I.3 Foot Typing Posture for Person with extremity disabilities
Experts say individuals complete work best when sitting at a desk with feet flat on the floor and maintaining a perfect “90 / 90 / 90 posture”. However, this strict instruction of how modern-day students are to complete work is an idealistic far cry from reality. For some people with significant disability in their extremities, writing in the standard posture is also impossible. One such person is Eric, a passionate, energetic, and self-motivated 18-year-old man. He was born into this world in 2005 through traumatic means causing (Choreo-Athetoid & Dystonic Quadriplegic) Cerebral Palsy. His family immigrated to Clarkston, GA, from Cameroon. Despite his limitations in receiving medical, therapeutic, and individualized academic approaches to address his deficits, he trained his body over time to adapt to his challenges. These adaptations included developing a modified form of crawling on his hands and knees to ambulate functionally in his home environment. He also began using a very uncommon way to type and communicate with electronic devices: his feet.
While Eric is formally diagnosed as “quadriplegic” on his medical charts, that is not the whole story. Eric does not have any presentation of CP in his feet and ankles due to the nature of his injuries and how they do not overlap with those associated regions of the brain. This uninjured area has allowed him to become proficient at typing with his feet on his (PRC device) communication device at a young age to the present day, where he is now texting, calling, and writing email responses on his Apple iPad and iPhone with the tap of his toes. His uncoordinated hands provide limited stability when doing these actions on the floor, but he does not have the proper body support to facilitate his ability to type with his feet in a culturally preferred and minimally restrictive way.
The goal is to develop an individualized floor seating solution that facilitates the usage of his feet for typing that can be generalized to support others with similar special skills to Eric’s.