Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parent with disability examines needs of other parents with spinal cord injuries

Anita Kaiser and baby Olivia

From The Canadian Press, which is actually a lengthy profile of Anita Kaiser:

In the last six months, Anita Kaiser has not only become a mother, she has also secured her place as a researcher and advocate for parents with disabilities. The same week Olivia was born in January, she also delivered her master's thesis in rehabilitation science at the University of Toronto. Her thesis examined the needs of parents with spinal cord injuries.

Last week, a colleague presented that research to a conference of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists in Whitehorse, attended by 300 professionals from Canada and abroad. The study, which involved 12 mothers and fathers with spinal cord injuries, is unique in a field where there has been little research.

About 36,000 Canadians are living with spinal cord injuries, according to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, which supported Kaiser's education through a scholarship. Roughly 100 new cases occur each year, and most are among people in their child-bearing years. While some are already parents, a growing number are choosing to start families post-injury.

Kaiser says that's the result of improved social acceptance and accessibility as well as the growth in specialized fertility and obstetrical services for the disabled.