Thanks to Iko’s designer, kids can build their own hands using Lego

lego-prosthetic-arm
Credit: Carlos Arturo Torres/Umeå Institute of Design
Carlos Arturo Torres is a believer in fun and childhood now living in Chicago. In 2014, as a student at Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden, he also became the creator of Iko – “a prosthetic arm for children that also acts as a platform for creative Lego projects.” Iko responds to signals traveling through its wearer’s arm nerves to move, pick up and manipulate objects and it’s got a great grip.

Torres explains,

sometimes a functional element is everything (a kid needs), but some other times it might be a spaceship, or a doll house, or a telescope, or a video game controller, or a swim fin. What if kids could use their imagination to create their own prosthetics, their own tools according to their own needs? Learning. Creating. Being kids. read more

Navigating Developmental Disabilities Systems Conference @ JCC Tenafly

On Sunday, February 15 2015, the community is invited to the JCC on the Palisades to attend a conference on navigating the changing systems of Developmental Disabilities. This timely conference will address the critical needs that so many families of individuals with disabilities face – including housing, medicaid / entitlements, advocacy, employment and planning for adulthood.

Navigating Dev Disabilities systems confSunday, Feb 15
Registration 8:30, Program 9am-1pm
Kaplan JCC on the Palisades
411 E. Clinton Avenue
Tenafly NJ 07670 read more

Resources to overcome depression and mental illness

If you need a place to spend social time, a volunteer opportunity, psychotherapy, housing or vocational training, here are some resources for people challenged by depression or another form of mental illness. Please feel free to post resources you know of which aren’t listed in a comment and I’ll add them to the list after checking them out.

For US By US Self Help Center 40 North Van Brunt Street, 2nd Floor, Englewood, NJ 07631 201-541-1221 Hours: Monday-Friday 1-5pm What it is: This program is a place where people dealing with a mental health issue of any type can spend time to socialize or spend quiet time in a place away from home. Activities take place that you can join if you like. The center is pretty much run by peers with professional oversight in the background. Who can participate: You may self-qualify to participate. Admission requirements: Drop-ins welcome – just show up. Feel free to ask a friend to bring you by. Work/volunteer opportunities:
  • Volunteering: can help out immediately and after a few weeks, can sign up to be on the scheduled volunteer rotation.
  • Paid positions: after volunteering for a while, people can qualify for a paid position when one opens up.
Crossroads to Wellness at Care Plus NJ 610 Valley Health Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652 201-265-1233 careplusnj.org/pages/3087/index.htm What it is: A program which provides rapid access to comprehensive and intensive mental health services, integrated with self-directed wellness and recovery tools. Who can participate: All Bergen County Residents Admission requirements: Must be in acute need of mental health services or transitioning out of a long-term facility. Friendship House 125 Atlantic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 201-488-2121 njfriendshiphouse.org What it is: Support and training for mentally ill or behaviorally challenged individuals in need of vocational rehabilitation, group therapy, workplace reintegration skills and assistance, job coaching. Work/volunteer opportunities:
  • Supportive in-house workplace environment available on site. Pay commensurate with an individuals’ productivity level
  • Friendship House programs include
    Computer training, culinary classes, maintenance work and clerical training. Social groups, therapy groups, beauty classes, diet classes, diabetes management, groups for young people diagnosed with Asperbergers or on autism spectrum

Admission requirements: By referral. Call to speak with a program counsellor who can help you understand the steps needed to be referred into one of the organization’s programs.

  • Volunteer Center of Bergen County
    64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601
    201-489-9454 bergenvolunteers.org info@bergenvolunteers.org
    What it is: A service that matches volunteers with non-profit organizations in need of help.
    Work/volunteer opportunities: read more