Mitchell and I have been working together for the past 3 weeks! When we first asked Mitchell why he decided to take the Arduino For Disabilities class, he said he loves learning new things, and his mind is always open. He is a smart guy and has shown a lot of determination. I’ve had to learn to just be patient at times and wait for him to shape and express his ideas which are usually very thoughtful. Like the others in this class Mitchell doesn’t mind discussing his disability. We worked together for weeks before it ever came up that he has lymphedema in his legs. Despite this he is really quite a cheerful person.
Mitchell’s first brainstorming ideas involved using the Arduino to control an annoying fire alarm on the ceiling of his apartment that seems to go off for no reason. It was an eye opener for many of us in this class to consider that fire-alarms are totally our of reach for anyone that uses a wheelchair. Anyway it was great to hear that he was beginning to imagine how the skills he would learn in this class might later be applied to his own life.
As we started diving into the circuitry and Arduino programs, Mitchell explained that it’s sometimes stressful to get the Arduino to work, but that he does enjoy the physical aspect of being able to control the electronics through touch. I will have to remember this as a design constraint when we start developing his project. At this point his broadest vision is to make his apartment “more 21st century, with lights and music controlled by touch, something that would make people say ‘How did you do that’?”