Reeve Foundation focuses on rights for parents living with paralysis

Last week, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation unveiled two important initiatives that speak to our efforts to advance Today’s Care and enhance the quality of life for all family members living with paralysis.

First, we launched an innovative campaign in partnership with digital agency 360i and technology firm AXIOS. A few months ago, 360i approached the Reeve Foundation with a novel idea—modify existing toys to be accessible so that all family members living with paralysis can actively participate in playtime. We were in awe that an outside agency not only recognized a real challenge for our community, but offered an immediate and tangible solution.

That solution is called Adaptoys -- a line of accessible toys including a remote control car that can be operated by using “sip and puff” technology and steered via head tilts, and a voice activated pitching machine.

Through a crowdfunding campaign, we hope to fund the production of 100 Adaptoys to distribute to families free of charge. However, beyond raising funds, we must also ignite a conversation about the need for accessible toys to enable people living with paralysis to play with their family.

To help introduce Adaptoys to the world, our partners produced a powerful video. After watching the video you will realize that Adaptoys is so much more than toys—it’s an opportunity to breakdown a barrier and achieve greater equality for individuals with disabilities.

Unbelievably during the same week, the Reeve Foundation also experienced a historic moment when, for the first time, the Office of President convened a meeting of the most influential government officials and disability advocates in the US. The goal was to address the systematic discrimination of disabled parents and provided a national stage to discuss an issue that is plaguing our community.

There are over four million parents living with a disability in the U.S. and today, 35 states list disability as grounds for termination of parental rights with no evidence of abuse or neglect.

To combat this violation of rights, the Reeve Foundation joined forces with the National Council on Disability (NCD) to create the Parenting with Disabilities toolkit to provide an overview of the laws and safeguards that exists for families.

Discrimination against parents with disabilities has not received the national attention it deserves. It remains one of the deepest injustices across the disability community — to be seen only by your disability rather than as an individual.

That is why the Reeve Foundation and NCD locked arms to spark a national conversation about the inequalities that parents with disabilities currently face every day and equip families with the knowledge they need to protect themselves.

Both Adaptoys and the Parenting with Disabilitiestoolkit speak to Dana Reeve’s vision for the Foundation to provide resources that enhance the health, independence and overall quality of life for all families—mothers, fathers, siblings, children, grandparents—who are living with or impacted by paralysis.

I find it wonderfully serendipitous that these initiatives kicked off during the same week as Mother’s Day when we celebrate and honor the contributions of our parents, spouses and partners. At the Reeve Foundation, we are constantly looking for new ways to support our community and make sure all families are thriving.

Simply put, we proudly fight for families and will continue to work with our partners to move our shared mission forward.

Fight on and stay with us—together, we can inspire change.


Peter T. Wilderotter
President and CEO
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation