It was about this time last year when I first joined Enabling Devices as the company’s CEO. My father, Dr. Steven E. Kanor, the company’s founder, had recently passed away, and I found myself rummaging around in his office. The desk was covered in notepads bursting with ideas, the drawers were stuffed with prototypes for communication devices; the bookshelves, packed with manufacturing supply catalogs; and scattered everywhere, still more prototypes for devices he thought might make somebody’s life better. There was also a lot of unopened mail, mostly from the many charities he supported: charities devoted to making somebody’s life, somewhere, better. That was his life’s mission. And standing in his office, surrounded by the very tangible evidence of that mission, I felt a duty, not only to honor his legacy, but also to move Enabling Devices ahead, embracing new technology and, as my father had always done, finding innovative ways to serve the people who use our products.
As I look back over the past year, I am pleased to report that the company is thriving. I only wish my dad could be here to see all the exciting developments that took place during 2016 and are in the works for 2017. Here are some of the highlights:
- A new and easy to use catalog will be released in January
- A new, accessible state-of-the-art website will launch in early spring
- We developed new products for our sensory rooms
- We broadened our sensory room outreach, designing spaces in centers that serve seniors
- We are working to create more products for teens and adults
- We are working to create more sports-oriented products
For example, on a recent visit to Pines Bridge School at BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services), one of the therapists told us that her students love playing with water. So we adapted a fan that blows mist. Using a switch, the children can control it and can enjoy feeling water on their skin whenever they like.
I am in awe of the people I have met during our visits. The passion of the occupational therapists, physical therapists and teachers who work with children with special needs is humbling. For them, the work is truly a higher calling. I’ve been similarly inspired by the families I’ve met. Parenting any child is demanding, but parenting a child with special needs demands a very special parent. And as hard as we work here at Enabling Devices, our work pales in comparison to the parents who inspire and astound us with their commitment, knowledge and grace. And the same is true for the siblings of those children with special needs.
One mother of a child with disabilities asked me if she could bring the child’s sister to meet with us. The sister, a high school student, had an idea for an app for use by people with special needs. The idea was terrific. So now this 15-year-old is working with us to make the app a reality.
There is so much talk lately about how our country is so divided. We read it in the newspaper; hear it on the radio. But that’s not what we see when we’re out in the community. We see people coming together for the well-being of others. I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to be even a small part of that communal effort.
And so all of us at Enabling Devices would like to thank you for letting us be a part of your lives, however small, and we want to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. We look forward to serving you in the coming year.