.

“Have you got one of those wheelchair sheets?” he asked the teacher, “I’m taking one home for my Dad.”

‘What’s a wheelchair sheet?’ you ask …

Well, it seems the kids are working on inventions and mods for Mac’s wheelchair at the moment, some work is going on in class… others are taking it home to keep working on.  But “C” decided his Dad will probably have some good ideas on how to make Mac’s chair work for soccer… C’s dad also uses a wheelchair.

I had a good chuckle with C’s mum about the fact her husband is now getting homework.

But… let’s just think about what is going on here.

Mac’s peers and Mac are designing wheelchair modifications and activities to make it possible for Mac to do more stuff WITH THEM.

I’ve seen a couple of the blueprints.

clipart image of a blueprint drawing with a ruler and pencil laying over them - blueprint sketch is ambiguous and not relevant to story - it's just an illustration

There’s a multi-net cricket catching contraption, a catapult style bowling attachment (yay for the girls for finally coming up with a catapult) and one of the boys is working on how to attach the class carpet sweeper to Mac’s chair, so he can help out with class chores.

Part of this ties in to their “Awesome in August” class challenge, but much of this innovative thinking has followed some of the other kids designing a way for Mac to play handball with them in the playground.

The handball idea was the kids’ initiative.  They do seek out our assistance (but generally only when they need me to buy something LOL).

This is our future generation, this is the society we get to look forward to.  A society where where inclusion and innovation reign supreme.

So why would anyone want less than this for their kids?

Why do people choose segregated schools, segregated classrooms or segregated activities?  Why don’t they want what is on offer in a place where “all means all”, where disability “value adds” and where innovation, problem solving and broader thinking is the norm?

I can see the society I want my son to grow up in, and I look forward to it.  I’m not convinced that the other choices don’t actually weaken a society.

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Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!, things that make me go "glll"

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.

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Filed under Inclusion... straight up!

eggs on legs

The Easter Hat Parade takes on a different form at our school.  For K-2 they work on your stereotypical “Easter bonnets” for the Hat Parade.   The big kids (Grades 5-6) do Egg Diorama’s called “Egg-o-ramas” (usually with a specific theme) and are, literally, something to behold.

When you are in Grades 3 & 4 you produce “Eggs on Legs”.  Generally, poster sized egg characters in many different guises that you get to carry around the parade circuit.  This year there was a huge variety including Darth ‘Vad-egg’, Spongebob Square Egg, Princess Eggs, Bunny Eggs, Dinosaurs breaking out of their Eggs,  the Jimi Hendrix “Eggs-perience”, Storm Troop-eggs, Harry Pott-eggs and so many more.

So, what to do when you’re a ‘wheelie’ who can’t carry their own ‘egg on legs’?

Isn’t it obvious…

You turn your entire wheelchair into an “Egg on Legs”!

The kids were very excited to see those legs walking on his wheels.  His classmate “J” took on the role of ‘egg pusher’ in an instant.

As I packed the eggs away in the wardrobe I thought “at least we’re done for next year 😉 “… although we may just get the kids to help us ‘tart up’ the old eggy so he at least seems ‘current’ in 2013.

And while is certainly good fun making stuff like this (and not terribly difficult) it does allow for some incidental learning for the kids.  Today they got a little insight into animation, how to ‘pimp a wheelchair’, and how to easily create funny characters with carboard, bit of timber, a glue stick, paper and thick black texta.  The whole activity gives them a great chance to explore character modifications/tweaks and start to really take in the whole idea of a ‘play on words’.  It really is a fun activity.

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Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!, The 'mod' squad

windscreen wheels

After Mac’s “shoe wheels” last week his wheelchair wheels spent a day and a half ”naked” – it just didn’t seem right.

So we went in search of a replacement design – no fixed ideas in mind, just keen to see where the hunt would take us.

As it turned out we ended up at an Auto Shop and picked up one of those folding windscreen shades.

They cut up really easily, have heaps of cool patterns to choose from, are waterproof and really, really quick to install.

At only $9 they are pretty cheap too (considering how much time they save).

Mac chose the design – he said he would LOVE the wave and cabin design on his chair.  It is a pretty cool surfer design – his mates particularly like the “wave side”.

Now I have one more thing to keep an eye out for – just in case there is a fabulous design we “need”.

This design reminds me of my Uncles who were teenagers in the 70s and had fancy wheels on their Volkswagen Beetles and Combi vans.

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Filed under The 'mod' squad

same same but different…

To borrow a ‘tinglish‘ phrase…

Mac and Shawn were out and about on the weekend just having a “Dad’n Lad day”.  So often is is either just Mac and I or all three of us so it is nice for them to just hang out on their own.

Shawn experienced one of those moments many parents of children with a disability often dread.  You know the one, when another child stops dead in their tracks, stares and points.

He said his initial feeling was a slightly uneasy ‘hmmm, OK then, how’s this going to go down?”

The little boy, now standing straddled over his own push bike, waited for his Dad to catch up to him, turned to him, pointing first to himself, then to Mac and declared…

“Look, same… Ben 10 bike… Ben 10 wheelchair”

That’s it.

Same same!

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Filed under The 'mod' squad