Assistive Life Design - lead by parents

Our research involves talking to LOTS of parents about how they help their disabled child achieve their developmental goals. Some of the most inspiring conversations are about how parents become empowered to design assistive technology packages tailored to their child. The clip below is part of our Australian story-sharing project with Plumtree [plumtree.org.au/family-stories].


We are undergoing a radical transformation in the field of Assistive Technology. We need to reconsider our intervention models. In the past, assistive technologies were designed from the ground up, hardware and all, to offer specific functionality to users, we ended up with hugely expensive, clunky and inflexible equipment... 

Parents feel grateful to live in today's world where they can easily access portable, flexible and adaptable technology. Parents share numerous stories of how they can rapidly adapt the capabilities of devices to the changing needs and skills of growing children with their ipads. We are collating these narratives into the largest disability storytelling project ever on our YouTube channel youtube.com/ecosynergygroup (>200 stories, ~35,000 views and growing) which parents listen to on their iphones whilst waiting for their doctors appointment. True 24/7 almost real time knowledge sharing.

This begs the question as to why professionals, such as Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Speech Therapists are so slow to uptake this liberating technology trend - sure there are isolated pockets of innovation, but in the mainstream, we are still dealing with old-school therapies and dinosaur technologies.

This is why some parents are leading their own 'Assistive Life Design' movement - with the powerful tools they carry in their pockets every day - this is the type of social innovation that is on our research radar - because it will make the most difference in people's lives in the shortest amount of time.