Published: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Originally published in the spring of 2021
Joan Schiele is no stranger to NDAD, and vice versa.
“They’ve known me since I was little,” she said. The Grand Forks woman with cerebral palsy was a child when her parents were members of a 1970s local support group for families with children and adults with disabilities that, 46 years ago this June, became NDAD.
Joan has qualified for NDAD’s help on multiple occasions in recent years. “It’s been a good experience,” Schiele said of her relationship with the nonprofit. “It hasn’t been a bad one. I’ve never had problems with them.”
On two occasions, NDAD’s direct financial assistance program covered Joan’s costs for much-needed part-time attendant services when she faced several unplanned gaps in Medicaid coverage. The first occurred years ago, when she received NDAD’s help paying for attendants over the course of about a year; the other occurred in April 2020.
When you qualify, NDAD can cover expenses that help you maximize your independence by helping you perform tasks you cannot do yourself, such as bathing, dressing and eating. In Joan’s case, care attendant tasks included applying and removing leg wraps for her lymphedema.
“It was a big help,” she said, “because there’s no way I could have gotten help from anyone else.”
For about nine years, NDAD also has provided Joan with free, door-todoor accessible transit on the Dial-A-Ride program that serves Grand Forks and neighboring East Grand Forks, Minn. It’s one of multiple paratransit systems in North Dakota communities that NDAD helps clients receive access to.
NDAD purchased leg wraps, a bed rail and tub grab bars for Schiele in 2017, plus compression garments the year before that, and a reacher and toilet safety frame in 2012.
The organization also helped Joan with accessories to her power wheelchair in 2019. Once, her father borrowed one of NDAD’s accessible vans for loan so she could attend a graduation ceremony. NDAD’s Grand Forks and Minot offices have vans with ramps that can be borrowed for pre-approved medical purposes and in-state events.
Schiele said she definitely would recommend NDAD: “If I know the person really, really needed it, I would let them know and have them go there.”