Hilla Boral, BOT, MSc Ed
Director of PELE Center
ALYN Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
Assistive technology (AT) is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” People with disabilities often face difficulties in carrying out daily life functions, learning, communicating, working and participating in leisure activities. The availability of well-designed and adapted AT makes it possible to reduce the effects of occupational performance limitations on everyday life activities by facilitating and enhancing school and work performance and social interactions. This significantly contributes to the individual’s participation, self-esteem and quality of life.
Regrettably, off-the-shelf AT is often not suitable for a given person with needs. It is often very expensive, not designed specifically for children or for children with complex physical disabilities, or not available locally.
PELE Solutions for Children addresses these limitations via a case-driven approach that focuses on creating adaptable, adjustable, accessible, and affordable personalized solutions for children who face physical challenges so that they can achieve greater independence in their day-to-day activities including eating, dressing, maintaining personal hygiene, communicating, studying and being mobile. The interdisciplinary PELE team provides consulting services, guidance, and the design and manufacturing of assistive technologies by volunteer “makers” to produce adaptable, adjustable, accessible and affordable innovative AT solutions. It is funded by the Israel National Insurance Agency as well as private donations.
PELE continues to develop its services with the aim of responding to requests expediently and providing high quality products at the lowest possible cost. Feedback from users, family members and professionals has been overwhelmingly positive. Nevertheless, we intend to continue to improve the service by conducting research and addressing changing needs and incorporating emerging technology.
(See full article in the ISVR Newsletter Issue 17)