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Pediatric expo lets families test equipment

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When a child with cerebral palsy or Rhett’s syndrome outgrows a modified wheelchair or an adaptive tricycle, replacing that equipment costs $2,500 and up.

That puts a strain even on families with generous health insurance plans.

Since most pediatric medical equipment is sold online or through catalogues, families often must buy equipment without a trial run. Those sales are final, saddling families with equipment that may not fit their disabled child.

This Saturday, families will find help at the Colorado Pediatric Durable Medical Equipment Expo and Symposium. There, children can try out different products, including adaptive recreational equipment like tricycles and bicycles.

The equipment on display includes new products from manufacturers, and donated equipment from families whose children have outgrown their wheelchairs and other gear.

Physical therapists, doctors and others at the expo can advise families about taking measurements for the best possible fit. That’s especially important for those who have struggled to modify the wrong-sized wheelchair for a child, said Denver police patrol officer Ed Quayle, whose 4-year-old son, Brian, has cerebral palsy.

“Brian had a chair donated to us that initially was far too big for him for a number of years,” he said. “We had to get creative and try to force the chair to fit Brian. For the first two years, it was difficult to find something that worked for him. He didn’t tolerate the chair well at all until he grew into it.”

Today, Brian has outgrown that chair. His family hopes to acquire a motorized wheelchair for him. At $30,000 and up, those wheelchairs are more expensive than some new cars.

“What’s great about the Expo is that it gives me an idea of what’s out there for Brian,” Quayle said. “I can bring him with me, and try him in different products to see what works best for him. Otherwise, you have no place to find this kind of equipment and try it out before buying it.”

Pediatric Durable Medical Equipment Expo and Symposium, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 E. Academy Blvd. Free. Register at or

By Claire Martin

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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