We are pleased to provide our project development officers report on his visit to Naidex.
“At the start of July 2022, I attended Naidex at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. I was looking for a few things in particular but I was keeping an open mind to finding new equipment and resources that would be good for the families we support at Strongbones.
When I first went in, I met with Josh from AbleMove, I had already been in communication with Josh previous to Naidex and was already trialling the AbleDry and AbleSling Lite. I love the AbleDry, it is a waterproof cover that goes onto your wheelchair for when you are getting out of a swimming pool or bath to prevent your wheelchair cushions from getting wet. Some people describe it as a towel; however it wasn’t made to dry your body, its main function is to protect your wheelchair cushions from becoming wet once you are hoisted / transferred back into your wheelchair. Josh gave me a great piece of advice when using this product, it works best when you remove as much water from your body and clothing as possible before you sit on the AbleDry. For me, personally, I have found that if I let the excess water drip while I’m in my sling after being hoisted out the bath / pool for a few minutes, the AbleDry works perfectly, my cushions have never been even damp.
I am still trialling the AbleSling Lite, I can only really compare it to the Promove, which I have used multiple times in the past. The AbleSling Lite, is a manual handling sling, it has eight handles (four on each side), to use to lift the individual. I like the AbleSling as it is a bit more supple compared to the Promove which I find quite rigid. It also has a large panel on the top to support the head and neck of the person being lifted. My only downside to the AbleSling Lite is that it doesn’t come with a bag to carry it in, it is quite a large, bulky sling that isn’t easily packable to be carried around on the back of a wheelchair.
Next we went to the Ropox stand to view the Vision Table and see how suitable it was for wheelchair users. I chatted with rep for a little while and he demonstrated all the features of the table. It has a tilting work surface that is magnetic, and a fixed side table that you can use for stationery and equipment. The table I prefer is the manual vision table as the electric table has to be plugged in at all times to work, meaning it would be limited to where it could be used, whereas the manual table can go in any room and outdoor if needed, it has a winder that adjusts the height of the table by slotting the tool into one of the holes and turning, which can be done on either side of the table, and stowed away in the clip for safe storage. Another positive thing about the table is its sturdiness, the rep actually sat on the table frame and it was so strong, even though it has no horizontal support bar across the back between the legs; this just mean it is even more accessible to wheelchair users. I will be contacting their UK suppliers to arrange to trial one of these tables as I believe they will be perfect for some of our young people. When I trial it, I will be using four of the Magrules. These are black magnetic strips that secure your work the table once it is tilted, I will also be trialling as a barrier to prevent things rolling / falling off the table when the work surface is flat.
While wandering around the stands, I came across a very interesting stand with colourful buttons attached to the metal canopy, on the front of the stand was a table with iPads showing different activities to interact with. I spoke to a few of the reps and was very interested in this gaming / learning switch device called Cosmo. Cosmo is a set of switches called Cosmoids that work alongside an app on the iPad to assist with skills and learning. The Cosmo can help with turn-taking, vocalisation and fine & gross motor skills. The Cosmo Switches are customisable, the colour, brightness and responsiveness can all be changed to suit your individual needs. All of the Cosmoids are bluetooth enabled, this means they can work alongside AAC devices and media platforms such as Spotify and Netflix. The switches can also be assigned to directional arrows to access video games and they are attachable to mounting arms with the magnets provided to assist with accessing a range of different activities. When using the iPad Cosmo app, there are 14 different activities to access, including games, story telling, turn taking and exploration activities. Each Cosmo Explore pack comes with three Cosmoid buttons and the chargers, cables and adapters to keep the Cosmoids working efficiently and access to the iPad app for the 14 activities.
I saw a few other interesting pieces of equipment that I will be looking into in the future if needed. The first one was the Ropox shower trolley, this was interesting as it has four separate panels that could sit up and flip over if you needed a flat or concaved surface. It could also be made in different lengths so could accommodate different people. The second piece of equipment that really took my interest was a Centrobed Specialise Bespoke Bed. These beds are incredible, they aren’t the ‘usual’ profiling beds that are generic, these are special. They have a wide range of movements to help reposition and get the individual comfortable with minimal intervention. These beds feature a turning system where the sides of the bed can also raise to create a safe sleeping environment. Another reason I love these beds is because of the themes; the head and footboards can be changed to different colours, designs, football clubs, characters and even names to make it really personal.
In conclusion, I was happy to be back at a disability convention looking for new equipment, even if it was a lot smaller than it has been in previous years.”
Myles Sketchley, Project Development Officer