Assistive Technology Enabling Possibilities (ATEP) - Care Team

Don Carlson
P.Eng (Professional Engineers Ontario)
Rehabilitation Engineer

Every client presents a distinctive opportunity for Don to use his engineering, research and problem solving skills to find, design or modify Assistive Technology (AT) devices.

"A desire for greater independence is the one goal that all clients have in common. They want to be able to do basic daily activities without waiting for someone to help them. Because each person's physical and/or cognitive impairments are unique, and their home environments are different a customized approach is essential," explains Don. "It takes lots of imagination, innovation and a broad engineering perspective to come up with practical solutions."

Don is one of the few people in Canada who does practical, client-based AT implementation.

He works in several areas:

  • Power wheelchair specialty controls and integrating AT devices and mounting systems onto wheelchairs
  • Computer access with voice recognition software and adapted mouse/keyboard and special access software
  • Home automation for lighting, appliances and phone control, home media systems
  • Recreational Assistive Technologies for sports and hobbies

After 17 years of application and design, Don is thoroughly familiar with the inner workings and possibilities of technology for independence.

Don has been a member of RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineers Society of North America)  since 1994 and contributed to development of RESNA-ATP certification program and Special Interest Groups on Computer Access technology and Mobility Technology.

He is a past member of ISO Standards WG 7176-XX (wheelchair testing standards) and currently performs device testing for MOH- ADP listing (Assistive Devices Program - Mobility). 

Don provides solutions for clients in their homes, making modifications and custom adaptions so the technology can be safe and reliable and suited to every client's abilities.  Solutions for seemingly simple requests are often very involved. Don must keep up-to-date on new technology and systems that could be re-engineered or applied to his client's benefit.  If the technology is unsuitable or unavailable, Don will custom engineer   electronic and mechanical systems to suit the need. 

He is a knowledgeable AT resource for clients and therapists.

Susan Rice
H.B. Kin, M.Sc. (OT), O.T. Reg. (Ont.)
Occupational Therapist

"Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health profession that empowers people of all ages to overcome barriers in their everyday lives so they can do more and live better" - OT Ontario Website

Occupational therapists evaluate in a holistic fashion the person, their environment and their occupations to determine how to maximize a client's involvement in their chosen occupations.  Occupations can be anything that someone wants or needs to be able to do from getting dressed in the morning to driving a car, from playing with friends to making a meal.

Susan has an extensive background working in home care for various agencies as well as in private practice.  This has allowed her to gain experience in many areas including palliative care, equipment prescriptions, mobility devices, home modifications and cognitive rehabilitation.

Susan is passionate about using functional tasks to help restore function when working with clients.  This makes the treatment meaningful to the client and increases the chances of improvement.

Susan is dedicated to working in a client-centred practice.  This means using the client's knowledge of their daily life to help set goals and guide treatment plans.  It also means involving others, such as family or other caregivers, in setting goals.  Having everyone agree to the goals and plan is essential for the success of the client.

An emerging interest of Susan's is using assistive technology to assist clients in their everyday life.  Whether it be to communicate with caregivers, family and friends or being independent in opening the door or answering the phone, technology has a varied number of solutions that can be used to meet clients' needs.