Working as a school nurse I come across many students and families that have difficulty getting their needs met. I also see how much these families must do to get the services they need for their children. This was one of those situations.
The student that I am writing about is a preschool age boy with Down syndrome, developmental delays, a heart defect and a tracheostomy. He moved to our state and school district because his mother has been ill, needing dialysis herself and wanted to be closer to her family for support. Such a big move required mom to establish all new medical care for herself and her son.
I first met the student in his home. Mother had already gotten new doctors for him and attended medical appointments, many of them in Sacramento, the closest city for Pediatric Specialists. She was connected to the regional center and had applied for California Children’s Services. One of the things she was unable to do was to find a source to get a wheelchair or a special stroller. Although her son was not walking, (he was only three) she was denied the chair based on age by multiple agencies. The main problem with this is that the student could not ride the bus without a chair that was able to meet transportation standards. Mom did not have transportation herself to bring him to school and was getting her dialysis three times a week, leaving her very tired.
I started out using all of the usual resources I tend to use to find a chair but nothing worked out. I then contacted Save the Children at co-workers suggestion. I had always thought of this organization for children living in other countries but I went ahead and called. They were very helpful but unfortunately they did not have a wheel chair or special stroller. They did give me a phone number for Courtney who worked with a center that works with disabled children and adults in our area. I called Courtney and he said he knew of a resource in the Bay area and gave me a website to look at and then to call the organization. If they had a chair, he would be in the Bay area the next day and pick it up. We were talking on a cell phone as he was in his car on his way to a job site and the connections wasn’t good but I thought I understood what website he was talking about. I hung up the phone and went on the computer. It was then I realized I must have gotten the information wrong but when I tried again with a different method I found Able People Foundation and thought this must be it! I gave Able People a call, explained what I was looking. The gentleman I spoke to did a little research and gave me a call to say they had a child’s wheelchair that he thought would work. He was willing to meet Courtney the next day to pick up the chair.
From the time I contacted Able People to the time the student got the chair, it had been less than two days! With the help of this organization and Courtney a generous citizen, we were able to assist a very dedicated mother meet one of the needs of her very special child.
– Bonnie Erickson RN