Building Community Around A One-Handed Nail Clipper

Tom and Laura creating a sense of community by learning how to use ClipDifferent

“About 10 percent of the disabled community have hands like mine”

“You wouldn’t think that something as simple as clipping one’s nails could build relationships and community,” said Laura Cannata, in her article, Twin Cities–Based ClipDifferent Is Building Community with an Empowering Inventionfor the Twin Cities Geek publication., was introduced to ClipDifferent by the editor who suggested she inquire about the automatic fingernail clipper. Because there was a possible story and she might benefit from the device. You see, Laura is a little person and as a result, also has arthritis in her hands. 



“I have had dwarfism and rheumatoid arthritis my whole life. When I was just a little girl, my grandfather and I would have a routine when he came to visit: I would sit on Papa’s lap and we would read the comics. After the comics, he would clip my nails and we would go to Perkins for brunch. As we have both gotten older, the routine has changed, and it has been harder to climb on his lap and for him to clip my nails. But we continue because this experience has bonded us for life.”
Spending 5 minutes with Laura you will quickly learn she has a unique fire and independence about her. Fire and independence that only experiences limitations when she steps outside her world of family, faith, friends, and fun. She lives her life well in a community of love and support. She also has developed hacks and adjustments to help her live in a world focused on the norm.
Below are her words and experience using the ClipDifferent device for the first time.
“Eager to test out this product and to interview the creators, I set up a meeting at a restaurant near my house. Tom and TJ answered all my questions, and when the food was done they brought out the product. My nails were very long at this point, since I only see my papa three times a year, give or take. I had resorted to biting them in between visits, but I held off for this meeting. Bringing out the ClipDifferent Pro and watching me use it made Tom’s and TJ’s eyes light up. They showed me how to line up each nail and even guided some of my stiff fingers to the right position. We quickly noticed a pattern: due to the extreme curvature of my nails and fingers, the clipper only worked for about 75 percent of my nails. That said, I realize that I am unique—about 10 percent of the disabled community have hands like mine, so the product should work for 90 percent of the disabled population, and that is more than anything else out there.”
“I planned to leave my review at that. But barely a day after our meeting, I got an email from TJ answering a few questions he and Tom hadn’t been able to during our interview and telling me his dad had spent all night adjusting the faceplate on the ClipDifferent because he wanted it to work for me. I was floored by the compassion and drive of these people. We arranged for a second meeting about a week later, and Tom and TJ came to my house and showed my company and me the revisions. They had opened up the slot in the faceplate where the nail goes so it would take in my curved nails better. I tried it out while my guest used the original unit. During that time Tom talked about how he went all the way to his manufacturers right after our meeting because “the time was now” to fix the problem. With the modifications, it worked for about 95 percent of my nails, and with a little more practice I am confident that it will work for all of them.”



“I have one of these and it’s a miracle worker. It greatly increases my independence. The people who came up with this are heroes. 5 out of 5 stars.“ Laura Cannata
Laura’s friend, Kevin also used the device. Below is his reaction.


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