Since Naida had polio at the age of six, she has determinedly overcome her physical disabilities to pursue an independent life, complete with husband and long-term job. “People didn’t know I had had polio,” she said.
However, about four years ago when Naida was in her late 70s, she began to experience the effects of post polio syndrome. She had minimal use of her right arm and shoulder for many years but until a couple of years ago she could stand and put most of her weight on her left hand when she used her walking frame.
When Naidia’s left shoulder failed, she had to find a new solution. She knew she needed to make more use of her right arm to regain her balance, and she had an idea of what would solve the problem. “I tried to fit the handle of the walking frame with plastic tubing, but I couldn’t secure it,” she said.
Nadia then turned to TAD, and volunteer Ken Hickson was given the task of making a gutter splint to replace the right handle of her walking frame. First he designed a clamp from 22mm metal tubing, and cut a slot cut down the middle.
Ken then took a piece of 90mm diameter PVC guttering, 125mm long to comfortably accommodate Nadia’s forearm. He split this down the middle and heated it to flatten out the curve.
Ken fitted the splint to the clamp so the front edge is level with the tube frame, at a 20° angle to the handle of the frame. It is fastened using two screws that can slide along the slot in the clamp if the position of the splint needs adjusting.
Ken finished the splint with a lambs wool lining to make it more comfortable. Nadia’s wrist rests on the splint and her hand projects over the end of the splint to grip the frame.
Nadia said that the device had made her more independent, which had always been her aim. “It is the individuality of the device – it aids independence in a simple way that is not always obvious to the observer,” she said. “I reckon they’ve thought of everything.”