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Volunteering With TADVIC (Technology for Independent Living).

By John Hansford

I studied engineering at RMIT and graduated in 1950 as a metallurgical engineer.. After stints in the paper and chemical industries I spent the last 26 years of my working life in the oil industry in a variety of engineering functions.

I have always had a practical aptitude. Being able to fix old motor cars kept me popular with my daughters and their boy friends as they grew up. Recent years have seen the effort redirected more towards making furniture, house renovation and extensions.

I discovered TADVIC in the early 90’s. This has given me scope for my inventive and innovative aptitudes. Since then I have completed many projects for people with disabilities and made many friends and acquaintances. For the last 5 years I have been a member of the TADVIC board.

To become a TADVIC volunteer it is not necessary to be an engineer. Our volunteers also come from trade, teaching, and technician backgrounds as well as those with general handyman skills. Problem solving skills are essential.

Project requests can originate from an individual client having a particular need, a carer or friend, a health professional, or an institution such as a special school etc. A telephone call is all that is necessary to initiate a project. The initial visit to the prospective client is usually made in the company of an occupational therapist to discuss the clients problem and to agree on a course of action.

The time a volunteer spends on TADVIC projects can vary widely depending on demand, the particular skills required and the amount of time the volunteer is prepared to allocate to this work. Personally, I would average about 12 hours per week on TADVIC work.

A few examples of recently completed TADVIC projects are:

  • Powered lifting stools to help clients to stand up from a seated position.
  • Special seating and support accessories for children with cerebral palsy to use in school.
  • Wheelchair swing for a child with quadriplegia.
  • Extra handles on saucepans for a lady with arthritis.

Volunteers are supported by experienced occupational therapists as well as a wide network of peer volunteers who can help with problem solving, specialised assistance, and sourcing of materials or services. Most branches hold regular meetings of volunteers to exchange information.

For more information on this great group, visit the TADVIC website here