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We partner with local institutions and organizations to better our community in NYC, as well as encourage and support the growth of our network of similar adaptive design centers around the world.


Our Programs

Adaptive Design’s workshop is filled with people.  Most are working: spreading glue, or bent over cutting and measuring.  In the center of the room, one woman is taking a photo of the group around one workbench.
We partner with local groups, institutions, and organizations to bring about community change. We are currently working with the NYC Department of Education (DOE).
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Our Programs

Our Network

More than a dozen people are scattered around a large workshop.   Spacious workbenches contain cardboard projects, mostly in early stages of building.  In addition to power and manual tools, there are glue bottles, coffee cups, cutting mats, and papers.  At center, a stuffed doll the size of a toddler lies face down on a workbench.
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Our Network

We support and encourage other adaptive centers and practices around the world, helping to establish adaptive design communities everywhere. 

To promote the formation of new adaptive design communities worldwide, we offer intensive classes. We encourage organizations to send motivated staff to New York City for custom intensive study to gain essential skills, are expected to engage colleagues, parents, and local makers on their return home.

Network programs by location

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United States

Philadelphia, PA

South America

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Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Lima, Peru


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Network Program Details

Two men pose for a photograph in a brightly colored room. The one in the red shirt sits in a wheelchair. On the tabletop between the two men is an orange and black chassis-like platform with big black wheels with an orange stripe. Set into this car-like platform is a blue seat with a high rounded back and safety belts.

Syracuse, New York

Connor McGough, Program Coordinator


Arise Adaptive Design Booklet


Adaptive Design Syracuse, is an interdisciplinary, community-based initiative to ensure that people with disabilities have the equipment they need to live vibrant, full lives.  It's a volunteer collective of people with all types of abilities, their families and friends, clinicians, designers and makers.

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Two smiling women flank a smiling man in a blue checkered shirt.  They stand in front of an open door leading to another room.  In front of them are pieces of cardboard.

Watertown, Massachusetts

Molly Campbell, Occupational Therapist

Perkins School for the Blind, Assistive Device Center


The Assistive Device Center designs and constructs custom devices that help children lead more independent lives. Custom-made items meet the unique needs of individuals while being affordable, durable and attractive. Teachers, therapists, aides and parents from Perkins and the general public are invited to make adaptive devices in the Assistive Device Center by appointment.

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A group of people of various ages pose for a photo. Some are standing and some students are seated in wheelchairs. Many of the  adults in the photo are holding certificates. One student in the photo has a blue cardboard tray attached to his wheelchair. Next to him sits an empty wheelchair with a blue seat insert that fits the chair from the top to the footrests. The insert is painted blue and has a cardboard tray the same color.

Ibarra, Ecuador

Kit Frank, Occupational Therapist

Prótesis Imbabura

Prótesis Imbabura’s mission is to provide Ecuadorian patients with quality affordable prosthetics (artifical limbs), orthotics (braces) and adaptive equipment.  Bob Frank, Prosthetist, and Kit Frank, Occupational Therapist, are volunteer consultants at Prótesis Imbabura. Kit has led the Adaptive Design Workshop since 2008, providing custom adaptive equipment such as standing tables, adapted seats, trays, easels, and wheelchair adaptations.

An older couple stands outdoors displaying various cardboard items, some brightly painted with scenes, and some unfinished.

Medstead, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Jean Westmacott , Assistive Equipment Director and Volunteer

Cerebral Palsy Africa - Paper Furniture Social Enterprise

+44 1361 883315


Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT) techniques were developed in Zimbabwe by Bevill Packer in the 1970s, who made furniture, toys and household items as well as some equipment for people with disabilities. Applying basic engineering principles and working with therapists has led to further developments: specially adapted chairs, standing frames, ride-on animals and wheelchair inserts for children with disabilities in various parts of the world.  Today, Jean and Ken Westmacott in the UK are further developing Packer's work and training instructors who teach APT techniques worldwide.​​

Seven people pose for a photograph in a semicircle around low workbenches with cardboard pieces on them. In the background are shelving units stacked with cardboard sheets.

Kamakwa, Nyeri, Kenya

Jolene Allen, Administrator & Head Occupational Therapist 

Metropolitan Sanctuary for Children with Disability


The goal of the Metropolitan Sanctury is to empower caregivers and individuals with disability, with the knowlege, skills and equipment to reach their full potential and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. The centre includes a rehabilitation clinic; day care for children with special needs; an innovative ultra low cost adaptive cardboard equipment workshop, foam custom contoured seating service,  and orthopaedic technology services. The centre offers physiotherapy & occupational therapy; medical review & nursing care, and medication. 

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Southeastern Pennsylvania

Dorothy Hess, Assistive Device Maker

Independent volunteer



Dorothy is an independent, volunteer assistive device maker who works with occupational and physical therapists at Easter Seals and other organizations in the greater Philadelphia area serving children with disabilities. Dorothy began making assistive devices in 2017, after taking Adaptive Design's three-day maker workshop, and has completed numerous chairs, trays, tables, benches, step-stools and other custom devices for both school and home-base children. Please email Adaptive Design Association to connect, if you would like assistance with an assistive device for a child in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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