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Here’s a chance to apply for a device that can help your child navigate a disability

The What I Wish for My Child campaign is the IMAGE Center of Maryland’s latest way of offering children and young adults with special needs the opportunity, via a free medical device, to live more independently.

Young Caleb receives a custom wheelchair lacrosse stick designed by Volunteer Engineer John Haug.

(Courtesy photo)

For the last four decades, the Towson-based IMAGE Center of Maryland‘s Volunteers for Medical Engineering program has been working to empower people with disabilities. Now, applications are open for people to obtain life-changing, custom-made devices and solutions for their children.

The What I Wish for My Child campaign offers a handful of recipients the chance to receive a free custom device that could help their children better navigate developmental or cognitive challenges. Family members, caregivers and teachers can submit an application for a two- to 21-year-old child with special needs. Up to three applicants will be selected to participate in the program free of charge, while additional ones may get invited to participate for a minimal cost. A group of volunteers — including engineering students from 11 colleges and universities, as well as engineering and medical professionals — then collaborate to design and construct a device that addresses the intended recipient’s specific circumstances.

“When the engineers create a device, it can be life-changing,” Volunteers for Medical Engineering’s program director Angela Tyler told “It can change how children operate in school — for example, specialized desks. It can change the way they get up and get dressed in the morning. [It can change] transferring from one place to another, like from a wheelchair to another place. It definitely can make their lives a lot easier, and the biggest thing is [to] make it more enjoyable.”

Projects completed via the What I Wish for My Child campaign also qualify for assistance under the Developmental Disabilities Administration’s Low Intensity Support Services program.

The engineers developing the devices can include students at universities doing a capstone, high school students in a STEM program or a volunteer engineer that wants to give back using their own lab’s resources.


Those interested can apply before the June 3rd deadline on the campaign’s website, as well as learn more through this video:

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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