My name is Federico González. I am a Physical Education Teacher in Cordoba (Argentina). I work in Sullai, a school for people with multiple disabilities. I have always felt an inclination to adapt chairs and games for my students. Prior to learning about Adaptive Design Association I used car tires, a material that was ready available, to make adaptations. All that changed in April 2017— I travelled to the U.S. for training about the Son‐Rise Program, and looking for something else to learn in my trip, I found Adaptive Design Association in New York.
After a week‐long training course at ADA, I came back to Cordoba and told the teachers in my school all the possibilities to adapt with cardboard. While at ADA I learned how the fabrication team uses wooden dowels as nails to strengthen the cardboard creations. The teachers were very interested in learning and that inspired me to begin sourcing materials such as cardboard and wooden dowels. My first step was to locate a local vendor that received shipments in cardboard. I called the Car Oil Center in my neighborhood, and they give me a lot of quality cardboard. Then I went to a sushi restaurant to ask about the chopsticks used, and they donated over 500 units. Last, I told the administration of my school that our students would greatly benefit from these types of adaptations. They understood and bought white glue and a supply of glue sticks for the glue gun.
Before starting the constructions I had to layer the cardboard, because in Argentina there is no triple wall cardboard. The maximum thickness we have is double. So I had to stick two pieces of that together to form 4-layer corrugated cardboard.
The administration in my school had taken a leap of faith with me but after I built the first few adaptations, the school was more inclined to support my initiative and bought a machine to cut the cardboard (before I cut it with a knife).
I am pleased to share, that with 4 other professionals, we have formed a non‐profit organization, OMNES Todos y cada uno. Our mission is to help people with disabilities. We know that building custom adaptations affects everyone involved. OMNES directly translates to "everyone", but we decided to add the phrase ‘Todos y cada uno’ which translates to ‘All and each one’ because we know that activities and initiatives that come from everyone benefit each person. One of the major goals of our organization is to house an Adaptive Design workshop. Like the workshop in NY. we will not only build cardboard adaptations but teach others how to build custom adaptations too.
In an effort to share the mission and purpose of Adaptive Design, this past summer we presented Designs and Adaptations in Cardboard at the 4th International Congress Between Education and Health: Utopias and Challenges of Inclusion. I have also begun to engage the community in adaptive design thinking. I taught a group of 15 year-old kids from a secondary school program, in collaboration with the school's technology teacher.
Most recently, I have decided it is time for me to study Occupational Therapy. I have already presented a couple of adaptive design projects in my classes. The professors have been very happy with my input, and one of them asked me to help as a teacher assistant for the Orthotics and Assistive Technology class which is part of the 2nd year curriculum.
More than the items being made, Adaptive Design has encouraged me to follow a collaborative and sharing attitude. I am grateful for my week at Adaptive Design and am thrilled to be a part of their growing network of adaptive designers who continue to collaborate and share best practices.
About the Author
Location: Cordoba, Argentina.
Name of Foundation: OMNES Todos y cada uno
Cell: +549 351 238 4055
Contact: Federico Gonzalez