One Small Product, One Big Problem.

Her face was as red as the mini basketball in her lap, catching our eye, Stephanie beamed as she rapidly propelled her wheelchair towards us. As an active middle schooler, and exceptionally social young woman, it was no surprise when she and her mother agreed to meet with me and my team.

While engaging in front end research at Adapt Design, we caught up with Stephanie during her physical therapy session at University of Michigan's facilities. She was eager to open up about her love of school, but we soon found a topic that dimmed her radiating excitement: field trips. 

Stephanie’s middle school offers a variety of field trips that allow students to learn curriculum in an interesting and hands-on way. These field trips give students new perspective as well as the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. 

A recent study from The Wagner Group showed that kids who take field trips are more likely to graduate both high school and college, with 59% showing an improvement in their grades. The survey also found that among those who traveled to learn, 86% believed they were more curious inside the classroom as a result. 

Stephanie however, was robbed of these critical experiences. Her insurance company refused to provide her with the hardware necessary to secure her wheelchair into a school bus.

The company claimed that the parts, known as a “transit option”, were a non-essential luxury item that must be paid for by Stephanie’s family. However, these parts would cost her family upwards of $250 out of pocket, a cost that they could not afford at the time. 

Stephanie and her mother exchanged a look of helplessness, before sharing she had missed the field trips. She had no choice but to remain at home while her classmates participated in significant educational experiences that could have proved to be essential to her academic success.

My face grew as red as the mini basketball in her lap when I realized it was not a wheelchair part that was labeled as luxury, it was her education.

- Sidney, Co-Founder & Designer

*Stephanie's name has been changed to protect her privacy. 

Streamline solutions to foster independence.

Every time we interview someone with a disability, we ask where they find resources or products that help them navigate their environment. Too often the response we hear is "I don't know." Most people we meet with spend hours searching the internet for solutions that address various aspects of living with a disability. While this is so obviously frustrating and slow to resolve, we also see some clever hacks that result from this extreme lack of option. 

At Adapt, we decided to create a resource page dedicated to sharing these clever DIY solutions, but also to help people find existing products and services already available on the market. The database of resources will continue to grow rapidly as we come across new people, and companies working to improve independence for those with disabilities.

Amanda Jurysta shows our designer the different products she has used in attempt to make her wheelchair more efficient. 

As we began collecting information on new products and services, we also came across movements of people working on social justice issues relating to rights of the disabled. After discovering these groups the Adapt team decided to include a "Movements" section that will feature groups of people working on advocacy and awareness for disability. 

We ask that you reach out to us if you have a hack, service, movement, or product that you think is worth sharing. Together, we can streamline new solutions to those who need them allowing us to save time, foster innovation, and support small businesses. 

 - Sidney, Designer