Just in time for National Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) Awareness Week, which started August 16, NCART has released a video that contains a powerful message about the importance of seating & wheeled mobility equipment.
The video, narrated by former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is called Complex Rehab Technology: 25 Years After the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” The film drives home the message that despite ADA legislation, full access to their homes, communities, schools and workplaces is impossible for people with disabilities unless they have appropriate assistive technology to support them.
CRT consumers Melissa Mitchell and Sarah Schwegel describe how their custom-fitted power wheelchairs and seating systems make it possible for them not only to live actively and independently in their homes, but also to work, pay taxes, and contribute to their communities.
“We need to provide access for all people with disabilities who need complex rehab technology in order to fulfill the promise of the ADA,” Harkin says in the video. “So I’d like to encourage members of Congress to pass legislation and support policies that help America achieve that goal.”
In the video Schwegel, diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, says, “If I didn’t have my wheelchair, I would be stuck in bed. I wouldn’t be able to go to school and take notes in class. I wouldn’t have graduated with my bachelor’s in rehab services. I would be living at home, not being a productive member of society, not paying taxes.”
She explains why she needs the power chair’s many positioning elements, noting, “My lateral supports help me sit up straight and breathe. The standing feature keeps me healthy; I get to weight bear, and it helps with digestion. The tilt feature allows me to shift my weight. I can’t reposition myself during the day, so the tilting allows me to avoid pressure sores. If I don’t sit right, I can’t do anything. I can’t even breathe.”
Schwegel also touches on her permanent need for her power chair, thus differentiating CRT from generic, off-the-shelf durable medical equipment that’s needed only for short periods: “My spinal muscular atrophy isn’t just going to disappear tomorrow. I’m always going to need a very complex power wheelchair.”
NCART Executive Director Don Clayback said in a news announcement about the video, “As we battle negative federal and state policy changes that are taking away access to CRT, this video is a great reminder that the ADA was passed in 1990 to promote inclusion and accessibility. Sadly, 25 years later people with disabilities are finding it harder to access the specialized equipment they need to realize the benefits of the ADA.”
In alerting NCART members and industry stakeholders to the video’s debut, Clayback acknowledged the contributions of Melissa Pickering, executive CP of payor relations at Numotion, to the concept and production of the seven-minute film.
“We appreciate the commentary from Sen. Harkin and Melissa and Sarah,” Pickering said. “Their voices will help deliver the needed reminder to Congress that the principles of access were embodied in the ADA, and Congress must be sure federal and state policies don’t undermine those principles and hurt people with disabilities.”
To view the video, click HERE.