Temple OT students help better the life of children with cerebral palsy

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University students are making a profound difference in the quality of life of some young people, and all it is costing is care and commitment.

The smiles say it all: for Carter, it was a customized wheelchair tray; for Sabina, it was a communication device holder.

Special deliveries for 30 students at HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, built by occupational therapy Masters students from Temple University.

"A lot of the things we do in grad school are case study based," said Temple OT student Meaghan Allen. "This was really special because we had actual people we were doing this for."

At the beginning of the semester, Temple students came to the Southwest Philadelphia school and zeroed in on students' needs.

The occupational therapy students then built customized, fitted adaptations using three-ply cardboard.

"It's very durable, and it's low cost, and it's easily modifiable so we did this ourselves," said, Katie Falo, Temple OT student.

The material improves the devices' portability and reduces production costs. The fittings allow students to participate in activities that they enjoy.

These adaptations might not be medically necessary but they can do wonders for the students quality of life.

"It's huge. Just because it's not medically necessary doesn't mean you shouldn't have the best possible life that you can or be as independent as you can," said Falo.

Anaho's new mailbox attaches to his tray and helps him transport letters around the school. He also likes to help clean so a broom attachment allows him to participate more.

"It can be thousands of dollars to get a special tray that fits on your wheelchair that helps you play a game that insurance isn't going to pay for that," said Teresa Giardina of HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. "And often there's a huge barrier to being able to do those things."

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