Holland Bloorview youth realizes a dream – a highlight on adaptive technology

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With determination, imagination and a lot of specialized skill, Holland Bloorview’s staff and clients are revolutionizing the way technology and equipment enables children and youth with disabilities.

Heba Fakhir, 18, has muscular dystrophy. Heba has adapted to many physical challenges in her life, including losing the ability to walk, losing the ability to look down, and learning to breathe with a ventilator. Her dream is to be a fashion designer and she is well on her way. “Fashion has always been my passion.  I hope my clothes will inspire people one day,” says Heba.

Working together with an occupational therapist and art therapist at Holland Bloorview, Heba used a sewing machine controlled by an adaptive switch to make a dress from her sketches. The switch allows Heba to use a sewing machine to sew a pattern as any fashion designer would, just in a different way. Susie Rothman, occupational therapist, says, “We adapted this technology in innovative ways to maximize her independent participation, increase her self-determination and give her creative control over her project.”

“Technology is a huge part of my life”, says Heba “I use it every day for basic daily tasks, education and drawing.  It has really helped me see what I am capable of and show others.” The dress that Heba designed was a wonderful success. Heba proudly proclaimed that it “Looks better than I thought.  The dress turned out fantastic and exactly how I pictured it. I felt good that I did most of it myself.”