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New WVU Grant Provides Children With Mobility Equipment

A participant in West Virginia University’s adapted physical education program uses a stander to participate in adapted activities.

MORGANTOWN — Kids like to move and be as independent as possible. But for children with mobility impairments, equipment needs may limit their ability to get out and go.

The West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities is working to change that through new funding which will provide children, age 3-12, with mobility assistance and other durable medical equipment not covered by West Virginia Medicaid or private insurance.

The Pay It Forward WV grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation will provide $75,000 in funding for the West Virginia Assistive Technology System assistive technology loan library and device reuse program.

The WVATS program has a large library of assistive technology devices for people to try to see if they work for them or use for a temporary disability. They also have a “reuse” program that allows people to giveaway or sell devices that they no longer are using.

Primarily, the funding will be focused on the device reuse program and go toward equipment for forms of paralysis including gait trainers, standers, activity chairs, strollers and adapted tricycles for West Virginia families in need. These pieces of therapeutic and mobility equipment are rarely funded through WV Medicaid or private insurance, limiting families’ access to therapy, community access and recreation opportunities.

“It is our hope that Pay It Forward WV will bring awareness to the deficits in our health care system,” said Jessi Wright. principal investigator for the project.

The project also plans to raise awareness about equipment donation and reuse opportunities as children and adults outgrow or cease to use other assistive equipment.

Families requesting equipment must be working with a physical or occupational therapist who will be responsible to adjusting the equipment to the child.

The Reeve Foundation funds a wide variety of accessibility technology and mobility assistance programs. This year’s funding was made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living.

For more information about Pay It Forward WV, contact WVATS at 800-841-8436 or wvats@hsc.wvu.edu.

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