The Legal Center for People With Disabilities and Older People Awarded Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Quality of Life Grant

DENVER, Mar 25, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) has awarded The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People, a nonprofit organization, a $10,000 health promotion grant. The grant supports The Legal Center's Assistive Technology Advocacy Services to help people navigate systems to acquire assistive technology through special education, Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation.

An assistive technology device is any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. These devices can be very highly technological items, like adapted computer systems with voice activation, or they can be very simple items like magnifying glasses, large print materials, pencil grips and book holders.

The Legal Center's Assistive Technology Advocacy Program is a statewide program based at The Legal Center's Grand Junction office. The Coordinator of the Program is Sara Sharer at 800/531-2105. The Legal Center has offices in Denver and Grand Junction.

This program seeks to assist individuals with strategies and interventions to assist in acquiring assistive technology and to achieve systemic change, making assistive technology more available to people in need. The Legal Center has developed easy-to-understand guides for parents of children with disabilities to help them understand their child's rights in receiving special education services and assistive technology. These publications include Assistive Technology: Universe of Opportunities, a comprehensive guide to obtaining assistive technology for children in Colorado, and The New Handbook for Special Education Rights, a guide on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) awarded more than $650,000 in Quality of Life and Health Promotion grants to 70 organizations nationwide that improve opportunities, access and day-to-day quality of life for families and individuals living with disabilities. The grants, awarded twice yearly, recognize programs that enable people with disabilities to live independent and active lives.

Quality of Life grants, conceived by Dana Reeve, CRPF Director and Chair of the Quality of Life committee, are given to programs or projects that improve the daily lives of people living with disabilities, particularly spinal cord injuries. Funding is awarded twice yearly to programs that provide one-on-one assistance through access, advocacy, education, recreation, and technology, among others.

"Though widely varied, each program focuses on helping people with mobility-related disabilities become more independent, more empowered, and better able to live the lives they choose," said Dana Reeve.

The Health Promotion initiative, launched in 2001, seeks to remove societal and environmental barriers that limit the abilities of individuals with paralysis to participate in life activities. Participation in these activities improves physical and emotional health and prevents secondary conditions for persons living with paralysis. A complete list of the grant recipients is available at www.paralysis.org/quality/grant--recipients.cfm.
The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), a national, nonprofit organization, supports research to develop effective treatments and a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. Until those treatments and cures are found, CRPF's Quality of Life Program is committed to supporting those organizations and programs that seek to improve the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities.

For more information about the Quality of Life program or the grant application process, please contact the Quality of Life department at 800/225-0292 or visit the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation web site at www.paralysis.org.
The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People

The Legal Center, founded in 1976, uses the legal system to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities and older people. The Legal Center helps to give people a voice in receiving services from a complex bureaucratic network of state and local agencies, governments, school districts and private providers. Advocates, with federal authority, protect people, who receive services, from abusive and neglectful situations.


-- 22 staff members with offices in Denver and Grand Junction.
Fills a gap in legal services in Colorado not covered by
private attorneys or other agencies
-- Most clients are unable to afford a fee or pay a fee based on
a sliding scale
-- Implements federally mandated Protection and Advocacy Systems
in Colorado for people with developmental disabilities, people
with severe disabilities and people with a major mental
illness.
-- Implements the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy
System for Beneficiaries of Social Security.
-- Older Americans Programs include the Long-term Care Ombudsman
Program and the Legal Assistance Developer Program. In 2001
facilitated the work of a statewide network of long-term care
Ombudsmen responding to over 13,000 complaints (substantially
up from 11,096 in 2000) about abuse and neglect of elderly
residents in long-term care facilities.
-- Advocacy program to help people with disabilities obtain
assistive technology.
-- 607 people with disabilities received direct legal
representation in 2000 and an additional 1,581 received legal
counseling and technical assistance. Advocates resolve most
legal problems through negotiation or mediation. Promotes
self-advocacy. Litigation necessary in less than 5% of cases.
The most frequent legal problems address are:
1. access to rehabilitation services
2. access to assistive technology
3. housing discrimination
4. access to services
5. civil rights violations
6. abuse or neglect while living in an institution
7. problems obtaining special education for children with
disabilities
-- Coordinate a network of local ombudsmen responding to over
10,000 complaints about residents of nursing homes and
personal care boarding homes.
-- Here's Help consumer publications on rights issues: Special
Education for children, Long-term Care, Vocational
Rehabilitation, Older Americans, Assistive Technology
-- HIV/AIDS Legal Project
-- Web site at
www.thelegalcenter.org
-- Annual Budget is $1.6M. Federal formula grants, charitable
contributions, product sales and fees.

CONTACT: The Legal Center
Denver Office
Diane Carabello, 303/722-0300
Dianec@thelegalcenter.org
Grand Junction Office
Sara Sharer, 800/531-2105