The Lissette Project
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 33 children are born with a birth defect; Lissette Loera was one of them. Lissette was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that develops while still in a mother’s womb and is caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube that affects the development of one’s spinal cord. There is no cure for spina bifida because the nerve tissue cannot be replaced or repaired and will leave many affected individuals physically disabled for the rest of their lives. At the age of 13, Lissette has already endured over fifteen surgical treatments and continues to be a strong fighter. She is an inspiration with her infectious shy smile and her growing curiosity. As Lissette grows up, her family wishes to provide her with opportunities to become more independent, leading to a wish for a renovated bathroom.
With this being the only bathroom in the house, the project possesses many obstacles and requires creative adaptations due to space limitation. The bathroom offers challenged mobility due to the size of the doorway (only 26 inches), which Lissette can barely enter through and resulting in wheeling straight in and reversing straight out. She currently requires assistance due to restrictive access to the tub resulting in a dependence on family members to assist. The sink has an array of pipes beneath it that keeps her from rolling underneath to wash her hands and brush her teeth. The toilet is missing handlebars to aid in stability during use. Lastly, the space lacks the storage capacity for a family of five, especially storage within Lissette’s reach.
As iitAIAS Freedom By Design, we would like to make the necessary renovations to ensure she has the freedom to function independently. Most importantly we wish to remove the restrictive tub replace it with an open shower with a fold-down bench. This will allow her to simply wheel herself into the shower without assistance and will provide the independence she so eagerly desires. The next change would be expanding the doorway to accommodate an adult-sized wheelchair with the anticipation for continual growth and longevity for the construction solution. In addition to these changes, we hope to also add a handlebar that wraps around the entire bathroom, ensuring that Lissette is able to easily navigate herself in and out of the shower without assistance from others. Lastly, a storage unit will be built between the shower and toilet, giving the five members of the Loera family enough space for their toiletries and bathroom needs. This unit will be closed on the shower side with a sliding glass door, keeping water from traveling outside of the washing area.
Completion and Cost
Our target completion date for this project is the end of January, 2013. With the help of our design mentors, we have estimated the project to cost roughly $2500. Much of this money has been raised in the form of bake sales at our university as well as from the Graphisoft grant we were award with recently, but we still have more to go! Help us fund the rest of our project so Lissette and the Loera family have the same freedom as us!