Ultimately, this blog post is taking a different spin compared to others I have posted! I have previously focussed on learning disabilities such as, dyslexia and dyspraxia. However, from research I have conducted, sip-and-puff systems are absolutely incredible with the chances they can give children, students and anybody else effected by mobility issues. They allow users of the systems to be independent and have a sense of freedom, which is something that is so important for people struggling with mobility issues. I felt this blog post is extremely important as sip-and-puff systems deserve some appreciation!

What are sip-and-puff systems?

Sip-and-puff systems are for people that have a loss of mobility, it allows them to use the same devices as everyone else in a way that doesn’t require the use of their arms and hands. Sip-and-puff systems send signals to a device using air pressure by inhaling and exhaling on a straw, tube or wand.

Sip-and-puff systems can be used to power such devices as speech generating devices, computers, tablets, and mobile phones. This ultimately gives students, that do not have the same mobility as others, a better chance at focussing on education as they are still able to use the same technology as everyone else.

Sip-and-puff systems have been designed so that they can be personalised depending on what the user prefers. For example, based on their wheelchair, or other technology that may be set up around them, these systems will adapt to whatever situation the user needs.

There has been a second generation of this software, referred to as Breeze, which is specifically designed to allow users to access Apple products such as iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.

Benefits of sip-and-puff systems:

  • Unbelievably, sip-and-puff systems are actually much cheaper than other devices that have been created for people with mobility issues. They roughly cost around a quarter of other alternative drive controls, and despite being older than some of the newer technologies that have now been created, it is still an extremely successful and impressive device.
  • Sip-and-puff systems allow people with newly diagnosed mobility issues to jump back into using their devices quicker than other technologies. The systems are easily set up and easy to use, which makes the user motivated and independent.
  • Sip-and-puff systems are extremely adaptable when it comes to the personal need of the user. They can have the system positioned in whichever way they find most comfortable, meaning the straw/wand/tube can be placed depending on wherever is most accessible and effective for them.
  • Sip-and-puff does not rely on the power of switches. Switches are often an issue with technology that is designed for people with mobility issues. Sip-and-puff relies completely on the commands that the user creates through the tube and the only switch that is involved is to disable the system if the tube is removed from the person’s reach – for safety reasons.
  • Sip-and-puff also does not rely on head movement, making the system much more adaptable to different environments.

an image of stars in a line.

Chances are, if anyone you know and love has mobility issues you have probably already looked into systems such as these. So, instead of offering advice on where you can purchase these systems, I am going to show you information about charities that specialise in helping raise money for people that need this sort of support, but financially cannot fund it themselves, and other charities that offer general support and care for anybody with mobility issues:

Variety Club Children’s Charity
The Variety Club Children’s Charity have existed since 1988, and do an incredible job of providing mobility aids to children and young people across the UK, including manual, powered and sports wheelchairs and buggies.

True Colours
The True Colours Trust offers small grant programmes to support local organisations and projects that help disabled children and their families. It offers one-off grants of up to £10,000. However, this charity does not just focus around a person’s mobility, it also aims to fund things such as; hydrotherapy pools, sensory rooms, and mini buses etc.

The Mobility Trust
The Mobility Trust provides funding towards powered wheelchairs and scooters for severely disabled children and adults. This charity focuses on supporting people with mobility issues that cannot afford to support themselves with their own money.

The Elifar Foundation
The Elifar Foundation funds a wide range of equipment and therapies for children and adults with profound disabilities or learning difficulties. The foundation provides equipment such as; wheelchairs, beds, specialised seating, communication aids, sensory equipment, holidays and treatments.

SF Charity
The SF Charity provides financial support for disabled individuals of all ages for both equipment and services that make a significant difference to their lives, for example; powered wheelchairs, communication aids, adjustable beds, mobility scooters.

Action for Kids
Action for Kids is a national charity who works with children and young people with physical and learning disabilities and their parents and carers. They help disabled children, young people and their parents and carers by providing mobility aids, work-related learning and by offering family support services – something that is very important!

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