Playground for Physically Disabled Children Scheduled for Summer Completion

December 9, 2011

Playground for Physically Disabled Children Scheduled for Summer Completion

Woodbury Patch | December 9, 2011 | By Zac Farber

Before Madison Claire Millington died at the age of 2 in 2004, her mother, Dana, was frustrated by Madison’s inability to enjoy any of Woodbury’s playgrounds.

Madison was born with spinal muscular atrophy—a genetic disease that destroys the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscle movement—and she was restricted to a stroller.

“We couldn’t take Madison and our other two children together to go to any of the playgrounds in Woodbury,” Dana Millington said, “because she was stuck in a special stroller and I wasn’t able to get her access to the structure.”

Shortly after Madison’s death, Dana heard about a California organization, Shane’s Inspiration, founded by parents who had lost their son to spinal muscular atrophy. The organization raised money to build playgrounds where children with physical and developmental disabilities could play alongside their “typically able” peers.

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Woodham Mortimer aunt braves bungee jump to help ‘amazing’ Nancie

November 5, 2011

Woodham Mortimer aunt braves bungee jump to help ‘amazing’ Nancie

Maldon Chronicle | October 24, 2011

A DARING aunt who is terrified of heights took to the skies at the weekend to raise money for a specialist bathroom for her disabled niece.

Nancie Seaber suffers from a debilitating condition, called spinal muscular atrophy, which means she has no muscle control and is confined to a wheelchair.

But, in a bid to make two-and-a-half-year-old Nancie’s life a little easier, auntie Kellie Jewell did a bungee jump to raise funds for a wet room she can bathe in.

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Loan programs rescue patients

September 2, 2011

Loan programs rescue patients

stltoday.com | September 1, 2011 | BY CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN

Some days, Ben Shaffer, 9, is so weak and tired he can barely walk into his fourth-grade classroom at Tillman Elementary School in Kirkwood.

“He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy three years ago, but the doctors are not sure they have it right,” says his mother, Jennifer Shaffer.

Nevertheless, Ben’s doctor registered him with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which lent him a wheelchair for days when walking is too hard.

Taylor Branson, 11, of Eureka, has spinal muscular atrophy type II, and is scheduled to have spinal fusion surgery in coming weeks, her mother, Julie Branson, said. When Taylor returns home, the Bransons will need a hospital bed and a hydraulic sling lift to move her between wheelchair and bed.
Not a problem, said the MDA. The group will have its people at United Seating & Mobility in Earth City collect the items from the MDA’s loan closet in Portage Des Sioux and deliver them to the Bransons for use as long as they need.

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Kids with disabilities get high-tech boost

August 9, 2011

Kids with disabilities get high-tech boost

The News Journal | August 9, 2011 | By Kelly Bothum

Technology makes our world easier, whether it’s reheating food in a microwave, using GPS to guide us to an unfamiliar location or clicking on the computer to talk face-to-face with someone on the other side of the globe.

But for children with disabilities, technology goes a step further, to help them better understand their own bodies and be part of the world around them. Handheld communication devices can lend a voice to answer a classmate’s question. Motorized wheelchairs allow for spontaneous exploration and discovery. Cochlear implants and other devices make it possible to hear.

Even technology created for the masses, like the iPad, can reduce the disconnect these children may experience and boost fine motor skills. Apps that offer back-and-forth questions and answers encourage socialization and interaction.

Still, there’s an ongoing struggle between developing new technology and meeting the existing needs of people with disabilities, said Cole Galloway, a physical therapy professor at the University of Delaware and one of several local researchers looking at ways to improve movement in children with disabilities.

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A surprise and chance of independence for wheelchair-bound Wareham woman

July 10, 2011

A surprise and chance of independence for wheelchair-bound Wareham woman

SouthCoastTODAY.com | July 10, 2011 | By Brian Fraga

WAREHAM — DaLiza Cardoza thought she was just going to be named an assistant basketball coach.

But when the 18-year-old arrived Saturday at the Wareham Youth Athletic League’s sun-baked courts, she found Patrick Brent standing in front of a 2008 Honda Element, waving a set of keys.

“This is your car,” said Brent, a marketing director for Freedom Motors, a Michigan company that converts vehicles to wheelchair accessibility.

For Cardoza, a recent graduate of Wareham High School who was diagnosed at age 2 with spinal muscular atrophy, the surprise vehicle meant a chance at an independent life as she prepares to attend college this fall.

“I can’t even explain how I feel,” said Cardoza, as she was surrounded by a crowd of beaming friends and relatives.

“It’s a blessing.”

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How Calvin College engineering students’ invention helps boy who can only move a few fingers

June 12, 2011

How Calvin College engineering students’ invention helps boy who can only move a few fingers

The Grand Rapids Press | June 8, 2011 | By Aaron Albanese

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BYRON TOWNSHIP — Isaac Postma directed his new motorized stroller across the Byron Center Christian School gymnasium floor, navigating his way with a rear-view camera, a couple of buttons and one finger.

The new means of mobility for Isaac, 10, who has spinal muscular atrophy and is limited to the use of just a few fingers, means he can more easily travel the halls of Byron Christian School where he is in fourth grade, join peers on the playground and roll around on the trails outside his grandparents’ cottage.

“Up north,” Isaac said when asked where he most looks forward to using the stroller designed by four Calvin College students. Electrical engineering students Matt Rozema and Rob VanderVennen and mechanical engineering students Matt Last and Dan Evans designed the cart from scratch. They spent more than 1,800 hours of their senior year building it before their graduation in May.

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