This month we’re spotlighting Alicia Chong, a paediatric occupational therapist and Maker for Team Brenton. Discover more about how Alicia heard about TOM: Melbourne and her experience participating in the Makeathon.
How did you hear about the TOM: Melbourne Makeathon?
I’m a paediatric occupational therapist working in a specialist school for children with physical disabilities and complex health impairments. I heard about the Makeathon initiative through a colleague, who shared what the TOM program meant for many Need-Knowers across the state. I am very passionate about creating opportunities for individuals to access their environment and have control of the world around them, so this seemed like a fantastic initiative to be a part of.
What was Team Brenton’s challenge and how did you arrive at your solution?
I was lucky enough to be in a team that worked alongside the enthusiastic Brenton and his mother, Helen, to create an assistive device which allowed Brenton to put on gardening gloves independently. When I first heard of this challenge, I couldn’t believe that there was nothing currently in the market to support individuals with upper limb movement challenges to wear gloves.
My team and I explored a range of different options and decided to create an assistive device that could work with any existing glove on the market, rather than make modifications to a pair of gloves instead. This took many hours of trial and error, but with feedback from Brenton and Helen, and a wonderful team with a plethora of experience and knowledge, we got there!
What was your experience like during the Makeathon and working with your Need-Knower
Brenton truly is an inspiration with his passion for life. He has a determination and drive for independence. Team Brenton’s experience, knowledge and generosity with their time made this an unforgettable experience. Everyone brought a unique skill set to the team and supported and encouraged each other through the whole process, leading to a successful outcome for Brenton.