Used Handicap Vans

  • April is Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month

    parkinsons-disease-awareness-monthApril is Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month. According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF):

    • As many as 1 million Americans live with Parkinson's disease (PD), which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig's disease.
    • Roughly 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year.
    • Approximately 4% of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50.
    • Men are more likely to have Parkinson's than women.

    What is Parkinson’s Disease?

    Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system. Developing gradually, most people in the early stages of Parkinson’s won’t display more than a barely noticeable tremor in their hands. However, as the disease progresses, your body movements are more affected, leading to increased tremors/shaking, stiffness, slower movement, muscle rigidity, and possible speech changes, among others.

    Read more about the early signs of Parkinson's Disease.

    What Causes Parkinson's Disease?

    According to the National Parkinson Foundation, the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. However, most experts agree that Parkinson's Disease may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    What are Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?

    Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease include:

    1. Tremors/Shaking
    2. Reduced/Slowed movement (also known as bradykinesia).
    3. Rigid muscles
    4. Impaired posture and balance
    5. Loss of automatic movements (ex: inability or difficulty blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk)
    6. Speech changes (ex: speaking softly, slurring or hesitation before talking)
    7. Difficulty writing (writing may become smaller, more difficult to perform

    Watch and hear stories of families and individuals with Parkinson's Disease.

    What Type of Treatment for Parkinson's is There?

    There is no specific test used to diagnose Parkinson's.  However, medications can help control and/or reduce some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Some of the commonly prescribed medications include:

    • Carbidopa-levodopa. Levodopa, the most effective Parkinson's disease medication, is a natural chemical that passes into your brain and is converted to dopamine.
    • Carbidopa-levodopa infusion. Known also as Duopa, this drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration in 2015. It is made up of carbidopa and levodopa and is administered through a feeding tube that delivers the medication directly to the small intestine.
    • Dopamine agonists. This medication mimics the dopamine effects in your brain.

    Read a more exhaustive list of medications used to treat Parkinson’s.

    *In some of the more progressive cases of Parkinson’s Disease, surgery may be advised.

    Other Resources

    For more information about Parkinson's Disease, the following resources may be helpful:

  • 10 Facts About Cerebral Palsy

    image by dierk schaefer on flickr ccMarch is Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month, and we are celebrating by sharing some facts about this disorder.

    Cerebral Palsy Facts

    1. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” to muscle weakness or poor control.
    2. The causes of cerebral palsy include prematurity, genetic disorders, strokes, and infection of the brain.
    3. The United Cerebral Palsy Association (UCP) estimates that more than 500,000 Americans have Cerebral Palsy.
    4. Cerebral Palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting the body’s movement and muscle coordination.
    5. The signs of CP vary greatly because there are many different types and levels of disability.
    6. There is no cure for CP.
    7. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, which usually occurs during fetal development, before, during, or shortly after birth, or during infancy.
    8. Cerebral palsy is classified into four broad categories: Spastic, Athetoid (or dyskinetic), Ataxic, and Mixed.
    9. The main sign that a child might have CP is a delay reaching motor or movement milestones.
    10. Cerebral palsy itself is not progressive (brain damage does not get worse). However secondary conditions, such as muscle spasticity, can develop which over time may get better, worse, or remain the same.

    Resources:

  • The ABILITY to Love: Stories of Love and Disability

    February has become synonymous with candy-shaped hearts, chocolate, teddy bears, and romantic dinners.

    As we celebrate this month of love, we also celebrate the fact that love comes in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. The following are some collected stories of love and disability from around the Web.

    Have a love story you'd like to share? We'd love to hear it. Contact us here!

    image of hearts by jessicahtam on flickr cc

    Stories of Love & Disability

    Dating in a wheelchair: Your problem, not mine | Anne Thomas

    Now in her 50s, Anne Thomas candidly shares her story of becoming physically disabled at age 18, the social stigma, and how it didn't stop her from falling in love: "I wanted an education, a career, adventure, love, and sex. But in the climate that prevailed at the time, people were shocked that I dared to hope for romance and physical intimacy.Read more.

    Teacher shares lessons in love from son with rare disability | Bob Dotson

    Jeff Wright stoops to lift his 92-pound son out of a wheelchair. Wright once had dreams that his son might play football. Now Adam wears a helmet to protect him from himself. He was born with Joubert syndrome, a rare combination of genes that only about 450 people in the world have. Read more.

