#UNSTOPPABLETM IMPACT STORIES: Michelle Regehr
(Easter Seals Saskatchewan)
Assistive and adaptive technologies such as mobility equipment and communication devices, as well as home modifications such as ramps, elevators and ceiling track systems, enable individuals living with disabilities to maximize their abilities, exercise their independence, communicate and actively take part in their communities. Each year, thousands of people across the country benefit from the assistive equipment and adaptive technology supports provided by Easter Seals.
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Saskatchewan, 2018 – At six months old, Michelle Regehr was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and faced challenges in muscle control and fine muscle skills development, which ultimately affected her ability to walk and talk. Thanks to an adapted communication device Michelle acquired through the help of a team of supports including Easter Seals, those challenges do not hold her back. She’s able to communicate, remain independent and live a full, rewarding life.
“When she was able to turn on her television for the time, you can’t imagine the emotions. I mean, we all just take for granted that anybody can turn on a T.V. She was all of a sudden in charge of her own environment for the first time,” said her father, Al.
Michelle has been accessing Adaptive Technology services offered by Easter Seals Saskatchewan since 1977. At that time, she was using a head pointer and a sheet of symbols to communicate. Fast forward to today where she’s using one of the most advanced and innovative devices in the country.
A small grey dote placed on Michelle’s forehead operates an infra-red sensor connected to her device and allows here to communciate with the world around her. Aside from letting her select words, phrases and emotions to share, the device also allows her to control aspects of her external environment, including her television, fan, lamp, and depending on the season, her Christmas tree!
“It’s done unbelievable things for her self-worth, confidence and her ability to communicate with family, medical staff and the community.” – Al Regehr, Michelle’s father
Michelle’s communication device has enabled her to do so much! She’s now able to stay connected with extended family, express herself, exercise her independence, and further integrate into the community. She is one of thousands of people who are living with disabilities who benefit from the ongoing support, expertise and training provided through Easter Seals’ adaptive technology services.