Jenson was born prematurely and when he was old enough to sit in his high chair, he was still far too small to sit safely and comfortably. Our team created made to measure foam padding that fits under Jenson’s high seat cover, making his seat the perfect size. The padding has been made with removable layers, so mum and dad can remove pieces as Jenson grows and needs more room in his seat.
People we help
Richard and his wife Michelle welcomed their first child into the world this Spring. Richard uses a wheelchair to get around, but he and his wife Michelle were keen for Richard to be as independent as possible with their new baby. They worried that Richard wouldn’t be able to push a buggy if his hands were occupied propelling his own wheelchair, but with some creative thinking from our engineers Richard can now take baby Isabel out and about wherever and whenever he likes.
“This buggy allows me and my daughter to be truly independent” – Richard
Our designer Ehsan spoke about the design process. “This is a huge problem for parents who need to use mobility aids and wheelchairs. We’ve helped lots of people like Richard to be more independent with their children when a normal buggy just won’t work. Richard expressed his concerns about simply attaching a standard buggy to the front of his wheelchair to make it ’hands free’; the chair and buggy together would be approaching 2 meters long, making it near impossible to get into and around shops or cafes.”
“With that in mind, we decided to modify a buggy from the high street and make it more compact. It clips to Richard’s chair with custom made fixings, and we designed a handle that folds up so Richard’s wife can push the buggy too.”
DEMAND Designer Ehsan Abedi, DEMAND CEO Gary Evans, Student at The Collett School Josh, Dan Dark, SVP and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and Any Gray Sensory Integrations Lead teacher at The Collett School.
In 2015 we designed and made a rocking chair to help students with learning disabilities at The Collett School in Hemel Hempstead to self-regulate during times of stress and sensory overload. The original rocking chair can be seen in our short film:
With sponsorship totalling £5,000 from Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, this June we were able to make and deliver 5 additional rocking chairs with a new and improved design, so that every student in the school will be able to access a chair whenever they need to.
The Sensory Shell Chair provides a sheltered, relaxing and soothing space thanks to the integrated hood and the curved design which encourages and facilitates a gentle rocking motion.
The hood helps both children and adults with sensory processing disorders such as autism to make sense of their world by limiting environmental stimuli. The design is now being produced and sold by DEMAND to support the charity’s other charitable activities helping disabled people across the UK and beyond.
“I was delighted to see the result of the partnership from our support, DEMAND’s ingenuity and Collett School’s original concept that has led to the creation of these unique chairs.” Dan Dark, SVP and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden explains.
“During our visit to Collett School I’ve seen for myself the direct benefits students get from using the chairs. No doubt there will be many other schools who could benefit from adopting this excellent idea.
We would like to hear from anyone who would like to sponsor or fundraise for a Sensory Shell Chair to help a school or group in your area. Please get in touch to find out more or to express your interest.
We’ve been working with Herts Disability Sports Hub to make sure even more activities are available to people with different physical abilities.
The team at HDSH have been testing a custom made seat in their cata-canoe, which gives extra back and head support for sailors who can’t sit unaided.
Before this custom seat, it wasn’t safe or practical for these sailors to participate. Now in our workshop 4 more seats are being made, so even more people can enjoy getting out on the water!
See Lloyd enjoying the lake in this video from HDSH.
Streetbikes is a Kirklees, West Yorkshire based organisation committed to getting everyone cycling, whatever their physical abilities may be!
We refurbished and donated 5 accessible bikes so their mixed ability cycling sessions can grow & more people can enjoy keeping active.
DEMAND Engineer Ben along with Dave of Streetbikes, handing over the newly refurbished accessible bikes
Specialist accessible bikes are costly so we support projects like this that maximise the amount of people who get a chance to enjoy using these specialist bikes, trikes and handcycles.
If you would like to donate any used disability equipment, get in touch here.
