Personal tools

Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!

Accommodations for Geologist with Quadriplegia

From ATWiki

Jump to: navigation, search



John was originally referred through Alabama VR's RAVE (Retaining a Valued Employee) program in fall 2003. The goal of the program is to assist employers in managing disability and keeping their workers on the job.

Prior to injury, John's job tasks involved supervision of staff, administrative work, lab work, field work, and traveling to do presentations. He was only 4 months post injury when he was referred, and he was still working on all the other issues that accompany his injury. He relied on a power chair for mobility, had good flexion but limited extension of his arms. Fine motor control of his fingers was poor.


Microscope with digital camera and joystick control
Microscope with digital camera and joystick control
Lateral files on risers
Lateral files on risers

Originally we had a list of job tasks 3 to 4 pages long. To get him back working ASAP, tasks were prioritized. We would concentrate on getting him back to doing his administrative tasks first. He was evaluated for computer access, and provided with and trained on voice recognition and a trackball. His office workstations were completely redesigned to allow him to work on the computer access his various maps, books, and paperwork. Some of his tasks were modified.

In his office, the existing furniture was removed, and replaced with a U-shaped countertop that would not interfere with his chair. He accesses his computer with a trackball and Dragon, but also uses a keyboard on a standard tray. His 5 drawer vertical files were replaced with 2 drawer lateral files on risers, modified with handles that he could open. His office had been packed with bookshelves. He had to weed out the unnecessary books, and the necessary stuff was stored in cabinets over the lateral files. He is only able to reach the bottom two shelves, but he is satisfied that he can get to the stuff he really needs.

We modified his microscope with x-y stage controller, digital camera, and software to make it computer compatible. (Microscope mods were purchased from Aligned Imaging Solutions). We also added a desk that was adjusted to the correct height for his wheelchair.

Four automatic door openers were added to give him access to his office and to the research library.

Cost Analysis

All his home mods, vehicle mods, and some of the stuff for work was paid for by workman's comp. VR paid for about $15000 for the microscope, desks, and office mods.


Michael Papp, MS Rehabilitation Engineering

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services