Unlikely Tools That Enable Your Independence

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No matter how many occupational therapists you go to, chances are they will fail to tell you something that would have been monumental to your independence. And it’s not their fault. It takes real life experience of living with a spinal cord injury to see and know all of the DIY life hacks that are right under your nose. But that is what we’re here for.

Taken from people with actual spinal cord injuries, we’ve detailed some of the coolest ways people get things done using random items in their home. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on adaptive equipment for everything you would like to do on a regular basis. All you need is some creative thinking. See more below.

Spider Cooking Utensil

For those with limited finger movement, getting things off the floor can be incredibly difficult. While we have all heard of a reacher, they can be very expensive; especially if you want one that has been made for quadriplegics, which means it has a flip back lever to grab things off of the floor.

The only problem with this reacher is that it is very expensive and fragile. Once they break,  most people don’t feel inclined to replace them either. If you would like a cheaper reacher option that can also grab things off of the floor, try a spider cooking utensil; a tool that most people already have in their kitchen.  

What looks like a benign cooking tool, is actually wonderful at scooping things from the floor. All you need to do is to hold it to the best of your ability, then lean over and scoop it up. These are also great for quads who like cooking, and make it easy and safer to strain pasta of smaller sizes, like penne.

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Popsicle Sticks 

For those with upper level cervical injuries, it is common to use a mouth stick to operate a computer and other devices in their home since arm movement is difficult. The only problem is that you might need more than you’ve ordered or have on hand. An easy way to create a mouthstick is to use a Popsicle stick or a craft stick, and to simply use it to type or use any electronic device in the home with a touchscreen.



For paraplegics and those with some finger movement, you can operate kitchen tongs, and you’re in luck. This common cooking tool can be used for grabbing all sorts of things in the home in a pinch (or when you’re reacher isn’t around). Whether you’re trying to grab something out of a bin or something up high, using a pair of tongs can help you get the job done.



Suction cup handles 

If you’re a quadriplegic with some arm movement, chances are you need hooks and handles to do lots of things in the home. If you have a sliding door that does not have a handle, you can put a suction cup handle on the glass of the door and voila, you can now independently open & close the door with grip.

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Ulu Rocking Knife

If you enjoy cooking, one of the best tools to have is a rocking knife. This can be purchased from from Kitchenaid to Ulu itself. While this might not be a random object around the home, rocking knives are life-changing. For those with limited dexterity, this style of knife is incredibly easy to hold and if the blade is kept sharp, it can cut whatever you’re cutting quickly.

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Spinal Cord Injury
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