In February 1999, Karen's daughter, Lauren, was paralyzed during surgery. In addition to coping with the trauma of the event, the family needed to modify their home in Charlotte, North Carolina to accommodate Lauren's disability. They received minimal information on how to do this from the hospital and other sources, some of which turned out to be incorrect.
In response to problems like Karen's, the Center for Architecture and Building Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology developed A House For All Children, a manual and video guide for parents of children with physical disabilities. The manual and video contain practical, detailed information on how parents can make changes to their homes to allow their children to function at the peak of their abilities. The changes range from low-cost modifications to custom-built, barrier-free homes.
Although Karen did not have access to the guide when making modifications to her family's home, she plans to use it to modify Lauren's dorm room when her daughter attends college. Funding for the manual and video was provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Both are available through the New Jersey Institute of Technology.