September, 2011 | Littman Krooks, LLP
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Veterans Research Lab Focuses on Creating Special Devices for Disabled Veterans

September 19th, 2011

People with disabilities have some new, powerful devices to make daily living easier. The Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) is a part of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and has created robotic arms, better wheelchairs, and other mobility devices. Their Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance helps wheelchair users read a magazine, use a vending machine, and accomplish many other daily tasks. Their Strongarm device can be mounted to a power wheelchair and is able to lift up to 250 pounds. This can be extremely helpful when moving the disabled person from the wheelchair to a couch, and opening things such as doors and microwaves.

HERL has also designed a better wheelchair for people with special needs who participate in sports and recreation activities. Their field games throwing chair for the discus, shotput, and javelin has a better base and stability for these activities. These wheelchairs have been tested at big competitions and accommodate different abilities and body types.

“We try to address the clear and real needs of Veterans now and in the future,” said HERL director Rory Cooper, who is also a longtime National Veterans Wheelchair Games athlete. “One of the unique things about HERL is that we’ve been able to respond to the needs of Vietnam and World War II Veterans as they age, as well as OEF/OIF Veterans.”

HERL is dedicated to research and advanced engineering to improve the lives of people with disabilities. They strive to create devices that are reliable, safe, and help people have the most independence.

New York special needs law firm Littman Krooks LLP helps disabled veterans and people with special needs get access to specialized wheelchairs and government benefits. Our New York City, White Plains or Fishkill Special Needs attorneys have substantial experience in comprehensive estate planning, special needs trusts, and long-term asset preservation for people with disabilities. To learn more about our New York special needs planning services, visit


Autistic Children Who Wander Have New Code and Medical Resources They Can Access

September 6th, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved a new medical diagnosis code for wandering. Individuals with autism, intellectual disabilities, and related conditions are more prone to wandering, which exposes them to potentially harmful and life-threatening dangers. The new code is listed as V40.31 – wandering in diseases classified elsewhere.

“It is our hope that the recognition of wandering as a medical diagnosis will bring opportunities for the development of resources including training for schools and caregivers, emergency search personnel protocols, financial assistance for safety equipment and support and education for families,” said Lori McIlwain, the board chair of the National Autism Association.

Health care professionals can start to use the new code in October in medical records. The CDC wants to gain better data with the new code to understand the prevalence of this behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are noted for affecting an individual’s social, behavioral, and communication skills. ASDs begin in childhood and can last throughout a person’s lifetime. Individuals who are prone to wandering need extra care to monitor them. Behavioral intervention early on is needed to help the individual lessen these behaviors and make progress.

The National Autism Association conducted an online poll and 92 percent of parents said that their autistic child had a tendency to wander. Exposure to the outdoor elements, drowning, and other factors put the individual at risk for an injury or death. Speaking with your health care provider about your child’s behavior and what resources there are can help turn the situation around. It is also advised to speak with a qualified special needs attorney to learn about and access much-needed resources for your child.

Littman Krooks LLP counsels families with special needs planning. Our New York City, White Plains or Fishkill Special Needs attorneys can assist with Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, and special education advocacy matters. In addition, our New York Special Needs Trust attorneys can assist clients with long-term care and asset preservation and protection planning for loved ones with disabilities that need around-the-clock care.

To learn more about New York special needs planning, visit, or

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