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Ticket Tearing Device for Movie Ticket Taker

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Movie Tickets
Movie Tickets

Derek was born with cerebral palsy (CP) and Mental Retardation. He does not have functional use of his legs or right hand, although he is able to use his left hand with some dexterity. His county received a Person-Centered Planning Grant and prior to his graduation a plan was developed with return to work a primary goal. A movie ticket taker position was targeted given the repetitive nature of the tasks and limited number of steps involved, while still matching his temperament and desire to be around people. His Rehabilitation Counselor from the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, Ann Mathieu, asked Ruth Mendelson, a Rehab Engineer (RE) with Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, to evaluate the work site and make recommendations to allow Derek to perform the essential functions of the position.


Derek was unable to tear the ticket and after trying to adapt a coupon cutter and even a serrated aluminum foil cutter, the RE found a high torque rotary cutter which cuts the ticket when inserted into a custom designed box that sits on a tray in Derek's lap. This is the same technology used in many parking lots, when a ticket is cut and ejected upon pressing a button. A photoelectric sensor was used to trigger the cutter and a portable automobile battery charger, with a cigarette lighter socket, is the power source and hangs from Derek's wheelchair handles using webbing and Fastex sliders. A job coach was provided during a non-paid work adjustment period where Derek learned how to meet, greet and talk to customers while trying the various accommodations.

The employer schedules Derek for less busy shifts during the day and he has been successfully employed, in paid status, for over a year. All equipment was off the shelf except for the box, with the total cost for job accommodations at approximately $250, not including RE or job coach professional hours.

Accommodation List / Sources

1.High torque rotary cutter - Hecon ( - $100

2.Photoelectric sensor - Grainger ( - $20

3.Relay switch - Radio Shack ( - <$10

4.Power source, battery charger - Grainger or Radio Shack - $80

5.Adhesive-backed cord clip - ITW Fastex Products ( - <$10


This case study was originally documented by Tech Connections, a NIDRR-funded collaboration between United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCP), the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at Georgia Tech (CATEA), and the Southeast Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (SE DBTAC).