Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
I mentioned this program briefly before. This was extremely helpful to our situation when we first were introduced to it in 1995.
The goal of this program was to assist people with disabilities to prepare for the working world. If that meant some vocational schooling and training, or in Mike’s case for a college education, this was the helping hand.
Challenging expenses with a disability
When living with a physical disability, you can encounter many expenses that can be a challenge. After giving Mike a stipend towards his college tuition every year, the most important tool was his electric scooter.
They were willing to make some changes for him so he could get out of the house for work.
Support from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
For example, a contractor added some railings and built a small ramp to get out of our house. Also provided was a lift chair to get up without waiting for someone to lift him.
Mike was also given a lift chair over his toilet. This is an important tool that gives him the dignity and privacy needed for bathroom issues.
Who can benefit from this program?
All of these items are very costly. The point is that IF you or a family member does have a need, help is out there.
Remember that this program is available to you IF you’re at the age where becoming a working adult is a possible goal.
Since this program was available to us twenty-five years ago, times and financial benefits surely have changed. Do your research and ask questions of other SMA patients or a social worker.
I know you have to ask and find what is available to you.
Greater independence with this support
The most significant help for Mike was after he purchased a used van. OVR paid to equip the van with the needed improvements to be accessible.
This gave Mike the freedom to transport his scooter with him. Of course, this allowed him to get to work and just be independent.
We were very grateful for this program’s assistance in his life. As you can imagine, the costs of all these would have created financial difficulty for Mike and his parents.
Help and generosity from friends
Again in our story, we were the recipients of the generosity of friends for Mike’s benefit.
Mike at one time was shopping for a van for ease in moving his scooter with him. Two of my coworkers took it upon themselves to raise the money needed for that van by planning a fundraiser.
This was in the form of a beef and beer event with chances for prizes and they even had a band. So many people donated and participated in this event so he could purchase that van.
This brings us back to the realization of how blessed we are not just by family and legitimate programs, but again by our friends. People are always happy to help, and when there are many together, it makes the contribution lighter.
This action of love and care made Mike’s need for that van become a reality much faster than he ever thought possible.
Have you found an SMA specialist you trust?