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Zip ties, plywood, and PVC tubes: How disabled people and caregivers are hacking their homes

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The pandemic threw up a barrier for the research of Laura Mauldin. A sociology professor at the University of Connecticut who studies disability and caregiving, she’d been visiting the homes of people with disabilities to see the ways they set up their space for their particular needs. The pandemic put a halt to those visits. Though Mauldin could still peek into homes via video calls, many of the small details she could see in a real-life visit fell out of view in the virtual space. So, she started asking people to send photos.

What she got was a flood of innovative hacks, modifications, and do-it-yourself problem solving, all aimed at making homes work better for people with disabilities and those caring for them. “I thought, ‘This is brilliant,’ but it’s under the radar, it’s hidden in the intimacies of our homes, no one else sees this,” Mauldin says. “And I thought, ‘We have to show it to other people.'”

[Screen Capture: disabilityathome.org]So Mauldin began compiling these photos and created Disability at Home, a website documenting the varied, inventive, and often banal ways people have augmented their homes to improve life with a disability. One modified and elongated the steps leading to their front door with plywood and two-by-fours. Another attached a rolling dolly to his wheelchair so he could more easily move around the house with objects. Others have used common things like zip ties, painter’s tape, and dry erase boards to hack their homes and ease their daily........

© Fast Company

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