Each and every day, individuals with disabilities are faced with obstacles they must overcome in order to successfully complete the day. Universal Design has become a popular term describing a trend to design products so everyone can use them. For example, designing a door so it can be opened by a wheelchair user as well as being wide enough for the wheelchair user to pass through. This design not only helps the wheelchair user, it also helps mothers with strollers, people on crutches, the elderly, or even those carrying groceries or moving furniture. This particular universal design makes entering and exiting doors easier for everyone.
Universal Adaptations is another term that is used to describe changes that are made so everyone can participate fully in an activity. Many times the adaptations are meant for a certain segment of the population (i.e. someone who is blind or deaf), but result in unintentional positive changes for everyone. A real win-win for everyone involved!
How Hollis Adams uses universal adaptation
For example, at Hollis Adams Friends (HAF), a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, pictures are used to help participants understand where items are to be placed – or are used on boards to assist them in understanding the daily schedule. Many people with developmental disabilities cannot read words, but they can certainly follow directions and complete tasks. The use of pictures can help them put dishes away in cabinets and drawers, set the table in preparation for lunch – even make lunch if the steps are diagrammed using pictures. A ministry for Spanish speaking individuals shares space with HAF day program and the pictures make it easier for them to keep the kitchen tidy.
Many people with developmental disabilities cannot read words, but they can certainly follow directions and complete tasks.
Using these techniques, all kinds of establishments have discovered the benefits to their employees. Pictures of items placed on bins in a warehouse increased the efficiency and accuracy for all employees putting items away in the storage area. Pictures of items regularly used in a hospital setting ensured the correct items were being replaced in the inventory closet.
Universal adaptations help everyone involved. Can you identify obstacles in your office or home that are preventing someone from participating fully in your work or home life? Is furniture arranged in such a way that it prevents a wheelchair user or someone using a walker access? Have you placed throw rugs in an area where an elderly person might trip and fall? Can you identify tasks that are often not completed properly? Are there adaptations you could make in your workplace or home that would help someone facing obstacles?
The Hollis Adams Foundation is hosting our Second Annual Hollis Adams Mud Run on May 30th .. We love this fundraiser because it represents many of the things that Hollis Adams Foundation stands for:
- Friends coming together to have a good time.
- Adaptations to all obstacles so athletes of ALL abilities can enjoy the course.
- A local event. Conveniently located at Camp Sertoma on the east side of Indy. No need to drive hundreds of miles to another city to compete.
- Privately funded.
Plan to come out and ‘Get Dirty for a Great Cause!’ By participating in this event, you will be helping adults with developmental disabilities.
Sign up today and overcome some obstacles in support of the adults we serve!