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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Special Education > Overview > Daniel Ward -Transportation: Independence through IPAS Daniel Ward -Transportation: Independence through IPAS

DanielIn 1991, Daniel Ward was an active guy who enjoyed playing rugby with the Indianapolis Rugby Club and had plans to attend Ball State University. That year, a sports related spinal cord injury would change his life -- but not his aspirations.

Ward completed an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, and earned his master's degree in counseling psychology. He then set out to help other people whose lives had been impacted by a disability.

This road led Ward to employment with the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS). As an intake advocate, Ward helps determine whether or not a potential client's issue is in line with IPAS's priorities, putting them on the road to resolution or providing technical assistance referral.

Naturally, Ward was very aware of IPAS's programs when he found himself in need of the organization's support, too. Ward has been an IPAS client on two cases, both related to a special van that allows him to drive from his wheelchair -- and more importantly, to maintain his independence.

Ward's van has been modified in many ways -- the floor has been lowered, a lift has been installed, and it has adaptive devices that allow him to steer the vehicle and control all of the other vehicle functions.

When he was denied payment for a repair to one of the modifications, the prohibitive cost of fixing his unique vehicle could have been a big setback for Ward. But with the help of IPAS, his appeal was a success.

"For me, it boils down to choice," Ward shared. "IPAS works to insure our client's choices regarding the type of services they receive that help improve quality of life. For example, I choose to have a vehicle I can drive myself. Sometimes people need an advocate to make sure they have all the options available and can make their own decisions without the concern of having their claim denied."