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Thread: Woodworking for a 14 year old with Cerebral Palsy?

  1. #1
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    Woodworking for a 14 year old with Cerebral Palsy?

    I havenít met the kid yet but Iím told that his symptoms are not too severe. My thought is that wood turning might be something he could do. A lot can be done with one hand holding the tool steadied by the tool rest and the other holding the handle against the body.

    I saw that one form of therapy is something called bimanual training. These are activities where both hands must work in concert. Wikipedia listed as example holding a marker in one hand and a pad of paper in the other. Well, heck, most stuff in the shop is pretty bimanual.

    Iíll know a lot more when I meet the kid and find out what he would like to do. I canít offer up any expertise other than my patient attention.

    Iím open to suggestionsÖ

  2. #2
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    Roger, I think this will be a situation where you'll need to evaluate the student's physical limitations directly so you can plan the activities to be productive, safe and fun. It may end up being a combination of assisted and independent work all mixed together. In addition to the "making", the individual will undoubtedly have a great time with the design and planning of various projects, too!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Band saw or jigsaw, sanding, drill press, files, rasps. hand miter box, come to mind. He may have to use jigs and assembly guides more then usual.
    I would say as a general rule kids are less rigid that the entire project has to be made by them. They have no problem incorporating store bought items into the design. Like a factory made medallion or such.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 09-18-2021 at 11:31 AM.

  4. #4
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    For some reason high school woodshops here no longer use stains. They use a propane torch to scorch the wood. It actually looks good if you want the dark 60's look.
    It probably has to do with solvent fumes and safe storage. No one ever got high by inhaling propane. Just make sure it is not alight when inhaled.
    Bill D

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    No suggestions on what projects to do but good for you for what your doing.

  6. #6
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    I'm with Doug. This speaks volumes about you as a person. I have no doubt you will find exactly the right project(s) to work with his abilities. Keep us posted on where this goes.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    No suggestions on what projects to do but good for you for what your doing.
    +2. Good on ya Roger. Thanks for caring.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
    Start with something simple like a 2 piece pencil holder. Holes drilled in top piece for pencils and bottom with countersunk holes in the down side to attach together. This will be more of a learning experience for you to see his strengths and weaknesses. Then move on to more difficult with your understanding. Repetition is not a bad thing either for kids with some limitations. My 2 cents

  9. #9
    I suggest that instead of using paint or stain, show him how to marbleize paper. Makes a great show on boxes and such. And that would be
    a situation where the palsy would not be an impairment .
    Roger, thanks for your kind effort.

  10. #10
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    Hmm.. I’ve never marbelized paper. I saw a documentary about it once. It was about this guy in Lawrence Kansas that was sought out by high end book publishers. His technique was to float oil based inks on a large tray of water and then swirl the inks like a barista does with coffee. Then, very carefully, he would lay sheets of paper on the ink and very carefully peel them off.

    Mel, could you direct me to a resource that doesn’t require the “very carefully” part? I’m going to nose around also.

    To be honest, I have general tremors in my hands that is becoming more pronounced as I age. I have intermittent problems putting a philips screwdriver into a screw. Soldering is difficult. My point here is that I might not be able to do the aforementioned “very carefully” steps.
    Last edited by Roger Feeley; 09-19-2021 at 8:50 AM.

  11. #11
    I guess some of the patterns might be more difficult than others, but I think that only the people making it for a set of leather bound books
    that need to show Ďfamily featuresí would be able to pick out the work of an expert over that of a child. Autumn leaves are not hand painted
    by skilled artisans. Google up something about making it ,not admiring it. We used a pan of water and oil based colors thinned way down.
    Dropped with sticks and medicine bottle bulb droppers. We thinned the stuff way down, dropped the drops. Then stirred , ďnot shakenĒ

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    Roger, such a fantastic thing to do. Jim hit the nail on the head with first evaluating their abilities. I have extensive experience volunteering with people with special needs. From teaching visually impaired people to ski and golf. To just getting people out for a fun day on the slopes. Everything starts with a thorough evaluation. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to following you, on this most rewarding adventure.
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  13. #13
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    No direct experience with this specific set of limitations...

    But I would suggest asking him what he needs help with and what he feels comfortable trying. I know of a situation where a person who is differently mobile gets very frustrated when one of their relatives jumps in and tries to do everything for them because they are "disabled". They are much happier with the approach of being asked what would they like help with.

    I would think a key here would be working with him, to identify appropriate accommodations for his challenges. Self actualization can be very important. I would probably say the most important thing you are bringing is your "patient attention"

    Do consult with the parents and the occupational therapist if available, they may have some key inputs.

    John

  14. #14
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    With preschoolers my wife did marble painting. paper in a shallow box. dip golf ball in paint and set it on the paper and let kid move the box around to make a pretty pattern. use multiple golf balls and different colors in small saucers.
    Ben Franklin. used leaves and flowers to print currency paper that no one could counterfeit.
    Bill D

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Stankus View Post

    But I would suggest asking him what he needs help with and what he feels comfortable trying. I know of a situation where a person who is differently mobile gets very frustrated when one of their relatives jumps in and tries to do everything for them because they are "disabled". They are much happier with the approach of being asked what would they like help with.
    This is sound advice and consistent with what I mentioned in my first response. Until there's a clear understanding directly with the individual (and I do mean directly with them), everything else is pure speculation.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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