Every 48 seconds in the U.S., someone becomes paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. The majority of these injuries are caused by auto accidents, on-the-job incidents, and sports.
In July of this year, the U.S. Senate designated September 2014 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. The Senate praised the dedication of those working to improve the quality of life of people living with paralysis and their families. Lawmakers also challenged researchers to find better treatments and therapies, launch new clinical trials, and ultimately develop a cure for paralysis.
Although the official observance is drawing to a close, the important work it aimed to spotlight continues. At the Administration for Community Living, we are excited by a new role we will play in these efforts. Beginning this year, ACL is continuing the federal government’s support to the Paralysis Resource Center, a public-private partnership housed within the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
The mission of the Paralysis Resource Center is to "promote the health and well-being of people living with spinal cord injury, mobility impairment, and paralysis." That fits perfectly with ACL’s mission to provide avenues that enable people with disabilities and older adults and to live independently in the communities of their choice.
According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Americans of all ages living with paralysis often are needlessly institutionalized when they should be living in their own homes. We can do better. We have to do better. Not only is independence important for quality of life and a basic human right, it also ultimately is less expensive for the long-term services and supports system. There is no downside to Community Living.
The Paralysis Resource Center supports this goal by providing comprehensive information for people of all ages living with paralysis and their families. Resources on spinal cord injury, paralysis and mobility-related disabilities, including information and referral by phone and email, are available in several languages including English and Spanish.
The Paralysis Resource Center also offers a variety of services and programs such as a peer and family support mentoring program, a military and veterans program, multicultural outreach services, information specialist services in multiple languages, a lending library, and quality-of-life grants.
Working together, the Administration for Community Living and the Paralysis Resource Center will help ensure people living with paralysis – and people with all types of disabilities – have the support they need to live independently in their communities.