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Columbia Business Monthly

Christopher Reeve Grant Helps USC Purchase Communication Devices for Those Living with Paralysis

Jun 14, 2018 09:25AM ● By Chris Haire
A foundation named in honor of late Superman actor Christopher Reeve has awarded $74,000 to a University of South Carolina Medical School program in Columbia to purchase four new eye gaze devices, allowing those with ALS, spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, and other paralysis-causing conditions to communicate using only their line of sight.

Reeve suffered severe spinal cord injuries during a horse riding incident, an accident that left the actor paralyzed. While he continued to act, Reeve devoted the reminder of his life to philanthropic efforts. 

The grant from Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to the USC's S.C. Assistive Technology Program is specifically designed to help low-income South Carolinians. 

According to Tammy Wallace, program coordinator for SCATP, the newly purchased eye gaze devices will allow the program to loan out machines for longer periods of time.

"SCATP has a device loan program that lets South Carolinians borrow communication devices for two weeks. The four new eye gaze devices will be loaned out up to two months at a time," Wallace says.

"This will allow the user to make sure it is a good fit and provide time to explore the other features built into the devices: Windows access, Facebook, Skype, email, and interacting with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo to control items in the environment such as lights and fans."

Wallace adds, "The Christopher Reeve grant provides an avenue to help people with disabilities who have great technology needs to be as independent as possible."

The Reeve Foundation award $371,301 in grants to five states

“In our third year of awarding these grants, it is exciting to see the new and innovative projects proposed to improve quality of life for underserved and rural populations that are living with paralysis,” said Maggie Goldberg, vice president of policy and programs, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

“The improved access to assistive technology results in a significant impact for individuals living with paralysis and their families, and towards our goals of increasing inclusion and independence.” 

The video below provides a good explanation of how these eye gaze devices work. (Note: This is an example only, not a indication that SCATP is using these specific devices.)


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