Cardboard for Kids

Adaptive Design Greater Philadelphia

PHOTO: Child sitting in customized cardboard chairIn April of 2017, the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University was awarded a High Impact Innovative Quality of Life grant by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to establish the "Cardboard for Kids: Adaptive Design Greater Philadelphia" project.

The project will serve children (ages birth to 6) with paralysis-causing conditions with customized adaptations made from three-ply cardboard. Adaptions will include everything from customized standers to customized chair inserts and wheelchair trays.

Select professionals (occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists) from partner organizations across the city will team up to fabricate specific adaptations for the identified children in need. Alex Truesdell, 2015 MacArthur Fellow and Founder of the Adaptive Design Association in New York, will train each local professional in how to design and fabricate these customized adaptations out of three-ply cardboard. Using local space at Philadelphia Woodworks in Manayunk, PA, each trainee will receive the tools and materials necessary to serve as many as four children with specific customized adaptations and the skills necessary to serve many more.

PHOTO: Smiling child using customized cardboard adaptationsFor a better idea of what the adaptations might look like, check out this story on the PBS News Hour web site about Alex Truesdell and her cardboard fabrications.

Photo Gallery

Photos from work and training session for fabricators, at Philadelphia Woodworks.

In the News

Temple University / Temple Now: From Cardboard Comes Possibilities

6 ABC / Action News Philadelphia: Custom Adaptive Devices for Students with Disabilities

AT3 Center News: Adaptive Design Greater Philadelphia: Cardboard, Kids and Community!

WHYY Philadelphia: Designing Cardboard Hacks to Modify Wheelchairs

Temple University / Temple Now: Project Creates Cardboard Adaptations for Kids with Disabilities

Temple University / College of Public Health: Occupational Therapy Students Explore a New Technique in Adaptive Technology


(Program is not seeking children at this time.)
To qualify for the program, children must:

  1. be age 6 and under;
  2. be eligible for Medicaid;
  3. have a paralysis-causing condition; and
  4. live in the greater Philadelphia area.

PHOTO: Smiling and sitting child points to drawingFor information

Please email Russ Goldstein:

Photos courtesy of: Adaptive Design Association