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Bethany’s Chair

A family meal around the dinner table is something many people take for granted. However, if someone in the family has a disability, it can often be difficult to fit the whole family around the table comfortably.

Bethany is 13 years old and has Dravet Syndrome. As a result, she has an intellectual disability and epilepsy. Her seizures are severe and hard to control. When Bethany was younger she used to sit by the dinner table in a high chair. As she got older she grew out of the high chair and needed a new way to sit comfortably at the dinner table.

“We call her ‘our happy wanderer’ as she likes to walk about the house,” explains mum Christine. “But we needed a supportive chair to keep her at the dinner table while we eat dinner.”

Tom took one of the family’s own dining chairs to modify so Bethany was using the same chair as the rest of the family.

Tom added two armrests to the chair to keep Bethany comfortable and safe in case she lost balance. He also added a tray from which Bethany can eat or play. The tray can be removed so that the chair can still be placed under the dining table.

“I stained up the armrests and the tray to make the colour match the rest of the chair,” explains Tom. “I was apprehensive about modifying the family’s dining chair in case I made a mistake, but Christine assured me they had spares! It all came together without a problem though.”

For Christine it was important to have a chair that fitted in with the family’s space and modifying one of their chairs was the perfect solution.

“Tom really had a real sense of who Bethany is and he really took the time to listen to what we wanted,” says Christine. “I’m amazed by the craftsmanship, it’s just what we needed and we are very happy with it!”

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