Teachers from The Collett School in Hemel Hempstead – a specialist school for children with learning disabilities, first approached DEMAND seeking a replacement for a chair they owned, once bought from IKEA. It provided a calm place for students to self-regulate and resulted in fewer ‘meltdowns’, often caused by different triggers encountered throughout the school day.
The chair has a fabric hood similar to a child’s pushchair, which reduces stimulation from the environment. It’s a place to go if a child is anxious or needs space to calm down and shut off from the world. The IKEA chair spins on it’s base and the teachers noticed this motion would often stimulate the students – counteracting their efforts to calm them! They were looking for a chair large enough for their older students, with a soothing rocking motion rather than spinning.
DEMAND’s university placement student Hollie, designed a rocking chair with a special hood to create an enclosed, therapeutic space blocking out some of the sights and sounds of a busy classroom.
Anu Gray, Sensory Interventions teacher at The Collett School says “The chair is their place to be when they want to be alone”.
A small group of adults with disabilities in Chesham enjoy a weekly painting class run by two volunteers. DEMAND was contacted and asked to make an easel more suited to the painters’ needs. After watching them in action, we designed and made an easel with a wide range of adjustment. This allows the volunteers to position the canvas much closer to the painter, which is a help if they have a limited range of movement. Previously, the canvas would have to be held by the volunteers to achieve close and angled positions, but with the new easel, the painters will enjoy uninterrupted art sessions.
Living with disability can often restrict the way people are able to express themselves. An art therapy class at a residential home gave a voice to adults with Cerebral Palsy, but the helpers struggled to hold the canvasses in the best positions, or for the length of time required, for the wheelchair-using artists.
The solution was to develop an easel that could be almost infinitely adjustable and hold large and heavy canvasses securely in a way that suited each painter, as shown by Tina, left. When the product’s success led to the group requesting another easel, an opportunity to help even more people arose.
Now, after refining the design to make it lighter, stronger, and easier to use, several easels have been produced to give more people with restricted mobility the opportunity to explore their creativity.
Saima and Zubair are teenagers with a severe hereditary condition characterized by muscle weakness, poor control of movement and co-ordination. They are unable to walk or speak but can communicate by other means. Both are lively and enthusiastic pupils at their special school in Hertfordshire but their disabilities prevent them from fully participating in educational activities.
Some time ago DEMAND designed an articulating arm support for Zubair. This attaches to a custom made mount on his wheelchair and balances the weight of his arm, allowing him to reach and handle objects more easily.
It proved to be so effective both educationally and therapeutically that the Occupational Therapist asked DEMAND to make another for Saima, who has similar needs for support. The design of Saima’s arm support benefitted from the feedback on the performance of Zubair’s support. The new support arm is much easier to fit and set up, and the lifting force can be fine tuned while the support is being used, allowing it to be adapted to suit variations in the tasks being carried out.
In 2008 our designers were contacted by a group of scientists conducting research into a new and non-invasive method of early cancer detection. They were using sniffer dogs to detect changes in the smell of our urine when cancerous cells are present in the body, their results were promising so they asked DEMAND to help speed up the process.
This week their research was featured in New Scientist magazine, we are delighted to see the research progressing, nearing a stage where the process could soon be implemented into the screening process for some specific cancers in the UK.
Medical research posed a new challenge for us, but such a great cause that we wanted to get involved! DEMAND built a carousel with 8 sample sniffing stations that would reduce the time taken to set up and run a test. A trained dog is led around the carousel, sniffing each sample in turn and indicating to the handler if they detect the presence of the chemicals produced by the cancerous cells. The carousel even adjusts in height for small or tall dogs to ensure they have a comfortable working day! The trained dogs have such a remarkable ability to detect tiny traces of chemicals that they may be able to detect early stage cancers more accurately than the methods currently used by the NHS.
We are thrilled that our equipment is enabling Medical Detection Dogs to carry out their vital research into better early ways to detect cancer reliably.
See the Medical Detection Dogs in action here