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Unique Solutions

Could a piece of personalised equipment help you to confidently and independently live your life?

Process

Send us your goals

Fill out the enquiry form here or call 1300 663 243

Review

Your goal and challenges are reviewed by our therapist and volunteer who will determine if it’s a project we can do and if we have a volunteer who can take the project on.

Volunteer assigned

A volunteer with the right skills will be assigned and will visit if needed. There is no cost for this step. After working out a solution with you and what materials are required we will provide a quote.

Quote accepted

A quote will be provided which can be used to secure funding from the NDIS or other funding schemes. If you do not have access to funding a subsidised quote will be provided. We can subsidise the cost of the projects thanks to support from grant funders, organisations and individual donors. The price for unique solution projects will depend on the complexity of the project and the materials required.

Test, deliver and achieve your goal!

Your project will be built and brought to you for testing. Sometimes a prototype (or a few) will be made first to try out and then a final made from the correct materials when the design is confirmed as successful. Then you can achieve your goal!

Browse our some of our Unique Solutions below. If you don’t find what you need our volunteers may not have invented it yet! Call us today to discuss your goals on 02 9912 3400.

TAD is dedicated to providing unique solutions that improve the wellbeing, lifelong learning, daily living and community participation of people living with a disability.

Our volunteers and therapists work with you to design and build custom equipment, or modify existing equipment, to help improve your quality of life or achieve a specific goal.

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Custom Mounts for Mark

This is what happened to Mark Tonga seven years ago. In an instant, Mark’s life was changed forever.  He was paralysed from the neck down.  

Custom Handle Gets Andrew on the Road

While visiting a UK chat room to learn more about MS, he met Michelle, an Australian who had also been diagnosed. They struck up a friendship and in 2000 Andrew moved to Sydney where he and Michelle married.

A Step up for Suzanne

If the truth be known Allen, TAD Volunteer for seven years, nearly missed witnessing the first time his simple and clever creation was in action. “I was getting the camera ready to capture the big moment and before I could get it focussed Suzanne was already sitting in the passenger seat,” he says.

Turning the Table with Isabelle

Isabelle has a talent and a passion for making beautiful mosaic pots which she sells at the local markets and dreams of one day setting up her own business marketing her designer pottery.

Communication Within Reach

For Carline who has motor neurone disease and is unable to speak, trusting Colin to take away her only form of communication, her iPad, was no small matter. It was the only way he could construct a secure mount to attach the iPad and its special protective case to her powered wheelchair.

Amara Heads Out and About

Amara has cerebral palsy, microcephaly, epilepsy and a vision impairment. Her disabilities are such that for much of the day she needs to be using equipment and doing different types of therapy.

Travelling Safely

Kathy has cerebral palsy and tetraplegia and needed to be able to travel safely in her powered wheelchair at night.

Sitting Easy

“Davy was so easy to get along with. There was no fuss, he listened patiently and he knew what he was doing. I can’t thank him enough,” says Janice.

Jim Helps Kevin Reel it in

An accident in his teens left Kevin with C6-7 tetraplegia with only a little hand movement. A tendon transfer operation in more recent times improved the motor skills of his left hand enough for Kevin, now in his fifties, to believe that he could again do a bit of ocean fishing. If he had the right gear of course.

Loghan is Rocking and Baking

Enjoying time in the kitchen was not always thought of as possible. When Loghan was eight months old, the doctors said she would never sit up unassisted, never crawl and never walk.

From Wheelchair to Smart Mover

Volunteer Dave Welch modified a chair for Trevor after an accident left him with a major back problem.

Sue’s Modified Trolley

TAD volunteer Geoff Permezel modified a walking aid to allow her left leg to swing freely as well as adding a cradle for Sue’s left arm. Her stronger right hand steers and controls the brakes through a single lever.

More Playtime for Joshua

Their little boy, Joshua, turned one in January. Around this time Belinda and Jason took Joshua to a neurologist as he had not reached his gross motor milestones. After a series of tests Joshua was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2.

Bath Time for Madeline

Her mother, Amanda, was always concerned about lifting Madeline in various situations. Amanda has a chromosomal disorder which has resulted in reduced height, osteoporosis and arthritis in her wrists and hands. She was concerned about lifting Madeline safely when she grew.

Caitlin’s Transfer Steps

Caitlin’s mother, Karen, knew something was not quite right when her daughter kept getting one infection after another as a baby.

