Verve Techs Message on Mobility Conversions Shopping for wheelchair-access van conversions can be overwhelming, especially for first time buyers. To find answers, maybe we should be asking the repair techs who install conversions, and then service them when they break or need maintenance. That’s why Martec Group, an independent market researcher-- with no ties to conversion makers—saw the value of such a survey. What do you look for in a wheelchair accessible vehicle? In a recent Dealer Service Technician Study, MARTEC, and independent consulting and research firm, conducted a survey of 100 randomly selected mobility technicians from across the United States. BraunAbility was listed as one of the top accessible vehicle conversion by technicians, bypassing other conversion models. Respondents found that BraunAbility builds the best product, is the most reliable, highest safety equipment, highest safety design, best OEM chassis integration, engineered with the greatest attention to detail, and fewest consumer complaints. USS Arizona Survivors Rally For A Fallen Hero Three USS Arizona survivors will be making their first trip to Washington DC today, July 20th through Sunday, July 23rd. During their visit, Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner will chronicle the story of Joe George, who saved their lives and four others on December 7, 1941 in support of an effort to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Joe George for his heroic actions. **Updated** In Accessible Auto News: The Future of the MV-1 is Unclear Production of the Mobility Ventures wheelchair accessible vehicle, the MV-1, is currently unclear. It was announced that the Chinese-owned, Silicon Valley-headquartered company, SF Motors, purchased the AM General manufacturing plant in Indiana where it was produced. Summer Road Trip! Are you traveling with a disability? Major U.S. Cities Still Pose Problems For Disabled Americans Too many American citizens are restricted in where they can go or live due to a lack of handicap-accessible accommodations. BraunAbility Lifts the Community Up BraunAbility, a leader in the accessible vans, equipment, and mobility needs, celebrates people with disabilities and their communities. Burning the Road: Brakes, Rotors, and Wheels Accessible vehicles needs extra care for wheels, rotors, and breaks to keep accessible vans running efficiently. Canine Companions for Independence Receives a Joint Partnership Chrysler Pacifica and BraunAbility have partnered with Canine Companions for Independence, promoting “Give a Dog a Job Program,” partnering people with disabilities with canine companions. Addressing Bullying for People with Disabilities Inclusive leadership coach Barton Cutter shares tips for people with disabilities who experience bullying. The Ralph Braun Foundation is now NOVA The Ralph Braun Foundation is now the National Organization for Vehicle Accessibility (NOVA). Support for the Caregiver: What to Do when a Caregiver Gets Sick Megan Cutter shares tips for the needs of caregivers for people with disabilities including support services and self care. 10 Tips to Winterize Your Accessible Vehicle Follow these top ten tips to winterizing your accessible vehicle to stay safe on the road during the winter months. Who Pays For Accessibility Resources After a Serious Accident? People who have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence often feel understandably frustrated that they’re paying with their futures—and, all too often, their money—for someone else’s mistake. Fortunately, people who are facing massive bills to retrofit their homes, buy new vehicles, and purchase mobility devices after an accident may have some financial recourse. If you were temporarily or permanently disabled as the result of someone’s negligence, these resources may help you pay for accommodations. Funds for Accessible Transportation: The Ralph Braun Foundation The Braun Foundation provides funding resources for accessible transportation. Crowd Source Funding for an Accessible Vehicle Megan Cutter shares tips to use crowd sourcing to raise funds for an accessible vehicle. Care for the Caregiver Megan Cutter shares self-care tips for caregivers for people with disabilities. Repercussions of HB2 for People with Disabilities What is the controversy over HB2 for people with disabilities? Laughing Through Relationships: Humor in Hard Conversations Barton Cutter shares how humor and laughter can enhance relationships impacted by disability. Alert! Act NOW for the Veterans Mobility Safety Act! A bill called the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015 ( H.R. 3471) is slated to be voted on tomorrow in the House Veterans Affairs full Committee. The legislation requires that vendors who install adaptive equipment in vehicles purchased or owned by veterans with disabilities to undergo certification. This also applies to vendors who sell or repair this equipment, which includes wheelchair lifts, driving controls and other modifications. On the Road: Creating Inclusive Travel Adventures Writer Megan Cutter shares tips on creating accessible travel adventures. Which Accessible Ramp is Right For You? Inclusive Leadership Coach Barton Cutter discusses different type of accessible van ramps and lifts. Good Samaritans: What to Do When People Stop to Help Inclusive Leadership Coach Barton Cutter shares advocacy tips for people with disabilities when good samaritans stop to help 4 ways to Prepare Yourself Mentally for Driving a Wheelchair Van After your medical assessment and whatever training you go through for your new vehicle are not the only necessary ways to prepare for driving or operating a wheelchair van. Now that you have your vehicle and you are no longer depending on someone else to drive you, you may have some trouble functioning on your own. These 4 methods will help you become and remain comfortable with your new vehicle Creating Better Community and Natural Support Systems for People with Disabilities Inclusion leadership expert Barton Cutter shares tips on creating community and natural supports for people with disabilities. Disability and Relationships: Navigating the Choices for Marriage Megan Cutter discusses marriage options for people with disabilities in relationships. Car Care: Keeping Your Accessible Vehicle Clean Need to keep your accessible van clean? Megan Cutter shares tips for accessible vehicle cleaning and care. Winter Wonderland: Driving in the Snow Disability inclusion expert and leadership coach Barton Cutter shares tips for people with disabilities driving in the snow. Awareness and Advocating Through Social Media Disability accessibility expert and leadership coach Barton Cutter shares how to utilize social media for awareness and advocacy of people with disabilities. Relationships and Disability: "So is He Your Brother?" Writer and leadership coach Megan Cutter shares her perspective about disability and relationships. Top 10 Traveling Tips for the Holidays Inclusion expert and leadership coach Barton Cutter shares top tips for traveling during the holiday season. Breakdown: What to Do on the Road if Your Vehicle Breaks Down For people with disabilities, here are safety tips for what happens when your accessible vehicle breaks down on the side of the road. Magic Wheelchair Takes Flight on Kickstarter - Please Pledge & Share! A kickstarter campaign to build awesome costumes for kids in wheelchairs. Vehicle Maintenance: What Consumers Need to Know to Take Care of Their Accessible Van Inclusive leadership expert and life coach Barton Cutter shares top tips for maintenance and up keep for accessible vehicles and adaptive vehicles. Navigating the Road in a Wheelchair Inter-ability couple and national speakers Barton and Megan Cutter share their perspectives of navigating the road and independence for people with disabilities. Inquiring Minds Want to Know: How to Respond to Questions about Love and Disability Are you curious about the couple with a disability? Writer Megan Cutter shares her tips on answering questions on disability and relationships. Fashion Must-Have - Jeans for PWD's When we think of fashion icons we envision a particular person, like an actress or rock star. Although, there is a staple in nearly every American’s wardrobe (and beyond) that has enough fashion credibility to be considered among the celebrity ranks - Jeans! Adaptive Travels: How to Make Your Next Adventure Inclusive Inclusion leadership coach Barton Cutter shares travel tips for people with disabilities who are ready for their next travel adventure. Bullying- An International Issue Bullying remains an international issue, a fact made evident by a recent conversation The Mobility Resource enjoyed with anti-bullying speaker Tony Bartoli. Nike Designs A Fashion-Must Have For People With Disabilities Athletes come in all shapes, sizes, skin tones, and levels of ability…just like everyone else. In the context of this post, the word “ability” is not to be mistaken for “skill.” Nike, a leader in athletic footwear, recognizes that a star athlete with mad skills is no less an athlete just because he/she does not have the ability to tie his/her own shoes. Safety on the Road: Vehicle Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities For a person with a disability, creating a mobility emergency plan is critical for safety on the road. Megan Cutter shares tips to create an emergency preparedness plan. Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves For People with Disabilities Small business owners, innovative nonprofit organizations, and even a few better-known trend-setters are diversifying the fashion industry by focusing on niche markets that have previously been overlooked. 4 Questions Every Parent Should Ask their Child's School About Equal Access Tim Villegas tells parents of children with disabilities what questions they should ask their school about equal access. I Used My Vibrator At The Ohio Senate (Sort Of) I am a very open person and make no effort to hide who I am, yet I don’t generally discuss the details of my sexual practices. However, when duty calls, I’m not afraid to ‘roll up’ and take one for the team. The ideas being tossed around by Ohio legislators, regarding the employment of those who provide personal care services to people with disabilities, are rather frightening and inspired me to share a bit more than I usually do. Book Review: Dads of Disability Curated by Gary Dietz Mostly written by fathers with disabled children but also other family members whether wives, ex-wives, sons or daughters these essays and poems will leave a profound impact on readers. Why Others Assume People with Disabilities are Dumb Inclusive leadership coach Barton Cutter shares why people assume people with disabilities are dumb and how to facilitate understanding and listening. School's Out For Summer: Don't Forget To Make Memories With Your Kids Today is the first day of summer vacation for my kids. While I know summer will fly by far too quickly, today it feels like the whole world is waiting for our adventures. What Does The LGBT And Disability Community Have In Common? Being different has never been a good thing in human history. From witches to Jews, if you're different you're likely to get persecuted at some point. For some reason, humans just don't feel that comfortable around anything that's too different. There is of course the rare person here or there who is the exact opposite, but in general this is the case. Making Sexuality Accessible (NSFW) Fellow Blogger with a disability, Andrew Morrison-Gurza, recently asked me how I access my sexuality. The first response that popped into my mind was, “I can reach my own vagina.” Fortunately, sometimes the filter between my brain and my mouth actually works and I was able to deliver a more appropriate response. Although, it wasn’t until about a month later that I found myself in a situation that allowed me to truly understand Andrew’s question. Summer Fun for All Abilities: Walk the Dog and Take a Hike From dog walking to mountain hiking, fun summer activities are becoming more available to people regardless of their physical abilities. 3 Must-Have Wheelchairs Designed Exclusively For The Beach For those who use wheelchairs, it’s important to know there are options that allow you to enjoy the sand withe ease. Beyond the Blues: Overcoming Depression for People with Disabilities Leadership and inclusion coach Barton Cutter shares lifestyle tips to overcome depression for people with disabilities. Infographic: Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible KD Smart Chair recently released an infographic that visualizes the important factors for making your home wheelchair accessible. By following these guidelines, wheelchair users can make everyday activities at home much more simpler and more convenient. Australian Disability Conference Was Not Wheelchair Accessible You would think that any venue hosting a disability conference would make sure it was wheelchair accessible. When Helping is Hovering: 4 Golden Rules Every Caregiver Should Follow Wife and caregiver of a man living with a disability, leadership coach Megan Cutter shares how to create healthy relationships, respecting and recognizing independence. Watch: A Man Was Told His Puppy Would Be Blind and Deaf, So He Did This When Filmaker Dave Meinart rescued Pegasus, a Great Dane puppy, the breeder told him she wouldn't live too long. So he started filming her every day, or as he put it "every day they would have together." For the Love of Mom: 8 Stories to Inspire Graphics New Bill Would Make ALL NYC Taxis Wheelchair Accessible With wheelchair accessibility being such a hot topic in some of America’s largest cities, the discussion often stops after wheelchair ramps and accessible public locations are discussed. Comedians with Disabilities Act Releases Album, Entertains In Front Of Sold-Out Crowds A blind man. A woman who stutters with learning disabilities. A wheelchair user. A Little Person. While this may sound like a description of a support group, it is, in fact, the lineup for the "Comedians with Disabilities Act," a comedy tour that the San Francisco Examiner called "The most unconventional comics to pop up in 2011.” The troupe celebrates the release of their first album April 29th at the Sacramento Punchline and May 1 at the Pacific Pinball Museum in The Comedians with Disabilities Act is a foursome of working northern California comedians, who met each other through the comedy club circuit and decided to band together to treat audiences to a unique and unforgettable experience. It's Wishbone Day: 9 Facts About Osteogenesis Imperfecta Get your sunglasses ready because the Internet will be beaming with yellow sunshine on May 6th, in recognition of Wishbone Day, also known as, OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) Awareness Day. Man and His Service Dog Help Educate Others About Disability Employment Walmart greeter Spann Cordle’s manual wheelchair and service dog Finn stand two obvious reasons people remember Cordle, but start a conversation with him... Rachelle Friedman, "Paralyzed Bride," Welcomes Baby Girl Kaylee (Images) At 10:48 a.m. on Sunday, April 26, Rachelle Friedman Chapman officially become the mother of Kaylee Rae Chapman. Life Lessons my Children Learn from having a Disabled Mom: Be Brave The lyrics, “say what you wanna say” and “I wanna see you be brave, “ echoed in my mind. This past year I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with others’ comments or reactions to my amputation; particularly when done around my children. The bold lyrics resonated with me, encouraging me to embrace the courage to stand up for myself. Introducing Shock-Absorbent Wheelchair Wheels Introducing, Loopwheels, a wheelchair wheel designed to make off-road bicycling much more comfortable thanks to innovations in shock-absorption. A Poem: Come Touch His Cheek This child of mine you stare at so, Please come closer so you will know Just who my child is and what I see when those sweet eyes stare back at me I see no limits to my child’s life Although I know It will be filled with strife, I’m hoping that doors will open each day I’m praying that kindness will come his way You look frightened? You tremble with fear? Come, come closer touch him my dear Touch his cheek so soft so sweet Be one of those people he needs to meet Someone who will look and hopefully see The skill, the talent The ability Please come closer You don’t have to speak Come a little closer Just touch his cheek And when you do you will see this sweet, sweet child is no different than you or me Ohio Teenager Rallies 'Sea of Youth" to Support Police Officers Trevor Satterwaite, 13, is organizing a "Sea of Youth" rally to show support for local police officers. 5 Tips for a Smooth Ride: Disability and Public Transportation Life coach and disability leadership expert Barton Cutter shares top tips for people with disabilities using public transportation. 4 Tips to Resolve Common Mobility Scooter and Power Wheelchair Issues The problem with owning a power wheelchair or scooter is that sometimes it can be very difficult to troubleshoot simple problems that don’t require a technician, but rather an understanding of how to operate the electronic features properly. Family Perspective of First Miss America participant with Autism Spectrum Disorder About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The ‘1’ in 1 in 68 is more than just a number—it represents many families in communities across the United States living with the condition. Alexis Wineman, the first woman with ASD to participate in the Miss America competition, feels that her family, and particularly her siblings, has always been a source of strength and inspiration for her. “Prior to being diagnosed with autism, neither I nor my family had an explanation for my meltdowns and other issues. After the diagnosis, it was incredible how my siblings reacted … it was just amazing how they sprang into action after years of not knowing what was going on.” Her family shared their advice for others who have a sibling with ASD. “My advice for someone who has a sibling with autism would be to engage them and help them find their niche,” says Kimberley, Alexis’ mother. “Practice empathy. I consider myself to be empathetic and living with Alexis was a huge part of that,” says Nicholas, Alexis’ older brother. The Other Side of Yes and No: How The Concept of Consent Plays Out for People with Disabilities There are so many other aspects of consent that can impact and shape the sexual experience for PwD. There is an emotional component to the concept of consent that the Cripple must contend with. Film: Becoming Bulletproof Documents an Inclusive Cast During Production Cleveland, OH- Michael Barnett’s documentary Becoming Bulletproof enjoyed an award winning presence at the 39th annual Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) Life Lessons my Children Learn from having a Disabled Mom: Privacy is Compromised Since I began blogging here, I have shared life lessons my children are learning from having a mother with a disability. Many of these lessons will likely benefit my children and help them on their path to adulthood. Yet, there are some life lessons I wish I could shield them from such as people’s ignorance. Rethinking Disability: People with Disabilities are Sexy There is a HOT new dish on the disability advocacy scene and he is armed with an arsenal of tasty taboos! Andrew Morrison-Gurza is a highly educated, queer man with a physical disability from Ontario who is facilitating a global conversation about sex and disability. Ms. Wheelchair America 2015 Fosters Disability Awareness Every September, people nationwide gather around their television sets to watch the crowning of the new Miss America. While many different types of women have served as Miss America over the years, the nation has yet to see a titleholder who uses a wheelchair. Watch: Iraq War Veteren and Double Amputee, Wows on Dancing with the Stars Noah Galloway who is an Iraq War veteran and double amputee proved Monday on Dancing with the Stars that hard work and determination can perservere through any challenge, even dancing. Galloway, who lost both his left arm and left leg in the armed forces, with the help of professional dancer Sharna Burgess wowed judges and viewers alike Monday during their cha cha routine. Introducing Deliciously Disabled: Creating a Delectably Different Dialogue for People with Disabilities Language is an important part of our identities. It can connect us to one another, and helps us to understand the world around us. In terms of disability, language has been used to describe our prognosis. It's Time to Have a Conversation About Actors with Disabilities You don't see actors with disabilities on television or movie screens too often. That proved a re-occurring point mentioned by Becoming Bulletproof star Ajani Murray. Hail To The Shamrock: Exactly How Much Money Does The MDA Raise? The Muscular Dystrophy Association is conducting its 33rd annual Shamrock campaign in large and small stores around the United States. 9 Ways Special Needs Parents Are Different From Other Parents In most ways, parents of children who have special needs are very much the same as other parents. But there are also some specific ways that parents of children who have special needs differ. Playa del Carmen Opens Mexico’s First Accessible Beach Mexico is undoubtedly one of the most preferred and cherished holiday destinations in the world. This Caribbean paradise has everything that a tourist can wish for – amazing treasures of art and history, vibrant nightlife, breathtaking ancient Mayan ruins, exotic wildlife, picturesque jungles, cobbled streets, lively ambience and of course, spectacular golden beaches. Top 10 Tips for Personal Safety for People with Disabilities For a person with a disability, safety and security can be a top concern. Self defense expert and martial artist Barton Cutter shares top tips on staying safe in the community for people with disabilities. The Beach Crusier: Vacations On The Beach Just Got A Lot Easier The Beach Cruiser is a power wheelchair that was specifically designed for the beach. Learn more about it today. 3-D Printers Give Children A Chance To Have A Superhero Hand The proliferation of 3-D printers has had an unexpected benefit: The devices, it turns out, are perfect for creating cheap prosthetics. Surprising numbers of children need them: One in 1,000 infants is born with missing fingers, and others lose fingers and hands to injury. State-of-the-art prosthetic replacements are complicated medical devices, powered by batteries and electronic motors, and they can cost thousands of dollars. Even if children are able to manage the equipment, they grow too quickly to make the investment practical. So most do without, fighting to do with one hand what most of us do with two. E-nable, an online volunteer organization, aims to change that. Founded in 2013 by Jon Schull, the group matches children in need of prosthetic hands and fingers with volunteers able to make them on 3-D printers. Designs may be downloaded into the machines at no charge, and members who create new models share their software plans freely with others. Why Labels Can Be the Most Disabling Thing About Disability in our attempt to simplify and categorize, it's often the case that we overlook important details or miss the big picture. Man Creates "Yelp" Of Wheelchair Accessibility -- Introducing AXSmap Jason Da Silva is more aware of the many differences in the lives of able-bodied people and those with disabilities than most people. From the three or four steps that often connect a sidewalk to a doorway, to maneuvering around behind a film camera, these sorts of obstacles have been a part of his life ever since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 25. Prison Inmates Pay It Forward By Refurbishing Wheelchairs For Those In Need This past Valentine’s Day, prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana gave the gift of access to more than 200 people experiencing a different kind of immobility. Look: Introducing The BraunAbility MXV Wheelchair Accessible SUV (Images) View pictures and video of the new BraunAbility MXV and sign-up for exclusive offers and updates when it's released. Doctors Making Housecalls : A New(ish) Model Of Medicine For People With Disabilities Remember the old days when you were sick? You called your family doctor and he (yes, they were all men) would make a housecall. Of course you don’t remember this! This hasn't been the prevailing model of medicine for over 50 years. However, perhaps it should be. We just might have medicine all backwards and should be going back to that model. Look: Man Uses Only His Mouth To Paint Stunning Art (Images) Michael Monaco is an amazing artist and painter. His artwork showcases stunning colors and technique many artists strive for. He also happens to be quadriplegic. After an automobile accident when he was 16, Michael has lost the ability to use both his arms and legs. He solely paints using his mouth to hold the brush and has had many exhibitions around the world. Michael also is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painters Association, a for-profit association to help raise money for disabled artists that helps them financially. Watch: A Man Who Had Every Reason To Make Excuses--But Didn't Richie Parker is a vehicle engineer for Hendrick Motorsports-- the most-winning organization in NASCAR. This is the most elite destination for any engineer driven to NASCAR whose roster includes Dale Earnhart Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dog Wins The Right To Accompany His Best Friend With CP To Elementary School Stevie, a Staffordshire Terrier has won the right to accompany his best friend, 7-year-old Anthony Mercchante to second grade after a long battle with school adminstrators. Disabilities Shine On The Runways At New York Fashion Week The recent events at New York Fashion week were a little different than they have been in the past. This was perhaps most noticeable in the FTL Moda’s AW15 show, as it featured models in wheelchairs and a male amputee as part of its Made It Italy theme. Ohio Governor Kasich's Proposal Would Institutionalize People With Disabilities Many Ohioans with disabilities believe that Gov. John Kasich (R) is a bully whose recently proposed policy would be a blatant infringement of their civil rights, while also supporting the dated and dreaded institutional bias. He Said/She Nodded: 7 Tips For Better Communication For People With Disabilities Communication for people with a disability can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations and embarrassing situations. Disability leadership expert Megan Cutter shares how to discover clarity in communicating with people impacted by disability. Maysoon Zayid's Got 99 Problems But Palsy Is Just One: Today She Addresses Serious Disability Issues Recently The Mobility Resource caught up with actress/comedian Maysoon Zayid. Yes, the Maysoon Zayid who in 2014 left millions literally laughing out loud with her TED talk “I got 99 problems… palsy is just one.” Nonprofit Bike Giveaway Will Help Hundreds Of Kids With Special Needs Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway has helped hundreds receive adaptive bikes. Look: Artist Displays Her Feelings About MS Through Photography (images) Photographer Hannah Laycock is supporting an initiative by ShiftMS, a Multiple Sclerosis charity. Laycock's photographs depict how she personally feels about her diagnosis of Mulitple Sclerosis and the feelings of uncertainty, fear, loss and liberation. 18 Signs You're The Caregiver Of A Quadriplegic When you know quad doesn't mean the square in the middle of the campus. When every third person you meet in public says to you in a voice of hushed reverence, with a gentle pat on your arm and an ever so small tear glinting in their eye, that "you are so special to be with him." Paralysis Can't Stop Michael Johnson's Indy 500 Dream Winning the Indianapolis 500 is a bigger dream for Michael Johnson than walking again. “Walking would be cool,” said the 22-year-old auto racer from Flint, Mich. ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival 2015 Line-Up Presented by JCC Manhattan, the 2015 festival will launch in New York City at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and will take place in over 35 venues across New York from March 12-18, featuring U.S. and New York premieres of acclaimed movies from international film festivals. Awesome: Nonprofit Fulfills Fashion Wishes For People With Atypical Bodies The Born This Way singer and fashion icon, Lady Gaga, once said, “Fashion is that thing that saved me from being sad.” She was fortunate to have that creative refuge to turn to. The world of fashion isn’t so accessible and welcoming to everyone. Awkward Dating Stories From Disabled Daters: Just In Time For Valentine's Day This article originally was found at BBC News. In coalition to a charity that fights awkwardness in dating called Kiss Awkward Goodbye BBC News asked people with disabilities to share their personal stories of awkward dating. 12 Must-Read Articles About Love, Sex and Disability We've rounded up our most popular articles from the past year related to all things sex, love and disability. Happy Valentines Day! 8 Things I Wish I Could've Told Myself Before I Became A Parent Of A Child With Disabilities Parents arrive in Holland (or the world of disability parenting) in a variety of ways. For some it is a gradual realization, for others it's abrupt. Regardless of how one arrives, there is always stress, anxiety, what if’s and what now’s. Arriving in Holland was such a shock for me, I felt like the world was crashing in on me. If I could go back and sit with myself as I held my sleeping baby and learned that our world was never going to be the same again, I would want to tell myself that: Infographic: Surprising Facts, Figures and Numbers About The Wheelchair KD Smart Chair recently released an infographic that visualizes the facts, numbers and figures about the wheelchair industry. The infographic provides current information and future statistics about historical facts, top wheelchair accessible countries, best cities to live in or visit for wheelchair users, current wheelchair industry market outlook and much more. Watch: The Story of BraunAbility And The Man Who Made The World Accessible (animation) Our partner BraunAbility has helped thousands of individuals throughout the world regain driving freedom with wheelchair accessible vehicles. And it all started by one man who was told by doctors he wouldn't live through his teens. A Letter To My Unborn Daughter: We Need You To Pull Us Out Of Our SCI Funk (No Pressure) Hi there. I need to meet you. I need to meet you so you can tell me your father and I are doing the right thing. We need to look at your face so we'll know. We need to hold you. Because right now, I'm scared and he's tired. He's tired of his injury. He's tired of not feeling good. He's tired of the not being rewarded for doing everything right. He's tired of the "always something." He's tired of being bored. He's just tired. Right now, my dear, he's just tired. It's hard to watch. When I have the energy and the mental motivation available to provide him, I can help. If only a little. I can start the gas logs. I can put a blanket around his neck that's stiff from the cold air. I can make him something warm to drink. I can commiserate with him, even though I'm as warm as I was in mid-June. But sometimes being eight months pregnant makes helping him difficult. 10 Myths About Universal Design As I speak around the country about universal design housing, members of my audience composed of interior designers, architects, builders and consumers ask many questions. It has occurred to me over the past several years that there are many misconceptions about universal design. Let me share a few of the top myths and explain reality from my perspective. The Great Bike Giveaway: Friendship Circle Plans To Giveaway 300 Bikes To Special Needs Kids Do you remember the freedom you felt, the confidence you gained, the pride you had when you received your first bike? The Great Bike Giveaway will help give children with special needs the same feeling you had when that shiny new bike arrived at your home. Watch: 'Raw Beauty Project' Changes Perceptions By Photographing Disabled Women Now disabled, former model Wendy Crawford was upset after realizing the underwhelming presense of disabled women in modeling. She went on to found mobileWomen an advocacy group for disabled women. This year Wendy cocreated "Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty", a Miami exhibit which showcases photos of over 20 beautiful disabled women. The exhibit is aimed towards creating new perceptions and raising awareness for women with physical limitations. Watch: The Most Accessible (Dream) Home In The United States Since her spinal cord injury several years, Rosemarie is a motivational speaker and advocate for universal design. The BraunAbility customers Mark and Roasmarie Rossetti have built was has been called "the most accessible home in the world." Nine Year Old's Journey To Recovery One year ago, Ride-Away partnered with BraunAbility to give 9 year old Jaiden Rogers a wheelchair van on ‘The Doctors’ television show so he could travel to see family, go on adventures, and make doctor visits. The Ride-Away team was so pleased to make a small improvement in Jaiden’s life. Jaiden suffers from stiff skin syndrome, and has also recently been diagnosed with brittle bones. Jaiden’s condition has unfortunately only worsened since he appeared on ‘The Doctors’. Look: The Alternative Limb Project Creates Beautiful and Realistic Prosthetics (Images) The Alternative Limb Project has created beautifully seemless prosthetic limbs as well as artistic limbs meant to accent the user's imagination, personality and interests. When Ignorance Strikes: How To Craft The Perfect Comeback As someone who’s had arthritis since the age of 2, I’ve experienced many awkward moments with strangers who simply must draw attention to my disability. Whether they meant well or not, comments like, “Do you have a license for that wheelchair?” or “Let’s race!” usually don’t sit well with me. An Open Letter To Handicap Parking Violators: Just Stop. Handicap parking violators (Also known as "the bane of my existence"), are freaking everywhere. Before I was hurt, I literally had no idea that it was even an issue. I mean, it seriously never occurred to me that it would be ok to park there. I remember the moment I realized that not everyone had the same mindset as me. The Amazing Adaptable Human Being (Yes, We're Talking About You) I find it pretty remarkable how adaptable human beings can be. When I learned I was going to have a son, I had a vision of how our lives would look throughout his childhood. I didn’t have an inclining about health issues and mobility challenges, the really tough stuff wasn’t even on my radar. 9 Tips to Make a Relationship Work After a Disabling Injury It's where no couple wants to find themselves - in the hospital with one counterpart of the relationship suffering from a permanent disabling injury. This kind of thing can happen to any couple too. You just never know when you're luck will run out. Independence: My Mothers Greatest Gift To Me Mothers of children with disabilities are often unsung heroes and my mother is no different. 5 Minutes Inside The Head Of A Mom Raising A Child With Special Needs I thought it was a great example of the chaos that can go on inside our craniums sometimes as we're doing this mothering thing. However, I think that the chaos is a little bit different for mothers of kids who have special needs, we’ve got typical household chaos, kid chaos and then this other layer of medical/caretaker chaos all rolled together. So let me invite you in to 5 minutes in the head of a mother of a child with special needs. nTIDE Jobs Report: Despite Economic Milestones, Employment Gap Remains for People with Disabilities With the overall unemployment rate dropping below 6 percent for the first time since the Great Recession, the participation of people with disabilities continues to slip, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued byKessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Disability job training and employment initiatives support efforts to find work. Should We Ask for Help? You know how people open the refrigerator, bask in its light, cool air wafting over them, and stare? Come on, keep it real, guys. I especially do this at night. As if a certain amount of staring is going to will more food to sprout amongst the shelves. Accessible Taxis: A Civil Right or a Nice Perk? The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over 20 years ago, and it made sweeping changes across the country. Accessibility and equality was suddenly everywhere. Entrances to public facilities, bathrooms, schools, how we are treated in the workplace, so many things changed, but taxis and how many should be made accessible in a city remains murky. Accessibility At High Seas: 6 Of The Most Luxurious (and Accessible) Accommodations The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over 20 years ago, and it made sweeping changes across the country. Accessibility and equality was suddenly everywhere. Entrances to public facilities, bathrooms, schools, how we are treated in the workplace, so many things changed, but taxis and how many should be made accessible in a city remains murky. Kids have Strokes Too: Signs Of Pediatric Stroke Every Parent Should Know It’s pediatric stroke awareness month again, as it is every May and raising awareness about pediatric stroke is the mission of the month. So let me start by saying, babies (many before they are even born), children and teenagers can and do have strokes. While May is pediatric stroke awareness month for most people, as the mother of a pediatric stroke survivor, everyday is pediatric stroke awareness day in our lives. What is a stroke? A stroke is either an ischemic (blood flow is obstructed to a region of the brain) or a hemorrhagic (blood vessels rupture causing bleeding in the brain) event that injures the brain. The statistics may surprise you, in fact, stroke occurs in as many as 1 in 1600 births, either in utero, during delivery, or in the first month of life. The best statistics available on strokes in older children and teenagers suggest that 11 in 100,000 children will have a stroke. Pediatric stroke is the largest cause of hemiplegic cerebral palsy in children. Most families of pediatric stroke survivors do not know why their child had a stroke What Full Inclusion Really Means I know that I do not have a corner on the truth. While belief systems and worldviews tend to get mired in rhetoric, the big picture of inclusion (specifically inclusive education) is far more forgiving. My aim in this piece is to clarify a big misconception about what full inclusion really means. Being Different Isn’t A Big Deal: Life Lessons My Children Are Learning From Having A Disabled Mom After jumping into parenthood the big question people wondered besides how I would possibly manage to take care of an infant with my feet, was how my husband and I were going to tell our daughter and later our son that their mother didn't have arms while most mothers did. People wondered if our children would have a problem with it. High School Raises $25,000 For Paralyzed Classmate To Purchase Wheelchair Van If you ever need proof of how a grassroots effort can start something much bigger, you won’t need to look any further than the story of what the Colony High School in Texas did for Brian Bravo. From a small effort by a high school basketball team to a huge gesture by a large company, the Bravo’s story is a great example of small communities working with larger entities to help those in need. CinemAbility screened at the ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival Those with disabilities have always been underrepresented in the arts, until developments began to change and more persons with disabilities took up independent film making, and went behind and in front of the camera as actors, technicians, filmmakers, screenwriters or cinematographers. Free Falling: Lessons From The Air On Wheelchair Travel Back to my ranting about wheelchair travel (wheelchair is an adjective now. There’s wheelchair bingo, wheelchair vehicles, wheelchair pasta (all in the shape of little wheels and joysticks, which could get awkward, etc.). 10 Easy Ways To Make Your Wheelchair More Comfortable The human body wasn't meant to sit in a wheelchair all day, which must explain why it took so long for the wheelchair to finally get comfortable. Thank God for the 20th century and the invention of rubber, plastic, poly-stretch, electricity and everything else; rocketing the wheelchair into the echelon of comfort. The 12 Super Human Powers Of Every Special Needs Parent I’m the parent of a child who has special needs--what’s your super power? My Messy Beautiful: Wedding Bliss, Then Paralysis We all have stories. Some are good. And some are like really friggin’ good. Upon hearing them: BAM! Instant hero. How’d she live to tell? Ford Tough. Or something. It’s not rare to hear a story that has me feeling grateful for our thing that happened. 5 Awesome Alternative Ways To Answer "Why You're In A Wheelchair" On a daily basis, I am asked why I am in a wheelchair. The boredom of rehashing the truth day in and day out led to me dipping into the fictional side of my brain and, needless to say, I got creative - too creative - with my answers. I use these answers solely for the randomer on the street who asks and not the people who are regular guest stars in my life. The strangers don't need the background so if ever you find yourself in a tricky situation, these alternative answers are for you. Top 10 Toys For Children With Disabilities Children with disabilities can enjoy most of the same toys their friends play with everyday. Some of these toys have special switches that make them easy for any child to activate. New Robotic Device For Paraplegics Enables Easier Movement While Standing A new robotic device designed to help those with paraplegia stand and function as if they were walking is expected to hit the market as early as next month. Sensimat Systems Announces Indiegogo Campaign To Launch Mobile Pressure Monitoring System For Wheelchair Users Pressure sores are a major challenge for wheelchair users and can lead to risks of infection, being bedridden, hospitalization and mortality. In the U.S. and Canada alone, there are over 3 million wheelchair users, of which over 300,000 have a spinal cord injury that impairs sensation under the torso and increases susceptibility to pressure sore injuries. A new device called the SENSIMAT for Wheelchairs is a smart cushion that can help prevent pressure sores for wheelchair users, and is crowdfunding the project via Indiegogo. Transforming Limitations Into Assets: 4 Tips For Workplace Leadership Have you ever noticed how, upon finishing school and taking our first job, we try with all of our might to prove ourselves, not by the virtues of who we are, but instead from the skills and talents accredited us by our former places of learning. 6 Cliché Phrases You'll Never Hear From the "Paralyzed Bride" Inspiration is something many of us are looking for. Something to give us that kick in the rear we need to meet our goals, gain happiness 0r to find meaning in events that we just can't explain. I didn't ask for the role as a motivator, but it's something I've learned to embrace because I enjoy seeing someone comforted with my words. 6 Rules Every Doctor Should Follow When Presenting A New Diagnosis As a psychologist, I have been in the difficult position of presenting diagnoses to parents on many occasions. It is often a difficult undertaking, however, as a mother who has sat on the other side of the table more than my fair share of times, I feel I have some unique qualifications for the job. I don't necessarily think that there is a right or a wrong way to present a diagnosis to a family, but I do have some thoughts that may make the process somewhat easier for families who have to hear difficult news. Google Glass Revolutionizes Practice Of Law For Double Amputee Fennemore Craig, a leading Mountain West regional law firm, is changing the way lawyers interact with clients by lending them Google Glass. With the use of Google Glass, firsthand, live-action experiences are shared in real time between clients and Fennemore Craig attorneys, creating new mechanisms to convey evidence to juries, judges and mediators. 12 Funny And Awkward Comments People Have Said To Me Because I Don't Have Arms In commemoration of April Fool’s Day, I thought I would share my bucket list of the top 12 funniest/most awkward/strangest things people have said to me over the years. I am sure many of you have encountered similar situations and I encourage you to share your best here. I am sharing this list not because I am upset over any of it, but because it makes me laugh and these moments remind me not to take myself so seriously. 6 Reasons Why I Never Considered Marrying Someone Disabled As a pre-teen, I watched a deaf couple my parents knew end their marriage of 20-plus years. They had three children and it was devastating to see their family being ripped apart. I am sure there were many reasons why the marriage failed, but it became apparent that because of their disability they had in many ways isolated themselves from others. I couldn't help but wonder if this was a major cause in their failed relationship and it became something I thought about when I imagined a future spouse. What To Do When Children With Disabilities Are Bullied For the past two years, Cyndi, a disability rights advocate from New Jersey, has been struggling to protect her 8-year-old son from a bully. The situation has been tough to resolve because both boys are classmates and both have autism, a disorder that significantly affects socialization. 10 Things People Don't Understand About People With Disabilities If you don't know someone with a disability, chances are you have a few misconceptions about us. The thing is no one can expect you to read our minds, but if you're out there right now and are interested in expanding your world view, check out a few things people tend to get wrong about us (or rather don't fully understand). By the end of his post, consider yourself enlightened. Are There Unique Challenges Faced By Children With Less Visible Disabilities? I have been trying to write this article for a really long time. I've honestly lost count of the number of times that I've started it, just to scrap it and start again a few weeks later. So let me try again and this time let me start by saying that it's not my intention to suggest that we have it better or worse than anyone else with any other type or severity of disability. I do however believe there are unique challenges faced by children with less visible disabilities. This article will focus on those challenges. Help Choose A Local Hero To Win A New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle To celebrate National Mobility Awareness Month in May, The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is asking people to share stories about those that are living with disabilities that exemplify the characteristics of a hero. NMEDA, a non-profit trade organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities and assisting with driving independence, launched the contest. Four winners will win a new wheelchair accessible vehicle. Doin’ Disney With A Disability (And Why I'll Never Go Again) It was finally time to do Disney. My brother was getting remarried in Florida, I’ve somehow crept into my early 40s, and I don’t travel much and like traveling even less. If I was getting close to Disney World, I was going. NYC: The Disabilities Film Festival Is Stepping Into The Mainstream And Holding Its Own The sixth annual Reelabilities NY Disabilities Film Festival is gaining momentum and building a solid fan base. WATCH: This Comedian With Cerebral Palsy Will Make You Think Twice About The Word 'Disability' video 10 Absolute Truths Of Life In A Wheelchair There are certain inarguable truths in life. Everyday the sun rises, everyday the sun sets, dogs will run into the road and In the life of a wheelchair-user, there are a handful of inexplicable truths we experience too. How To Positively View Our Perception Of Disability One of the questions I hear the most from people is "Are you sure you should be doing that?" This is a question that is understandably the most frustrating question to deal with when you are disabled or have limited mobility. Three Tips To Engage Low Verbal And Nonverbal Students Including a low verbal or nonverbal student in the classroom brings about unique challenges, but with the right strategies in place everyone in the classroom can overcome said challenges. In a recent interview with The Mobility Resource, Princeton City Schools intervention specialist Melanie Broxterman offered three helpful strategies she learned from her experiences the past 15 years. Broxterman’s current case load serves kindergartners and first graders. Photos Of The Week: Seniors Take A Wild Ride On Zip Lines (Awesome) Walt Fricke, 80, braves a zip line ride at Zip City in Streetsboro, Ohio on Friday. Fricke was with a group from Mulberry Gardens, an assisted living complex. Zip lining with Fricke were Bob Lessig, 88, Martin Burke, 78, Mary Ann Repeta, 86, Charlie Johnson, 79, Mulberry Gardens Activity Director Tara Berardinelli and Mulberry Gardens Assistant Administrator Tess Mulbert. 8 Misconceptions And Tips About Love For People With Disabilities Growing up I always dreamed of the fairy tale wedding with my knight in shining armour. I dreamed we would get married, have children and live out our days in wedded bliss. Although marriage and family are never a certainty for anyone; having a physical disability can make achieving this goal more difficult. Even Snow Removal Can Impede Mobility For People With DIsabilities Today, I took a walk to my local CVS, four blocks away from my house. The weather was warm and I was looking forward to finally getting out of the house. 10 Amazing Products For Parents With Disabilities The joy of parenting goes deep, but when you have a disability you have a lot more to think about so you can be the best parent possible. 17 Correct Ways To Interact With A Parent Of A Child Who Has Special Needs I recently wrote an article about 15 things you should never say to a special needs parent. While writing it, I had a hard time focusing on things not to say, and kept wanting to suggest alternative options, which is how this article came about. Inspiring Speech By Drag Queen Has A Powerful Message For Anyone Who Thinks They Understand Oppression And Discrimination This is a story about Panti Bliss - a drag queen. When she is dressed as Panti, she is a she. When Panti is without a dress or make up, she is then a he. "Have you ever been standing at a pedestrian crossing when a car drives by and in it are a bunch of lads, and they lean out the window and they shout "Fag!" and throw a milk carton at you? Employment For People With Disabilities Declines For Fourth Straight Month February employment numbers continued to decline for people with disabilities when compared to February 2013, in contrast to a more positive outlook for people without disabilities, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Despite the statistics, positive strategies that help people with disabilities find jobs and careers are promising. A Wake Up Call For the Abled/Disabled. Which is which? Many individuals with disabilities enjoy active productive lives and in many instances are more vital, determined and ambitious than their abled counterparts. There is no one more "crippled" than a soul that has been damaged for life and will never recover, regardless of the individual's "perfect physical mobility," amount of money, friends, and apparent privileges he or she may enjoy. Adaptive Jean Designer Receives Major Grant To Boost Production After visiting the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, fashion designer Stephanie Alves quickly learned there was a strong desire for adaptive jeans within the disability community. Life In The Fishbowl: A Hidden Aspect Of Disability My husband is a 25-year experienced high-level quadriplegic. In his case, he can shrug his shoulders, turn his head and tell a joke funny enough to make you fall down – but physically, that’s all he’s got. Watch: Paralympic Ad By Samsung Focuses On The Win Video Life Lessons My Kids Are Learning From Having A Disabled Mom: People Can Be Ignorant Most of us have had an unkind word thrown at us or have been the recipient of an ignorant comment. I have had people tell me how disgusting it was when I picked something up with my foot at the grocery store and once, a man insist my mother had taken drugs while she was pregnant with me – a far cry from the truth. 6 Things Caregivers Of People With Disabilities Should Never Forget Without my caregivers, my day-to-day world would not exist. They're my guardian angels. They swoop in day and night to help. And boy do they work hard. From lifting my 118 pound dead-weight bum up into my bed after a shower (slippery skin and all) to moving heavy furniture around and cleaning up cat puke for the thousandth time, this job is not easy. Top 10 #CPChatNow FAQs About Cerebral Palsy Looking to create an informative resource for cerebral palsy (CP), I joined forces with author/Fortune 500 motivational speaker John W. Quinn and Handicap This Productions multi-faceted (author/speaker/performer) Tim Wambach, to host a live Twitter chat using the hashtag #CPChatNow. The chat turned into a weekly event and over the past two plus months some of the same questions keep resurfacing. Today I bring you 10 frequently asked questions from #CPChatNow. Mysterious Illness Resembling Polio Is Leaving California Children Paralyzed Any instance where a child becomes severely ill is certainly alarming. But when the cause of the illness is unknown and strikes seemingly at random, the case becomes much more tragic. 10 Tips To Age Gracefully With A Disability The idea of growing older as a person with Spina Bifida causes me some anxiety. I think this is because there aren’t many elderly people with the most severe forms of Spina Bifida when compared against the much higher number of people with the disability who were born in the 70s and 80s. What Exactly Is Cerebral Palsy? (Infographic) What is Cerebral Palsy? For People With Paralysis, Medical Marijuana Can Change Lives It starts as soon as I wake up each morning. The feeling that I'm being stabbed, stung by 1,000 bees and burnt alive. I Won't Pretend That Disability Simulation Works Activities meant to simulate the experience of disability are so often lauded as moving, powerful, eye-opening experiences. With just a few hours in a wheelchair, wearing earplugs, or wearing a blindfold, people supposedly gain a deeper understanding of what life with a disability truly entails. I, for one, don’t buy it. 5 Things I Would Say To My Younger Self About Having A Disability I’m not a fan of top 10 lists unless David Letterman is rattling off a good one sometime around midnight. First of all, they usually come off as rather arrogant. Does anyone really know the 10 correct ways to interact with people with disabilities? Do we actually think there are 10 things every special needs mom can do to feel happier? With Embryonic Selection, People With Disabilities (And Red Heads) Will Become Extinct Some time I go (and I mean years), I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car with my mom. This memory is more distinct than others because it was such a rare occasion to be seated in the passenger seat rather than my wheelchair, and my senses were extra keen in capturing the moments, sights and feels. Kessler Foundation Study: Less People With Disabilities Are Working Or Looking For Work, Compared To Previous Year Fewer people with disabilities were working in December 2013 than the same month in 2012 – essentially mirroring November 2012's employment figures for people with disabilities and in contrast to the relatively positive employment figures for people without disabilities, according to today's Trends in Disability Employment – National Monthly Update (TIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). For People With Disabilities, There Is An Upside To Being Excluded When I was a teenager, I remember watching longingly as my older brother and his friend played basketball. Being armless excluded me from such sports and I was left feeling jealous and angry. Deep down I knew my feelings were fruitless, after all my arms weren’t exactly going to start growing. I decided then that I wouldn’t allow myself to feel that way again. I promised myself to be happy with what I could do and not resent those that could do more. Energy Drainers for Kids with Special Needs As an enthusiastic fan of the spoon theory, I often refer people to this idea when trying to explain my son’s challenges as a person with a disability. For those of you who are not familiar with the spoon theory, you should definitely check it out. I think it is an excellent descriptor of what it's like for an adult to live with a health challenge or disability. While I am very respectful of the spoon theory in describing the adult experience, I feel that it doesn't do justice to a child's experience of living with a disability, a mental health challenge, and/or a physical health issue. The spoon theory refers often to the choices that adults who are living with an illness are forced to make with the limited physical and mental energy that they have available. However, I feel that for children many of those choices are made for them by adults or are made impulsively by the child without considering the long-term effects of those decisions. First Wearable Bionic Leg Is Revolutionizing Rehabilitation Although many probably never expected the Six Million Dollar Man to one day transcend the small screen, Dr. Robert Horst recently proved that fiction can become reality with the invention of the first wearable Bionic Leg. Coconut Oil: I Love You There are countless articles available regarding the uses and benefits of virgin coconut oil. While many are written very well, they often provide an overwhelming amount of scientific information without answering the more basic questions that the average reader wants to know, like “Do foods cooked in coconut oil taste like coconut?” Adaptive Skiing Review: Not Scary At All, Even After My Concussion Over Christmas break, I went skiing. For any of you who have never done this, I'm writing this post for you. Because you need to. CrossFit Community Raises An Amazing $354k For Paralyzed Competitor Kevin Ogar Last month, Kevin Ogar of Englewod, Colo. was like any other serious CrossFit competitor -- insanely strong, a huge fan of the CrossFit community and ready to win money at the CrossFit games. 7 Tips To Keep The Love Alive In A Relationship With Disability Megan and I met the day after Valentine’s Day in 2003. At that time, neither of us ever expected our relationship would blossom into the magnificent partnership it has become these past 11 years. Comprehending Disability Employment Trends Through different initiatives, Kessler Foundation, a public charity, aims to better spotlight disability employment issues. One such initiative involves putting together the monthly National Trends in Disability Employment (NTIDE) report, a task Kessler Foundation does in partnership with the Institute of Disability at University of New Hampshire. For People With Disabilities, 2014 Is The Year To Think Big As 2014 dawned many people took at least a few minutes to resolve to somehow do better in their lives. Whether it’s the ever popular goal of losing weight, going back to school, or spending more time on a favorite hobby, turning the calendar to 2014 offered the chance to start anew once again. The Disability Community: An Untapped Workforce In his blog post titled Abilities Count—Not Disabilities, Dr. Herb Greenberg refers to the disability community as “a source of talent rarely thought of” by employers. 7 Of The Most Beautiful Wheelchair Accessible Resorts In The World Everyone dreams of going on the ultimate vacation, a vacation of a lifetime and wheelchair-users want this as much as anyone. We too dream of white sandy beaches and beautiful crystal blue pools beckoning us, but we also need to make sure where we go is accessible. Life Lessons From A Disabled Mom: Showing Compassion Makes Us Happy My kids pushed each other out of the way as they both insisted, “No, it is my turn!” This may sound familiar– siblings fighting over who gets to do something special first. What will surprise you is what my children were fighting over--helping me with my seat belt. "The Wolf of Wall Street" Throws The Disability Community To The Wolves As I sat in the theater watching “The Wolf of Wall Street” I wasn’t exactly thrilled that a movie with so many disability jokes was receiving Oscar buzz (though I’ll admit I joined the masses in celebrating Leonardo DiCaprio’s chance at an Academy Award). Offensive language, behaviors and references towards disability are nothing new. 4 Awesome Disability-Related Charities To Donate To This Year Here are four disability related charities that you should donate to now. How to Be A Friend To A Friend Who’s Terminally Sick After her father was diagnosed with cancer and began receiving treatment, Cailin M. remembers how many of his friends began treating him differently and the affect it had on him. Although they may have meant well, some were overly sympathetic while others made comments that caused him to withdraw. 8-Year-Old Jaiden Rogers Battles Mysterious Skin-to-Stone Illness With Grace, Gets National Spotlight (Video) They say you never know what's coming next in life, and that certainly was the case when Natalie and Tim Rogers from Alamosa, Colorado adopted Jaiden Rogers when he was 2-years-old. Born with fetal alcohol syndrome and neglected as a child, he was rescued by the Rogers family; a family that had already adapted two children 20 years ago who were now adults. When the Caregiver Spouse Is Sick – What Then? People with disabilities often rely on their spouses for care, either formally or informally for some or all of their care. In our case, we pay a caregiver to care for my husband during the day on weekdays so that I can work full time, but I am “on duty” for all the rest of the time, meaning all nights and weekends. 4 Facts Everyone Should Know About Cerebral Palsy “Cerebral palsy,” the term conjures up different emotions for different people. Parents receiving the CP diagnosis for their child will most certainly feel concern, perhaps even fear. Classmates, co-workers, neighbors, and passersby may let uncertainty and hesitation take over. Those with cerebral palsy themselves encounter not only physical challenges but can also face self-doubt, loneliness and others’ pre-conceived notions. 5 Awesome (And Hilarious) Hidden Uses For Your Wheelchair Adapt is a word we're all pretty familiar with. But I wanna talk about real adaptation. Not like, adaptive bird watching where they have little stems for your binoculars or adaptive candle making. Real adaptation. Setting The Record Straight: 8 Misconceptions About Life With Paralysis Just three short years ago I was ignorant to the realities of paralysis. I didn't know what it meant to have a spinal cord injury or what that world was like. 15 Things To Never Say To A Special Needs Parent As a special needs parent, it seems that people have a desire to comment to me, about my children, my parenting, my spiritual beliefs, my life choices and my future plans. Friends, acquaintances, family members and complete strangers are remarkably comfortable questioning and commenting on various aspects of our lives. I'm Not Here To Inspire You The word inspire has probably become a bit bastardized for me. It’s certainly not a bad thing to be inspired, find something inspirational, or even to inspire someone else by personal deeds. New Assistive Technology: Ergo Joystick Assistive technology, adaptive equipment, rehabilitative devices, it’s all the same thing and there is more of it today than there ever has been. For the majority, this is a wonderful thing. However, a lot of this technology doesn’t quite live up to the consumers expectations, needs and desires. A Call To Action For All: Shovel The Snow And Save A Life As many parts of the country are being blanketed with snow, the importance of keeping sidewalks and curb cuts clear becomes paramount. The Only 5 Tips You'll Ever Need As A Parent As the mother of five children with varying disabilities, Linda Petersen has had to overcome more challenges than most parents could ever imagine. 10 Things The World Can Learn From People With Disabilities No matter the type of person, there are lessons to be learned from them. People with disabilities are especially influential, as our hardships in life aren't easily forgotten. We go through every day with determination and strength, which many people are bowled over by, with many secretly wondering if they could do the same thing. Once Labeled The Worlds Ugliest Woman: Lizzie Velasquez Wants To Know How You Define Yourself When she was a sophomore in high school, Lizzie Velasquez found a video on youtube titled "The Worlds Ugliest Woman." Disabesity: Should Morbidly Obese People Be Considered Disabled? When you see an overweight person riding a scooter through the mall or using a handicap parking spot, you can’t help put ask yourself a question. 10 Hilarious (And Easy) Resolutions Every Wheelchair-User Should Try Yayyy! It's January again. The month we all become hermits inside our houses cloaked in ice only to emerge in the spring with bushy, wiry beards and squint into this outlandish object called the sun. What Bombing As A Comedian Has To Do With Growing Up With A Learning Disability The other night I bombed on the standup comedy stage fairly hard. I am usually able to connect with an audience and get a positive response. This was not the case the other night. After getting off stage, instead of feeling defeated as I had in other numerous times I have bombed throughout the past four years I have been doing stand up, I felt pleased. I thought that I stuck to my material, delivered pretty well, and the audience just didn’t feel me. Accessibility Review: Cruisin' The High Seas On Wheels We recently cruised on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship out of Ft. Lauderdale and had an absolutely fantastic time. Before we left, we were a little worried about accessibility – but as it turned out, we had nothing to worry about. 7 Positions CERTs With Disabilities Can Serve When Disaster Strikes Many people, including those of us with disabilities, wonder what role disabled CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members can play during an actual disaster or incident. The answer is: anything that person feels comfortable with, as long as it isn't beyond the scope of his or her CERT training. Here are seven examples of assignments that CERTs with disabilities can and have done during actual incidents: 8 Of The Worst New Year's Resolutions For Wheelchair-Users Love them or hate them, it's that time of year again to ponder the idea of creating a New Year's resolution. Be careful what kind of resolution you put forth for yourself in the next 12 months though, especially if you have a disability. We have a tendency to fall prey to some silly ideas, often times stemming from a lack of self-confidence. New Years Resolution Motivation From A Quadriplegic: Get Off Your Butt And Get Healthy Pretty much every year since I was a teenager, my New Years resolution has been to hit the gym and get into shape. Unfortunately the determination and drive would only last for a few months and I wish so badly that I could go back and tell my old self to suck it up and just do it. Looking back it was easy. Accessible Housing: A Social Problem On The Rise Accessible housing is becoming a larger issue with each passing year. As larger demographics of people in North America continue to age, their mobility needs also change. This is making it more important for public and private buildings everywhere to be fully accessible so that people can fully participate at home at work and at play. The United States has the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to help set a standard and to try and effectively enforce it for the benefit of all people with disabilities. An Attitude Of Gratitude: It OK To Accept Help Having a physical disability often makes me stand out in a crowd. People notice when my foot goes up to pay for a purchase or when I am struggling to carry something and naturally people want to help. But I love being able to do many things on my own because it makes me feel like a regular person. Like the first time I drove by myself or the day I moved out on my own. When I really want to get something done I will find a way, but having a disability often requires extra time and creative thinking. While in elementary, I would spend the entire recess figuring out how I would scale a stair-less platform just to go down the playground’s slide once. When I became a mother, I had to figure out how to hold, burp and carry my baby. I Feel Pretty (Or Not): 5 Ways My Disability Clashes With My Femininity I'm a girl. And like a lot of girls in their 20s, I like to feel pretty. You wouldn't really know it by looking at me, though - my standard uniform is a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, maybe a pullover or zip up sweatshirt in the winter. In the summer, you can always find a pair of Crocs on my feet; in the winter, a pair of UGG or EMU boots. You’re Marrying Who? A Quadriplegic. A Person. Not A Wheelchair. When I met Chad, a C4/5 quadriplegic, I was smitten immediately. We met online and within a week of meeting, we were inseparable. A year and a half after meeting, we got married and it’s now been 10 years since we first met. However, telling people we were going to get married was a mixed bag of reactions on my side of the equation. 10 Things to Never Say to a Person in a Wheelchair Spend a week or a decade in a wheelchair, chances are you'll be asked some pretty crazy things. And I get why--people are uncomfortable around things that are different, especially wheelchairs. (Even more so if they don't know anyone who uses a wheelchair on a personal level). 7 Examples Of Discrimination Most People With Disabilities Experience Every Day Discrimination in a fact of life for many groups of people, but to be honest, I never really gave much thought to discrimination growing up. It wasn't until I became disabled when I was 14-years-old when I finally understood what discrimination meant. It meant not only being misunderstood, but being rudely mistreated. No one truly understands what discrimination is until they're on the receiving end of things. Life Lessons From A Mom With A Disability: How To Raise Independent Kids A couple years ago, when my kids and I were grocery shopping, my 7-year-old daughter began loading the groceries on the conveyer belt. A well-intentioned lady smiled admiringly at Elizabeth and said how sweet she was. A very kind comment, but what she said next bothered me, “My 13-year-old would never do that!” It made me think, “why not?” Sandy Hook School Shooting: One Year Later This has been a beautiful Christmastime for children. I know, because I count myself among them. I refuse to relinquish the embrace of childhood magic during the holidays. I construct gingerbread houses, I visit Santa, I revel in Disney movies and milk and cookies. I celebrate Christmas – the Lord says to be like children. We always are. 4 Places Able-Bodied People Should Never Be Going out in public is often riddled with obstacles for people with physical disabilities. While this is largely due to inaccessible structures like stairs and narrow doors, so many unnecessary barriers are created by able-bodied people who place themselves where they shouldn’t be. That’s not to say I believe I should have access to special privileges because of my disability. Rather, reserved access locations are intended to give people with disabilities equal opportunities to experience the world around them. Here are four accessible places where able-bodied people should never be: Raising A Child Around Disability: The Benefits And Disadvantages When I met first Chad, my now-husband, my son was 3-years-old. And I’ll never forget when I first introduced them. My son was exceptionally curious about Chad’s chair. At first look, he was immediately fascinated by the enormity of the chair and the gadgets surrounding his head that controlled the chair – as a C4/5 quadriplegic with no arm or hand function, he controls the chair with chin and head switch mechanisms. Morph™ Wheels Wins 2013 Popular Science Best Of What’s New Award in Health First-Ever Foldable Wheelchair Wheel [Video] Maddak, Inc. today announced Morph™ Wheels, the first-ever foldable wheelchair wheels, received the 2013 Popular Science Best of What's New award in the Health category. The awards were announced in the December issue of the magazine on newsstands November 12th. Will Driverless Cars Carry People With Disabilities Into The Future? Robots taking over the world is a classic science-fiction storytelling device, but if machines can help with the driving process, it could help people with disabilities. Look: 10 Ways Pets With Disabilities Get Around Remember all pets this holiday season. Call them what you will, whether it's handicapped, handi-capable, special-abled, or mobility limited, our pets are as resilient and determined as we are to overcome life's obstacles, and will even thrive in adversity. Advances in medical care for humans have been passed along to our pets, and sometimes from them to us as enterprising pet owners take matters into their own hands and invent devices for their pets when none are available. Here are ten ways we are helping our companions to continue to enjoy life after they have been faced with a setback. 10 Epic Examples Of Big Brands Practicing Inclusion In Advertising It's not every day you see someone with a disability in the center of an ad campaign. bBut every once in awhile, a great commercial featuring a person with a disability comes along, and the good news is that there are several impressive examples. Are You An Invisible Mom? (Probably) Today I read an article by Ami Claxton, Ph.D. called Social Isolation: Are People With Disabilities Invisible? And it occurred to me that this may be an even broader issue than what was described in the article. Top 10 Reasons Wheelchair-Users May Dread The Holidays The holiday season is here! It’s that generous and contemplative time of year for giving, sharing and counting your blessings. Well, that’s what it means to some people. ‘Tis The Season To Shop . . . And Park Illegally In Accessible Spots [Video] In the coming weeks, drivers with disabilities as well as family and friends driving with people with disabilities will find locating an empty accessible parking spot at the local mall almost impossible. It would be nice to think that those of us with disabilities are simply out in greater numbers like the rest of the world seeking Christmas gifts for our loved ones. And to some degree we probably are. Coming 'Out' As Disabled: 10 Reasons You Should Embrace Your Disability Whether you were born with your disability or if it was acquired, we all go through different stages of accepting it. And then there are those of us who never quite get there, that, if you ask me, can be one of the most tragic things. Gone Too Far? When Posting About Your Children’s Health Crosses The Line After his 2-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to undergo chemotherapy, Dr. David Simonsen turned to social media in an effort to educate others and to keep family members and friends apprised of her condition. South Park: The Only Show That Sensitively Discusses Disability [Video] In the whole history of television, I don’t think any show has done a better job than South Park of portraying people with disabilities as complex human beings. Instead of taking the easy way out and suffocating viewers with the typical inspirational hero or the bitter and angry victim, South Park points out plainly that having a disability is merely a circumstance. They understand society’s reaction to disability is often a much bigger problem for people with disabilities than it is to actually live with one. The Ever-Changing Life: Transitioning With Disability Life is change. Something we must learn to adapt to. This is true whether you are the picture of perfect health or living with a disability. Assisted Suicide: A Looming Slippery Slope When I hear stories of assisted suicide and euthanasia I cringe in horror. Why? Because as far as I am concerned, its a tactic to get rid of people with disabilities. High-Tech: Tongue Pierced Wheelchair Driving [Video] Technology is always trying to make our lives easier, and when it comes to wheelchair mobility, hundreds of technological applications have been thought of, however the one supreme application many of us have dreamt of but thought would never happen is finally here -- hands-free driving of power wheelchairs and I'm not about the sip 'n puff method either. Top 10 Books To Support A Healthy Lifestyle Over a decade ago, I made the conscious decision to start living a healthy lifestyle. Although my success has been phenomenal, it wasn’t instantaneous. There was a lot of work to be done. European Advocacy Group Creates Mannequins Modeled After People With Physical Disabilities [Video] "Who is perfect?" That's the question Pro Infirmis, a european advocacy group, is asking consumers this holiday season. 10 Things The Media Should Stop Doing When Discussing Disabilities The media loves to think they know everything. They love being in on the latest "it" thing, acting like they're hip and can relate to the people. However, they never seem to care about stepping it up when it comes to referring to people with disabilities in the most appropriate way. Wish List: 6 Awesome Wearable Technology Products Every Person With A Disability Should Try When it comes to new wearable technology products, Google Glass often seems to be in the spotlight these days for its capabilities as a “wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display.” Its many unique features—from searching the web to taking pictures—can be accomplished by way of voice commands and have quickly proven to be of great benefit to many people with disabilities. A Man Convicted Of Sexual Assault Avoids Jail Because He Is Blind. Say What? Should people with disabilities who are convicted of crimes be given lighter sentences if the prison system is deemed to be inaccessible? It’s an unusual question, but it’s one that has come to the forefront recently in Calgary, Alberta. 8 Tips To Make Your Event Accessible For All After attending a convention recently, I was disconcerted to find accessibility didn't seem to be a priority. It put a damper on my experience and in the case of my friend, prevented him from attending the convention. With that in mind, here are some tips to make your next event accessible to all: Why Peer Interaction Proves Crucial To Students With Autism If your son, daughter, or student falls on the autism spectrum, you most likely realize the difficulties peer interaction can bring. For instance a student with autism may use a side entry at school to enter and leave so he or she can avoid large crowds. While such strategies get everyone through the day without incident, the students with autism lose the chances to learn important peer interaction skills. Latest And Greatest In Service Animals: A Hot Guy (Video) Recently, I’ve thought about getting a service animal. Actually, I think about it every time I drop something and have to spend 30 minutes picking it up with a hanger or a back scratcher. What Is It Like To Parent A Child Who Has Epilepsy? I’m writing today about what it is like to parent a child with epilepsy in honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month. Obamacare Tax Increase Affects Charities For People Who Need Wheelchairs American charities that help wheelchair users around the world are bracing for an excise tax on medical equipment that is scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Wearable Technology Like Google Glass Can Drastically Improve The Lives Of People With Disabilities, Here's Why Although people with disabilities are not usually the target audience when new technology hits the market—think smartphones, accessible vehicles and home automation—they have certainly reaped the benefits. FEMA: Update Your CERT Curriculum to Include People with Disabilities As a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) instructor, I’m more than a little tired of the lack of true inclusion of disability issues, not only in the CERT manual for students, but the instructor guide, as well as the manual for potential CERT instructors. Are "Wheelchair People" Welcome In New York City? In the midst of racing frantically up and down the subway platform to find a car with both doors open so my wheelchair could fit inside, I found myself once again lamenting the New York City vibe that seems to say, “disabled people are not welcome.” 10 Crazy Things People Still Say To Someone Who Uses A Wheelchair I've heard some pretty crazy things come out of people's mouths in my few short years as a wheelchair user. Most people definitely mean well, but some sentiments aren't received the way many able bodied people might expect. In the disabled community, it's not uncommon for us to joke with each other about some of our interesting conversations with family, friends and strangers that often involve some off putting statements. below are the top 10 things that I've heard people say since my injury that don't necessarily leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Book Review: 'I’m Not Here to Inspire You' By Rob J. Quinn Real, thought provoking and honest describe author Rob J. Quinn’s I’m Not Here to Inspire You: Essays on disability from a regular guy living with cerebral palsy. Do's And Don'ts When Witnessing A Disabled Child Having A Meltdown Cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive disabilities, speech and language difficulties, the list could go on. These disabilities may not be as visible to onlookers as others. 6 Effective Ways To Get Your Cardio Sitting Down When it comes to cardio, our legs help big time in getting our heart rate up. But what do you do when you can no longer move your legs but still crave that "cardio high?" Shocking Things Strangers Have Said About My Disability I don’t know if this happens to a lot of people with disabilities but when I go somewhere alone, I often learn something personal about a complete stranger. Over the years, the people I meet on the street, at the grocery store or on the subway tell me some pretty amazing things. Sometimes they say; Can I Ask You a Personal Question? Surprisingly, it’s not always related to disability. Do We Overcompensate For Our Disabilities Or Our Shortcomings? I have a rather striking personality trait that rears its head whenever I am put in uncomfortable situations and wondered if other folks with disabilities find themselves doing it, too. That is, I overcompensate for my shortcomings, or the stereotypes that people have about me. Are 'Fully Accessible' Facilities Guilty Of False Advertising? When you order a full meal deal, you expect you will get a burger, fries and a drink. You would be disappointed if in fine print it said, your fries were not included. This is how I feel when I go to various venues that claim to be fully accessible but really aren’t. 5 Tips To Healthy Holiday Eating Social events in almost every culture revolve around food. This is especially true during the holiday season. For those of us who are more health-conscious, these food-centered events can be painfully stressful. Here are five steps to help you stay true to yourself and your healthy eating habits throughout the holidays. Here's To The Accessible Holidays The holidays, starting with Thanksgiving, are coming up quick. The preparations are beginning and plans are starting to form. Courage: The Key Ingredient for Inclusion There I stood, it was three days before our wedding, and my knees were quivering with trepidation as I peered beyond the edge of my walker and down the makeshift ramp my friends had put together. After only fifteen minutes of the rehearsal, all I could think is, “How ever will I be able to survive an hour long ceremony on my feet? Never mind walk my amazing bride out of the church after the ceremony.” Making Makeup Accessible When I was six, my mom had her lipstick on the coffee table in the living room. Being the curious kid that I was, obviously, I tried it on. Sure, I ended up looking like I ate a bright pink cupcake with my entire face, however, it's where my love affair with makeup began. Makeup is not for everyone, but when I'm having a day I need a little boost, it's a fun way to feel great. In this makeup tutorial video, I take you through an everyday look, while highlighting makeup brands and products that are disability friendly. Pony Access Makes Beaches, Hiking Easier For People Who Use Wheelchairs Wheelchairs weren’t designed for strolling along the beach or hiking through the forest. Fortunately, a British company uses ponies to help wheelchair users travel on a variety of terrains. Take Note: There Is Disability In All Of Us A friend and fellow blogger for BraunAbility, Karen, once told me,“Disability should be as commonplace as a person who wears glasses.” This quote caught me off guard and it took me a moment to understand what she meant by it. Should disability be commonplace? 10 Things Only Wheelchair Users Would Understand When living the life of someone with a disability, you get a very unique perspective of the world and this perspective can only be shared by other people in your very same situation. If you use a wheelchair especially, there are several things that happen, some good, some funny and only someone else in a wheelchair can understand what it's like. Life Lessons My Children Learn From Having A Disabled Mom When I think about my children and the fact they have a mom with a physical disability, I try not to focus on what they may be missing out on but rather on the things they are learning from having me as a mom. We Should Be Natural Allies: The LGBTQ And Disability Communities Exactly one month ago was National Coming Out Day. In honor of that, I'm focusing this article in my "We Need to Come Together" series to relations between the LGBTQ and the disability communities. How To Get Over Your Body Image Issues And Dance Naked The world would be an incredibly uninteresting place if every person looked alike. Yet, instead of fully embracing our individuality, many of us spend crazy amounts of time and money trying to look like those who we feel are more attractive than us. I was once guilty of this destructive behavior myself. 10 Must Have Characteristics To Seek Out When Forming Relationships Every person with a visible disability knows what it feels like to be patronized. It happens so often that one of the biggest challenges of having a disability is trying to figure out who among the people around you can be trusted to treat you normally and be a true friend. Unfortunately, there are people who attempt to befriend those with disabilities to feel better about themselves, to make themselves look good by other people or in the worst cases to manipulate and take advantage of those they perceive to be less capable. Outrage: Really, Sephora, Really? What Was The Intent Behind "Celebutard" Shade Lipstick? The makeup company Sephora hit some turbulence this week. Among their "Painted Love" lipstick shades, designed by legendary tattoo artist and reality TV star Kat Von D, was a fairly benign "peach beige" shade. But the name of the shade was anything but benign - celebutard, an oh-so-clever mashup of "celebrity" and "retard". High School Students Use Wheelchairs For A Day To Support Classmate At Point Loma High School in San Diego, a dozen members of the student body and staff were suddenly placed into wheelchairs. 5 Parenting Lessons Special Needs Parents Can Teach The World 1) Love your child fiercely. This seems like common sense and of course typical parents love their children just as much as special needs parents do. The difference between us is that special needs parents are often far too well acquainted with the “what-ifs.” We tend to spend too much time in that dark place where the worst of possible outcomes resides. And when you have wallowed in that horror and despair and come to the other side to realize that although those scary things remain a possibility, all that we can do is love the amazing children we were given and give them the best life possible for however long we have that privilege. Parents who are this familiar with the worst of possible outcomes, love with a ferocity like no other. Accessible Travel In London vs. Paris: Who's Winning? Interviewing wheelchair athlete doubles winner of the 2013 US Open Michael Jeremiaz after his doubles win in Flushing Meadow was an eye opener. He mentioned that accessibility in France and other European countries were way behind the US. He said that individuals in European countries view the disabled differently than those in the US., preferring to shelter them. "What's Wrong With You?" And Other Personal Questions About Disabilities You Should Avoid I'm pretty sure not a week goes by where I'm not subjected to remarks about my disability. Now, before I even get into this topic, I'm going to politely put forth my counter-argument to the inevitable responses that I'm being nit-picky about semantics or complaining unnecessarily about comments made by well-meaning able-bodied people. I believe that if you truly mean well, you'll consider how it feels for people with disabilities to be gawked at, subjected to ridiculous comments or prodded for our life stories, and perhaps stop to think about whether it's appropriate to blurt out a nosey question. How To Hit On Someone While Using A Wheelchair Tiffiny Carlson shared with The Mobility Resource readers some good advice on How To Hit on Someone in a Wheelchair. But what if you’re the one using a wheelchair? Here’s some advice to help you eliminate your wheelchair as an impediment to romance. 10 Awesome Date Ideas For Wheelchair-Users So you've met someone amazing who just happens to use a wheelchair and the last thing you want is take them on a mediocre date where they can't be fully involved. Yes, that would be bad form. Social Isolation: Are People With Disabilities Invisible? You know it's going to happen. After awhile you develop radar for it. You and your husband are at the movies with some friends. Out in the lobby, you chit chat about the movie, then everyone makes plans to have dinner together at one of the friend’s house two Fridays from now. We extend our regrets. Even though we really wanted to go. 5 Tips Everyone Should Consider When Discussing Disabilities Discussing disabilities may feel like trying to avoid metaphorical tripwires. One innocent misstep and an able-bodied person may receive a tongue lashing just for saying “handicap vehicle” instead of “wheelchair accessible vehicle.” To help you sidestep situations like the one above, note the following tips when discussing disabilities. How You Can Be Sexy On Halloween When I was in elementary school I loved Halloween. The idea of becoming someone new for a day was so fun. It’s probably why I love being an actor. However, as I went into high school, my friends all started wearing “sexy” costumes. I became detrimentally aware of the fact that I was different than the other girls. I became angry, upset and frustrated that I didn’t look like them. Sadly, I wasn’t able to escape the influence society places onto young women. Every year I became more frustrated with the fact that I was different, that I was a wheelchair user. A holiday that I looked forward to every year, became a dreaded day on the calendar. Annae Jones: My Life Is Far From Ordinary (And I Don't Feel Sorry For Myself) Hi Mobility Resource blog readers! If we were having a phone conversation and you asked me to describe myself, I would probably start out with a mundane list of ordinary answers. My name is Annae Jones and I am a communications graduate. At a young age I got married and supported my husband through school as I worked as a communications advisor. After giving birth to my daughter I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, an emotional decision only because I had never “quit” a job before and it required a huge leap of faith with my husband still in school. We added our crazy little boy three years later and joked that if we had had him first, he may have been an only child. Eleven years of marriage later, family life is busy and I wish my elementary aged children could stop aging and exist in their beloved “golden years”. Why would I list off all these regular milestones? Well, they make me feel normal. Flu Shot Alternative: Vaccinations Are Not For Everyone It’s that time of year again, when many Americans line up at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and health departments across the country to get their Flu shot. Health care providers are especially adamant that disabled folks like me, who are considered high risk for getting the flu, should absolutely take advantage of this potentially life saving vaccine. How To Get Creative With Your Wheelchair Costume You know what’s a damn hard game when you’re in a wheelchair? Hide and seek. On Caring For My Husband: I Wonder If I Can Do This Forever There, I said it. Maybe it's brave to admit that, I don't know. I do know that it's scary. Is There A Distinction Between Those Who Acquire Disabilities And Those Who Are Born With Them? Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park captured a key insight about disability in the second episode of the seventh season when they did a show called “Krazy Kripples”. In the show, two characters born with disabilities known as “Jimmy” and “Timmy” create a club that can only be joined by people who were born with a disability as a way of protesting the media attention given to Christopher Reeve, who acquired his disability in a tragic equestrian accident. A Call To Action For The Disability Community To Come Together I have been thinking a lot about relationships or lack thereof between oppressed people and groups of people with disabilities. To explore this, I've decided to pen a series that I'm calling, "We Need to Come Together." A Mother’s Story: How Down Syndrome Changed My Life And Helped Me Find My Purpose Do you believe you were born for a purpose? I believe we all have several things to accomplish in our lives. I wanted to be a Mom since I was a little girl. I got married in 1982 and 31 years later, we are still a good team. Meet Annae Jones, Mother Who Was Born A Double Amputee I don’t have a little sister but if I did, I’m sure she’d be exactly like Annae Jones. Annae is the latest writer to join The Mobility Resource and has been a good friend of mine since she moved in next door to me at the start of my third year at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta when she was a freshman. Hashing It Out In Ohio With The Martha Stewart Of Marijuana As an Activist with a physical disability who is also an herbalist named Jane Hash (my real name), I have learned to accept controversy as a part of life, to choose the causes I fight for wisely and laugh at people’s jokes even if they aren’t very funny. Awesome: Two Guys Travel The Country To Teach Disability Awareness Through Humor Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach have a very unique relationship. They are alike in many ways, including their ever-present sense of humor, but there is one way in which they differ. Mike has cerebral palsy. Tim does not. Filmmaker Finds Success With Documentary On MS And New Accessibility App In the world of film, it’s rare that the audience gets to see the man behind the camera. And for filmmaker Jason DaSilva, it remained that way for over 10 years—until he turned the camera on himself. Sesame Street Helps Fuel Disability Advocate’s Passion The unknown often creates anxiety. For instance say you see an individual exiting his or her handicapped van via a wheelchair lift. Portland: Public Bus Driver Denies Service To Woman In Wheelchair (Video) A woman and her assistant waiting at a Portland bus stop were denied service to ride the public bus by a TriMet (Portland Public Transportation) driver and told to wait for the next one to come along some 20 minutes later. After pleading with the driver, who overshot the stop, to back up so her wheelchair could board the buses wheelchair accessible ramp, the driver reportedly offers a few not-so-stellar remarks, informing her to wait for the next bus to come along, then shuts the door and drives off. How To Speak With Someone With Cerebral Palsy (Infographic) Infographic Can We Agree To Disagree? -- Respecting Differences In The Disability Community Since starting the journey of blogging about disability, I’ve received so many poignant and engaging comments on my posts. I’ve been supported and encouraged, as well as challenged to think in new ways. America Loves Their Wheels In Any Form--But Why So Often Do They Forget About Wheelchairs? Here in America, we love our wheels. From shiny new cars and luggage, to motorcycles and RV's. Let's not forget beloved NASCAR. Beachgoers In Trinidad Experience The Ocean In An Aquatic Wheelchair Wheelchairs have made it convenient for those with disabilities to get around in most locations on the ground. But what about the water? Certainly a wheelchair shouldn’t keep you out of the ocean while vacationing at the beach, right? The Representation Of Disability On Television Is Alive And Well: But Is It Authentic? This year, a number of actors with disabilities enjoyed success in high profile television roles. From Emmy Award Winning Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones to RJ Mitte as Walt Junior in Breaking Bad, both television programs have been commercially successful and have turned Dinklage and Mitte into red carpet regulars. 20 Awesome Halloween Costume Ideas For Wheelchair-Users (Pictures) photos 10 Mega Successful People With Disabilities Everyone has hardships they encounter in their lives, but when someone with a disability is able to overcome all of the additional c#$!% a disability brings to not only survive, but to find mega success, that is an amazing thing to behold. How To Really Move On When You Can No Longer Walk: 7 Tips There are a lot of nightmare scenarios no one wants to personally experience. One is getting a phone call at 3 a.m. that someone you love is hurt and another -- permanently ending up in a wheelchair. Many people say they'd rather be dead if this happened to them, but oh how things change when you actually find yourself in this situation. "I Would Love To See Your Wheelchair": Angry Note Left On Man's BMW In Handicapped Parking Spot An anonymous person wrote an angry note and left it on a car parked in a handicapped spot, accusing the driver of not needing the space. But Matt Milstead has used a wheelchair for nearly two decades. 11 Things That Make A Wheelchair User Go Ugh 1. Please Use The Stairs Broken elavators. There's nothing worse, is there? Disability Is Nothing New: Why You Should Feel Lucky To Be Born In This Generation Out of the night that covers me, Black as a pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud... Former Model With Traumatic Brain Injury, Who Can't Speak, Has a Powerful Message for All (Video) Since 2005, former model Sean Carter has been unable to speak or walk. He sustained a severe brain injury while riding home with friends. "I had gone out to a couple of bars with two of my college friends. We were trying to meet women and have a good time." 10 Marriage Challenges Caregivers Of People With Disabilities Face I’m married to a handsome, funny, caring man who happens to be a c5/6 quadriplegic. Our life isn’t ordinary. At times we feel like rock stars riding the high of achievement together. Sometimes, we hold each other and just cry. This is a look at some of the challenges we’ve faced in our marriage of just four years so far, together. Admittedly, this is our experience. I recognize each marriage and each disability and couple face different challenges in different ways. Inter-Ability Couple Is Raising Money For An Accessible Van In A Unique Way Barton and Megan Cutter have been sharing their inter-ability love story with the world, but it sure would be easier if they had a wheelchair accessible van. Special Needs Mom's: On Handling The Tough Thoughts I've written a lot about stress and about self-care for caregivers. I strongly believe as caregivers to children with special needs, parents tend to be under a lot of stress. We often put everyone else's needs before our own. Innovation: Morph Wheels, The World's First Folding Wheelchair Wheel The world of technology is finally designing products for people with disabilities that actually address our wants and needs. This is very exciting for those of us who have been impatiently waiting for a user-friendly product that could make our lives easier like, Morph Wheels. Recently, TMR got an inside look into the world's first folding wheelchair wheel. My Daughter Who Almost Wasn't I was five months pregnant as I sat in the darkened ultrasound room sobbing from the news I had just received. Gears And Gowns: You Are An Item Of Beauty Alright, so maybe "gears" is a stretch. I've been too enchanted by the idea of this steampunk wheelchair showed to me by my dear friend, Laura. Doctors Gave Her Six Months To Live. 13 Years Later, We Interviewed Her. In BECOMING WARRIOR WOMAN: My Journey Through Three Cancers author Kathleen Statham shares exactly that, her journey through three different cancer diagnoses. After reading the cancer memoir I felt privileged to interview Statham and gather additional insights from her. Disability Advocate Honored By White House As A 'Champion of Change' Over the past eight years, Scott Ellis has trained thousands of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents—many with disabilities—on how to prepare for emergencies. Although most of them probably thought they’d never need to worry about being affected by a real disaster, that all changed after Hurricane Sandy made landfall last October. How To Hit On Someone In A Wheelchair The average person gets a little confused when they find themselves attracted to someone in a wheelchair. Not everybody feels this way, but it is the most common response. 6 Ways People with Disabilities Can Help Out When Disaster Strikes Like most of us, people with disabilities want to be able to help out when disaster strikes, but we often feel that due to our disabilities there are no practical ways that we can help. Fortunately there are several ways that we can help out before and during a disaster. How Does Society Perceive People In Wheelchairs? How do people in society perceive one another? It is within our nature to cast an assuming glance and to judge reality. Within just a matter of seconds our world becomes what we project it to be. 10 Of The Most Common ADA Violations That Need To Stop The Americans with Disabilities Act may have been passed over 23 years ago, but apparently that still isn't enough time for society to get their act together when it comes to following all aspects of the law. ADA violations happen every day all over the country with many businesses feeling the ultimate sting of not complying - being shut down. Victoria Arlen, Paralympic Champion and Paraplegic Ruled Ineligible to Compete: But Why? Victoria Arlen is a champion Paralympic swimmer, winning a gold medal and three silvers in individual and relay events in the freestyle and setting a world record in her class in the 100-meter race. As a result of her wins in the 2012 Paralympics, she became a quasi-celebrity and threw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game. Why Discrimination Pushed Me To Be More Independent I was just a few days past my 20th birthday when I first moved away from home. For me this felt like it was a long time coming and I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to live independently. I also felt like I had something to prove because the previous year I had voluntarily signed up to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but my application was rejected because the church leaders felt my disability would not allow me to do the regular duties of a full-time missionary while living abroad. Almost Everyone Is Guilty Of Passive Discrimination Against People With Disabilities Everyone loves stories about the underdog. I mean, what’s not to love? Every day there are examples of people who persevere, who adapt to life in incredible ways and who approach life with positivity, focus and a passion to go out and accomplish their dreams. Product Review: Wheelchair Caddy Offers Protection from Damage on Airplanes If you’re going to protect your clothes in a strong suitcase when you travel on an airplane, doesn’t it make sense to protect your wheelchair, too? Introducing Our New Teen Blogger: Tiffany Manning They say what troubles a grown up will never trouble a child. Well I think this saying can be applied to people with disabilities. What troubles a disabled person will never trouble an able-bodied person. Rule Changes Will Lead to Institutionalization of Disabled The Obama administration and the Department of Labor (DOL) have released new companionship exemption rules despite the DOL's own analysis that the proposed rules will result in the institutionalization of people with disabilities and reduce the earnings of attendants. Wheelstrong Sports Is More Than A Label, It's A State Of Mind In 2003, Matthew Celeberto was in an auto accident, which left him a T8 complete paraplegic. As a young, strong and athletic guy, he did not allow this turn of events to derail his health conscious ways. He quickly learned that a guy could be surprisingly fit and active while sitting upon his derrière. People With Paralysis Unite: We Want More Than Equality, We Want A Cure Ever since my injury three years ago I have been determined to show the world that people with disabilities can be just as happy, independent and productive as those without disabilities. But is it possible that showing such positivity could mask our daily hardships to the point that the urgency for a cure is diminished? 6 Advantages of VA Home Loans for First Time Buyers Available to all military families, VA loans are an excellent way to finance the purchase of a new home. The loans come with several advantages especially for first time buyers. How Do We Honor Our Grandparents? So, how do you celebrate your grandparents? Some of us don’t know what do with our grandparents, so we end up doing nothing. The important thing is to keep in touch with your grandparents and to help keep them as active as possible. Those Darned Kids: 8 Crazy Things Said to a Wheelchair Lady It's no secret kids can inadvertently be quite hysterical, especially when it comes to non-mainstream people. Old people, people of different nationalities, even if someone's dressed a bit differently, kids always seem to put their foot in their mouths. But being that they're so cute, they get off scott-free and rightfully so. They're still learning the protocols of life. A Call-to-Action on Self Care for All Special Needs Moms This article isn't really an article at all, instead, it's a call to action for special needs moms. I have written several articles which highlight the importance of Mom's taking care of themselves. Specifically it's important for us Mom's to take care of ourselves so that we are at our best for our children. The "Can I Pray For You" Encounter: Should We Put An End To It? I'm in the store minding my own business. I might be thinking over a potential purchase, or maybe I'm just moving my way through the aisles. I'm there doing my own thing. 5 Helpful Tips Every Caregiver Should Know According to the National Family Caregivers Association, more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. These individuals spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. There's no doubt that caring for others is a fulfilling task. But there are times when it can be a little challenging as well. Special Needs Parents: Don't Forget to Handle Stress the Right Way As a parent of a child with complex needs, (along with a host of other grown up responsibilities), I often find myself somewhat overwhelmed. For instance yesterday while driving my son to therapeutic horseback riding I got pulled over. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong, I was driving perfectly. The Best Advice for Living with a Disability Living with a disability, without a doubt, can be one of the most challenging experiences that anyone could ever face. From the constant healthcare to the struggle for equality in the workplace, people with disabilities are frequently reminded of just how strong they really are. From the Siblings Point of View: Getting to Know the Siblings (Part 2) This is the second article in a series I’m writing about siblings of people with disabilities. I wanted to know more about the experience of having a sibling with a disability through the eyes of the siblings themselves and I figured the best way to find out was to talk to some siblings of people with disabilities. 5 Tips for Coaching your Child with a Disability Coaching your own kiddo can be tricky business. Whether you are your child's primary coach, or you are the coach at meets, I hope these ideas will be helpful. Here are five tips that have helped us, but we are still figuring this out and would love to hear what has been helpful for others. My Challenge to You: See the Real Me Having a physical disability is difficult. Our chores take much longer, and most of us are dependent on someone else. We can’t do whatever we please. But hold on--is the picture really that grim? In Disaster, the Disability Community is Always Forgotten September is National Preparedness Month. In honor of that, I'm about to go on a full-fledged rant Are the Lives of People with Disabilities Seen as Less Worthy? What is it with our society and the way it treats people with disabilities? The stories that I have heard lately – from the murder (by law enforcement) of Ethan Saylor, a man with down syndrome, to the ‘pink letter” sent to the family of an autistic teenager urging them to have him euthanized – have sent my mind reeling and have made me physically ill. The message being pounded into my soul is that the lives of people with disabilities are somehow not as worthy as the lives of non-disabled folks. Beating the Odds: How One Man Cheated Death Eight Times Matthew Hawksley is often thought of as the man with nine lives. At only 25-years-old, he has managed to cheat death eight times in the past two years. Four Personal Finance Tips for the Disability Community Given the added expenses related to living with disabilities, personal finance can become an extra daunting topic. After all how can you put money away while prescription costs rise or when you need to outfit a new handicap accessible vehicle? Recently The Mobility Resource sat down with James Schleicher, a chartered financial consultant at Western & Southern Life. He provided the following helpful tips. From the Siblings Point of View: Disability Doesn't Dampen the Sibling Bond (Part 1) A while back I wrote an article about raising a typically developing child alongside a child with a disability. Through that article I shared some of my experiences managing the challenges that have arose in our family. However, I wanted to know more about the experience of having a sibling with a disability through the eyes of the siblings themselves. I figured the best way to find out about these experiences was to talk to some siblings of people with disabilities and so I did just that. Outrage: Veteran and Service Dog Refused Service: Why? Recently, in an episode that defies common sense, a 21- year Air Force and Iraq War Veteran and his service dog were barred from Big I’s eatery in Oxford, Massachusetts. Social Security Paid $1.3 Billion in Disability Benefits to People Who Worked or Could Work WASHINGTON (AP) - Social Security made $1.3 billion in potentially improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work, congressional investigators said in a report Friday. 10 Things Every Person with a Disability Should Hear Make no mistake - people with disabilities love to hear good things. Praise, respect, jokes, romantic overtures, bring it on. They can turn a crappy day into an awesome one, but only if the words are uttered. For those who love interacting with people with disabilities, or have no problem with it whatsoever, here are 10 things you can say that will brighten our day. Michael Jeremiasz, 2013 US Open Doubles Champion Speaks About US Media Coverage of Adaptive Sports Michael Jeremiasz and Maikel Scheffers are world class athletes and world class champions, having won medals in the paralympics. They have worked incredibly hard in the gym and in global matches to be where they are. Wheelchair tennis, like all sports is very competitive, but the media doesn't publicize adaptive sports and the 2013 US Open was no exception. It was earth-shattering that the Tennis Channel did pick up a few Wheelchair Tennis finals matches. Lucas Sithole Champion of Quad Wheelchair Tennis Singles at the 2013 US Open. Wheelchair Tennis has been a parasport since 1976 when Brad Parks and Jeff Minnebraker got together, playing and promoting the sport across the USA. Inspired by their efforts, in 1980, the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) came into being with Brad Parks on the board of directors. After The European Wheelchair Tennis Federation was founded in 1985, in 1988 the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation was formed, with Brad Parks as the first president. Gradually encouraged by these efforts, countries around the world created their own wheelchair tennis teams and together countries presented international wheelchair tennis competitions. Don't Count Us Out: People with Disabilities Love Sex Too What's your disability? How were your injured? How do you deal with your difficult situations? While these are all popular questions people disabilities hear, none of these are more popular than the question most of us get the most -- can you still have sex? Yes that's right, the masses love to wonder this. Esther Vergeer, The Winningest Wheelchair Tennis Champion Honored at the 2013 US Open When Esther Vergeer from Woerden, Netherlands didn't recover mobility after surgeries to correct vascular myelopathy around her spinal chord, she applied her talent and physical skill toward becoming a top athlete. During rehabilitation she learned to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis in a wheelchair. New Technology: Smart Chair, A Portable Power Wheelchair (Video) There is no shortage of issues that make the lives of people with disabilities more challenging than necessary. For many of us, an inaccessible society combined with limited financial resources and higher than average medical expenses, is often more limiting than our actual diagnosis. Wedding Dresses For Wheelchair Users: How to Find That Perfect Gown As someone who loves watching shows like Say Yes to the Dress on TLC, you can imagine how excited I was when I got engaged this summer and finally had the opportunity to shop for my perfect wedding dress. Although I didn’t have bridal consultant extraordinaire Randy Fenoli by my side, I was lucky enough to be able to turn to fashion guru Christine Schwab for advice. Schedule Released For Bussani Independence and Mobility Fair Keeping with Bussani Mobility tradition, the 2013 independence will take place at their Bethpage location near Long Island. People living with physical disabilities, their families and friends are encouraged to attend. Attendees can learn about accessible products and services to help make lfe easier and more fun. Must Watch: The Choices We Make Reveal the True Nature of Our Character (Video) A recent ad for Guinness portray's the true message of what friendship is all about--and what helps define character. Awesome: Non-Profit Hopes to Diminish Pity of People with Disabilities Through Photos Anyone who has sustained a spinal cord injury of any degree will attest that it is a life altering experience like no other. The new reality of existence and exorbitant medical bills could easily overcome a person if they don't have a solid, emotional support system. Lets Start a Revolution: It's Time to Reframe What People See as Disability Revolution has two meanings. Revolution (meaning one): a progressive motion of a body around an axis so that any line of the body parallel to the axis returns to its initial position while remaining parallel to the axis in transit and usually at a constant distance from it. Despite Olmstead, the Promise of Community Living For People with Disabilities Remains Unmet A report commissioned by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee found that people with disabilities under age 65 are still being institutionalized in nursing facilities despite the Olmstead Supreme Court decision. 10 Things Every Special Needs Mom Can Do to Feel Happier What exactly is happiness? The answer isn't a simple cut and dry definition. Four Ways You Can Help the Victims in Syria I usually have a vague planning of my posts. Notions I jot down mentally to turn into a topic. Thoughts become words, words become actions. The keyboard sounds a lullaby that I hardly notice as I drum to its rhythm. But I think there comes a time when you realize picking the colors of your new wheelchair (something I've been lingering over for about two months) is really so irrelevant. 5 Ways Cerebral Palsy Benefits Me During the summer, fellow The Mobility Resource writer Jennifer Gorman raised an intriguing question, “Are There Perks to Having a Disability?” Response from our readers proved mixed. Personally, I’m in the “yes” camp. I believe with certainty my cerebral palsy (CP) benefits me, enriching my life in fulfilling ways. Take the following instances for example. 5 Clever Comebacks to Deface Disability Stereotypes Encountering stereotypes when you have a disability is more commonplace than rain in Seattle. How people with disabilities respond to these stereotypes can be all over the board. What Does Success Look Like to You? One of the great lessons I learned early in my career as an employment counselor for people with disabilities is that happiness and financial success are two entirely different subjects. Look: 23 Powerful Messages People with Disabilities Want the World to Know (Images) If you are affected by disability, what would you tell the world? That's what one U.K. based charity asked people around the world. Awesome: Disabled Black Belt, Self-Defense Coach Fends Off Would-Be Mugger (Video) It is an unfortunate reality that people with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than the rest of the population. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the annual average of reported non-fatal crimes against disabled Americans is approximately 923,000. Despite TV Hype, People with Mental Health Disabilities Endure Injustice Every day, sometimes several times a day, I hear stories of people who commit terrible crimes and senseless acts of violence. Inevitably, the subject of mental health arises and we head down the familiar rabbit holes of either excusing bad behavior or completely demonizing people with mental health issues. Expert Advice on the Importance of Self-Advocacy As a young girl with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Deserae Constantineau often relied on her mother to ensure her healthcare needs were met and that she received necessary accommodations at school. 12 Ways to Living with Confidence Despite Your Disability I was born with Spina Bifida and one of the biggest challenges of having been born with a disability is that it’s sometimes difficult to separate yourself as a person from the physical condition you’ve always known. Why People who Use Wheelchairs Should Join the Mafia No, I'm being legit. We'd be the best thing that ever happened to the Don. 9 Foods To Seduce Your Lover, Because Healthy Is Sexy There are indigenous foods and spices that inspire cultures all over the world. Alliances between different cultures were formed because of the desire for different types of foods and spices – they were one of the first forms of currency. Country Singer Tells Story of Paralyzed Racer on Cross-Country Music Tour Traveling around the United States can create unforgettable family memories, but not every family can do it on a country music tour while raising money for paralyzed veterans. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: Kids are Curious About Disabilities and That's OK Kids are curious. Doesn’t matter what part of the Earth they sprout from. This is their nature. They are discovering the world. People with Disabilities, Take Note: You Don't Lose Your Identity Unless You Surrender It There are very few moments that can happen in ones life that can change everything forever. In a split second your relationships change, your job, your finances, your home, your clothes and your independence. Like a Boss: 'Handicapable' Drummer Has Opened for Foghat, Styx, Kansas and Thin Lizzy (Video) For over 30 years, California native Dean Zimmer has been a musical drummer--as his friend describes--not just someone who can play fast. When a Police K-9 is Killed Back in June I wrote an article about Police K-9 Spartacus who was found dead in his partner, Police Officer Chad Berry’s, patrol car in Woodstock, Georgia. 12 Things Every Business Can Do Right Now to Better Serve People with Disabilities A smart business strives to appeal to as many customers as possible and customers with disabilities love to shop and spend money as much as the next guy. There are over 48.9 million living with a disability in the U.S. Parents: 5 Ways to Better Advocate for Your Child During the IEP Process Parents, I acknowledge the difficult position the IEP process puts you in. I didn’t always, but time brings maturity. You fight with the school on your child’s behalf while at the same time you could find yourself fighting with your child, especially tweens and teenagers. Trying the following strategies should help give you an edge against difficult school officials and also avoid family fighting. How to Survive Your Child's IEP Meeting: A 12 Point Plan There are many articles out there about IEPs and how to be a better advocate for your child. So I thought I would come at this topic from a different angle. Access is a Civil Right -- Even in Prison People with disabilities have the civil and legal right to full and equal access. We should be able to go wherever anyone else can go - even if that is prison. Watch: The World's Most Dangerous Roads (Video) While most drivers in the U.S. are complaining about orange construction barrels on the roads, people in other parts of the world are risking their life--just to drive to the grocery store. Watch the video below and you'll know what I mean. Tennis for People with Disabilities? Absolutely, Especially at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament When it comes to sports for the disabled, though people don’t automatically think of tennis, it is an exciting adaptive sport that has taken off over the years. The Western Diet? Taste Over Substance. A Problem for our Health. When I think of menus and eating plans, I am more inclined to prefer meal plans with fresh vegetables, a lean, white protein (chicken, turkey or fish) and fresh fruits. However, when I go to stay with friends upstate New York, they think of menus and meal plans that include take-out from Popeye's, pizza, snacks, diner food, Applebee's and dinners that include large portions of meat, potatoes, drinks, appetizers and desserts. I love my friends, but I don't love their eating habits. It is no wonder that this lovely couple is on medication while I am not. Believe me when I tell you I am not crowing. I am concerned about them and encourage them to eat more healthily by saying NOTHING. I just don't eat what they eat. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: Why Do I Write? An Authors Real Life Account Dear Diary, I’m an author. I love to write. Allopath? Naturopath? Homeopath? Which Path Is The Right Path? Heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases are the three leading causes of death among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) However, in many cases, these disabling and deadly conditions are 100 percent preventable. This indicates that the state of a person’s health is likely the direct result of the choices they makes throughout their lifetime 7 Life Lessons to Teach Your Kid on How to Deal with Bullying The fact that bullying is prevalent enough to warrant this article disheartens me. So many children and teenagers are bullied, shunned, or otherwise mistreated in school, in the community, in their own neighborhoods every day. While this problem is serious amongst the general population, it seems that children with disabilities are targeted more frequently. Awesome: Boy With Muscular Dystrophy Explores a World Beyond His Wheelchair Through Art (Photos) Photos Book Review: 'Let Me Get This Off My Chest' By Margaret Lesh Recently an opportunity arose allowing me to interview author Margaret Lesh. In her book Let Me Get This Off My Chest, Lesh details her experiences overcoming breast cancer twice. Yes, twice. I Want to Change the Way Hollywood Views Actors with Disabilities, But I Need Your Help Over the past five days I have developed an incredible appreciation for fundraisers. You have to be an amazing writer, crazy-persistent, really creative and beyond persuasive. 10 Things People with Disabilities Need to Start Doing Today to Be Happier People have always been more interested in the secret to eternal life, not the secret to true happiness. That's because people already think they know what would make them happy - a perfect body, perfect health, money, sex, adventure, fame, success; all the usual subjects. And people with disabilities often choose these usual subjects too. Teen Quadruple Amputee Hopes to Raise $1 Million for Boston Bombing Victims (Video) After suffering a bacterial infection when he was 8, Michael Stolzenberg had all four limbs amputated. Now, five years later, he's not letting his disability get in the way. What do you do if the creation of music is overflowing, but the physical challenge is barring your way? Dad, in his most valiant attempt, began with music. I remember during some of my earliest nights, he’d inflate with excitement and lean over the back of the sofa, telling me to wait and listen. His hands shuffled around CD cases I couldn’t see and then, minutes later, stadium-like, saxophone-strung music would blast from the speakers and Dad would straighten with a grin as Bruce Springsteen performed in our living room. (And yes, for you ravenous Bruce fans, I know he was New Jersey, but the northern spirit flares equally in both states). Why Do People with Disabilities Expect to be Treated Differently When Facing Criminal Charges? It infuriates me when someone commits a hideous crime, then, tries to either get out of it or gets a sharply reduced sentence by saying that they have intellectual challenges or mental health disabilities. It flies in the face of what I have been taught and have worked for. Real equality means that you don't get a pass for wrongdoing simply because of a disability. Emergency Management Officials: Listen to People with Disabilities, Involve Us in Emergency Management Plans Or Pay the Price Disasters and emergencies seem to be happening with greater frequency, making emergency planning and management a critical task for every jurisdiction. While emergency planners often seek input from varius sectors of the community, there is one group that is almost always left out of the conversation – people with disabilities. Though Hurricane Katrina showed the tragic consequences of such actions, it seems that jurisdictions around the nation haven’t learned the lesson. The Coolest Thing Ever: Women Builds Prosthetic Leg Out of Lego's (Video) Occupational Therapist Christina Stephans (aka AmputeeOT) has an outlook on healing that can't be matched. After a coworker at her research lab joked about building a prosthetic leg out of legos, Stephens took it as a challenge and went straight to work. Check out the video below. How a Teenager's Service Dog Impacts More Lives than One Laura had a little dog, little dog, little dog, Laura had a little dog whose fur was white as snow. Followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day, Followed her to school one day which was against the ru— Does Art Therapy Offer Healing Power? Art provides a universal realm. Amongst the numerous benefits art offers stands the ability to heal, something art therapist Susan Goodman discusses during a recent interview with The Mobility Resource. Goodman works at the Long Island Head Injury Association and runs her own private practice. Over her career she has enjoyed counseling people with traumatic brain injuries, autism, developmental disabilities, recovering drug addicts and so forth. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: Anyone With a Disability Can Feel Like Royalty Last week, I spilled my guts about The Anorexia Bully. That diary entry shook me to pieces. Memories and more memories came flooding back. I remembered things that I wished I could forget. Is The Real Definition of Disabled a Condition that is Ignored by the Thoughtless and Unenlightened Person? My husband and I had the pleasure of having friends spend a week with us recently and naturally we planned many activities for the children to enjoy. Let me tell you up front it was a week blanketed by many frustrations due to the blatant lack of awareness businesses have toward people with mobility needs. My emotions were all over the spectrum and the hot tears of anger welled up in my eyes not wanting my cheeks to be wet for our guests to see. Are You Too Disabled To Be An Activist? (Probably Not) I’ve been a fiery activist for causes that I believe in, primarily the rights of people with disabilities, since before I knew what an “activist” was. I was in grade school the first time I exercised my power as an activist. The administration had casually suggested canceling a traditional field trip that all the students were looking forward to because of the extra expense of renting a wheelchair accessible van for me--the one and only physically disabled student who used a wheelchair due to a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. With all the force of my fragile, 20-pound, foot and a half long body could muster, I let the administration know that if they canceled our field trip that I would tell all the local newspapers that they were being “mean!” Needless to say, my class went on our field trip and the administration never made another foolish suggestion like that again. 10 Things Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids About Disabilities Parents are all over the board when it comes to how they teach their kids about disabilities. Some scold their kids when they ask what's wrong when a person with a disability passes by, and other parents are totally cool with letting their kids run around and approach us at will. No two parenting techniques are alike. 10 Tips to Keep the Love Alive in a Relationship with a Disability When my spinal cord injury happened four weeks before my wedding, I was devastated, but comforted that I had my fiancé Chris to help me get through it. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: The Anorexia Bully There’s a “bully” that lives inside me. In short, he’s awful. He gnaws at my carefully built self-esteem, chomps on my confidence and makes me doubt my every move. People With Disabilities: Go Beyond Being Prepared - Get Involved in Emergency Planning On any given day a disaster or emergency can happen. While it is important for everyone to be prepared, it is especially important for people with disabilities. Being prepared is not enough, though. People with disabilities must also be involved in emergency planning and management. Why is it important, even critical, you ask? Here’s are five reasons why: Having A Disability Is Less Challenging If You Know How To Improvise Without a doubt, having a disability makes life a little more challenging. Mastering the art of ‘improvisation’ can make it a whole lot easier and more fulfilling though. It just requires a little creativity, a lot of determination and the support of able-bodied allies. 11 Companies Who Champion Jobs for People with Disabilities Companies who hire people with disabilities are discovering an incredible population of loyal and productive employees with exceptional qualifications. Research has shown (University of Massachusetts survey 2006) that most consumers would prefer to patronize businesses who have a favorable track record of hiring people with disabilities. Apart from recruiting for good business reasons, profiling staff to reflect the entire community is a long needed assimilation which encourages positive social interactions in this Facebook, Twitter and Instagram age which emphasizes connection and sharing. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: 10 Shopping Secrets, Tips and Tricks As the days slip by, I’m losing my ability to walk. However, this hasn’t stopped me from partaking in my favorite pastime which is to: shop, Shop, SHOP! 10 Things I Wish Were Different About the ADA The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives people with disabilities basic civil rights that are often taken for granted by others. Though far-reaching in its scope, there are a number of issues that were either poorly addressed or not considered even in the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which was signed into law in 2008 and took effect in January, 2009. After polling some of my friends in the disability and activist communities, I created this list of things that I (and others) wish were different about the ADA. Some are controversial and some might even be covered by the ADA but are so poorly enforced that they may as well not exist. Who knows, though? Perhaps these items can be incorporated or strengthened in another amendment in the future. Watch: Rachelle Friedman 'Quadriplegic Bride' Receives Generous Gift From CrossFit Owner There is nothing more annoying than when I hear able-bodied individuals say people with disabilities abuse the system. I've heard them say things like "They get everything taken care of; healthcare, housing, money, food and so forth." But little do people know this is a huge misconception. 5 Tools You Shouldn't Live Without One of my favorite scenes in Lord of the Rings (Gather, fellow disabled nerds! Be free!) is before the grave battle of Helms Deep when Théoden is being slowly armed in layers and layers of armor, a distant, hazed look in his eyes as he contemplates the death and heartbreak and even the human endurance the night would bring. 100 Ways Moms of Kids with Special Needs Can Take Care of Themselves Taking care of other people is just part of being a Mom. For Moms of kiddos with special needs, the amount of care your child needs can become overwhelming, all consuming and exhausting. WATCH: Best Friends With Their Own Struggles. One is Blind, One Has No Legs. Both Are Fearless Winners. These two young men share a bond unlike any other. Dartanyon Crockett, who is blind, has carried teammate Leroy Sutton, a double-amputee, on his back, to and from every match, on and off every bus, and in and out of every gym for the past year. Miami Heat Wheels Strive To Educate, Motivate and Inspire It seems the disability community is finally succeeding in reaching two very important goals: a) Breaking the stereotype that we are all helpless, sickly people to be pitied. And b) Proving that we have a lot of amazing qualities to share with society as a whole. Photos: Military Working Dog Parachutes From 1,000 feet As Part of Anti-Terror Training Military Working Dogs are rarely recognized for their service and dedication to our country. After a recent informal social media query, It turns out people know very little about how big of a role military working dogs play in everyday missions against the war on terror. 9 Disability Related Charities You Should Never Support or Donate To Nine disability-related charities were ranked among the 50 worst in the country in a recent study. HR People: Avoid These 4 Aggravating Job Interview Tips That Don’t Fly For People With Disabilities It's time for people who write advice on job interviews to realize that people with disabilities are among those seeking jobs. Watch: Guy With Polio Killin' It On The Dance Floor Dergin Tokmak (“Stix”) had polio as a kid and now has partial paralysis in both legs. But this hasn't stopped him from killin' it on dance floors throughout the world. I've watched it 17 times and my jaw still drops to the floor. Special Needs Parents: On Grieving the Imagined Child For many of us, our adventure began in the bathroom, peeing on a stick and waiting with bated breath as the plus sign got darker and clearer. If you’re anything like me, there may have been two or even three sticks, each plus sign leading to more and more excitement! 3 Tips to Create a Vibrant Inclusive Classroom Involved in a full inclusion environment for the 2012-2013 academic year Southington Local Schools intervention specialist Kelsey Kimmel experienced first hand what makes an inclusive classroom successful. Judging by her students test scores, Southington Local Schools’ students with learning differences excelled when mixed in with their mainstream peers. Looking forward to sharing her wisdom, Kimmel sat down with The Mobility Resource to explain what enables a vibrant inclusive classroom. Are There Perks to Having A Disability? We often focus on the limitations of living with a disability. But are there any perks? Let’s find out. Why Direct Action Is the Most Powerful Advocacy Tool and Writing Letters is a Waste of Time There are several tools that, as advocates and activists, we use to be effective in our work. Most of us tend to use what I refer to as the "nice" tools - letter writing, meetings, action alerts and - quite often - policymaking, which is crafting public policy or legislation to address or resolve an issue. A Life Lesson About People With Disabilities For Parents Everywhere Since becoming a quadriplegic three years ago, I have quickly learned that people don't know a whole lot about the disability community. When you’re uneducated about something, I think it's normal to feel uncomfortable with it. Maybe even afraid of it. 10 Correct Ways to Interact with People with Disabilities It's no secret a lot of people in the world aren't comfortable around people with disabilities, despite the fact that 1 in 5 people have some kind of disability (or a "limiting permanent physical condition" for those who can't refer to themselves as disabled yet). It can take time getting comfortable with the idea of being disabled, and it can take even longer for people to get comfortable around us. Interview: Cerebral Palsy No Big Deal For Comedian Josh Blue Comedian Josh Blue travels the country making people laugh while also educating those same individuals about disabilities. The combination seems a natural pairing considering Blue lives with a mild case of cerebral palsy (CP), something you might already know. After all, the public came to know and love Josh Blue on national television back in 2006. That year he won the fourth season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Recently, The Mobility Resource enjoyed the pleasure to share some laughs and chat with Blue on the role CP plays in his everyday life. Storify: Paralzed Rats Regain Bladder Control in Lab Study - Huge Leap in Science Graphic Storify: Goodbye and Good Riddance Gov. Rick Perry Graphic Storify: We're Living Longer, But Not Better Graphic Public Transportation in the U.K. vs. the U.S. As a wheelchair user, it’s important to know exactly what facilities are available when travelling from A to B. Whether you’re Stateside or in Britain, here’s a summary of the accessibility measures in place on public transportation in the U.K. and the U.S. - ensuring your journey is as seamless as possible. The Lesson is Ahead: Talking to Someone with a Disability I used to have school anxiety. I don’t know why. But I took shaky breaths before walking inside the building, coaching myself forward. The lesson is ahead. What Exactly Is PTSD? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I suspect most of us have heard about this condition but I’m less sure how many people have a solid understanding of what it is, and how a person could develop it. PTSD is often associated with trauma experienced in combat, although this is by no means the only trauma that can lead to PTSD. When we understand what PTSD is and how it is caused, we can see how both military personnel and civilians can be affected. Helping Vets With PTSD: 4 Holistic Initiatives You Might Not Know About When my friend's brother (I'll refer to him as Sam) returned from Iraq, he stayed in isolation in his room for some months, only leaving to meet infrequently with a few friends. He ate his meals in his room and watched TV and that was it. He rarely changed his clothes and he wore the same bandanna day in and day out. One day, his mom, my friend, said something about it. Sam, raged at her, screaming, "My buddy got blown up in front of me and it's his blood I'm wearing. Nobody washes this." His mom said nothing more; she understood as did his siblings and his dad. He took off the bandanna when he was ready months later; it remained unwashed and blood soaked, hanging on a dresser mirror for over a year. Then he finally burned it on his own one night. Top 10 Shocking Reasons You Should Fire Your Personal Care Aide Many of us with disabilities rely on the assistance of a Personal Care Aide (PCA) for basic life sustaining activities like getting out of bed, preparing meals, bathing, etc. Finding an appropriate PCA can be so challenging that often we tolerate an unacceptable degree of poor care just because we’re scared of how much worse it could be with someone else. Also, it can be hard to recognize when a PCA has crossed the line because we get accustomed to their behavior. Wheelchair Poker Players: Bluffin' Their Way to the Top The thing about being in a wheelchair is that no one expects us to be anyone of consequence. We are the opposite of a threat. Us, beat anything? No way. Most people just view us as a novelty. Thinking of us as equal competition would be a crazy reality. We Don't Want A Stinking Cure - We Want Equality I see a lot of people wearing cool swag calling for a cure for various conditions, diseases and disabilities. While I'm not slamming people who do this, I have my own opinion on the matter. Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival Promoted Disability Access Before it was “Cool” The Clearwater Festival (The Great Hudson River Revival) held June 16-17 is a music and environmental summer weekend festival held every June at Croton Point Park to raise funds and our collective consciousness about the plight of the Hudson River, rivers everywhere and the imperative to adopt green, environmentally clean practices which support sustainability. Braun Corporation Receives ‘Buy America’ Final Assembly Status From the FTA In January, Braun petitioned the FTA to determine if Braun’s manufacturing activities qualify for final assembly as provided for in the ‘Buy America' requirements of 49 C.F.R. Section 661. That effort culminated today in the FTA’s decision to grant Braun such status. “This is a landmark decision for all Americans with physical disabilities,” said Braun President and CEO, Nick Gutwein. On A Rant: I Don't Move For Baby Strollers I'm quite certain that after this rant, my popularity will be right up there with the Wicked Witch of the West. Oh well. Stem Cell Cure: Inevitable, But Not In My Lifetime The Holy Grail comes in many forms. For stock traders, it's making millions on another Microsoft-esque Cinderella success story. For teenagers, it is a big wad of cash and free reign at the mall. And for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), we don't want much, just a walk through the park. Traveling Flexibility in Three Magic Words, "I Don't Care" You know what really bothers a lot of people? Besides segway tours? Strong Roles for Strong People: How TV Should Do Disability My acting career has definitely been one of ups and downs. I’ve had the opportunity to be on Law and Order: SVU and act opposite Mariska Hargitay, perform off-Broadway with some amazingly funny actors (including Mary Theresa Archbold and David Harrell), and improvise with Murray the Monster on Sesame Street. LOOK: BraunAbility and West Coast Customs Unveil Concept SUV for Wounded Warrior With its sliding double-door driver entry, military-inspired custom camouflage paint and the automatic raising and lowering of the body - the concept mobility SUV unveiled by BraunAbility and West Coast Customs is not your typical wheelchair accessible vehicle. Police Officer Kills K9 Partner, Should He Be Tried As A Cop Killer? A police K9 was found dead in Woodstock, Georgia on June 19, after being forgotten in a patrol car during sweltering heat. With temperatures reaching the mid 80s and aggravated by high humidity, K9 Spartacus never stood a chance. Disabled Artist, Drifting Between Life and Death, Un-Defines Sexuality Through Erotic Art The subjects of spirituality and sexuality have sparked fierce and bloody debates throughout history, such as The Burning Times and the Crusades. Yet they have also played the role of Muse for some of the most famous, respected, and beloved artists, including Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Throughout this struggle, strife and celebration of the human form in all of its physical and ethereal potential, there has consistently been an invisible population. The disfigured, crippled, deformed, disabled and imperfect bodies that made people feel uncomfortable were hidden out of society’s view and disqualified from the arts--excluded from history. Dating with Disabilities: A 4 Step Action Plan to Find the Love You Deserve Regardless of your age, race, sex, or level of income, finding a partner can be a daunting task. If you have ability considerations, the process can be even more challenging. Disclosure etiquette, social stigma and limited access to potential partners are just a few of the additional issues that you will face in your search for love. Will this get you down at times? Sure. Should you let it stop you from finding the love that you deserve? Absolutely not. In this article, we'll examine some of the ways that you can increase your chances of dating success, regardless of any challenges you may face. Rachelle Friedman aka 'Paralyzed Bride' Takes a Stand: You Can't See From Where I Sit When I was a little girl I had always dreamed about being famous. I was a singer, dancer and actress who wanted nothing more than to be in the spotlight. Who knew I'd actually get my chance! Well...sort of. I was thrown into that spotlight unexpectedly and for reasons that I would have never imagined. Meet Anita Cameron: After 118 Arrests, She is Likely the Most Passionate Disability Rights Advocate (you read that right) Hi, I'm Anita Cameron, the new kid on the block here at The Mobility Resource. If my name sounds familiar to you, it's because back in December, TMR honored me in the 25 Mobility Movers and Shakers series and my TMR friend and colleague, Zachary Fenell, recently wrote another article, "Understanding the Disability Advocacy Movement, Why We Shouldn’t Take Things For Granted". I am so happy to be part of the TMR family and look forward to writing lots of good, informative, funny, and sometimes controversial stuff! What else is there to know about me? Team USA named for 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships U.S. Paralympics announced today 76 athletes have been selected to compete for the United States at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships, July 19-28, in Lyon, France. The event is the first major international track and field competition since Team USA won 28 medals in the sport at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 23 years later, Why is There Still Minimal ADA Compliance Across the U.S.? Argue it all you like, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of the greatest civil rights laws ever passed. But, 23 years since its inception,why are businesses and cities still putting up a fight? Engineering Assistive Technology: Developing the Wearable Robot Indego Before assistive technology such as wheelchair lifts and other van conversions became widely used, somebody first needed to pioneer the idea. The same holds true with assistive technology that continues to advance and evolve. A lightweight ekoskeleton, also termed wearable robot or Indego exemplifies one new promising technology. Indego empowers people with spinal cord injuries to stand up and walk. Recently The Mobility Resource chatted with Vanderbilt University mechanical engineering and physical medicine/rehabilitation professor Michael Goldfarb, the man who initially envisioned Indego. What's With All the Disability Hate? It was five degrees below zero and I was getting on the school bus as a wheelchair-user for the very first time. My neck brace was freshly off and I was in my squeaky new E&J chair, being sent back to high school. Shannon DeVido: Oh Hey, Let's Talk About Some of Your Comments! (Comedy) My colleagues have written some poignant pieces about What Not to Say to a Person Who Uses a Wheelchair, and What Not to Say to the Spouse of a Person with a Disability which have elicited some negative feedback. The comments started to pour in, “this article does nothing more than to make the able bodied be more afraid to approach you,” said one. "To hang a sign on the chair to basically say do not approach me or I will be offended,” said another. Understanding the Disability Advocacy Movement, Why We Shouldn't Take Things For Granted Taking for granted access to disabled transportation or wheelchair ramps occurs these days, something veteran disability advocate Anita Cameron discusses at length during a recent phone interview with The Mobility Resource. You may recognize Cameron’s name from TMR’s 25 Mobility Movers and Shakers series back in December. Interested in learning more about her advocacy efforts and the ADAPT organization, TMR reached back out to Cameron. Arguments Over the "High" of Cannabis are Half-Baked Over half of the US population has some type of documented disability. This umbrella term describes unapparent conditions like Dyslexia, as well as more obvious diagnosis’ including Dwarfism. Many who fall under the classification of “disabled” are unable to work because of their disability and the extra health issues that come with the territory. Luckily, the pharmaceutical industry is prepared with an arsenal of medications, approved by the FDA, to help manage these issues. Jewel Kats: An Open Letter to Women with Disabilities Everywhere Dear Women with Disabilities Everywhere: “What is your personal definition of a Diva?” Supreme Court Rules in Human Genetics Patent Case: Victory for Individuals with Genetic Disorders In a victory for individuals with genetic disorders, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said that merely isolating those specific genes was not enough to merit a patent. MUST WATCH: Heroic Dog Pushes Owner in Wheelchair During Flood (Video) If you're not a dog lover now, this video could change that. During high flood waters in Russia, a dog can be seen in what appears to be pushing his owner through strong currents--possibly saving his life. Arizona Diamondbacks Plan Future with Paralyzed Outfielder Cory Hahn Cory Hahn has fulfilled his boyhood dream of joining a Major League baseball team. Not even paralysis could stop him. Hahn was hurt in a freak accident on the baseball field; it’s something you won’t see again if you watch baseball for the rest of your life. 'Paralyzed Bride': How to Rise Above the Challenges of Change Change is inevitable. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. And sometimes it has no real effect on our lives. LOOK: Wounded Warrior Presented with Accessible (Camo!) Vehicle from BraunAbility A very deserving disabled veteran was presented with an accessible Honda Entervan converted by BraunAbility, a local manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles. The specially designed van is wrapped completely in Marine digital camo, making it a standout vehicle for a very honorable young man. The presentation included local veterans in the Winamac community, BraunAbility employees who have served in the military as well as family of service members, and BraunAbility representatives. Paralyzed & Extreme: 5 Athletes Who Refuse to Quit Whether it's motocross or an adrenaline-fueled twist on a sport at the X games, extreme athletics is surging and the public is eating it up. Think of it as the modern-day version of gladiators and these guys represent everything awesome. Seeing Humanity Uncensored: Wheelchairs at the Red Carpet I’ve been asked this week to evaluate a troubling yet apparent problem in today’s entertainment media. Thankfully, this problem isn’t as dangerous as most of them are, like desensitized violence (note I said desensitized; regular violence, coming from author to screenwriter, is sometimes a part of great storytelling), gratuitous and dehumanizing oversexualization, occasional lack of celebrity philanthropy and of course, more casually speaking, just plain old want for originality once more. UNICEF: Children with Disabilities More Likely to be Denied Basic Human Rights (Storify) Graphic For People With Disabilities, Social Media is Home and the Welcome Mat is Worn It’s been 23 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law. You would think by now, TV programming would have caught up with the activities trending for the disabled. On social media, people with disabilities are raising their voices and being heard around the world. Why traditional media has not capitalized on this potential is mind boggling. Lil Bub: The Most Famous Cat With A Disability According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, at least 10% of the human population has a disability of some kind. What about animals with disabilities? There doesn’t seem to be any statistics on this population but there is no doubt that they exist. They even have a representative! Her name is Lil Bub and she may be the most famous and unique cat in the world! Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: At War with the Pain Monster Dear Diary, Burning. Red-hot. Electric. FIREWORKS. 8 Things to Never Say to the Spouse of a Person with a Disability Strangers come up to me and say, “God bless you.” I didn’t even sneeze. Body Image – It’s a Bitch! Body image is something that is culturally fed to us. In our westernized culture, we are told what is beautiful primarily through the media. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize what constitutes media and the images it portrays; according to multiple sources through the film and action group Miss Representation, our perfectionist worship is based on a format where the “winners” make up less than 2 percent of the population. The Best Alternatives to Wheelchairs after Foot Surgery After undergoing a foot surgery, you may be grateful for every second you spend in a wheelchair and off your injured foot – until you get home, that is. Unless your home is designed to suit your new wheel-bound lifestyle, it can be a considerable challenge to get around during your recovery period. 7 Surprising (And Odd) Facts About Spinal Cord Injuries For most people, when they hear the word "quadriplegic," their mind goes straight to an image of Christopher Reeve in his wheelchair. Or when they hear "spinal cord injury," they think the worst of it is that we can't walk. Meet the Comic Star, Award-Winning Author DitzAbled Princess Jewel Kats Graphic Jen Bricker: My Mother's Courage Let Me Blossom Every memory from my childhood of my mom is happy, loving, warm, caring, compassionate and all around genuine. When I was growing up, I didn’t realize that all moms are not as dedicated to their children as mine was. I thought everyone’s mom baked cakes and cupcakes on birthdays or special occasions. I thought everyone’s mom made time to be at every single event, no matter how big or small. I thought everyone’s mom could sew and was the best cook around. Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch: Enemies of the Disability Community (Storify) Graphic Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: 6 Ways to Increase Your Confidence Dear Diary, “You’re such a confident woman DESPITE your disability.” Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. Sorry "Push Girls" and "Ironside," But We Need a Real Gimpy Character Images of people with disabilities are finally starting to appear on regularly scheduled television shows. First, The Sundance Channel launched “Push Girls.” This docudrama is about four ladies who are wheelchair-users that live in LA--portrayed by actresses with authentic disabilities. Then there is NBC’s “Ironside,” which is about a disabled police officer. Yet, Blair Underwood, a non-disabled Actor has been cast to portray this wheelchair-using character. 20 Things Every Parent of Kids with Special Needs Should Hear There may not be anyone else with the same constellation of symptoms as your child but there are people with similar challenges. Find those people. I have never met anyone with all of these same challenges as my kid but I have a strong network within each separate diagnosis. We have made wonderful friends and have found -- and I hope provided -- a great deal of support within each of these. I just have to pop onto one of my Facebook groups and I’m immediately reminded, I’m not alone. The Service Members that Go Unrecognized on Veterans Day I was quite dismayed when I looked up Memorial Day in Wikipedia and they provided this definition, “...Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces...” Should NBC Have Cast an Actor with a Disability as "Ironside"? When NBC announced that it was rebooting “Ironside” this fall and casting Blair Underwood as the lead character, you knew it wouldn’t be long before the protests came in. MUST WATCH: If You Could Stand in Someone Else's Shoes... (VIDEO) If you could stand in someone else's shoes. Hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently? "Daring to be Dumbo" Promotes Self-Confidence to Overcome Bullying An effective leader, who can gain the support of a vast community, has the power to manifest beautiful experiences, which leave lasting impressions. The leader in this scenario is Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the founder of Dancing Wheels Dance Company and School--the first dance company and school established in the United States that integrates dancers with and without disabilities. Exploitation or Entrepreneurship? Disney, Disabilities and the Black Market In a recent article from the New York Post – a new problem was brought to light. Wealthy Manhattan moms paying huge amounts of money in order to keep their kids from having the inconvenience of standing in line. For an eight hour day, $1,040 will get you through the park without having to wait in line. The catch? You have to exploit a person with disabilities to do it. Official DitzAbled Princess Diary: Walking is Overrated Dear Diary, Walking is overrated. It’s as plain and simple as that. Live Long and Prosper: 10 Holistic Must-Haves for People with DIsabilities Living a holistic lifestyle, where the mind and body are treated as a whole, is becoming quite trendy. One contributing factor may be a general dissatisfaction with the American health care system, which is motivating people to take personal responsibility for their own well-being. At least, this was my inspiration to start rolling down the holistic path over a decade ago. Handicap Parking Violators: There's an App for That People can be inconsiderate jerks. The tendency (which I'm sure we're all guilty of) is to instinctively believe that, "I am the center of the universe." You Know What Really Grinds My Gears? Top 10 Things that Annoy People in Wheelchairs Hello America. You know what really grinds my gears? A lot of things. A lot.Because I wasn’t granted the fee I would have charged to list everything that grinds my gears in one sitting. And because anyone who knows me knows I have an infamous problem with authority. So we’ve decided to break it down to ten for starters. DitzAbled Princess: Comic of the Week Graphic 9 Lessons of a New Father My son Brady turned one last month and I don’t quite know where the year went. It seems like yesterday that he was a seven and half pound bundle of bliss. Jewel Kats Featured on the Cover of Disability Today Congratulations goes out to The Mobility Resource's very own Jewel Kats for making the cover of Disability Today! You can read the issue here. Great work Jewel! Vehicle Production Group: The Government Giveth then Taketh Away A few days ago, I wrote a blog giving a comparison of the VPG MV-1 against a traditional wheelchair van conversion. The BraunAbility van won by a landslide. The government seems to agree with me as well. VPG has gone belly up overnight. The company, having received a $50 million investment loan from the Department of Energy quietly ceased operation and laid off all of its staff. 15 Surprising Tricks Service Animals Can Do So many awesome tricks a service animal can do, so little time. From carrying-based jobs to tug-based tasks, the things a service animal can do for people with limited mobility is nothing short of astounding. A Son’s Perspective: Reflecting on Mom and My Cerebral Palsy Growing up, to honestly and accurately describe my relationship with my mother the words “conflicting” and “frustrating” must accompany those such as “loving” and “supportive.” Mom supported my two brothers and I in ways often overlooked. For instance, she packed us nutritious, fulfilling lunches on a daily basis. Another example, Mom made sure we had transportation wherever we needed to go. Given my cerebral palsy’s (CP) mildness the transportation task only required Mom’s time, not any handicapped accessible vehicles. Anyhow these supportive acts indicate the love Mom held and still holds for us. Can I Ask You a Personal Question? Imagine getting that question almost every day of your life. Enough to where I get the knee-jerk reaction to say “No, not unless I can ask you first.” Well, that is if my knee could jerk. I’ve decided that since everyone wants to know, here it is. All in its glory. No longer will you have to wonder--about the realm of motherhood and disability, that is. Nobody Seems to Get it: Accommodation is NOT the Same as Inclusion Across the road from the brightly colored play areas at our local park, there is a plain wooden structure with a sign attached to it: “Barrier Free Playground, Handicap Only.” Every time we go to the park I am deeply disturbed by this sign, by this plain and secluded play area, designed for the use of children with disabilities. 7 Thoughts about Parenting the Sibling with Typical Needs I have two beautiful, talented, loving children. They have their own strengths and their own needs. They are different in so many ways but also share many similarities. My daughter is a typically developing, spit-fire of a preschooler. Farm Girl Turned Fashionista--Spina Bifida Never Slows Her Down A vivacious businesswoman, wife and mother, Bethany A. Hoppe was born with Spina Bifida and raised on a dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania. The great outdoors are definitely not wheelchair accessible so, farm life undoubtedly contributed to Bethany’s strength of character and sense of creativity. What two-thirds of Americans Don't Know About Stroke: 13 Alarming Facts About 795,000 people in the U.S. will have a stroke this year. Yet most people cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors and most of those strokes are preventable--some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. 10 Misconceptions about Sex and Disability Whoa nelly, you better believe people with disabilities have sex. We're all the same when our mobility aids are left by the bedside, and even though we're well into the 21st century, two-thirds of people have no idea what really goes on behind our bedroom doors. They think they do, but most have it wrong. Dead wrong. The Day I Arrived in Holland: A Metaphoric Memoir I wrote an article last month referencing the poem, Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley. My husband read the article and asked when we had planned a trip to Italy, and why did I keep saying we were living in Holland. So I referred him back to the poem that most of us special needs Moms have read, and reread many times. My husband was surprised that I would presume that readers would be familiar with the poem, but I assured him special needs moms would be! That being said, on the off chance that you have not read Welcome to Holland, here is a link to it! It’s definitely a must read! Mothers with Disabilities: They’re Not Invisible How many people with disabilities do you know? How many of them are mothers? Disability Doesn't Have to Dominate the Mother-Daughter Relationship In the mid 80s, at approximately 8-years-old, I came home from school and seriously announced to my mother that we needed to talk. She humored me and sat down, intently listening to what was on my mind. “Mommy” I said, “I need to know what a diaphragm is.” Mothers of Paralyzed Adults: Extended Parenting, Time and Love On June 16, 1994 my family faced the unknown future following my paralysis. On a church mission trip to the scenic Bahamian island of Eleuthera I broke my neck performing a routine somersault. In a moment I was unable to move from the neck down. The team of experienced medical professionals traveling with our group stabilized me as we waited for a medical helicopter to arrive from the States. Mothers With Disabilities: Special Times with Your Children My wife Jennifer and I have a girl who is just about to turn 10. She’s our only child and she loves to soak up all of our attention. My wife uses a wheelchair, so you won’t find them on the golf course or the ski slopes, but still they find some simple, special ways to spend time together. Here are four ways my wife and daughter bond without the intensity of physical activity. Parental Rights Group Urges U.S. Senate to Defeat UN Disability Treaty Parental rights advocates are trying to stop the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee from considering the ratification of a United Nations-sponsored treaty designed to preserve the rights of persons with disabilities. The Barracuda Momma: Celebrating Mom's Gift of Sacrifice As I hope most of you know by now, I’m a fighter. To me, plopping yourself down in a wheelchair means taking the knob-stripped joystick in one hand and reaching for a gun with the other. Wake Up Call: We Are a Country at War The bombing at the Boston Marathon came as no surprise to me. As a career Army Officer, I’ve been dealing with improvised explosive devices since 2003. I hope it didn’t come as a surprise to you, though I realize the incident in Boston may be many people’s first experience. Top 5 Fashion Tips Every Wheelchair User Should Follow Everyone has their go-to rock star look. Mine are my black leather motorcycle boots, black and white striped skirt, fitted red yoga tee shirt and grey leggings. This outfit works because ever piece looks awesome sitting down, and holy cow was there was a lot of trial and error in the beginning; awful outfits and wasted money. The fashion gods were not pleased. Dependence on Others: A curse? Or a blessing? Like Nelson Mandela raising his head stoically to social injustice, Dr. King sweeping his hand across the podium in spirit-moved, preaching power, and like Mel Gibson William Wallace screaming freedom upon his last breath, ironically coiled in the bonds of imprisonment, there comes a time when every child under the age of ten declares their final straw and their decision to run away from home official. A Day in the Life of a Mom to a Child with a Disability Every day is an adventure when parenting a child with a disability. Some days the adventure is amazing and exciting and I go to bed feeling like a pretty darn good Mom. Other days, the adventure is more like a safari that has lost its guide, scary and overwhelming. Still, on these days, I go to bed feeling like a pretty darn good mom because we all survived the chaos! Born without Legs: No Obstacle for Aerialist Jen Bricker Although I was seated in the balcony, the first thing I noticed was her enormous brown eyes. She is truly stunning. As she made her way across the stage, I realized she is quite small in stature. But it wasn’t until she grabbed these long, flowing pieces of fabric that hung from the ceiling, and starting swinging and spinning herself through the air, that I realized the reason this lovely lady is so short is because she has no legs! Understanding Adaptive Sports Better Sports involving both athletes who need accessible transportation adaptions and athletes who do not use such, offer many benefits to a given community. Calgary Sledge Hockey Association (CSHA) President Jon Bateman recently chatted with The Mobility Resource to discuss at length adaptive sports, specifically sledge hockey. The adaptive counterpart to traditional hockey, sledge hockey neutralizes physical limitations and enables individuals with disabilities to hit the ice. 7 Confessions of a Special Needs Mom Nine years ago, my life was re-routed from my anticipated trip to Italy. Since then I have been living in Holland, which although beautiful was the shock of this moms lifetime. There are many things I absolutely love about Holland and I wouldn’t trade my life in Holland for a trip to Italy. While I embrace the challenges we face, I am by no means perfect! So, in honor of mother’s day, I will share seven confessions of an imperfect special needs Mama. A Closer Look: DitzAbled Princess Comic strip creator Jewel Kats introduced her and her funnies to The Mobility Resource’s accessible vehicle audience April 16th with her guest post “DitzAbled Princess: Sparking a Revolution for Women with Disabilities,” but today we go beyond and take a closer look at the DitzAbled Princess revolution. The Mobility Resource recently interviewed, separately, both Jewel Kats and illustrator Katarina Andriopoulos, asking the tough questions. For instance, “’Ditz’ tends to carry a negative cognition. Would you consider yourself a ‘ditz’ Jewel or is the comic strip’s title just a play on words?” DitzAbled Princess: Sparking a Revolution for Women with Disabilities It’s a comic strip. It also happens to be revolutionary. “Ha, ha,” you may chuckle. Storify: Disability is NOT the New Welfare Graphic Nissan To Create Integrated Mobility Solution For NV200 Taxi With Braunability Partnership NEW YORK (April 1, 2013) – As Nissan’s innovative NV200 taxi gets ready to take to the streets of New York City this coming fall, another crucial part of the “Taxi of Tomorrow” program was unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show – the wheelchair accessible NV200 Mobility NY Taxi. Living with a Disability? Embrace your Rebellion If you’re in a motorized wheelchair, go ahead and take a look to your right. [VIDEO] Jeff Probst Kicks Off National Mobility Awareness Month Daytime talk show host Jeff Probst kicked off National Mobility Awareness Month in a very unique way. After breaking down the details of National Mobility Awareness month, which gives local heroes a chance to win a fully equipped wheelchair accessible vehicle, he presented a college-bound student with a scholarship provided by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Check out the video below: 4 Ways to Motivate Your Child Athlete with a Disability I wish I could tell you that my talented, athletic son who happens to have cerebral palsy, wakes up in the morning begging me to drive him to the track. The reality is he often needs a little encouragement to get going. Sex and Drugs Destroy Two Icons: But Why? It is ironic to me that two American icons fell dramatically from grace only months apart. Lance Armstrong and General David Petreaus, two fair-haired, golden boys of their respective fields, now forever linked to their respective scandals. Sex Fiends, Morons and Personal Autonomy: The Progressive U.S. The United States Supreme Court today is hearing arguments for one of the most controversial issues that has been debated widely since its decision in Roe v. Wade. The case, Hollingsworth v. Perry was raised after California voted to amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage. Top 13 Sites to Purchase Innovative Accessible Products When my co-worker Ginger wrote Three Awesome Wheelchair Innovations, it got me thinking. What other products have been invented that would make life easier and where do you find them? The internet makes it extremely easy for people with disabilities without means of accessible van transportation, to find sites that sell accessible products. Lessons in Swagger: Lady Gaga's Golden Chariot In the peak of the Viking rampage in Europe, Ivar the Boneless cruised the Earth carried on a shield by his tall and hulking Norse inferiors. We don’t know exactly why he was called boneless, but we can extract from the evidence of his constant human chariot that he was disabled. Shhh... Quiet Drive is Here BraunAbility is excited to introduce the new Quiet Drive system - a new technology that helps eliminate the unwanted road and cabin noise in our wheelchair vans. Filmmaker Ray Ellis Discusses Documentary Certain Proof: A Question of Worth If you know a student who relies on handicap accessible vehicles to get to and from school, you will likely find the documentary Certain Proof: A Question of Worth intriguing. Filmmakers Ray and Susan Ellis produced the film which features three different students with severe cerebral palsy (CP) inside North Carolina’s public school system. Recently Ray Ellis chatted with The Mobility Resource to talk Certain Proof: A Question of Worth. Discovering Singing as a Mode for Expression Cerebral palsy and not driving, with or without accessible car modificaitons, fails to deter California State University Long Beach (CSULB) student Hamid Ala from his music-related ambitions. Ala studies singing at CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, specifically pursuing his bachelors of arts in art and music. He maintains a special passion for classical music, an interest rooted in his native London, England culture. Hamid Ala’s experiences as an individual with a disability provided some intriguing insights during a recent interview with The Mobility Resource. The Clayton's Never Quit: How a Family Motto Can Help You Overcome Obstacles When our son was an infant, routine tasks were a significant struggle for him. As the result of suffering several strokes, he had weakness on his right side making simple tasks a hardship. Crawling, standing, taking a single step, dressing and undressing, walking down the stairs – all of these milestones that so many children progress through with ease took months and years of us driving him to therapy for him to accomplish. It was clear that many challenges were in store for him and us in the future, and we wanted to figure out a way to motivate him to keep trying despite the difficulties he would face. That was when we came up with our family motto, “Clayton’s Never Quit!”. A simple phrase with a whole lot of power, not just for our son, but for all of us! What does our Country Owe the Man who Killed Osama Bin Laden? I'm glad Osama Bin Laden is dead. I'll never forget sitting at the dining facility at Bagram Airbase waiting for my flight home to the states when the news flashed across the screen. Accessible Hotel Swimming Pools: Deadline Arrives for ADA Compliance Since I was little, and my parents said we were driving our wheelchair lift van on vacation, my first question would always be “does the hotel have a pool?” I would rejoice when the answer was “YES!” Swimming was often the highlight of any vacation. I could stay in the pool for hours – until my fingers turned wrinkly and my mom made me get out. Remembering Ralph W. Braun 1940 - 2013 BraunAbility founder and CEO Ralph Braun has passed away at the age of 72. Ralph never believed in the limits others set for himself, from the doctors who told his parents he wouldn't live past 13-years-old to the banker who refused to give a man in a wheelchair a business loan. He founded a mobility business that would revolutionize accessibility in our country and changed the lives of thousands of individuals with physical disabilities around the world. Ralph leaves behind a legacy of innovation, determination and inspiration that will be carried on by BraunAbility accessible vans forever. 13 Romantic Things to Remember in a Marriage with a Disability My husband and I have been married for three and a half years, thanks in-part to a sweet thing he did one Valentine's Day. We were long distance friends for years, then he sent flowers to my office one Valentine's Day. Those flowers were a game changer and led us to where we are today – happily married and more in love than ever. Feeling Included, Respected and Valued: How Title Two Entities (school districts, cities) can be ADA Compliant Growing up in a military family, one thing was constant - moving! Every few years we had to pack up our handicap accessible van to a new city to explore. From the sunflower state of Kansas, to the paradise beaches of Hawaii and the dancehalls of Texas. Moving meant new friends to make, new things to do, lots of new things to see! It was very exciting. Small Businesses No Longer Have an Excuse to Not be ADA Compliant The sun is shining bright and a fun-filled day is about to begin. First up for the day, breakfast. My friends and I heard about the perfect pancake house. A small mom and pop shop – with unmatched flavors – cinnamon streusel, pumpkin spice and even red velvet pancakes. Mmm! Our mouths are watering and we cannot wait to try them all. Ride-Away’s VP of Finance and Insurance Earns AFIP Master Certification Davis J McCabe is one of only 40 financial services professionals in the nation--and the first in the mobility industry--to earn AFIP Master Certification. 13 Resolutions a Person with a Disability Should Consider The beginning of the year makes makes it possible for people to renew themselves. They make goals and hope for a better year as they attempt to carry out their resolutions. The Mobility Resource will look at 13 resolutions a person with a disability should explore. Why 13? Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest founding father of the U.S.A, had 13 virtues he lived his life by from the age of 20 until death. That seemed appropriate for the year 2013. Two Things You Shouldn't Blame for the Connecticut School Shooting: Video Games and Disability The shooting in Connecticut was in and of itself one of the most tragic things I have seen in my 32 years of life. As people continue to try to make sense of a random act of terror, places like Fox News begin to place blame on two things I hold very dearly: video games and disability. SPINALpedia's Online Community Helps People Affected by Paralysis My only concern when my dad was first injured was whether or not he would live. I was told pretty early that he had broken his neck but I had no idea what that really meant. In my 12-year-old mind, my interpretation was that one day I would help my dad walk again but once I learned what paralysis really meant that image was shattered. Discussing Disability Awareness with Author Brent Poppen The following represents the second piece to a two-part series based off The Mobility Resource’s recent interview with multi-talented disability advocate Brent Poppen (read part one here). Included you will find your chance to win a signed copy of either Poppen’s autobiography Tragedy on a Mountain: A Quadriplegic’s Story from Paralysis to Paralympics or his children’s book Playground Lessons: Friendship & Forgiveness. 6 Advantages of VA Home Loans for First Time Buyers Available to all military families, VA loans are an excellent way to finance the purchase of a new home. The loans come with several advantages especially for first time buyers. 8 Athletes Who Overcame Disability to Win Big Despite being born without a right hand, Jim Abbott was a first-round pick in the 1988 draft by the California Angels. He also pitched for the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox in 11 major-league seasons New Book Chronicle's the Impact of Disability on U.S. History A landmark new book explores the most pivotal periods in U.S. history in a way that puts disability at the center of the narrative. TMR Interviews Multi-Talented Disability Advocate Brent Poppen, Part I The following represents part one of a two-part article series based off The Mobility Resource’s recent interview with multi-talented disability advocate Brent Poppen. Check back next week for part two. Presidential Proclamation -- International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 the-mobility-resource No More Wheelchairs Singer/Songwriter Daryl Holmlund sat down with Jennifer Gorman via skype to talk about his made-for-YouTube song, “No More Wheelchairs.” 25 Days of Movers and Shakers in the Disability Community Day 1: Matthew Walzer Nike moved by teen with cerebral palsy through Twitter. WATCH: 'Terminator' Arm is the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Limb A father who lost his arm in an accident six years ago has been given a new lease of life by a hi-tech bionic hand which is so precise he can type again. Top 5 Christmas Gifts to Purchase from People with Disabilities When you search in Google, you’ll find thousands of articles on "Christmas Gifts to Buy for the Disabled," but no one talks about what the disabled population can provide for you. R.N. Mona Freedman: Dedicated to Her Disability Advocacy Efforts No word may better describe R.N. Mona Freedman’s attitude towards her disability advocacy efforts than 'dedicated.' The registered nurses connection to the disabled population exists both professionally and personally. Chicago Awarded Grants for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis The taxi-industry-funded Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Fund will receive a $1.7 million dollar grant for the purchase or conversion of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) for the taxicab industry. Director Michael Brown Takes Moviegoers, Veterans with Disabilities to 'High Ground' Veterans who return from the war with disabilities have not seen the end of challenges, thrills and accomplishments. That message is made clear in the new mountain-climbing documentary, High Ground. AARP Driver Safety Salutes Veterans: Offers Free Classroom Course To recognize and thank military veterans for their service, AARP Driver Safety is offering a free classroom course or 50 percent off the online course to all members of the U.S. armed forces — active duty, veteran, guard or reserve — regardless of age, from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, 2012.* Bullying: A Personal Issue for Musician Chris Hendricks Before his song “Noise” amped up Carolina Hurricanes fans throughout PNC Arena and prior to him taking center stage at House of Blues Los Angeles musician Chris Hendricks faced a difficult challenge, overcoming bullying. Aiming to diffuse the bullying problem Hendricks and his band teams up with North Carolinian schools to present the Breaking Down Barriers program. Between November 11th and November 30th Chris Hendricks will visit seven different schools. He recently talked to The Mobility Resource about his personal experiences with bullying and the Breaking Down Barriers program. Virtual Career Fair to Bring Opportunities to Vets with Disabilities Military veterans with service-related disabilities are invited to explore a variety of civilian employment opportunities at a virtual career fair on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Director Ben Lewin Explores Disability, Love and Sexuality in "The Sessions" ** Win dinner and (2) tickets to see "The Sessions" at a theater near you. Just share this post on one of your social channels and you're in: Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Google plus. Use the sharing links above. Read the fine print at the bottom of this post for details. PET Project Ships Gift of Mobility Worldwide, on Three Wheels For the 20 million adults and children in developing countries who are unable to walk, owning a traditional wheelchair – let alone a wheelchair accessible van – is often impossible or impractical. But one organization is dedicated to bringing them the gift of mobility, and with it, a sense of independence. Young disabled athletes will visit Minnesota for 2013 National Junior Disability Championships Young athletes with disabilities will gather in Rochester, Minn., for the 2013 National Junior Disability Championships. 3 Helpful Tips to Create a Successful Inclusive Classroom Environment An inclusive classroom environment benefits all students involved, a point Entrepreneurship Preparatory School intervention specialist Anshawn Ivery made in a recent interview with The Mobility Resource. Whether students who ride to school in handicap vans, scholars with learning disabilities, or “normal” schoolchildren, Ivery notes inclusive educational atmospheres “helps students as people.” Below Ivery gives three tips for creating a successful welcoming classroom environment. Video: You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down Roosevelt runs Portland, Maine from his chair Mariah Kilbourne Seeks Historic-Site Access as Ms. Wheelchair America 2013 Every town has a historic heart, and Mariah Kilbourne wants everyone to be able to visit it. My wife and co-journalist, Jennifer Gorman, and I had the privilege to interview Ms. Wheelchair America 2013, during breakfast just before the National Forum on Disability Issues. As Ms. Wheelchair America 2013, Kilbourne is publicizing her platform, called “Inclined for Inclusion,” focusing on accessibility in urban historic districts. That idea began when she was a journalism student at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. She uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, which she contracted after she was born three months early. “There were a lot of boutiques. family-owned restaurants and souvenir shops that I couldn’t enter,” she said. “I would have to eat food or try on clothes out on the curb. My friends also had trouble gaining access.” Kilbourne found a vehicle to address this issue in the Ms. Wheelchair Texas pageant, which she discovered “by fate.” John W. Quinn Challenges Standard Disability Perceptions Consider standard disability perceptions challenged, thanks to Someone Like Me: An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy by author John W. Quinn. Someone Like Me shares how despite a mild form of CP, Quinn joined the Navy and enjoyed a two-decade long naval career, reaching Senior Chief Petty Officer rank. While Quinn doesn’t need a wheelchair himself, people who use handicap vans can relate to his story. The Mobility Resource recently caught up with the retired naval officer via Skype to talk Someone Like Me, disability perceptions and more. Celebrating Americans with Disabilities Act 22nd Anniversary Americans-with-disabilities-act A Better Way to Drive, Stop and Steer Better Way to Drive, Stop and Steer Sen. Sherrod Brown, Josh Mandel Drop In on National Disabilities Forum COLUMBUS, Ohio (TMR) – Sen. Sherrod Brown and his Republican challenger, Josh Mandel, each appeared briefly at the National Forum on Disability Issues on Sept. 28 at the Hyatt Regency. Kids Can Hoop It Up with Junior Wheelchair Cavaliers This Weekend Kids interested in playing wheelchair basketball can join the Junior Wheelchair Cavaliers for an “open gym” on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 1-4 p.m. Candidates Don't Find Time to Attend National Forum on Disability Issues COLUMBUS, Ohio (TMR) - Helping people with disabilities find jobs and educational opportunities was a major focus of the 2012 National Forum on Disability Issues on Sept. 28 at the Hyatt Regency. Gunshot Wound Changes Man’s Life from ‘going nowhere’ to International Success [This is a repost from the Akron Beacon Journal. Published on September 25 by staff writer, Jim Carney.] A drive-by shooting looked like the end of the world for a Chicago teenager living the gang life and “going nowhere.” It turned out to be the beginning. “It is the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” said Will Waller, now 38 and a successful business executive and gold medal-winning athlete. Picture of the Day the-mobility-resource Mobility, Social Issues Leave Many Voters with Disabilities Politically Sidelined The recent study published in Social Science Quarterlyaimed to determine whether Americans with disabilities are part of the political mainstream, or if they remain sidelined in the democratic process. The results revealed that while important steps have been taken to eliminate disenfranchisement, notably the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, many Americans with disabilities do not participate in elections. In 2008, this meant a potential difference of 3 million voters. Children’s Author Zach Wood Aims to Increase Disability Awareness Author Zach Wood wants people to judge him for his personality, not his cerebral palsy, wheelchair or handicap van he rides around in, thus one reason he started writing children’s books featuring characters with disabilities. His first two published works, Carlos Goes to Preschool and Carlos Rides the School Bus follow Carlos, a character Wood based off himself. Recently The Mobility Resource sat down to talk to Zach Wood, via Skype, about Wood’s children’s books and other ambitions. Remembering 9/11: 8 Long-Term Illnesses Still Effecting First Responders Today marks eleven years since the worst terrorist attack on American soil. Our country is still coming to terms with the events of 9/11, still struggling to find the optimal balance between individual liberties and necessary security measures and still discovering long-term results of the tragedy. How to Choose a Mechanic for Your Wheelchair Van Eventually, you'll need to take your wheelchair van in for maintenance or repair. If you don't have a reliable mechanic, it can be tough choosing one. We've all heard horror stories about dishonest mechanics and terrible auto shop service. Find a mechanic before you need one. With some preparation, you can pick the perfect place to take your handicapped-accessible vehicle. Otherwise, you may end up somewhere you don't want to be when something goes wrong and you're desperate. National Wheelchair Basketball Association Teams With SPIRE Institute The National Wheelchair Basketball Association has formed a partnership with SPIRE Institute, a huge sports facility in Geneva, Ohio as an official training site. EXCLUSIVE: The Desktop Desk Increases Accessibility Inside the Classroom and Beyond Handicap vans and school buses with wheelchair lifts enables an easy morning commute to school for students with disabilities, but what happens inside the classroom when a desk or table surface creates an awkward angle to work at? These too often overlooked barriers quickly turn the day into a hard, frustrating one. Rob Mayben, a special education teacher out in California, found a solution when he invented an assistive technology device known as the Desktop Desk. Recently The Mobility Resource caught up with Mayben, via telephone, to discuss his invention. Make sure to read all the way to the end to learn about an exclusive back to school deal Mayben wants to offer you, The Mobility Resource reader. 2012 London Paralympics: USA Men's Basketball Team Shooting for the Gold The USA men’s wheelchair basketball team must be considered a gold-medal threat at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The Americans will begin the quest for their first gold medal since 1988 on Aug. 30, as they will face Turkey in a Group A game. 2012 London Paralympics: Fans Send Off U.S. Men's Basketball Team to London The U.S. Paralympic men’s basketball team received an enthusiastic sendoff to London from fans, dignitaries and sponsors at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, on Aug. 25. U.S. Olympic Committee announces 227-member 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team that will compete in the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games, Aug. 29-Sept. 9. The 227-member team, which includes six guides for visually impaired athletes, is comprised of 133 men and 94 women. Sources of Handicap Van Financial Aid Handicap vans make a huge difference in the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. They offer increased independence, the ability to take trips and so much more. Of course, vehicles are considerable expenses. If you're already struggling with a loss of income, medical bills or other costs, a scooter- or wheelchair-accessible vehicle may seem completely out of reach. Fortunately, there are numerous sources of handicap van financial aid for people with disabilities. Tire Care for Your Handicap Van The tires on your handicap van must be properly cared for. The heavy load they bare affects their quality and performance over time. Well-maintained tires are important to optimal gas mileage, overall vehicle performance and van safety on the road. Here are a few tips for making sure your accessible vehicle's tires are always in good shape. Vacation in Your Wheelchair Van in Hilton Head Island with Stops in Charlotte and Savannah Driving your wheelchair van to the beach is easier in some places than others, as we learned on our recent vacation to Hilton Head Island, S.C. Let’s look at the accessibility of the places we visited in Hilton Head as well as our side trips to Charlotte, N.C., and Savannah, Ga Addressing Bullying in the Disability Community People with disabilities can become easy targets for bullies, an unfortunate reality national anti-bullying speaker Tony Bartoli knows all too well. You see bullies prey on differences, whether one speaks with a speech impediment, uses a wheelchair and related technologies such as handicap accessible vans and car hand controls, or deals with another disability caused difference. Tony Bartoli, who has delivered his anti-bullying message to various schools across 27 different states, sat down with The Mobility Resource to share insight into the bullying problem. For a Summer Trip That's Full of Possibilities, Head to the Abilities Expo The best thing about this time of year is if you're starting to get restless, you can always hit the road in your wheelchair accessible van. Warrior Hike Raises Funds to Help Wounded Veterans Buy Accessible Vehicles Warrior Hike. It sounds brutal, doesn't it? Well, the name isn’t misleading. It entails hiking the entire 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The lengthy trek is currently being made by Mark Silvers and Sean Gobin. The two men first set out on March 15, earlier this year. Preparing Your Handicap Van for Long-Term Storage Maybe you're going on a trip or checking into a hospital for an extended stay. If you need to store your handicap van for a long time, some essential preparation protects the vehicle while it's not in use. Long-term storage for vehicles is generally considered to be three months or longer. Over a lengthy period without running, automobiles become susceptible to all sorts of damage. Fortunately, it's all preventable if you know what to do. Caring for Handicap Vans in the Heat Regular maintenance is important to keeping handicap vans running safely and efficiently. To protect and preserve your van as well as possible, extra care is needed during extreme weather. Heat poses a variety of threats to your vehicle. A few measures prevent hot weather from taking an undue toll on your ride. They also minimize the risk of overheating and breakdowns on the road. Ways to Save on Gas for Your Handicap Van Gas is a major expense. Despite a recent drop in prices, the cost of a gallon is already back on the upswing. For those with a handicap van, gas expenses can be particularly high. Vans are less gas efficient than smaller vehicles. On top of that, accessibility equipment adds weight that further reduces mileage. Here are a few ways to save money on gas. Turning Automotive Seating Systems for More Accessible Vans People who rely on wheelchairs or scooters don't have to sacrifice vehicle mobility. There are plenty of options for more accessible vans. Ramps and automated platforms allow easy entrance and debarking. Mechanical lifts load and unload unoccupied wheelchairs or scooters into a van. Hand controls for adaptive driving facilitate operation of a vehicle from your wheelchair. Is Your Mind Handicap Accessible? Wheelchair accessible vans, scooter lifts and other disability friendly equipment only go so far bridging society’s gap between people with disabilities and those without, as Illinois natives Tim Wambach and Mike Berkson demonstrate via their stage show Handicap This! Open-mindedness proves much more crucial to creating an inclusive environment, a point Wambach and Berkson greatly emphasized in a recent interview with The Mobility Resource. Packing Handicapped Vans for a Road Trip Getting a vehicle loaded up before a trip is often stressful. If you have limited mobility and drive a handicapped van, the endeavor is especially difficult. Start with thorough packing preparation. This way, you don't have to worry about forgetting important items or where to put them. When you've made your checklists and plans, enlist some help with the physical tasks involved. Are people with disabilities seen as capable parents? Are they seen at all? The 10th annual Sprout Film Festival in New York City delivered 42 views of the life of people who live with developmental disabilities. Press Release: VCI Mobility Acquires Performance Van Shop, Inc. of Woodbury, NJ Woodbury, New Jersey--VCI Mobility (VCI) has acquired Performance Vans, Inc. of Woodbury, NJ. The acquisition will enable VCI to provide a full breadth of mobility products and services to the Southern New Jersey marketplace. Parking Space Regulations for Handicapped Vans Being in a wheelchair doesn't necessarily rule out driving. Retaining or regaining the ability to drive helps maintain independence. Car hand controls, otherwise known as adaptive driving controls, often make this possible. A vehicle is outfitted with accessible, easy-to-use controls operated by hand. These controls work the gas, brakes and other aspects of driving. They make driving possible for many people whose physical disabilities would otherwise exclude it. Wheelchair Van Sports Destination: Ohio Wheelchair Games If you’re looking for a sports destination to go traveling in your wheelchair van, you should make plans to attend the Ohio Wheelchair Games in the Columbus area. Zena Cole sets her sights on 2012 London Paralympics Zena Cole knows exactly how important a reliable wheelchair van is as she travels the world competing in the club throw and discus. Angela Hunter provides 'Example' as Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2012 As she travels around the Buckeye State in her wheelchair van, Ms. Wheelchair Ohio Angela Hunter is spreading the message: “Live Life; Be An Example.” Car Hand Controls for Continuing Mobility Being in a wheelchair doesn't necessarily rule out driving. Retaining or regaining the ability to drive helps maintain independence. Car hand controls, otherwise known as adaptive driving controls, often make this possible. A vehicle is outfitted with accessible, easy-to-use controls operated by hand. These controls work the gas, brakes and other aspects of driving. They make driving possible for many people whose physical disabilities would otherwise exclude it. Power Soccer Players Gear Up for Summer Tournaments Power Soccer players are gearing up for three national tournaments this summer, which would make a perfect road trip for wheelchair van users. The sport features players using power wheelchairs on a basketball court in a game similar to conventional soccer. The wheelchairs are outfitted with “guards” that protect the players’ feet and allow them to pass and shoot the ball. Young Athletes Qualify for Junior Nationals at Ohio Wheelchair Games Children who use wheelchairs have almost as many opportunities to participate in sports as their able-bodied peers. Real roll models: “Push Girls” redefine disability In a culture that seems enamored with spoiled housewives, spray-tanned fist pumping and tiny tiaras, reality television shows rarely manage to hit both marks of entertaining and inspiring. “Push Girls” proves, refreshingly, that it’s possible. Schools Out Forever at Akron's First Wheelchair Accessible School When you stroll down the halls of Akron’s Barrett Academy, it looks like any other school hallway, until you look closer. The doorways are wide open and they actually don’t have doors at all. Handrails make it easier for students in wheelchairs to make their way down the hall. Ready to hit the open road in your wheelchair van? Let planat be your guide. Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means—vacation time! But regardless of how exotic or familiar the destination is, you don’t want accessibility issues ruining your trip. So before you load up your wheelchair van and head for your vacation destination, you might want see if the terrain is suitable enough for you. That’s where planat comes in.