    Breaking Past Fears of Dating| Jackie Orihill

    Chad Cunningham delayed dating until his early-to-mid-20s because of fear related to his disability. Chad was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old. When women started to ask him out, Chad realized that the biggest barrier to his dating was attitude. Read more.

    When Bill met Shelley: No disability could keep them apart | Ellen McCarthy

    Bill Ott will always remember the moment he met Shelley Belgard. It was in spring 1988. He was 12 and sometimes shy. Into music, sports and, suddenly, girls. Said Bill: “Even though my mind was young and my heart was young — somewhere inside my head I was mentally old enough.” Read more.

    This special love story will bring you to 'happy tears' | Janine Zeitlin

    It's been about a decade since Randy and Melissa met while bowling for the Special Olympics. In May [2015], their life as a husband and wife began. Read more.

    Keep ya head up: Self-love and sisterhood as a disabled woman | Vilissa K. Thompson

    "If I wanted to love the person, body, and life I saw in the mirror, I had to stop internalizing the hatefulness of the world around me, and start demanding that the world accepted my disability and personhood.Read more.

    High School Couple with Disabilities Crowned Prom King and Queen | Caitlin Keating

    Hannah, who has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal, and Garrett, who suffers from a rare neurological disorder called Cohen's syndrome, became instant friends – and over 13 years later, on April 11, they went to prom together and were crowned king and queen. Read more.

  • Disabilities and the Workplace

    What makes a workplace "accessible" to a person who has a physical disability?

    According to Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are prohibited:

    ...from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

    Today, many employers aren't just adhering to the ADA's policies, they're taking a proactive stance to be more inclusive as a means of ensuring that all employees are provided with an environment to help them have a thriving career.

    image by Pink Sherbet Photography

    Making the Workplace More Accessible for People with Disabilities

    Most of us take for granted the things that need to be taken into consideration for others who may have a physical disability. Some of these areas of consideration include items such as:

    • Parking lots (handicapped parking spaces)
    • Building entrances and exits
    • Emergency exits
    • Shared work spaces (desk areas, conference rooms)
    • Hallways
    • Stairwells
    • Elevators
    • Restrooms
    • And More

     

    Accessibility also includes technology. Computers, machines, devices - anything that is necessary for an employee to do his/her job may need to be reevaluated for use by someone who has a disability. Think about your workplace. What sorts of reasonable accommodations can be made?

    Statistics on Disabilities in the Workplace

    The following are some statistics on disabilities and employment, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    • In 2014, 17.1 percent of persons with a disability were employed.
    • Persons with a disability were about three times as likely as those with no disability to be age 65 and over.
    • For all age groups, the employment-population ratio was much lower for persons with a disability than for those with no disability.
    • Unemployment rates were higher for persons with a disability than for those with no disability among all educational attainment groups.
    • In 2014, 33 percent of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared with 18 percent for those with no disability.
    • Employed persons with a disability were more likely to be self-employed than those with no disability.
    • In 2014, 15 percent of workers with a disability were employed in federal, state, and local government, about the same percentage as those with no disability.

    Shifting Attitudes to be More Inclusive

    Today, attitudes about disability have shifted. However, there is still room for improvement. One of the biggest things an employer can do is act as a resource for employees.

    Employers can start the conversation by providing employees with training and/or information on disability awareness. Other ideas include making disability-related materials part of new-employee orientation programs, supporting local causes in the area, or forming a disability support/awareness group.

    What other ways can employers be more inclusive or supportive of people with disabilities?

  • Holiday Gift Ideas & Tips for People with Disabilities

    Whether you have a physical disability or not, the following are some great tips to keep in mind as you prepare for holiday shopping this season.

    image by asenat29 on flickr cc

    3 Holiday Shopping Tips for People with Disabilities

    #1 - Do Your Research Beforehand.

    Smart consumers don’t wait until the last minute to purchase gifts for loved ones. Rather, they do their research well in advance. This includes things such as price comparisons as well as figuring out what you’re actually going to buy for others during the holiday season.

    #2 - Do Your Shopping Online.

    While some people prefer to get out there and visit a brick and mortar location to shop, you can just as easily perform most shopping tasks from the comfort of your own home. Besides this, shopping online provides a great alternative to facing the hoards of holiday shoppers that are out there this time of year. In some cases, you may even be able to find better online deals.

    #3 - Do Your Shopping During Off-Peak Hours.

    The closer you get to the holidays (especially Christmas), the more the stores will be crowded. This is especially true as many stores post extended holiday hours.

    If you do plan to do holiday shopping, plan to do it during off-peak hours. This means shopping during the middle of the week, during the day while most people are at work. Also, be sure that you speak to employees about any return policies, store promotions, and warranty questions that you may have. This will help you avoid delays or miscommunication in the even that you have to make an exchange.

    image by amslerPIX on flickr cc

    Holiday Gift Ideas for Disabled Adults

    Disabled World | http://products.disabled-world.com/

    • More than 5,000 products for adults, seniors, and children with disabilities.

    Van Products | http://www.vanproducts.com/mobility-products/

    • Shop a variety of mobility products for adults and seniors who are faced with mobility challenges.

    image by Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas) on flickr cc

    Holiday Gift Ideas for Disabled Children

    SpecialNeedsGifts.com | http://specialneedsgifts.com/

    • Hand-picked, reasonably priced gifts for children with special needs, segmented by age, special need, and/or skill development.

    Ability Station | http://www.abilitystation.com/

    • Special toys for children with various needs and skillsets. All toys are therapist-approved.

    Amazon.com | http://amzn.to/1NG9oVf

    • Multi-sensory toys and products for children with unique developmental needs. Choose from kitchen playlets to tricycles and more.

    Parenting.comhttp://bit.ly/IKacYQ

    • A summary list of 10 toys and other items to help children who have: Down syndrome, autism, juvenile arthritis, cerebral palsy, and sensory integration impairment.

    Toys to Grow On | http://www.toystogrowon.com/

    • Has everything from baby & toddler toys to activity toys, educational toys, and more.

    Lakeshore Learning | http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/

    • Though not targeted specifically for children with special needs, this site provides a variety of toys and products that may be useful to parents of children with special needs.

    Toys ‘R’ Ushttp://bit.ly/1HEdivd

    • Has an entire section devoted to “Differently-Abled” children. Some of the categories include (but are not limited to): Tactile, Gross Motor Skills, Thinking and Visual, Fine Motor Skills, Auditory, Social Skills, and more.

    Special Needs Toys | http://www.specialneedstoys.com/usa/

    • Multi-sensory toys/products to help children with disabilities learn while also having fun. Products range and are grouped according to: auditory, motor, proprioception, tactile, visual, and more.

    FunAndFunction.com | http://specialneedsgifts.com/curebit

    • Created by a husband/wife duo - focuses on sensory disorder products that help build skills and self-esteem in children, particularly those with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

    Playability Toys | http://playabilitytoys.com/

    • Focuses on toys that specifically cater to a wide variety of challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Blind or Visually Impaired as well as Cognitive, Speech and Physical Challenges.

     

    What are some other gift ideas that you can think of for the disabled person in your life? Let us know in the comments section!

  • November is National Family Caregivers Month

    "There are four kinds of people:
    those who will become caregivers,
    those who are caregivers,
    those who were caregivers,
    and those who will need caregiving themselves."
    - Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

    National Family Caregiver Month takes place each year in November. It is a time where the focus is shifted to those who do so much to care for family members in need. It is also a chance to share information about caregiving as well as shine a light on the impact that caregiving has on families, recipients of care, and those who are the caregivers.

    Following, we’ve compiled some statistics, taken from the 2015 Report on Caregiving in the U.S. This report was compiled by The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, and information contained within the report is based on data collected in 2014.

    At the end of the article is a list of other helpful resources and information for caregivers.

    by havens.michael34 on flickr cc

    What is Caregiving? What Does a Caregiver Do?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), caregiving can take on many forms:

    Caregiving can range from providing short- or long-term financial assistance or running errands to providing comprehensive round-the-clock care. Although some people receive care from paid caregivers, most rely on unpaid assistance from families, friends and neighbors.

    Caregiving may also include activities, such as: helping with personal needs, household chores to managing a person’s finances, arranging for outside services, or visiting regularly to see how the person is doing. It does not require that the caregiver live with the person1.

    Statistics on Caregivers in the United States

    • An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child.2
    • The estimated prevalence of caring for an adult is 16.6%, or 39.8 million Americans.3
    • Nearly 1 in 10 caregivers is 75 years of age or older (7%).
    • Older caregivers are more likely to be caregiving without other unpaid help, due to the likelihood of being retired and/or on a fixed income.
    • On average, caregivers of adults have been in their role for 4 years, with a quarter having provided care for 5 years or more (24%).
    • Higher-hour caregivers are twice as likely to have been in their caregiving role for 10 or more years.
    • The typical care recipient is female (65%) and averages 69 years old.
    • Nearly half of caregivers provide care to someone 75 years old or older (47%).
    • Among the top reasons that caregivers are needed, the top issues reported include “old age” (14%), Alzheimer’s or dementia (7%), mobility (7%), and mental/emotional health issues (5%).
    • A majority of caregivers help their loved one with at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL; 59%), most commonly helping their care recipient get in and out of beds and chairs (43%).
    • 6 in 10 caregivers are female.
    • The average caregivers’  age is 49.2.
    • Among caregivers ages 75 or older, 84% live within 20 minutes of their care recipient (vs. 76% of caregivers ages 65–74, 72% ages 50–64, and 74% ages 18–49).
    • 8 in 10 primary caregivers (81%) live within 20 minutes of their care recipient, compared with less than two-thirds (63%) of nonprimary caregivers.
    • On average, caregivers ages 18 to 49 provide 21.7 hours of care weekly. This number rises to 34.0 hours of care among caregivers ages 75 or older.
    • Nearly 9 in 10 Asian American caregivers provide transportation to their care recipient (85%), more than either white (78%) or African American caregivers (72%). Asian American caregivers (38%) are also more likely to arrange outside services than African American or Hispanic caregivers (28% and 28% respectively).

    by forayinto35mm on flickr cc

    Resources for Caregivers

    Administration on Aging (AOA)

    • Is the principal agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services designated to carry out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA)
    • Promotes the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities
    • Empowers the federal government to distribute funds to the states for supportive services for individuals over the age of 60

    Administration for Community Living (ACL)

    • Serves as the Federal agency responsible for increasing access to community supports, while focusing attention and resources on the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers

     

    Ask Medicare

    • Offers information, tools and materials to assist caregivers and their loved ones in making informed healthcare decisions
    • Designed to help caregivers address challenging issues and work effectively with Medicare to ensure their family members and friends receive the best possible care.

    Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)

    • Founded in the late 1970s
    • Acts as a public voice for caregivers
    • Features information on programs at national, state and local levels that support and sustain caregivers

    National Alliance for Caregiving

    • Established in 1996
    • Nonprofit coalition of national organizations focused on improving the lives of family caregivers
    • Members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, government agencies, and corporations
    • Dedicated to improving quality of life for families and their care recipients through research, innovation, and advocacy

    National Family Caregiver Support Program  (NFCSP)

    • Established in 2000
    • Provides grants to States and Territories, based on their share of the population aged 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.

    Eldercare Locator

    • a public service of the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services

    Next Step in Care

    • Created by the United Hospital Fund
    • Provides easy-to-use guides to help family caregivers and health care providers work closely together to plan and implement safe and smooth transitions for chronically or seriously ill patients

    Lotsa Helping Hands

    • brings together caregivers and volunteers through online communities that organize daily life during times of medical crisis or caregiver exhaustion in neighborhoods and communities worldwide

    Caring.com

    • Is a leading online resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones
    • Offers helpful content, advice from leading experts, a supportive community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of eldercare services
    • Expert-reviewed content includes advice from a team of more than 50 trusted leaders in geriatric medicine, law, finance, housing, and other key areas of healthcare and eldercare

    National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC)

    • Founded in 2006 by the Case Management Society of America (CMSA)
    • Empowers/facilitates communication between caregivers and the recipient's care team by bringing together industry leaders who have created resources to help caregivers better understand transitional challenges and empower them as part of a collective caregiving team.
    • Raises awareness about the core challenges faced by caregivers

    National Center on Caregiving (NCC)

    • Established in 2001 as a program of Family Caregiver Alliance
    • Works to advance the development of high-quality, cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state in the country
    • Serves as a central source of information on caregiving and long-term care issues for policy makers, service providers, media, funders and family caregivers throughout the country

    Caregiver Action Network (CAN)

    • Includes several helpful resources for caregivers, including: tips, a "Resource Toolkit", shared stories (with opportunities to share), information on agencies and organizations in your area, and more
    • CAN also provides support for rare disease caregivers at www.rarecaregivers.org.

    References

    1. [Caregiving in the U.S. 2015. National Alliance for Caregiving Public Policy Institute. Washington, D.C.

    2. Using a late 2014 estimate of 239,340,657 Americans ages 18 or older, the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study estimates 43.5 million adults have been caregivers to an adult or child in the 12 months prior to the study.

    3. Adding the estimated 13.9 percent caring for an adult only to the 2.7 percent caring for both a child and adult yields an estimated prevalence of caring for an adult of 16.6 percent. [source: Caregiving in the U.S. 2015].

  • October is National Spina Bifida Awareness Month

    spina bifida awareness monthOctober is National Spina Bifida awareness month. Below, we’ve compiled some helpful information about spina bifida for you to share with loved ones, colleagues, and friends.

    What is Spina Bifida?

    According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

    Spina bifida is characterized by the incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or meninges (the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord). It is the most common neural tube defect in the United States—affecting 1,500 to 2,000 of the more than 4 million babies born in the country each year.

    What causes Spina Bifida

    No one is sure about what exactly causes spina bifida, though scientists believe that the condition may be due to certain genetic and/or environmental factors.

    4 Types of Spina Bifida

    There are four different types of spina bifida. These include the following:

    Occult Spinal Dysraphism (OSD)

    • defined by a group of abnormalities that occur during the development of a human embryo, beginning in the second week of gestation. They are the result of incomplete or incorrect formation of the spinal cord, spinal column, and overlying skin1.
    • sometimes referred to as "Tethered cord syndrome" (TCS)
    • characterized by a dimple an the infant's lower back, but requires special tools & tests to be sure
    • Other signs include: red marks, hyperpigmented patches, tufts of hair, & small lumps
    • In adults, symptoms typically include: sever pain in lower back, muscle weakness, loss of feeling/movement in lower extremities, & bowel control issues

    Spina Bifida Occulta (SBO)

    • is the mildest, most common form of spina bifida
    • characterized by one or more malformed vertebrae
    • "occulta" means "hidden"
    • This form of spina bifida is present in 10-20 percent of the general population and rarely causes disability or symptoms.

    Meningocele

    • occurs when part of the spinal cord comes through the spine (like a sac that is pushed out)
    • characterized by spinal fluid and meninges protruding through an abnormal vertebral opening
    • malformation may not contain any neural elements
    • some individuals may show little to no symptoms while others may experience more severe symptoms, such as: complete paralysis with bladder/bowel dysfunction

    Myelomeningocele (Meningomyelocele), aka: Spina Bifida Cystica

    • is the most severe form of Spina Bifida
    • occurs when parts of the spinal cord and nerves come through the open part of the spine
    • causes nerve damage and other disabilities
    • may result in complete paralysis of parts of the body below the spinal opening
    • 70-90 percent of children with this type of Spina Bifida have too much fluid on their brains due to the fact that the fluid which protects the brain and spinal cord is unable to drain like it should.

    Facts About Spina Bifida

    The following are other interesting, useful facts about spina bifida2.

    • The term, "Spina Bifida," literally means “cleft spine” or “split spine”.
    • Conditions associated with Spina Bifida include: mobility, bladder/bowel control, obesity, learning disabilities, and more.
    • Spina Bifida can be detected before birth. Currently, there are 3 tests: 1) a blood test during the 16th to 18th weeks of pregnancy, 2) an ultrasound/sonogram of the fetus, and 3) maternal amniocentesis - where fluid from the womb is extracted via a thin needle

     

    Sources:

    1. [Occult Spinal Dysraphism and Tethered Spinal Cord, Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation]
    2. [What is Spina Bifida? Spina Bifida Association]

  • September is National Preparedness Month

    by comedy_nose on flickr ccNational Preparedness Month was started in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with the Department of Homeland Security with the goal of empowering Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

    This year, it is estimated that more than 3000 organizations—national, regional, and local governments, as well as private and public organizations—will support emergency preparedness efforts and encourage Americans to take action [source].

    National Preparedness Month & People with Disabilities

    Living with a physical disability or mobility challenge makes it even more important to ensure that you have an emergency plan in place. Knowing what to do, who to contact, and where to go in the event of an emergency can make a difference in helping to keep you and your family safe. It can also reduce the amount of time it takes to receive proper medical attention, if necessary. That said, the following is a brief list of items to keep in mind as you plan.

    3 Tips to Help People with Disabilities Prepare for an Emergency Situation

    # 1 - Keep a list of important information.

    Keep a printed copy of information for important emergency contacts. Be sure to include the person’s name, email address, phone number and social media.

    Include names and several points of contact for: caregivers, doctors/medical team, co-workers, and other service providers.

    #2 - Create & Share an Emergency Plan of Action.

    Having a physical disability may mean that you have to allow extra time for evacuation during an emergency situation, such as a hurricane, flooding, or other situation where help may be required.

    Create an Emergency Plan of Action, and be sure to share it with your close friends, family, and/or caregivers.

    Your emergency plan should contain the following information:

    • Name and information for your emergency contact person
    • What mobility products or accessories your physical disability may require (and where they are kept)
    • Your plans to remain independent, should you require oxygen or mechanical ventilation
    • Location and names of any medication(s) you may need

    #3 - Review Your Emergency Plan of Action.

    Review your Emergency Plan of Action the same way you would practice a fire drill. Involve members of your support group and/or community. By including others in your Emergency Plan of Action, you are also helping to raise awareness about the functional needs of physically disabled persons in your community.

    Speak with your employer about your Emergency Plan, and figure out ways to incorporate a similar plan for disabled persons at your workplace (if there isn’t already a plan in place).

    Reach out to local community organizations and emergency personnel in the area that you live in to see if a current plan exists.

    by zeevveez on flickr cc

    Quick Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Disabled Persons

    Emergency Preparedness in Your FAMILY

    • Speak with your family and put together a plan of action to help you stay organized during an emergency situation.
    • Prepare an emergency evacuation kit (Things to include in the kit: printed list of names/phone numbers, and/or other medical information, medication(s), cash, flashlight, batteries, etc.).

    Emergency Preparedness in Your NEIGHBORHOOD

    • Know what the emergency evacuation routes are.
    • Have access to a wheelchair van or other handicap-accessible vehicle.
    • Have the handicap accessible accessories in your home to aid you in evacuating (ex: stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, etc.).
    • Have the phone number of a neighbor or friend who lives nearby (someone you can contact in the event that you have difficulty exiting your home during an emergency).

    Emergency Preparedness in Your WORKPLACE/SCHOOL

    • Know what sorts of emergency plan your child’s school has in place - particularly as it relates to his/her physical disability.
    • Speak to your employer about a having an emergency plan of action at your place of work (ex: knowing which handicap-accessible exits to take in the event of an emergency, etc.).

    Emergency Preparedness on a GLOBAL Scale

    Check out to see what sorts of things you should know when traveling with a disabled person.

    Things to be aware of:

    • Transportation - making sure you have access to a handicap-accessible van when traveling
    • Lodging  - Making sure that hotels are handicap accessible
    • Restaurants/Venues - Researching handicap or wheelchair accessible restaurants and venues
    • Medical Info - Being sure you have all of your medical information with you, including (but not limited to: prescription information, emergency contact information, etc.). Know/Research nearby medical facilities that are close to where you are staying - just in case of an emergency.
    • Talk to Your Doctor(s) - Speak with your medical team before taking any long distance/lengthy trip

    Have another tip you'd like to share? Let us know on our Facebook page.

    Other Helpful Resources:

    • CDC | http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/preparedness_month.htm
    • American Red Cross | http://www.redcross.org/prepare/nationalpreparednessmonth
    • Ready.gov | http://www.ready.gov/september
    • Ready.gov | http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs

    Learn which used handicap van is right for you. Contact Van Products today by calling: (800) 209-6133.

  • Parents of Children with Physical Disabilities

    Being a parent comes with its set of unique challenges. However, being a parent of a child with a physical disability often comes with a different set of challenges. With an increased focus on disability and mobility accessibility in the United States, there is a growing push to help offer support for parents of children with physical disabilities. This article explores some tips and advice to help parents of disabled children.

    by DaveBleasdale on flickr cc

    Prevalence of Physical Disabilities in the U.S.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), more than 50 million Americans live with a disability:

    The most common disabilities are mobility limitations, such as having serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs -- affecting one in eight adults --followed by disabilities in thinking and/or memory, independent living, seeing and self care. [source]

    Disabilities affect many people within the United States as well as in the world. In fact, the National Center for Education reports that in 2012-2013, there were roughly 6.4 million (13%) of children, ages 3 - 21 who received special education services in public schools.

    Finally, according to the United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey:

    Of the 53.9 million school-aged children (aged 5 to 17) in the U.S. civilian non institutionalized population, about 2.8 million (5.2 percent) were reported to have a disability in 2010. 

    by stephanski on flickr cc

    11 Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities

    We've put together a brief list of 11 tips to help parents of children with disabilities. Can you think of any other tips or advice that parents should be made aware of? Take a look, and share your thoughts in the comments section!

    #1 - Be resilient.

    Things won’t always go as you’d planned. Work on developing resilience via: communication skills, problem-solving skills, humor, or by engaging in mutually supportive relationships.

    #2 - Develop healthy habits for stress relief.

    Having someone you can call, who understands what you may be going through, is crucial. You may also try things such as: deep breathing exercises, physical activity, or simply taking a brief ‘time out’.

    #3 - Know when to ask for help.

    There is no shame in knowing that you are feeling overwhelmed. Communicate with a close friend or family member, or possibly seek outside help in a healthcare professional.

    #4 - Learn how to discipline your child.

    Discipline doesn’t necessarily mean “punishment”. Rather, it is a means of educating or teaching your child to help them lead healthier more disciplined lives. Do this by: setting good examples, praising your child for his/her accomplishments, ignoring unwanted behavior while responding quickly to inappropriate behavior, and more.

    #5 - Know how/where to find help.

    Depending on your child’s disability, you’ll want to know what resources are at your disposal as well as contact information for people, friends, and family who will help to make up your ‘support’ network.

    #6 - Help your child process his/her feelings.

    Having a child with or without a disability is a 24/7 job. It is also an incredibly emotional experience. Support your child’s emotional development by helping your child learn how to do things such as: follow directions, manage/process their emotions, learning your child’s communicative style, helping your child to learn new skills to replace less-than-desirable behavior, and more.

    #7 - Get educated.

    Knowledge is power. Learn as much about your child’s disability as you can.

    #8 - Seek support.

    There is strength in numbers and in knowing that you are not alone. Find a support group or network of other parents who may be dealing with the same types of challenges.

    #9 - Speak.

    Talk to parents of children with disabilities. Talk to your child’s doctor and/or medical team.

    #10 - Organize.

    Stay organized. It helps to have a daily routine for both your child and yourself.

    #11 - Prioritize.

    Take care of yourself first. If you don’t make your own mental and physical health a priority, then you won’t be able to care for your child in the way that he/she needs.

    RESOURCES/LINKS:

  • August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena

    Bridge II Sports is hosting their 4th annual August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on August 10, 2015.

    Excitement, Challenge, Hope, and Empowerment are just a few words that describe August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.

    Bridge II Sports August Madness Basketball Tournament in Raleigh, NC

    A Basketball Tournament Like No Other

    The basketball tournament, hosted by Bridge II Sports, is an annual fundraising event to help increase awareness of the importance of physical activity and organized sports for disabled persons. Perhaps, most important, the event shines a light on the incredible ability of athletes who have disabilities.

    How the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Works

    The August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament consists of up to 32 teams from different corporations and organizations. Each competes for the championship in a double-elimination bracket.

    Local businesses, companies, and organizations may sponsor teams to participate in the tournament. Each team is then paired with all-star athletes to compete for the championship. Some of this year’s all-stars include Former NC State greats: Josh Powell, Chris Corchiani, CJ Williams, and Marcus Melvin.

    The free event is both a fundraiser as well as a community-oriented occasion to educate the public on the way disability is viewed. Admission is free and the games will run from 10am-4:30pm.

    There will be a silent auction and raffle for a 5-day cruise that are open to the public.

    A Vision to Change Lives Via Adaptive Sports

    Ashley Thomas, founder and executive director, started Bridge II Sports in 2007 with a vision to change lives through adaptive sports.

    August Madness is a chance for our community to experience what individuals with physical disabilities can do, rather than see the limitations. It is a fun and competitive tournament, and we are excited about the continued growth of the event.

    Sponsors for this year’s event include: Capitol Broadcasting Company, Van Products, Inc. and PNC Arena.

    The doors open at 9am, and the event is open to the public. All proceeds go to Bridge II Sports.

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