Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

R.E.A.L. Design Inc. (Special Advertising Section)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

R.E.A.L. Design Inc. (Special Advertising Section)

Article excerpt

R.E.A.L. Design (Rehab and Educational Aids for Living) is a small business located in the foothills of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. The company researches, designs and manufactures products for children with neuromuscular disorders including cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Co-owners Sam Camardello, a mechanical engineer and Kris Wohnsen, an industrial designer, started their company in 1994 in Kris' basement. Before starting R.E.A.L. Design, the two were employed in product development for Tumble Forms. They were part of a team that developed a variety of adaptive equipment including the Tadpole Infant Positioning SystemTM, the Ready RacerTM and the TristanderTM. Over the past years they have been the recipients of design awards from the National Society of Industrial Designers for their children's products and a design grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Today R.E.A.L. Design has grown to several employees and a much larger facility with the capability of fabricating wood, metal, and plastic components for their products. The staff of dedicated people from college students to "exretirees" is committed to making equipment of the highest quality.

REAL Design's focus is on innovation and so as a design driven company they believe in working closely with therapists, parents and other caregivers in all phases of development from concept prototype to final production. "By actively seeking the involvement of clinicians and parents, educators and therapists it helps us understand first hand the needs of children" says Kris Wohnsen. "The decision as to what products we develop is based upon the advice of people whose input we feel is the reason for the success of our product line.

"In making products that would assist children R.E.A.L. Design hopes to consider all the child's needs including not only their physical abilities but designs that will enhance their social and emotional growth as well. The company feels strongly that rehab products for children will be enhanced with a creative and aesthetic quality not usually associated with adaptive technology. Seating systems made up of grey leather strapping, metal poles and large black knobs can appear intimidating. It is the philosophy of R. …

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