Local therapist recognized for invention at international design competition

Posted on 03/26/2014

A tool designed by a local therapist to assist those with the use of only one hand has been selected as a Good Practice in the International Design for All Foundation Awards 2014. ASHT member Sara D. Uhrig, OTR/L, CHT, a licensed and certified hand therapist from Tequesta, FL, invented the One-Handed Ponytail Device and Learning Kit as the result of a client request.  “[The device] began when one of my patients, a 10-year-old girl with use of only one arm, wanted to be able to put her hair in a ponytail,” says Uhrig. “Her mother told me her daughter did not want to use a barrette; she wanted to have a ponytail like all the other girls in ballet." For those with the use of only one arm, being able to manage hair care provides autonomy and independence. Uhrig tackled the challenge and created a kit and instructions to help those with the use of only one hand to easily make an attractive and neat ponytail.  The resulting invention is inexpensive, easy to make and use, aesthetically pleasing (considering males or females of any culture or hair type) and not physically straining or frustrating for the person while they are learning to use it. After seeing success with this patient and many others, she began to share the kit and instructions with other therapists around the world. DesignForAll recognizes achievements in the field of design for all, great and small, by governments, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and professionals from all over the world. In so doing, they aim to demonstrate that the implementation of design for all/universal design in any form contributes towards improving quality of life for everyone. This year marks the 5th edition of the International Design for All Foundation Awards, which recognize all examples of good practice that arise from identifying a need or problem and satisfying user requirements and expectations. Good Practices that meet the criteria for excellence, are honored and serve as the basis for the Best Practices award.