Georgia’s New Wardrobe

Like many sixteen year olds, Georgia enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming, going out for drives in the car and shopping with mum. Saturday morning activities such as ten pin bowling with a like-minded group of young people are part of her busy schedule.

Jim’s Custom Harmonica Stand

Jim feels blessed that he has been able to pursue one of the great loves of his life, performing and playing, for as long as he has.

John Hunter Children’s Hospital

The Senior Occupational Therapist, Michelle Jackman, says, ‘We are extremely lucky in the Hunter to have such creative and skilled volunteers working for our local TAD group.’

Shari’s Paint Set

Shari loves horse riding, swimming and scrap booking. One day Shari and her mother, Helen, saw another client using a head pointer that TAD had made to paint. As Shari has quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy, this item looked very useful.

Shane’s Exercise Solution

Shane has a neurological condition called Fredricks Ataxia. This condition progressively gets worse over time so Shane does a lot of exercise as he finds this helps with his condition and his mind.

The Little Mermaid

She has an acquired brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy. This means she has delayed speech, poor balance and is unable to walk.

On the Road Again for Maureen

Swimming, kayaking, chorale singing and numerous handicrafts are a few of Maureen’s hobbies. She has even swung on a 30m high trapeze and attributes this to the encouragement from her husband and the Club Med holiday resort staff.

Fraser’s Steps

He is very outgoing and observant and likes to carefully try new things. Fraser is very close to his older brother and they spend their time playing with action figures, doing puzzles and spending as much time outdoors as they can - even if it’s raining.

A Bridge for Alakai

He has a large plastic fort with steps and a slide for him to play on to develop his balance and gross motor skills.

Lainey’s Tag-Along

Lainey has a Freedom Wheels bike which she uses with parental support. Her younger siblings have grown to an age where they can manage longer bike rides but unfortunately Lainey is unable to keep up the pace on her normal Freedom Wheels bike.

Jaxon Goes For a Swing

He uses a motorised wheelchair to get around and has difficulty walking or standing.

Payton’s Freedom Wheels

Payton has autism and a global developmental delay. She is also nonverbal.

Bethany’s Chair

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.

Archer’s standing frame

This means he spends a lot of time sitting or lying down and the muscles in his legs don’t get the exercise they need. Archer’s Physiotherapist decided it was time to try a standing frame.

Samuel’s First Ride

Samuel first came to TAD when he needed an adjustable table and chair both for school and for home. TAD volunteers built him an Adjustable Chair and Table which enabled him to sit comfortably and upright and can be adjusted as he grows.

Custom Made Bath Bench

When her family moved into their new house last year, the bathroom did not have a walk-in shower. Instead the shower was within a large spa bath, making access difficult for Andie.

A New Handlebar for Elise

Elise has a limb difference affecting her left arm which is shorter than her right arm. This was making riding her bike uncomfortable as she couldn’t quite reach the handlebar. Elise’s mum contacted TAD to see if anything could be done. TAD volunteer and former engineer Bill visited the family to assess the problem.

Pat’s Loom

“I taught myself from a book and then I became a bit of a loom-aholic,” says Pat.  “I bought bigger and bigger looms until I got a computer controlled Dobby loom.”

Martial Arts Training Dummy

Wing Chun is a form of self-defence and promotes awareness of the body. Students are encouraged to practise with a wooden training dummy to improve their form.

Natalie’s Freedom

Natalie has a rare progressive neurological disorder. As a result, she has been in hospital for two and a half years. She gets all her food and medicines through a central line. Initially this meant she had two medication pumps attached to her powered wheelchair by a customised bracket.

Lounge Raiser

Sheila lives in a bright unit flushed with sunlight in a leafy retirement village in the Illawarra. Her home is beautifully complemented with Asian style furniture from the time she spent in Singapore when her husband was commissioned in the British army.

One handed brake for walking frames

MS affects the central nervous system and can result in impairment of motor, sensory and cognitive functions.

Walking Stick Holder for Walking Frames

In the large malls, John realised it would be easier to use a walking stick in some of the more crowded shops. He wanted to be able to park the walker outside and use his walking stick for shorter distances.

Rhiannon hits new heights

These days, dusty blackboards are out and interactive technology is in. Ra, as she is more affectionately known, and her classmates have a learning program projected onto an interactive whiteboard. The children are then encouraged to choose answers on the whiteboard.

