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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Special Education > Overview > Levi - Mobility: Independence through IPAS Levi - Mobility: Independence through IPAS

LeviSix-year-old Levi is a huge NASCAR fan. In fact, this card-carrying Tony Stewart fan club member met his idol at a picnic the summer of 2005.

And he did it in his orange electric wheelchair.

The motorized wheelchair allows Levi to get himself out on the playground—or anywhere he wants to go— all by himself. But four years ago, this independence was threatened when it appeared that the tiny 2-year-old would be limited to a manual wheelchair he was too small and weak to operate.

Even though Levi has polymicrogyria, which led to cerebral palsy, his family's claim was denied by Medicaid four times, explained Pam, Levi's mother. That was when they sought help from IPAS.

"Medicaid said Levi should be able to use a manual wheelchair, but because he is weak on his right side, we would have had to push him around at all times," Pam explained. "It would have deterred his independence."

Fighting for Levi's independent mobility had consumed his family's life for almost a year. They had gathered nine letters of support from everyone from therapists, physicians and a wheelchair specialist at Riley Hospital for Children. But it wasn't until an IPAS attorney came into the picture that things began to move in the right direction.

"He was wonderful—he really went above and beyond for us, including hand-delivering paperwork to us in Danville and making a special trip to Levi's school to meet his therapists," Pam said. "He was determined that Levi was going to get that wheelchair."

The hard work of the attorney—and IPAS—was a success. The electric wheelchair has not only allowed Levi to be more mobile and independent, but more comfortable, too.

"It helps him maintain better posture, and when he drives himself out onto the playground, he feels more normal, like other kids," Pam explained. "Plus, the wheelchair will go seven miles an hour. That's important to a NASCAR fan like Levi."