Because her back was tender from surgical repair, Joanna, a newborn with spina bifida cried in pain if her diaper was changed while she lay on her back. Professionals who wanted to help encouraged her mother to change her while she was on her tummy to avoid the pain to her back.
Joanna’s mother thought it was important that the baby be on her back so the two could have fun during changes, talking, making faces, playing. She thought it was important to make their time together as typical of everyday baby-mother time as possible. She decided there had to be a way to make Joanna’s changing time more comfortable. She found the way. She bought a thick foam pad used for upholstery, cut it the size of her changing table, cut a hole in the foam right where her repair would fit, covered the foam pad with the hole in it with a cleanable vinyl fabric: she had created a “low tech” assistive device. The baby never cried at changing time again. The pad was inexpensive to make, perfectly suited to the needs of Joanna and her mother, easy to maintain and replace, and quite successful in achieving its purpose: the comfortable everyday interaction of a baby and her mother - assistive technology at its useful best.