The Converted Armchair

This was the case for Karl who has a genetic disease called Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, similar to Muscular Dystrophy, which causes muscle weakness and foot drop, making it difficult to walk. Karl sat in a powered lounge chair to watch television. The chair had a remote control which tilted the chair at an angle that would lift Karl forward and hold him into an almost standing position to help him transfer to his walker and then wheelchair.

Safe bed

“Col McIntyre, one of our volunteers has been a member of the Men’s Shed for a while, helping to maintain their machinery. We began to discuss the potential of making a connection between the two groups,” explains TAD Illawarra coordinator Ken Kirwood.

Easy Bath Time

The volunteer team at the TAD Hunter Group have come up with a brilliant solution to bath time troubles.

Stairway to Meditation

Michael goes to a regular meditation class in Sydney. He has paraplegia and uses a wheelchair to get around. His meditation class is held in a space above a flight of 20 stairs. To tackle this problem Michael used a commercially available stair climber, a device that clamps onto a wheelchair and lifts it up the stairs. This was working well until Michael got a new wheelchair which was not compatible with the stair climber.

Standing Tall

One of these clients is Freyja. Freyja is almost four years old and has Migrating Partial Epilepsy in Infancy (MPEI). The TAD Port Macquarie Group have completed many projects for Freyja over the years from bilateral wraparounds to support her knees, to a standing frame to enable her to stand straight. She is also getting a Tilt-In-Space chair; a seat and tray combination allowing her to sit comfortably.

Sensory Table

This is the home of the Matilda Rose Centre, part of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, which provides an early intervention program for children with visual and hearing impairments and other associated disabilities.

Lilycart

Lillian’s mother Natalie contacted TAD when Lillian was just 14 months old to see if they could provide an adjustable table and chair set for Lillian. After this was completed, the group were asked to make a chair on wheels for Lillian.

Three Wheeled Scooter

Whether its children out with their friends or businessmen speeding to the office, the scooter has become a common sight on the streets of Australia.

Adaptive Cricket Bat

It is in a car park outside Northcott Disability Services in Parramatta where we find a group of guys, some in motorised wheelchairs, some on foot, playing what looks very much like cricket. In fact, it’s a first-of-its-kind Adaptive Cricket game, which allows people of all abilities to play a new style of inclusive cricket.

Custom bed rails

This was particularly significant to two families who were having sleepless nights over bedtime.

Switch adapted toys

Five year old Kayla is a happy and sociable little girl. She has Rett Syndrome, a regressive disorder, which is causing her to lose the speech she had when she was younger and a lot of the functionality of her hands. She also has apraxia and dyspraxia meaning her body doesn’t always cooperate with what her brain is telling her to do.

Modified electric trike

Daniel has ataxic Cerebral Palsy which causes him to be quite unsteady and a little shaky. He uses a Kaye Walker to get around and his condition affects a lot of aspects of his life. His mum Lucy didn’t want his condition to get in the way of his need for speed, so when she saw a little girl at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance riding a custom bike she set about trying to get something similar for Daniel.

Custom music stands

In her early twenties, she studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was praised by teachers for her amazing ability to play tunes by ear. During her course Rose was given the news that she had Cone Rod Dystrophy, a progressive disease, which in basic terms, causes deterioration of eye sight. This put an end to her dream of becoming a music teacher because in the coming years it would become more difficult to read music.

A better handle on farm work

But Glen doesn’t let anything stop him doing his share on his family’s farm near Kempsey. Not even his wheelchair.

Office modifications

“My feet were dangling and they swell when they’re not on a surface,” she said. She also has muscle spasms, particularly when she is tired. She tried commercially available footstools but they didn’t suit her – and she once cut her ankle when her foot was caught under the stool.

Posh chair liner

On Jayden’s chair, there are thoracic fins and a footrest, made and added by volunteer Detlef Czerniejewski.

Standing and sitting in comfort

Freyja has poor trunk control and developmental delay, but she loves to be upright. When she was less than two years old she tried out one of TAD’s standing frames, which worked very well for her.

Sleeping wedge

Now he no longer needs the wedge for orthopaedic reasons, but he has become so accustomed to it that he does not feel comfortable sleeping without it.

Adapted spoon and headset

Kerri has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was seven, and has undergone spinal fusion. She can only lift her arms to her chest and can’t bend her neck. “In the last two years I have only been able to manage food I could stab with a fork,” she said. “No rice, no soup, nothing that wasn’t solid.”

