Small Grant Gives Peace of Mind to New Mother

By JoLynne Lyon | December 12, 2022
Anna trains her dog to use the panic button
Turner trains Vixen to use the panic button.

LOGAN—Anna Turner was preparing to welcome a new baby to her home. But in addition to the usual considerations of having a newborn in the house, she had an additional concern: What if she had a seizure when her husband was at work?

Turner’s service dog, Vixen, responds to seizures, but sometimes when they happen Turner is unable to speak, so it’s hard to notify others if she needs additional assistance. She knew a service dog panic buttoncould help, but it was pricey. Fortunately, she also knew the Utah Assistive Technology Program offers small grants to help people with disabilities purchase AT devices who could not otherwise afford them. (Small grants of up to $500 may be awarded to Utahns who fit the income guidelines and do not have other funding options.)

Turner received the small grant and purchased the device. It is designed so that the person experiencing a seizure can press the plate and activate the alert system. A service dog can also be trained to push the button with its nose. Once activated, the device alerts three designated people that she is experiencing a seizure. Turner has trained Vixen to use the panic button. She’s also tested the device. “It worked great,” she said. “It played the message.”

The family recently welcomed their new baby girl, Anastasia. They have the assurance that if Turner needs some help after a seizure, she will get it—and so will Anastasia.

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