For my thesis, I sought ways to redefine disability, by focusing on people with lower limb amputations. I focused on the most troublesome part of their daily interaction with a prosthesis, which is the socket.
My primary concern was to improve the experience with the socket, as it is where prosthesis attaches to the body. I looked at disability, prosthetics, body image, identity, and loss. After an amputation surgery, people experience a grief that is comparable to the loss of a loved one. Historically, some people deal with grief by creating and performing rituals.
I have talked with several people with amputations, as well as physicians, prosthetists, and peer visitors from amputee support groups. Through my research process, I began to understand the challenges and opportunities to facilitate empowerment. I divided my actions into four types of empowerment: control of the action, acceptance of one’s current state, elimination of social biases and access to resources.
I address these four areas of empowerment through the design of a system of support that contains important resources and a care tool-kit. The kit is embedded with tools for healing rituals that help an individual gain acceptance when dealing with grief. In the Declaration I communicate that disability happens between human and environment — which can be physical or social. In addition it is necessary to initiate social change by promoting a new outlook in society as we all have various abilities and we all are #variable. Empowerment of people of all abilities is focusing on embracing atypical strengths and to alter the perception of disability. The goal is to promote accessibility and design for people of all abilities. Good design should take into account diverse audiences. If you design for those for whom the activity is difficult and make it easy, you design well for everyone.