Graduate students shine in design showcase
Bay Path College’s second-year Master of Occupational Therapy students kept their hands busy this semester as they developed assistive technology and adaptive equipment to benefit the lives of their clients and others who may need additional help with everyday activities.
Students’ product designs ranged from a left-hand, car key-turner to an adaptable tether for horseback riding. The idea to create a device that would enable a person, who only had use of their left hand, to turn the automobile key in the ignition came to Rebecca Novo G’11 when her father tore his right bicep tendon.
“Car manufacturers always make it so that the ignition is on your right side. I saw how much work it was for my father just to start the car, and I realized that many other people have the same challenge every day, so I created a product that can ease this difficulty,” said Novo. A metal rod that secures the automobile key, the turner slides through the opening of the wheel and hooks the key in the ignition. With the left hand, the driver turns the metal rod to start the car.
Leora Barry G’11 was inspired to create a new piece of equipment for riders at an organization close to her heart— Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association, Inc. (PVTRA). Working with individuals of all abilities as a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA)-certified instructor, adaptive ski instructor and more, Barry searched for ways to assist a young girl, who could not close her hand to hold the reins. By using Velcro strips to secure a lead to a cuff on the girl’s arm, Barry latched the lead to the reins. “It really serves as an extension of her arm, and it was great for me to see this product work and work well,” said Barry. “It was amazing to see the horse respond as if the person riding was holding on to the reins with both hands. I’m thrilled she’s able to advance her independent riding skills.”
You can view a sample of other MOT students’ designs by watching http://bit.ly/gwN1qs.
Learn more about Barry’s and other MOT students’ work at the PVTRA by visiting http://bit.ly/fWZgSI .