After she left school, it took Veryan quite a while to find work. She has diplegic cerebral palsy affecting her right side, which means she has difficulty with fine motor skills and tasks requiring two hands.
Veryan wanted to work with animals and applied for jobs in that area while doing voluntary work, but was unable to secure a position. She also undertook a computer course and eventually got a job as a clerical assistant in the state public service.
One of Veryan’s tasks in her position is filing, and she was having difficulty operating a standard hole puncher as it required her to align and hold the papers with one hand while pressing down the lever with the other. She needed to use her left hand to press the lever, and did not have the coordination to hold the papers in place simultaneously with her right.
Her case manager at her employment service suggested that TAD might be able to assist. Volunteer Jim Lemon, who has made a number of devices to assist people in the workplace, was assigned the project.
Jim made an aluminium tray with a lip on two sides, which is set into the hole puncher at the level where the punches touch the paper, in the correct position so that the holes are equidistant from each end of an A4 sheet. Veryan aligns the papers in the tray with her left hand, then pushes the lever down with her left hand while holding the papers lightly in place with her weak right hand.
According to Jim, this was a relatively simple project, but satisfying because “even the simplest thing is worthwhile if it enables someone to do what they want”.