Sliding cot door

“When I became pregnant I was really happy, but also terrified,” Sara said. “I wondered how I would manage, and how Ben (her partner) would manage my care and the care of the baby. After Jacob was born I was very tired from breastfeeding, and it was pretty clear that I wouldn’t be doing most of the care.”

Bath seat cover replacement

She also uses a spa bath which she finds very relaxing. When the fabric covers of her custom-made bath chair and imported shower bed wore out, her mother asked TAD for help.

Custom step and rail

Rhiannon’s therapist therefore asked for an extra step between the floor and the platform. This needed to be retractable in order to fit into the family bathroom and enable the shower door to be opened. Also, the rails are height adjustable so they can be raised as Rhiannon grows and still provide optimum support.

Custom shower seat frame

“Initially we were using a commode chair in the shower, and I was washing her hair in the kitchen sink and a visiting carer would hold her so she didn’t get her ears wet,” Edith said. “Or sometimes I would go to my friend’s place and she would help me. But it meant I had to plan around when there was someone available to help.”

Exercise sling

“Some elderly people can’t hold their leg up for any length of time, so that’s not a solution,” Physiotherapist Cathy explained. One of the physios would use a device such as a towel as a sling to hold up the patient’s leg, but this was awkward and ineffective.

Sleeping in comfort

However, he found that he developed severe pain in his knees after around three hours sleeping on his back, due to pressure build up on his kneecaps.

Wheelchair protection

However, she happily attends school and enjoys playing with her sisters Georgia and Stephanie in their beautiful home near the water in Sydney’s south.

Steps for therapy

However, the steps need to fit into the building in which each service is housed, and suit their individual arrangements.

Bunking down

The beds were designed so they could be used as bunks or detached and used as separate beds.

Growing up with TAD

Grace has cerebral palsy, vision impairment, hearing impairment and developmental delay. She needed the raised bed so that her carers did not have to bend over when tending to her, and side railings to keep her safe at night.

Safe in bed

Margaux has Angelman syndrome and frequently has insomnia, so it is very important that she is prevented from wandering around the house at night while her parents are asleep.

Eating with the family

Liam has global developmental delay and needs supportive seating to maintain correct posture for eating, so when he was younger he had a customised seat insert made by TAD. “Otherwise we have to sit and hold him, which is difficult now he is older and doesn’t make it so easy to eat yourself,” Diane said.

Custom cup

With developmental delay, cerebral palsy and vision impairment, as well as some changes to her mouth structure following an accident, Aviva was coughing when she used most cups. She was not adequately swallowing the liquid and there was a danger that she would choke.

Exercise ladder

But Angela and Phil were determined that their son would have the chance to live a happy and fulfilling life, and to be as independent as possible.

Change table, supportive seating and Freedom Wheels

These included items adapted to suit Aiden, such as a standing frame, a side support chair and table, and a Freedom Wheels bike. When Kath wanted help with a change table for the bathroom, it was natural for her to ask TAD for assistance.

Wrist stretching

It is important that she retains as much flexibility as possible so she can pick up objects and operate her electric wheelchair.

Boarding the bus

Amber has a rare syndrome which has resulted in developmental delay and challenging behaviours, and she gets very anxious if she doesn’t feel secure.

Bathroom stool

However, he worked out that he could reach his head to wash it if he rested his elbows on his legs and bent his head slightly to reach them.

Accessible cot for Dad

However, Jason has C6 incomplete quadriplegia as a result of an accident in 1992, so he uses a manual wheelchair and has limited strength in his hands. One of the problems he and Kate could anticipate before the baby was born was that Jason wouldn’t be able to reach into the cot from his wheelchair.

Keeping balance

Shona’s main problem is poor balance. She uses a walking stick over longer distances, but at home she often kneels down to perform tasks that require two hands.

Managing motherhood

Emma could see the problems that looking after a baby would present and she and her occupational therapist, Julianne, set to work to solve them.

Wheeling the baby

“I’d been thinking about it for 22 years, ever since I had the injury,” she said. “I had always hoped to have children, and I think that a lot of people with disabilities probably have to do that kind of forward thinking and problem solving, like where will I take him to a playground.”

Enquire Now

Send us your goals and challenges and our therapists and skilled volunteers will review and come back to you with how we can work together to achieve them.