Wheelchair student in university shop help??

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Forum topic by Wooddove posted 01-13-2012 07:26 AM 972 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2354 days

01-13-2012 07:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wheelchair teaching

Hi All- I saw some forum posts from about a year ago focused on adapted tools and/or shops for woodworkers with disabilities and/or special challenges… I’m hoping you can help me with a situation I’m currently facing. I basically teach shop classes for the theatre department at a college level. We require all of our students to do hands on “crews” and help with building the productions. The crews I work with do everything from construction and paint to hanging lighting fixtures. I have an student this semester in my formal class who is wheelchair bound due to brittle bone disease, and she would be short in height even if she was standing. She has apparently had some tool training from her dad in high school, and did participate in a student crew last semester. I saw her use a sliding compound miter saw, and frankly it scared me. I didn’t feel that she has much control from a low seated position, but I don’t honestly know if it is an emotional response or a real one. We had a having a frank discussion today about safety and trying to figure out safe ways to work but I would really like to gather some suggestions and ideas from other sources also. This is a small school, we absolutely don’t have the resources to make significant changes to the shop to accommodate one student, although some may be possible. (I have a compound miter saw on a cart I could easily lower, and we could make a lower work table for her, but I’m not sure what else for the bandsaw, table saw, ect is possible). I know that everyone is different, but any suggestions on how to really evaluate if she can safely use the tools would be helpful, as would any suggestions that would make it easier. I admire her determination, but I also don’t want her to get hurt and I’m not sure I can open mindedly evaluate what “safe” is for her…

2 replies so far

View smokey1945's profile


75 posts in 3410 days

#1 posted 01-14-2012 12:30 AM

Try Scroll down to Special Needs Working. Maybe you can get some ideas there. The people there are real nice and will help. Check with Mike or bob3j.
Hope this helps :o)

-- TheShadeTreeWW If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3740 days

#2 posted 01-28-2012 06:59 PM

As you can’t lower the tool would it be possible, or practical to build a small platform (or stage considering the program:-) that she could safely wheel up on and then use the tool?

I can see moving from station to station may be a problem…maybe for a given time slot she could be the ‘go to’ person for a given tool (where the platform is).

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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