Assistive Technology: Tractor Door Opener

Installing a tractor door opener makes for easier and safer tractor cab access for individuals with mobility impairments.

Tractor Door Opener 2
Many older model International tractors, often found on Pennsylvania farms, have doors that do not open wide enough or stay open by themselves. The door hinges toward the front of the tractor rather than the back like many other models. This increases the difficultly associated with entering and exiting the operator platform. 
 
Often, the individual has to hold the door open while climbing the steps. The doors are also known to swing back and hit the individual if they are not pushing on the door. For someone with limited strength it can be difficult to hold the door open. This also creates a higher risk of falls because holding the door open takes focus off foot placement and balance.  
 
Tractor door openers are cylinders that mount at the top of the tractor door. This device can be easily installed  and is relatively inexpensive. Once installed the cylinder helps open the door and keeps the door in the open position. This is an excellent piece of assistive technology to help modify older tractors. 
More on Tractor Door Openers from Disability Work Tools.

About AgrAbility PA

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by linking them to potential resources and by providing support they need to live independently and continue working in or return to production agriculture.

AgrAbility PA is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting http://www.AgrAbilityPA.org, calling (814) 867-5288, emailing AgrAbility@psu.edu, or searching @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

AgrAbility PA to award prizes to winning PA FFA chapters in Bridging Horizons Contest

image_leadimageAgrAbility PA’s inaugural Bridging Horizons Contest concluded this spring with two winners! The contest provided an opportunity for Pennsylvania FFA Association chapters to make a positive impact in their community by enhancing independence and/or promoting success for farmers with disabilities.

Entry categories included three options: completing a service project, developing an assistive technology tabletop demo, or creating a video presentation. The Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters will split $400 as they collaborated on a service project. The Cumberland Valley FFA will win $400 for an assistive technology tabletop demo.

Awards will be presented during the 88th PA FFA State Convention & Activities Week, which is held at Penn State University from June 13-15, 2017. Students and their FFA chapters will be honored on June 14 at 7 p.m. during a General Session event at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Bridging Horizons 2

Performing cleaning, repairing, and reconditioning to saddle and parts.

Students from the Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters worked collaboratively at the Eos Therapeutic Riding Center in Bloomsburg, Pa. The center provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons for mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged children and adults. The students worked over the course of a year to assist with facility needs, riding equipment needs, and rider needs.

Bridging Horizons 1

An FFA member works with one of the riding horses to assure the equipment and conditions are safe for the therapeutic riders.

A student with the Cumberland Valley FFA chapter developed a myoelectric prosthetic hand. This assistive technology developed out of an agriscience research project being conducted by a student with an interest in robotics and prosthetics. The student started by creating models of hands from drinking straws and emerged into creating a function model out of lumber. The project evolved after a model of a hand was 3-D printed and programmed to operate from an electrical stimulus.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 11.51.25 AM.png

Information about next year’s Bridging Horizons Contest will be available on September 1, 2017 at www.bridginghorizonspa.org.

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by linking them to potential resources and by providing support they need to live independently and continue working in or return to production agriculture.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting http://www.AgrAbilityPA.org, calling (814) 867-5288, emailing AgrAbility@psu.edu, or searching @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

Assistive Technology Spotlight: Ergonomic Gardening Tools

If April showers bring May flowers, then we are already headed towards a beautiful spring!

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.12.52 PM

AgrAbility PA Project Assistant Abbie Spackman shared garden-related assistive technology at the Occupational Therapy Association Conference (AOTA) in Philadelphia this spring.

 

Pair this with the beautiful, mild weather we’ve been having, it can be exciting to get back outside and into your flowerbeds or garden. But painful hands, wrists, and backs can quickly dissipate that excitement.

Head to your local gardening store or visit sites online to find the perfect garden tools for you. For a tool to be truly ergonomic, it needs to be fitted to each individual. This is why we recommend trying tools out before you buy them. What fits one person may not fit you!

Visit this website for a wonderful resource on gardening with arthritis!

Here are several tools we commonly recommend:

Green Heron Tools: This company sells tools ergonomically built for women. Try out their shovels or a pair of pruners that come in two sizes.

Radius Gardening Tools: They are lightweight and have curved handles that allow for different writs positions. They also have larger grips that can reduce joint pain in your hands.

 

Disability Work Tools Robo Handle: This handle can be added to tools you already have! The unique grip allows your wrist to stay in a natural position.

Heron shovels

Green Heron Shovels

Ergo Trowel

Ergonomic Trowel

Robo Handle

Robo Handle

Now…get outside and enjoy gardening! In between the rain. 🙂

AgrAbility PA travels to Tennessee for 2017 National AgrAbility Training Workshop

Aida Balsano addressing the workshop attendees on the first day.

Members of the AgrAbility PA staff traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to attend the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop, March 20-23.

Abbie Spackman, case coordinator and project assistant, and Kendra Martin, digital media and outreach coordinator, as well as a farmer and an occupational therapist represented AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) at the national workshop. The workshop was packed full of speakers, educational sessions, networking opportunities, hands-on demonstrations, and farm tours. Topics included service to veterans, assistive technology, financial assistance, new and beginning farmers, health and wellness sessions, sustainability, outreach strategies, and more. Sessions also included information on farming with a brain injury, mental health, urban agriculture, military culture, and niche markets.

IMG_2093

Kendra Martin at the AgrAbility PA booth as an exhibitor.

Highlights included an update from Aida Balsano, national program leader with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; motivational speaker Ashlee Lundvall, who was paralyzed in a ranching incident in 1999, spoke at the annual banquet dinner; and assistive technology demonstrations and tours of local Tennessee farms involved in farm to table and hydroponic operations.

Farm tour 2017 AgrAbility NTW

A farm tour in Tennessee.

Overall, the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop was a great learning experience and provided an opportunity to connect with dozens of people committed to the mission of AgrAbility: to promote success in agriculture for farmers with a disability or long-term health condition.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting www.AgrAbilityPA.org or search @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

PSU students raise funds to benefit a young farmer with a disability

Penn State University students in agricultural fraternities, a sorority, and several clubs held a “Penny War” and spaghetti dinner at University Park which raised nearly $1,000 for a farmer with a disability.

kylem

Kyle, a young beef farmer, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement incident.

A young beef farmer in northern Pennsylvania, named Kyle, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement incident. Since the incident, he has been working hard to regain his ability to work on the family farm using a prosthetic leg. AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) began working with Kyle to help him safely and productively overcome obstacles he faces on the farm.

Lewis Frame, a member of Delta Theta Sigma, organized the fundraiser to help Kyle purchase assistive technology to use around the farm. Members of Delta Theta Sigma, Alpha Zeta and Sigma Alpha participated in the Penny War competition. The dinner was hosted by Alpha Zeta and was attended by many people from the community. Support also came from the Poultry Science Club and the Collegiate Farm Bureau. AgrAbility PA also received a donation from Collegiate FFA to provide additional assistance to Kyle.

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities for someone with a disability. For Kyle, assistive technology means many items and types of equipment on the farm. These funds will be put towards the purchase of accessible tractor steps and automatic gates. These devices will reduce the repetitive, strenuous movements on his leg and make it easier for him to move around his farm.

If interested in donating to Kyle or AgrAbility PA in general, contact Project Assistant Abbie Spackman at 814-867-5288 or aes5450@psu.edu. Learn more about the AgrAbility Project by visiting www.AgrAbilityPA.org or search @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The AgrAbility PA project is designed to assist farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by providing the resources and support they need to live independently and to continue working in or return to production agriculture.