A New Tricycle for Jenna

It was a wonderful day for 3-year-old Jenna! She rode a tricycle for the very first time!!
For most 3-year-olds, a typical day of play involves riding a tricycle. But for Jenna, a child with Spinabifida, she has found herself excluded from this most joyous of childhood activities, watching her friends ride from the sidelines. Because of Spinabifida, Jenna is paralyzed from the waist down.

Physical Therapist, Sally McCoy, with Carolina Pediatric Therapy, has helped fit her with Ankle/Foot Orthoses (AFOs) and Reciprocating Gate Orthoses (RGOs) which are spring loaded orthoses that fit around her torso, and helps her to stand erect and rotate her hips, so that she can us a tiny walker to get around. Jenna is a bright youngster, and a quick learner, and is quite fast with her walker. Jenna is now quite mobile, with the help of her equipment, but is unable to ride a foot-pedal trike. So, Sally set out to find an adaptive tricycle for Jenna. She found a tricycle called an AmTryke that can be pedaled with the hands.

ALSO SEE: Jenna Trike (Video Update)

For most parents, getting a tricycle for their child is as simple as popping over to a local store for a purchase. However, the process for obtaining a piece of adaptive equipment for an individual with disabilities is filled with complex red tape and justifications to insurance or Medicaid to obtain the equipment. Because a tricycle is considered recreational equipment, there is no funding through insurance or Medicaid.

Jenna's parents, Robyn and Troy, were not aware that there were any other options for funding a trike for their child, so when Sally suggested that they contact Ambucs, they were thrilled to start the process. Ambucs is a non-profit organization that funds adaptive equipment for individuals with disabilities. After hearing about Jenna, Ambucs agreed to purchase the tricycle for her!


A New Tricycle for Jenna 
 Jenna requested a red and black tricycle, and on Saturday, February 15th, that new shiny red tricycle, along with a new red helmet, was presented by Ambucs to Jenna at Carolina Pediatric Therapy, in the presence of 30 of Jenna's family, friends, teachers, and therapists who joined her to celebrate her big day! The most significant and touching moment of the morning was when Jenna's best friend arrived with her tricycle in tote, ready to ride with Jenna. The two friends giggled with delight as they rode their tricycles together, for the first time. It was a long-awaited moment for the two little girls!

Looking around the room that morning, as friends and family looked on through smiles and joyful tear-filled eyes, it was apparent that Jenna's moment was about something even bigger and deeper than the tricycle. It was about something that those who walk and are mobile so easily take for granted. It was about being part of the group, playing with friends, being able to participate and do what other same-aged children can do. The tricycle was the gift of belonging, of being included, of feeling and being the same, and at the same time, being extraordinary!

Congratulations Jenna! We were so happy to celebrate your big day with you! Thank you for letting us share it with you!

A New Tricycle for Jenna
~Summer McMurry, MS, CCC-SLP

Carolina Pediatric Therapy © February 2014

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