Parents of children with special needs are warriors! When Olathe mom Tina Taylor learned of the new 19 million dollar beach facility at Lake Olathe Park, her first thought was, “how will I get my son in his wheelchair to the lake?”
Tina follows the inclusive efforts of Variety KC and says that Variety’s efforts to build facilities with no barriers inspired her to reach out to the city of Olathe to find out what could be done to make the beach project inclusive. Next, Tina approached Variety KC to underwrite the equipment, which includes a special beach mat for a beach wheelchair to travel on. (See photos) Traditional wheelchairs don’t roll well on sand, and the beach can ruin a power wheelchair.
This inclusive beach transportation is the first in the KC area and it’s estimated to be in great demand, offering some children in wheelchairs a trip down to the beach for the first time. The park will open on June 29th, and all kids are welcome thanks to this innovative beach equipment!
Variety Executive Director, Deborah Wiebrecht says, “when planning or building any community facility, it’s so important to look for ways that everyone in the community can be included. That’s what builds a strong community. We’re excited the city of Olathe recognized the importance of making sure all kids can Be Active, Be Social, and Belong….and now…can play at the beach!”
In 2018, B&B Theatres reached out to Deborah Wiebrecht, the Executive Director of Variety KC. They asked Deb to appear in an on-screen promotional video with the president of B&B. The on-screen video promotes B&B’s generous donation from each Variety Kid Combo pack sold. The money would go to the Variety chapters in each of the cities that Variety and B&B coexist. The video runs daily at B&B’s 50 locations. In less than a year – B&B has raised over $20,250 for Variety! Thank you B&B Theatres!
When is a bike, not a bike? When it goes beyond the joy of riding and helps a young lady named Pholet, gain strength, increase range of motion, help with coordination, and improve her gait pattern and balance. But to Pholet, it’s the adaptive bike that will allow her to be outside playing with the neighborhood kids she sees through the window.
Variety partners, donors and sponsors know that the gift of mobility is also a gift of health. To join this generous team of caring Variety supporters, visit www.varietykc.org
Olivia is a six-year-old kindergartener who has been using a motorized wheelchair since she was a toddler. The problem with her power chair is that it isn’t able to navigate stairs or even the simplest step into someone’s house. That means that if Olivia wants to go into a friends house to play or for a birthday party, she has to rely on her parents lifting her in a manual wheelchair. Once inside, she can’t navigate as well. There is a device that converts a manual wheelchair into a temporary power chair. Lightweight and portable, it would allow Olivia greater Social inclusion and help her transport her more easily. This product is made in Canada and Olivia’s will be the first in the United States! Another first from Variety KC – and just the start of so many new adventures for Olivia! Help us to help other kiddos like Olivia, donate today at www.varietykc.org!
George is a sweet 6-year-old boy who loves being around other children and hearing their voices. He is non-verbal, but he loves to sing, coo and explore with his voice. He is unable to sit, stand or walk on his own, but he loves to use the stander at school during PT and OT to activate his muscles during weight bearing. He is unable to process what he sees, but he loves to feel different textures, especially soft ones, with his hands and feet, and he also loves holding hands with his family.
Since George is unable to sit or stand, changing his position throughout the day is important. He typically is in a special tomato chair, his wheelchair, laying on a blanket or being held while he is at home. He is very happy and wiggly and wants to move all the time by either kicking his legs or flailing his arms. If he were able to, he would be running all over the place. He had a stander that we received from Infant Toddler Services, but he outgrew it more than a year ago. Being in the stander for at least an hour a day helps George get the physical activity he needs and also helps with motility/digestive issues. It would also help with positioning and active play with George’s older sister Grace. The stander will also provide great weight bearing activity that George desperately needs on a daily basis to help with his hips and spine to avoid/postpone surgery on those two areas.
What a difference a stander could make! Having a stander at home will allow George to experience weight bearing and playtime, while also giving him another option for positioning. Currently, we rotate George from his wheelchair, to rolling on the floor, then to another special chair for feeding. It will be great for George to be able to feel the sensation of standing with the assistance of a safe piece of equipment. And it will allow him to play with toys in a new position, and enhance his daily life at home.
Variety KC serves every type of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. We work with all area hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Through these partners, we’ve met so many amazing therapists and appreciate their efforts to advocate and request equipment for the kids they treat need. Here’s an example of a caring therapist who has identified a device to truly impact the life of her patient and their family.
“Ivery is a non–verbal 2–year old boy with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 3 and Global Developmental Delay. He was also diagnosed with an expressive/receptive language delay with sensory processing concerns. He receives intervention from Missouri First Steps for the following: ABA 2 times per week for 90 minutes and OT 2 times per month for 60 minutes.
Ivery often seeks input for sensory regulation and struggles to engage. He has made great improvement in this. Past behaviors included limited sleep, banging his head, rocking, self-injurious tantrums, and lack of engagement/eye contact. He will now come to his family, to therapists, show interest in new activities and toys, use minimal communication, sit to “work in therapy and with his mom, and more. He loves movies and will imitate these. He has many of the prerequisite skills necessary communication for a communication device. Ivery can easily navigate to what he wants on a phone or other devices, swipe to change screens, and can find apps or other items he wants even when they have been moved. This is one reason that an iPad, paired with communication software, will likely be easier and more motivating for Ivery to leam more effective communication. Giving him a voice and his family a way to communicate effectively and meet his wants and needs appropriately would be a huge gift. Ivery also has a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay with language impairment. All of these diagnoses create barriers for communication, which is the most challenging and difficult piece for his family. The lack of language creates frustration for Ivery, which results in behaviors that can also be difficult for Ivery and his family. The possibility of Ivery receiving an iPad with TouchChat Word Power software could potentially have a huge overall impact for his ability to communicate. The ability to communicate would, obviously, have an enormous and lifelong impact on Ivery, his family and Ivery’s future.”
Please help Variety KC’s efforts to support area healthcare professionals – they do such amazing things for kids with special needs. Donate today at