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Another Book of Homemade Adaptations

Image of the book Adapt My WorldAdapt My World is a book born of love and creativity. The author’s daughter had medical problems from birth; the disabilities she has had to grapple with inspired the “homemade adaptations” her mother writes about.

I wish I could say that I loved the book. In spirit, it’s much like what GearAbility is about — fixes, adaptations and work-arounds for everyday life. As a book, though, it’s quite a disappointment.

There’s a fair amount of very simple, helpful advice here. However, all the left-hand pages are blank — at the top of each, the word “Notes” is written. It’s not clear why any reader would need a whole blank page to record variations on an adaptation that only inspired a three-sentence description by the author. Most of the right-hand pages are at least 50% blank — meaning that nearly 75% of this 183 page book is without any content at all.

Worse, there’s a lot of duplication of ideas from page to page — there are four numbered pages in the book, for instance, that offer this tip: Sticking hook-and-loop tape under plates will make them hard to push or throw.

Two pages offer this advice:

Floor Protector

This modification is great! Your floor will stay clean.

Vinyl Tablecloth

Place a vinyl tablecloth under your child’s chair.

That’s the entire section. Without meaning to be a curmudgeon, isn’t this parenting 101? Was it really necessary to make this the only item on two full pages?

And then there’s this:

Magnifying Print

Using this adaptation will perhaps enable someone to see their reading material more clearly.

Magnifying Glass

Reading Material

Hold the magnifying glass against your reading material. This will enable a person to more easily see smaller print.

This, too, is the entire tip, spread over two pages. Most of us probably won’t need to buy a disability-specific book to figure this out.

The relatively few photos (all black-and-white) are very poor quality. Mostly, they’re absent. For instance, the instructions for building a “Paper Holder” made of wood are confusing to read. The device is supposed to be some kind of aid for cutting, but it seems to be a sort of clipboard with a hole in the middle — which raises more questions than it answers. Even a poor image might have helped here.

The book is geared toward kids; there’s a section on games with what looks to me like pretty standard primary- and elementary- school art advice. (Put objects and water in a plastic bag for a tactile experience; put paint into closed containers to make spills less likely — though the book actually advises putting paint into “hair gel containers”. Come again?) The writing’s not always clear, and the ideas are sometimes obscure.

Better organized and edited for clarity, this tome would have made a really great brochure, but it’s a pretty thin excuse for a book. At the moment, Amazon has four in stock for $11.66 (USD), and a supply of used and new beginning at $9.15 (USD). I’d put this one in the ‘well, it can’t hurt, but it’s not a great value-for-the-money’ category.

Observant, thoughtful parents and caregivers won’t find a great deal here that they can’t figure out on their own. This one gets an ‘A’ for heart, and a ‘D’ for execution.

Related: Handmade Helps for Disabled Living