Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, May 5 – Friday, May 9

Human Interest:
In first, contestant with special needs on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ (Disability Scoop)
A self-described Wheel of Fortune fanatic who has both Asperger’s and Tourette syndromes is the first contestant with special needs ever to compete on the show. Although he did not ultimately win the game, he won viewers’ hearts. He became a Twitter trend with #TeamTrent that made his appearance into a viral sensation. A video from the show is included.

Education:
Rutgers would add program for intellectually disabled under new law (The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)
Rutgers University would offer a program for students with intellectual disabilities under a bill that was recently approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee in New Jersey. The legislation, which was sent to the Senate for a full vote, would provide the state university with funding to develop the program, in which students would attend both traditional Rutgers classes and special career readiness classes, while participating in the social life on campus. They would receive a certificate at the end of four years.

Policy:
Medicaid shift fuels rush for profitable clients (The New York Times)
A hurried attempt by a managed care company to sign up seniors and residents with disabilities from two flooded adult homes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy points to hidden costs and potential abuses in an ambitious Medicaid overhaul in New York that has shifted 6 billion dollars in public spending on long-term services for disabled and aged people to managed care companies. Although the state’s goal was savings, the changes have set off a scramble among these companies to enroll clients requiring minimal care, including residents of adult homes who could be brokered in bulk.

Rehabilitation:
Caring for horses eases symptoms of dementia (Science Daily)
A study by the Ohio State University in collaboration with an equine therapy center and an adult daycare center found that people with Alzheimer’s disease were able to safely groom, feed, and walk horses under supervision. In addition, the experience buoyed participants’ mood and made them less likely to resist care or become upset later in the day.

In pain and forced to use a wheelchair, a young woman opts to amputate her clubfeet (The Washington Post)
After living with club feet so deformed that 11 surgeries failed to correct them, a young woman has elected to have her feet amputated. Now fitted with two below-the-knee prostheses, she bikes to school, goes rock climbing on weekends, and is part of a soccer team. Where elective amputation would have been anathema 10 or 15 years ago, as prosthetics have advanced, it is now seen as a viable option for a range of congenital disorders and traumas. A video is included.

Technology:
Disabled children get custom cars with a purpose (NBC News)
Started by a professor in the physical therapy department at the University of Delaware frustrated by inaccessible and expensive pediatric wheelchairs, the Go Baby Go program seeks to create modifications of toy vehicles that put young kids in motion. The program has posted how-to videos on its website to allow families around the world to build their own custom cars.

The company that’s determined to make prosthetics hip and stylish (The Washington Post)
A new company, UNYQ, offers stylish prosthetics featuring wood and metal designs. With a few measurements and four photos of a customer’s existing limb, UNYQ can 3-D print a prosthetic that mirrors the remaining limb with 98 percent accuracy. In addition to choosing from existing models, customers can also design their own.

Pink prosthetic arm ‘printed’ for teen girl by university students (Science Daily)
Biomedical engineering students at Washington University in St Louis have created a prosthetic arm, using a 3-D printer, at a total cost of $200. The limb is battery-powered and controlled with an accelerometer. It also features a movable thumb. Per the request of its wearer, a 13-year-old girl who lost her right arm in an accident, the prosthesis is bright pink.

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