When Darrel Schneider decided he wanted to go fishing, he designed himself a rod and reel. When he needed a better way to access his cell phone, he created plans for an elaborate mounting system. Darrel Schneider is what we call, a problem solver.

And when Darrel has a problem he can’t quite solve on his own, he’s been known to call ND Assistive for a little help.

Darrel at his adapted computer using the new keypad. He has a big smile on his face.
Darrel is all smiles after receiving his adapted computer.

That mounting system for his phone is a great example. Darrel knew what he wanted. He just didn’t know how to make it. When Assistive Technology Professional, Jeannie Krull, got wind of his dilemma, she got to work. She connected Darrel with a team from North Dakota’s Life Skills and Transition Center, and a short time later his plan came to life.

The next thing Darrel couldn’t quite figure out on his own was how he could better communicate with his friends. “I could not communicate with people or get on the internet,” Darrel said.

He’s 55-years-old and lives with cerebral palsy. He currently uses a power wheelchair for mobility, has limited movement in his arms and hands, and he can be difficult to understand when others are not around him often. Again, ND Assistive jumped in to help.

Through its Possibilities Grant, ND Assistive empowered Darrel to communicate with a computer adapted to his abilities.

“I’m not so lonely in the wintertime anymore,” Darrel said. “I can now get in touch with people I know through email and Facebook. I can even get in touch with people I don’t know!” Darrel said.

Darrel using his brand new adapted computer and stand.
Darrel has created a work space that works.

ND Assistive’s Possibilities Grant covered the entire cost of the adapted computer and the accessories he needed to use it.

Darrel is one of 25 North Dakotans blessed to receive assistive technology through the Possibilities Grant in 2019 at no cost to them. They received gifts like lift chairs and safety alerts, and even cool gadgets like a light-system for a wheel chair to get around better at night.

“When you say you are going to do something, you get it done,” Darrel said. “Very interesting and helpful!”

The Possibilities Grant is funded entirely through donations, primarily focusing on a one-day, non-profit fundraising event called Giving Hearts Day. In 2020, Giving Hearts Day falls on Thursday, Feb. 13. Every dollar raised by ND Assistive on Giving Hearts Day goes directly toward creating possibilities for people like Darrel through the Possibilities Grant. Most donations are collected online at givingheartsday.org.

Darrel, true to his passion, said he’s already using his new adapted computer to design and draw plans for his next big solution.