Tag Archives: disability

  • 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?

  • Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Disability and Travel

    by Pink Sherbet Photography on flickr ccAt Van Products, our dedication to our customers goes beyond simply providing buyers with high quality, used wheelchair accessible vans. Rather, we understand what it is like to live with a physical disability and/or limited mobility, and we make sure that each of the used handicapped vans we sell  is properly equipped to safely transport you wherever your travels may take you.

    Our mobility specialists work 1:1 to ensure that each used wheelchair van is customized according to the unique mobility needs of the driver/passenger.

    Below, we've offered some travel tips for those with disabilities. For additional information about our used wheelchair vans or other mobility products, contact us today.

    3 Tips for Disabled Travel

    Just as with any sort of travel plans, traveling when you have a disability also requires a little bit of planning to help ensure a safe, pleasant trip. Check out some of our tips for disabled travelers below.

    #1 - CALL AHEAD.

    Before you leave for your travels, call ahead to the venue, or hotel that you are heading to, and verify that there are accommodations for travelers with special needs. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to call ahead - at least 48 hours or more, depending on the length of your trip and distance that you are traveling.


    If you are renting a wheelchair van and driving to your destination, today, there are numerous ways to plan your road trip. Most states provide easy access to mile markers and rest stop information. For example, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) offers a list of rest areas along the 1-95 corridor, including mile marker and handicap accessible information.


    Before you leave for any trip, always check with your doctor or healthcare provider first. Let him/her know the details of your trip, including geographic area, length of stay, and mode of transportation to get there. For example, there may be limited medications available in a certain area; or if you are planning on taking a long flight to a destination, your doctor may be able to advice you as to specific steps you need to take to ensure a safer trip.

    by fontplaydotcom on flickr cc

    Other Great Sites for Disabled Travelers

    The following is a brief list of other great sites for disabled travelers. Have a suggestion for another resource? Let us know in the comments!

    Mobility International USA (MIUSA)

    • Founded in 1981, Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a disability-led non-profit organization headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, USA working to advance the rights of people with disabilities globally.

    Disabled Travelers

    • This is a great resource, dedicated to providing helpful information related to accessible travel. From finding travel agents, to travel companions, access guides and more, check out their comprehensive listing of accessible travel information.


    Cruise Planners - Easy Access Travel

    • Cruise Planners is dedicated to meeting the special needs of disabled and mature travelers by providing honest, necessary information to help make disabled travel more enjoyable.


    Flying Wheels Travel

    • Flying Wheels Travel provides individual travel arrangements, customized escorted tours and group travel experiences all over the globe — serving people with physical disabilities and chronic illness worldwide.


    Disabled World (Disability Travel)

    • Disabled World offers a U.S. travel section for disabled persons, which covers reviews of destinations, accommodation guides, and travel tips for persons with disabilities traveling in the USA.
  • April 2015 is Parkinson's Awareness Month

    April 2015 is Parkinson's Awareness Month. In this article, we take a closer look at Parkinson's Disease, from the history to current treatments, research, symptoms, and resources.

    What is Parkinson's Disease?

    Parkinson's Disease dates back to the mid 1800s when a British scientist, James Parkinson, first described "the shaking palsy" in an essay [source]. Today, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the disease is defined as a group of motor system disorders, "...which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

    Parkinson's disease is difficult to diagnose accurately as there are no blood or lab tests to help with diagnosis. As a result, diagnosing the disease is usually based on medical history and a neurological exam.

    by VinothChandar on flickr cc

    5 Facts About Parkinson's Disease

    Think you know everything there is to know about Parkinson's? Take a look at some of the following facts regarding this degenerative disease:

    #1 -  Parkinson's is chronic & progressive.

    Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

    #2 - Parkinson's affects many people.

    Parkinson's disease affects at approximately 1.5 million people in the United States.

    #3 - Parkinson's mostly affects older people.

    Parkinson's disease most commonly affects people over age 60; however, it can occur as early as age 20.

    #4 - Parkinson's has several telltale symptoms/signs.

    • Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following.
    • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
    • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
    • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
    • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination *[source]

    #5 - Parkinson's affects people differently.

    Each person with Parkinson's experiences symptoms differently. For example, some people may experience tremors as their primary symptom while others may experience problems with balance only.

    Looking at Parkinson's Disease in the Media

    In the following video, The Doctors, E.R. Physician Dr. Travis Stork, explains how Parkinson's disease upsets the balance of dopamine in the body, affecting movement and coordination, and describes some of the early warning signs of the disease. Additionally, May May Ali guest stars and briefly discusses her father, Muhammad Ali's struggle with Parkinson's disease as well as how viewers can find support.

    Parkinson's Resources:

    Find out more information about Parkinson's Disease by taking advantage of the following resources:

  • Winter Safety Tips for People with Disabilities

    As the many parts of the country deal with harsh winter weather and winter storms, people with disabilities will want to take extra precautions as some disabilities may increase limitations, such as being able to regulate/maintain body heat.

    The following are some helpful winter safety tips for those with disabilities to keep you safer and warmer this winter!

    by kelly.sikkema on flickr cc

    Tips to Help Disabled Persons Stay Safer This Winter

    If you (or someone you know) suffer from a disability, be sure to:

    #1 - Wear multiple layers of clothing.

    It is important to wear layered clothing during the winter because it keeps the body warm. Besides this, it is far easier to take layers off than to face the alternative: not having enough layers on to keep you warm. Additionally, you should be careful to wear a scarf, insulated gloves, doubled up socks, and a pair of lined, winter boots if going outdoors.

    #2 - Carry a cell phone.

    Even though it seems like a no-brainer, you should always carry your cell phone with you - even if it's to go to your mailbox. Too often, you hear about folks who manage to lock themselves out of their homes or out of their vehicles. Depending on where you live, you could be waiting a while before help arrives if you don't have a cell phone to call for help immediately.

    #3 - Sign up with the Special Needs Registry in your area.

    Each county within each state of the United States has what is called a "Special Needs Registry." This allows those residents who have special needs or who require special assistance to register with their county. In the event that there is a natural disaster or an evacuation, or something else that would require other assistance, your information will be on file in the area that you live in, making it more accessible to get the help that you need, when you need it most.

    Refer to your local community to find out more information. Here is an example of the Special Needs Registry in Fairfax County, VA.

    #4 - Always stock up on non-perishable food items.

    Whether you rely on home-delivered meals or have a used wheelchair accessible van for your own transportation, winter weather can affect EVERYONE.  In the event that you are advised to stay off of the roads until the weather has cleared, always be sure to keep plenty of nonperishable food in your pantry to last at least several days.

    #5 - Put together a prescription plan of action with your medical staff.

    In the even that you are shut in for an extended period of time due to weather, have a plan of action ahead of time to figure out how to handle prescription pill refill needs and other medical treatments/equipment, etc. This also includes having a back up plan in place in case your medical needs require the use of a power source, such as a battery pack or electrical source.

    For additional information about used handicap vans, contact us today by filling out our simple, online form here, or by calling us toll-free: 1.800.209.6133.

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