Review of Trabasack from Assistive Technology Practitioner

Trabasack has been suggested as a top tip useful item by the members of the forum for carers of a learning disability, www.Netbuddy.org.uk .We were therefore very pleased when trabasack was reviewed by their resident expert Assistive Technology Practitioner and ICT specialist, Chris Peak. The review is copied below:

Trabasack as a switch and communication aid mount

Communication aid mount

People often recommend products to Netbuddy, we like to know they're up to scratch. We asked our resident ICT expert Chris Peak to try out a Trabasack – an integrated tray and bag – that was originally designed by a parent of a child with special needs.  Here's what he had to say...

"I work with people with complex disabilities. When I'm assessing their need for specialist technology, one of the most important areas to consider is their physical positioning and the positioning of their access device, such as a switch or communication aid. The use of a tray can play an important role in both these areas.

When Netbuddy asked me to take a look at a Trabasack I headed straight for Google as I had no idea what it was! The Trabasack website describes it as a 'lap desk and travel bag with a firm flat tray surface.'

It is an ergonomically designed bag that can be placed on someone’s lap and used as a tray. There are a few different designs, varying in size and shape. 

I received the ‘Trabasack Connect’ which has a Velcro top to the tray. The first thing I noticed was the weight of the Trabasack. It’s very light and actually slightly smaller than I expected it to be. It has a very neat design and comes with straps that can be attached very easily in different configurations, depending on how the bag is to be held.

 


'Holds smaller communication and assistive devices'


It comfortably holds an Ipad or similar tablet device and also works well with various other smaller communication and assistive devices. The hard top and the cushioned bottom mean that any device stored in the bag is very well protected.

I wanted to trial the Trabasack with students in a special school that I work in so – Trabasack in hand – I took it around one morning to see how people reacted to it and how effective it would be.

It excited the staff in particular, as the two things that go everywhere with the students are bags and trays. To integrate the two meant less to carry on the wheelchair.

Many students tried the tray on their laps and it was surprising how well it worked for different students, irrespective of size or physical presentation. The bottom of the Trabasak shapes and moulds to a person's lap and a strap can be positioned to wrap around their waist, securing it in place.
 

 Trabasack for assistive technology

Used for Assistive Technology Assessments 


Over the course of a week I held assistive technology assessments and instead of using a regular tray, I actually found that in most cases the Trabasack was a quicker and more efficient approach. The Velcro top meant that switches and mounts could be quickly secured and because it actually rested on the student’s lap it better fit the contour of the body.


It also allowed improved access by the students to devices placed on the tray compared with some wheelchair trays. One problem I often come across is students catching their hands underneath their wheelchair tray as it has to be positioned above the legs. Because the trays are usually solid plastic this can cause discomfort. As the Trabasack actually sits on the legs and it is a softer design this problem was mostly overcome.
 

Versatile bag and tray design


I was extremely surprised by the versatility of this simple design. The Trabasack is an efficient and effective device and for many of the students who tried it, it offered a viable alternative to a wheelchair tray, while also offering the function of a modern bag to transport their equipment.

Of course, the Trabasack has is function in many situations and I can safely say that my next Ipad case will certainly now be a Trabasack!"

To find out more about the using Trabasack for switches and communication aid mounting

Click for another review by Kate Ahern a teacher of pupils with significant special needs