I am assuming that many of you have had to play a game in school where you were to construct an apparatus that would allow you to drop an egg from a certain height without it breaking. This game, appropriately coined “Egg Drop Soup,” was recently played at Easter Seals Crossroads as a group of professionals were learning about assistive technology.
Each group was given:
- Drinking straws
- Plastic bag to keep the egg off the floor if it broke
- Rubber bands
- Popsicle sticks
What does this have to do with AT, you say? Well everything, when you have a disability. Attendees were split up into six groups, each given a disability that they must pretend to have while participating in the game. Disabilities ranged from blindness, in which everyone in the group was blindfolded, to lack of speech or hearing. While the group that was not allowed to talk was able to write out their thoughts to their group members, those with socks on their hands could only use one finger, creating a mobility impairement. Group six had to leave the room while the other groups were given directions. They were then let back inside and had to figure things out for themselves. Another group was given half the time of the others, therefore simulating a learning disability.
Still wondering what this experiment had to do with assistive technology? Each group had to create an assistive technology apparatus that kept the egg from exploding on the ground, but they had to work with their disability at the same time. While the task at hand was already difficult, it was especially difficult because of the group’s recently aquired disability.
In the end, five out of six groups successfully kept their egg from breaking as they let it fall to the floor!
The AT devices that these groups created would be an example of low-tech AT – a device that does not require much training and is less complex or mechanical than high-tech AT. Every day examples of low-tech AT are handheld magnifiers, large-print text, and canes or walkers. Have you created your own low-tech AT out of household materials to make completing tasks less difficult for you or someone else? Share your thoughts and ideas on the comment page!