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Matheny Helps Budd Lake Woman
Obtain Power Wheelchair

Maria, using the standing feature in her
Permobil C500 front wheel drive
power wheelchair.

When she was 13 years old, Maria Tetto of Budd Lake was struck by a pickup truck, an accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury.  She spent a month in Morristown Memorial Hospital, several months at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and 17 months as an inpatient at Matheny.  Maria returned home to her family in April 2000, and although no longer able to walk, resumed as normal a life as possible and graduated from Mount Olive High School in 2006.  Currently, she works at Presents of Mind, a gift shop in Flanders operated by Community Options, an organization that develops residential and employment supports for people with severe disabilities.

Shortly after Maria had graduated from high school, her power wheelchair broke, and having only a manual chair seriously hampered her ability to be as independent as she would like.  Familiar with Matheny from her stay there, Maria’s family brought her to Matheny’s Seating and Mobility Clinic in August 2009.  Maria’s previous wheelchair, according to John Reck, PT, MPT, PCS, ATP, Matheny director of assistive technology, was a power chair with a standing function.  “We did an initial evaluation,” Reck recalls, “and recommended the Permobil C500,” a front wheel drive power wheelchair with a standing feature. We trialed her, and she was able to drive it.  It’s important to her to be able to stand up and drive around her kitchen and access cabinets.  She has her own apartment adjacent to the family home, and this chair allows her to participate in activities of daily living.  And it also strengthens her bones and joints.”

Matheny therapists and rehabilitation technicians worked very hard to get the chair approved by the insurance companies and were able to deliver it to Maria in June of this year.  “Matheny,” says Frank Tetto, Maria’s father, “was very good with following up with the original denials from the insurance companies.  They did the paperwork and handled the appeals. They documented the necessity of the chair.  Maria can use this chair as a stander.  It allows her to speak to people at eye level.  It helps prevent blood clots and skin breakdowns, and it allows her to be more independent.”

Maria prepares to greet customers at the
Presents of Mind gift shop.

At the Presents of Mind gift shop, the front desk counters are high, and Maria’s manual chair was low.  “So,” says Tetto, “they had her working at a table in the back.  Now, ever since she’s had the new chair, she can work upfront.”  A bonus feature of the chair has been its ability to generate social interaction for Maria.  “What’s unique,” explains her father, “is that when people see her in public, they will approach her and ask her about the chair.  So, it opens up a whole world of social possibilities.”

Matheny’s Seating and Mobility Clinic is a highly specialized professional service.  The clinic team strives to meet the needs of each individual by providing the perfect match of assistive technology services and products in order to create the highest level of health, function and quality of life.


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