Services Foster Ability for Quadriplegic Mom - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on August 02, 2009

RIC Services Key to Advancing AbilityTM for Quadriplegic Mom

Chicago Tribune Features Story of Navy Veteran's Fight to Live Her Dreams

(Chicago Tribune photo by Nancy Stone)

Kaney O'Neill, kissing her newborn son, Aidan,
sought help preparing to care for him at RIC
(Chicago Tribune photo by Nancy Stone)

Women with disabilities can have children, and RIC can help these women prepare for and care for their babies.

The recent in-depth cover story in the Chicago Tribune Sunday section titled "Quadriplegic mom fights the odds" follows RIC patient Kaney O'Neill – quadriplegic following a spinal cord injury nine years ago – through her dedication to being a mother.

After learning she was pregnant, O'Neill's search for services to help her care for her child led her to RIC and Dr. Kristi Kirschner from RIC's Women with Disabilities Center. Dr. Kirschner directed her care along with physical therapist Despina Kotsapouikis and occupational therapist Anne Armstrong. As O'Neill's pregnancy progressed, she also worked with Randy Orians, an assistive technology technician, and volunteer Steve Austin to customize baby equipment such as diapers and cribs.

"We didn't see as many parents with disabilities even a decade ago," Armstrong is quoted as saying in the article. "But the taboo is definitely fading. I see a lot of self-advocacy on the part of these patients. They know how to ask for help and use the resources."