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Posts Tagged ‘disabilities’

On Wednesday, May 7, I attended this Symposium on Current Advances in Spinal Cord Injury Research held at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (formerly UMDNJ) in Newark. I was joined by Push to Walk’s Program Director, Tommy Sutor, another trainer (Isaak) and a client. We also saw Steven, a member of Push to Walk’s Medical Professionals Network. I was proud that Push to Walk was well represented at a conference of this stature.

The program for the day included Robert Heary, Brian Strom, David Lowell, Charles Tator, Susan Harkema, and Philip Popovich. After a networking type lunch, the afternoon speakers were W. Dalton Dietrick, Brian Kwon and V. Reggie Edgerton. (I have chosen not to include all of their degrees and titles, because this paragraph would have looked like alphabet soup! Suffice it to say that all of these speakers are at the top of their fields and are very well educated and experienced!)

Admittedly, most of the science presented is over my head, similar to other research and scientific symposiums I attend, but I do appreciate all the different efforts that these scientists and their teams are working on. Bringing research from “the bench to the bedside and back again” is a slow, time consuming tedious process, but so many people are dedicating their lives and professions to spinal cord injury research that I continue to be hopeful that soon enough, one or more will actually become a reality in “curing” spinal cord injury.

From the Miami Project’s hypothermia and Schwann cell studies, to Susan Harkema’s extraordinary work with epidural stimulation, much is happening in the field. During the lunch break,  our Push to Walk trainer Isaak, made one very telling statement: everything that was presented (and I do mean everything) had ONE common denominator: EXERCISE! It was true! All of the speakers and presenters spoke about the importance of exercise, movement, activity based training and rehabilitation. While not many of the clinical trials and tests (although successful to some extent in animals) have actual and tested results, everyone spoke of the need to exercise.

This reinforced our work at Push to Walk that we do every single day. Getting people out of their wheelchairs, helping them to strengthen themselves and seeing what their bodies CAN do is our main focus in every single workout. Movement, movement and more movement – all with a plan, of course! Every day we see people reaching their goals, performing new movements and becoming more independent. While the science progresses along the path of approvals, tests and evaluations, we plug away every day to help people keep their bodies strong and healthy – ready for the cure when science DOES bring us something to help all of those with spinal cord injuries.

May God bless the scientists, their minds, hearts and hands as they do this VERY important work!

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for Push to Walk to win a $25,000 grant to help Veterans and provide workouts! Vote Here!

Thanks, and have a good weekend! Cynthia

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The Abilities Expo is today, tomorrow and Sunday (Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4) at the NJ Convention & Expo Center @ Raritan, 97 Sunfield Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837. Come visit us at Booth #808!

One of the reasons I love this Expo is because it truly does center on abilities. What people CAN do, what products can help them live life to the fullest. In addition to vendors with products and services, many nonprofits are there which provide valuable information, all kinds of accessible vehicles and lots of adapted sports equipment and activities.

There is also a full schedule of presentations in adjoining meeting rooms and a schedule of demonstrations like wheelchair dancing and quad rugby. The full schedule of events can be reviewed by clicking HERE.

Go and spend a few hours – I am sure you will find it worthwhile!

P.S. Don’t forget to keep voting EVERY DAY for Push to Walk to win a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant. Click here to vote for us!

Thanks, and enjoy the weekend! Cynthia

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Here’s the second installation (which includes parts 2 and 3 from the Social Security Administration blogger) of Social Security Benefits information that I hope you find helpful:

Step 2: Medical Qualification

 In addition to meeting the income and work-related requirements explained above, all applicants will have to meet certain medical requirements. These medical requirements are listed in the SSA’s guide of qualifying conditions, known as the Blue Book.  The Blue Book is broken into many different sections—each pertaining to a specific condition or group of conditions.

Spinal cord injuries are listed under section 1.04—Disorders of the Spine. The requirements of this listing are as follows:  Applicants must have an injury that causes compromise of a nerve root with:

  • Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by pain, limited motion of the spine, motor loss, and sensory or reflex loss; OR
  • Spinal arachnoiditis confirmed using appropriate medical records; OR
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis.

It is important that you review this listing in its entirety. If you do not understand the terminology used, it may be in your best interest to schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to explain the criteria to you and can perform the tests necessary to prove your eligibility. If you do not meet this listing, you may be eligible for disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance. This means that the SSA will evaluate your functional abilities, your previous job training, and your age to determine whether or not you are capable of holding a job. If they determine that you cannot work, it is likely that your application for disability benefits will be approved.

Step 3: Preparing for the Application

You will need to prepare by for the application process by collecting the necessary medical and financial records to prove your eligibility. Without this information your claim may potentially be delayed or even denied. Medical records should include:

  • Documentation of your diagnosis
  • A history of hospitalizations and treatments
  • Medical images- X-ray, CT, MRI
  • Surgical reports
  • Written statements from any treating physicians

Non-medical documentation will include forms of identification, financial information, and employment records. To view a complete list of non-medical requirements, visit the SSA’s Adult Disability Interview Checklist.

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Happy Friday! Happy Spring! I hope the calendar means that warm weather and sunshine are on their way.

My most recent addition to Push to Walk’s Website – Family Corner section is on getting help from others after a loved one sustains a spinal cord injury. I know that I felt, as a Mom, that only I could do certain things for my child. And for a time, that was pretty true. Or at least I felt I was the only one who “could or should” do things; who else would do as good as job, etc. But as time passed, I knew accepting help from others would help all of us. Not only for the family relationships as mother/son, but for me and my husband as well, and also for Darren and his sister. Family dynamics (which I’ll discuss in an upcoming section) were greatly affected, and having others help with day to day tasks and/or specific jobs really became a lifesaver.

I found it really important for Darren to take charge of his own care, to articulate his needs and make sure things were done properly. Those lines get blurry when it’s a family relationship, then the relationship becomes strained and affects other feelings. While it is impossible to think everything will go smoothly when talking about daily care and family relationships, at least having a good framework to work within, or goals to reach definitely can help.

Please check out the Family Corner section of our website, and I hope my experience helps someone out there going through similar situations. If you have ways you did things that helped you and your family, please let me know!

Cynthia

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Hello everyone,

Having more clients at Push to Walk with MS recently has led me to have conversations with a variety of people about this disease and condition. One of my friends is a nurse in a pediatrician’s office and she is seeing MS diagnosed more frequently in children now more than ever before. Is this because MS has become a catch-all diagnosis of sorts when no other explanation can be found? Is research showing groups of children exhibiting various symptoms that are similar to adult diagnoses of MS? Are there new causes of MS in children? I decided to search a little on the internet, and found some very interesting information.

According to WebMD, I found that while “multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs most commonly in adults, it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and teenagers. Of the 400,000 diagnosed cases of MS in the U.S., 8,000 to 10,000 are in children up to 18 years old. Neurologists think there are probably many more children with MS that have not been diagnosed.” I found this intriguing and wanted to know more. The article continued on to say “multiple sclerosis may manifest itself differently in children and adults. In children, it may begin after a period of neurological symptoms called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). For most children, the symptoms of ADEM — including headache, delirium, lethargy, coma, seizures, stiff neck and fever — are temporary. But other children continue to have symptoms or experience additional symptoms that meet the criteria of MS. MS is thought to progress more slowly in children than in adults; however, significant disability can occur at an earlier age in people whose MS begins in childhood or adolescence. The cognitive and psychological consequences of MS are likely greater in children and adolescents and may affect academic performance, self-image, and relationships with peers.”

I will continue to do more research in this area, and see if our program at Push to Walk would be helpful to children diagnosed with MS. If you have experience or knowledge of this topic to share with me and my readers, I’ll hope you’ll share it with us!

Cynthia

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Good Monday Morning, Everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today is the first of 4 parts on Social Security information that I hope is helpful. I know navigating the system is difficult and can be very frustrating. Perhaps this can make it a little easier! This information was provided to me by a writer at the Social Security Disability Help blog.

Spinal Cord Injury and Social Security Disability Benefits

A spinal cord injury—no matter the cause—can prevent you from being able to work for long periods of time.

If you find that you are unable to work or earn a living after sustaining a spinal cord injury, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits can be used to offset daily expenses and medical costs.

Unfortunately, many find the Social Security Disability application process to be quite difficult. For this reason, we have provided you with a step-by-step guide to benefit eligibility and the application process. Continue reading to see if you or a loved one qualifies for assistance.

Step 1: Choosing a Disability Benefit Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for several different benefit programs. The two main federal disability benefit programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each of these programs caters to a specific group of people. SSDI is a program for adults who have worked and paid Social Security taxes and SSI caters to disabled individuals who earn very little income.  Each of these programs has their own set of technical eligibility requirements.

To qualify for SSDI, applicants must have worked and paid taxes for a significant period of time. To determine a person’s eligibility for SSDI, the SSA assigns each applicant a specific number of “work credits”—a unit of measurement used to evaluate a person’s past income, work experience, and tax payments. You must meet the work credit requirements in order to receive SSDI benefits. Learn more about work credits and SSDI eligibility, here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi.

SSI is different in that eligibility is based on financial need, rather than employment history. To qualify, applicants must fall within financial parameters set by the SSA. These parameters govern the amount of income and resources you can have.  For more information about applying for SSI benefits, visit the following page: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.

It is important to look into these requirements to determine which program is the best fit for your particular circumstances and needs.

Check back next Monday for additional information. Please let me know if you’ve found any helpful resources or have any tips for applying for benefits. Thanks!

Cynthia

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Happy Friday!

My latest edition to the Family Corner section of Push to Walk’s website describes how I felt about establishing a schedule and routine for Darren, me and our family when we arrived home from Shepherd Center.

My intent was to establish a schedule of sorts as soon as possible, which was not necessarily a project that progressed evenly or predictably. Unplanned events happened, Darren would get sick, I don’t even remember all that was going on right when we got home. But I was pretty insistent on at least trying to maintain a regular routine, partly for my own sanity if nothing else.

I hope this information on our website helps some of you in similar situations, or helps reaffirm the fact you are not alone in going through this difficult transition. If there is anyone reading this blog post or website section, and you would like to discuss anything related to SCI, please feel free to comment here or get in touch with me. I am always available, and would be happy to help.

Cynthia

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