by Gabe Taylor
James Wright, or Jamie as his friends call him, came to the Independence Center several years back to find help in his search for affordable housing. The IC’s housing department helped Jamie through the process, and today he lives in a two-bedroom home here in Colorado Springs. As with many people with cerebral palsy, Jaime has a hard time with mobility without the help of assistive devices. Over the past few year, as Jamie’s mobility began to diminish, he started using a powerchair, which helps him get around near his home. There was one big limitation though. If Jamie needed to go somewhere in his car, he wasn’t able to bring his powerchair with him. This pretty much limited him to areas within a very close proximity of his car.
The IC’s Sara Callender, who works with Jamie, tells me that he’s fiercely independent and takes great pride in that. So it’s no surprise that his increasingly limited mobility was weighing on him greatly. In one of their meetings a few years back, Sarah mentioned that The IC had an assistive technology department that could help people with disabilities to get equipment necessary to become more independent. Jamie must have just stored this in the back of his mind for a rainy day, because almost two years later, he contacted Paul Spotts, The IC’s Assistive Technology Specialist. He was interested in getting a trailer for his car that would allow him to bring his powerchair along with him when he left his home.
Jamie had done a lot of research, and was pretty sure he knew what he wanted, and shared that information with Paul. Paul began looking into pricing and availability, and found a local business that could procure and install the trailer. Through the generous help of Friends of Man, the AV Hunter Trust, and The Independence Center’s IC Fund, enough money was raised to purchase the $5,000 piece of equipment. When the trailer was finally installed, Jamie was delighted.
Since getting the trailer, Jaime’s mobility has improved drastically. He can drive his car to the mall, unload his power chair, and have the ability to visit any store he likes. When I ask Paul what he thinks this means to Jamie, he tells me “I think it’s opened up a new world to him.” And I agree. This is what independence is all about. If you or a loved one is interested in housing or assistive technology, please call The IC at 719-471-8181 or visit our website at http://bit.ly/2wpdnhZ.