We have had a very exciting project happening here this summer. Most of the project didn’t take place here but the ideas and planning did…all thanks to our son Ethan!
Our neighbor is an Occupational Therapist, and came to us at the beginning of the summer to tell us he was teaching an assistive technology class at our local college. He asked us if Ethan could be one of their subjects for a project. We agreed without hesitation since he could always use new ways and ideas to assist him in his daily living.
Before telling you all about this project, I want to tell you about our son Ethan. Ethan is a bright, happy, and determined kid who has Cerebral Palsy. His determination and positive attitude are what has helped him through so many of his struggles with his weak left side. Ever since Ethan was a small child he has dreamed of becoming a chef. When he was younger it was never a problem to interrupt different playtime activities or cartoons if we had to leave, but if I had to turn the TV off while Emeril or Giada De Laurentiis were on, he would cry and shout, “Cooking show!”. He has always loved to cook and had an appreciation for all types of foods. A lot of his occupational therapy has been centered around cooking and working with many different cooking tools/utensils…and it has been such a great motivation for him.
When we met the OT students from Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences about this project, we knew right away we wanted something that would help him in the kitchen. The idea for the cart was inspired by my recent craft cart project and the Ikea Raskog utility cart, which looked to be a great way to move things around the house. We were all brainstorming about ways to make the cart multi-functional by adding storage pieces and attaching a surge protector so he could plug in his kitchen gadgets or charge up his electronics. We wanted this cart to be easy to move around the house so he could use it in the kitchen or in his room. Hannah and Brittany, who are the OT students, had a great idea to leave one side open without a trim piece so he could roll it up to the side of his bed or chair and use it as a desk as well!
Ethan got to take part in the project one day, along with his sister, Jocelyn and his cousin, Kaylee. They worked on adding the primer and were all excited to help in some way with the project!
Brittany’s fiance, who owns LCS Landscaping of Williamsburg, Va., helped them design the cart using solid, sturdy boards and measuring it 20×20 so the cart would be level and move easily between the tight spaces in our kitchen. They added the casters to the leg pieces before attaching them for the frame and secured it all with basic wood screws. They painted it with a nice green color which Ethan got to choose! The color is called Organic Green by Sherwin Williams…he wanted it to be a Hulk color to match with his soon-to-be Avengers room!
After the cart was constructed, Hannah and Brittany added storage pieces to it. They added a bin so he could put dishes in it…believe it or not, Ethan loves helping out with the dishes! They also added a small wooden caddy that could hold his utensils and a plastic magazine file box that will hold his books or his iPad. They attached the box and the surge protector using velcro so Ethan can easily remove them if he needs to.
Brittany and Hannah also came up with the great idea of including a baking sheet so that Ethan could lay hot pans on the cart…or a place to for his dishes to cool down. What’s even better than the function of this cart that will make things easier for Ethan? The fact that he is so excited about it! You can tell by the smile on his face…
He is also a BIG fan of the Baltimore Orioles! Here he is, proudly wearing his Baltimore Orioles shirt and standing by his new kitchen cart. This picture is what he is all about…cooking and sports!
Thank you Hannah and Brittany for all your hard work to make this project happen. It certainly was a hit during the student presentation at the college! Ethan is so proud of his new cart and will get so much use out of it…let’s get to cookin’!