by Josh Basile and Tiffiny Carlson
Since Josh Basile and Brittany Martin Déjean co-founded SPINALpedia.com in 2007, users have uploaded more than 10,000 videos and helped make the site one of the web’s most definitive portals for everything SCI-related. The never-ending, mostly-homemade videos are organized by injury level, making it easy to find other users with similar ability levels tackling dozens of topics, from basics like getting dressed to extremes like adapted skydiving. In addition to videos, SPINALpedia offers peer mentoring with thousands of knowledgeable SCI community members and also organizes Washington, D.C., area adaptive adventures promoting the importance of taking adventures on wheels.
To help you get started digging through the site’s video archive, we asked Basile and Tiffiny Carlson, SPINALpedia’s executive director, to share some of their favorites.
Video No. 1: How to do Shoulder Extension Exercises Using Theraband
One of the best uses of SCI how-to videos is to share workout tips. In this MedStar National Rehabilitation Network clip, Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2010 Shannon Minnick demonstrates how to do shoulder extension exercises using a simple, affordable and lightweight Theraband. While Minnick, a C6-7 quad, is shown working out in a gym, this exercise can also be done at home since Therabands are high-resistance latex bands that can be tied around immovable objects.
These exercises are good for paraplegics, too. After years of pushing a manual wheelchair, many people eventually run into shoulder issues, and this video, paid for with a grant from the United States Department of Education, shares tools to stave off shoulder issues.
Video No. 2: Quadriplegic Independence
First Pete Brady became a C3-4 quad during his freshman year at the Edinboro University, part of the Pennsylvania state system of higher education. Then he became an expert on adaptive technology for college students. In this video, he reviews three pieces of tech indispensable to his educational career:
• The HeadMouse, a hat that works a hands-free mouse via a dot on its bill that also interfaces with an Orby switch. With this setup, he uses an onscreen keyboard (orin.com/access/headmouse). Brady notes that Dragon voice recognition software is good when he has to write long essays and doesn’t want to type letter by letter (nuance.com).
• Sonocent, an app that records lectures, “is not just a normal recorder,” says Brady. “What you’re able to do is not only track class, but as slides roll, you’re able to type and split it up.” It allows color labeling, too. He shows you what it looks like at the 2:23 minute mark. “I can upload all my notes right to my computer and I can listen to them and go through really quickly and get only the things I need from class.” (sonocent.com)
• Quadstick, a mouth-powered device that allows people with limited arm movement to play Xbox and PS4 games at competitive levels — extremely important for many college students who live in the dorms (quadstick.com).
Video No. 3: Cleaning Upholstery on a Manual Wheelchair
In this video, Lindsey B., a paraplegic with spina bifida, shares how she cleans her wheelchair upholstery — something one of her followers asked her to show.
She gamely transfers into a dining room chair and demonstrates how she cleans it all, from the seat to the backrest.
She first covers the basics, pulling off her Roho cushion, unzipping it, and pulling out the air cells. “It’s pretty nice because you can just literally throw the cover in the washer,” she says, reminding that if your cover has Velcro to not wash it with other items it may stick to. She also demonstrates how she handles her older Jay cushion, noting she won’t wash the wooden insert some have, but will disinfect the foam or even wash it in the shower.
She thoroughly explains each aspect of cleaning chair upholstery, showing how the fabric backrest can be pulled off to throw in the washer. “There’s nothing really special you need to do,” she says, although you may wish to wash each piece separately, and the seat sling cannot be removed so must be spot-cleaned.
She adds Downy Unstopable to the backrest along with her regular detergent and uses Linen-and-Sky Febreze on her seat sling for instant freshening up. “Maybe you’ve been out at the gym or something and you’re a little sweaty,” she says.
Although you can wash it all as much as you want, she notes that the more you wash, the faster it’ll wear out.
Video No. 4: Paraplegic Crawling
C. Okeke, a paraplegic living in Atlanta, Georgia, had only been in the United States for five months when he was shot in an armed robbery at a grocery store, becoming a T12 paraplegic. He shares how he does several things post-injury, from transferring into his car to grocery shopping. But one of his most popular videos shows how he crawls in his home as a form of exercise, with a yoga mat to keep his skin safe, using his strong upper body. At over 11 minutes long, Okeke shows exactly how it’s done with a lower level injury.