Tips for Planning Your Wheelchair-Accessible Retreat

Ready for some winter rest and relaxation? Winters can be brutal in some parts of the US, and it can definitely be a great time to escape to the sunny Caribbean or warm countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Whether it’s the beaches of Mexico or the Tropics of Africa, traveling abroad may be the exact reprieve you need to escape from the real world and embark on an adventure or even relax without worry. However as you may know, travelling isn’t always friendly for those confined to wheelchairs, especially in countries with different laws in place for the disabled. While regulations generally make airports easily accessible, it can sometimes be difficult when travelling abroad. A great resource I came across was, [...]

How Research Can Change Lives

My first real experience with designing for people with disabilities came right after my senior year of college, when I was tasked with creating an improved self-catheterization tool for incomplete quadriplegics. It was quite an eye opening experience and a wonderful opportunity for me – an able-bodied 22 year old – to put myself into the shoes of someone who was no longer able to easily complete many of the mundane tasks that I took for granted every day. I realized that I had a passion for designing products that sincerely consider the cognitive and physical capabilities of the people that will be using them. I entered graduate school at Georgia Tech to further advance my design education and concurrently took a position at the Georgia [...]

3 Ways You Can Help People with Disabilities through Technology

People with disabilities are often overlooked in the world of technology. Too often, not enough resources are devoted to help them grasp the great content around the web that every other person can enjoy. However, such disabilities are part of human nature and should not be forgotten. Here are some ways that technology can help. Tablets for Those with Limited Speech Abilities Realizing that your kid’s ability to speak is impaired is always sad for a parent. However, there are ways to help your child develop their language abilities. Tablets have helped kids develop speech where conventional means have failed. This is due mainly to the intuitive touch screens and the associated software. There are applications that can teach [...]

Angels Among Us

There is a place I visit on Sundays where everyone is welcome. It is also a place that believes in helping the whole community. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta works with a lot of organizations that benefit society as a whole. disABILITY LINK is one organization whose table I visited last Sunday at the church. I am glad I did! This is a wonderful grassroots organization that specifically "promotes the rights of all people with disabilities". I love this agency because they concentrate on people who need the most support. This dynamic organization can help you find employment and most importantly, provide follow up support to help you successfully maintain the position. disABILITY LINK is a great way to network and connect [...]

Enough with Excessive ADA Regulations!

My disability has caused me to be troubled by unequal access in public buildings and streets. For years I have been a champion of the Americans with Disabilities Act which I truly felt was bringing equalization to the table. With that said, there are some times I think my personal access needs to take the back seat to practicality. For instance, in areas of pure recreation the ADA is running amuck. I used to always enjoy a round of miniature golf, especially on courses that featured a rough, hilly terrain. As long as I was walking handily, I was able to get along with the typically narrow pathways. Now, the ADA wants all mini golf courses to be flatter and handicap-accessible. The 2010 ADA standards for Accessible Design require that [...]

Violence Breaks out between Turkish Wheelchair Basketball Fans

“Violence Breaks out between Turkish Wheelchair Basketball Fans”—this might sound like a headline straight out of a gag magazine, but believe me, this ACTUALLY happened, and there's video proof. The Huffington Post reports that this past weekend, a brawl broke out at a Turkish wheelchair basketball game between the fans of the league rivals.  The fight became so intense between the Galatasaray and Besiktas club fans that the police had to intervene with tear gas to disperse the rioting crowd. While arrests were of course made, what’s upsetting is that many of the athletes were injured and their wheelchairs and other property destroyed. Rivalries definitely make watching sports more intense and exciting, but isn’t this a [...]

Nerve Stimulation: Future Cure for Paralysis?

Similar to our last post on paralyzed dogs regaining mobility, today’s featured article is about restoring functionality after spinal injury. US News Health ran an article a couple of weeks ago on a small study performed by stimulating nerves in the brain and wrist. In this study, the stimulation of nerves allowed temporarily increased hand movement in those with partial spinal cord injuries. While the study focused on short-term effects, researchers are hoping that these findings can help open doors in terms of regaining better hand mobility after cervical spine injuries. The cervical spine is the upper portion of the spinal cord, and damage to this area can often times cause partial or full impairment in the hands and arms. The [...]

Paralyzed Dogs Regain Mobility After Cambridge Study

In a new study, thirty four pet dogs with paralysis in their hind legs were given the chance to hopefully walk again. ABC News reports in this article that olfactory “ensheathing” cells were extracted from the dogs’ noses and then implanted into their spines. While not too much is known about why this worked as well as it did, something about these regenerative cells helped to restore mobility to the dogs’ legs. In one of the subjects, the dog was only able to walk on a treadmill using his front legs as his hind legs hung limply. Three months after the treatment, he was able to walk on all legs using the harness for support, and after another three months, he was able to walk without the harness altogether. Much more research [...]

Portable Bath Bench and Accessibility

Access-Able Designs, a company started by quadriplegic CEO Allen Garrett, has created a new innovative product to serve the mobility-impaired. Their ADA-Compliant Portable Bath Bench is now available to the public for sale. Custom-made to allow for easy wheelchair transfers and weighing in at only 24 pounds, its sturdy frame can accommodate up to 420 pounds! Here's a link to the full article detailing both Access-Able Designs and their new portable bath bench. Handicap-accessible products are becoming increasingly common and effective, but we still have a far way to go before accessibility is no longer an issue. As you may recall, we published a blog post a few weeks ago from Reg about “The Blueprints for a Handicap-Friendly World,” [...]

When Working Out is an Exercise in Patience

Getting around in the winter is a little more challenging than during the rest of the year, and I am beginning to learn what this means for the mobility challenged. I recently joined the ranks of "gym rats" in hopes of getting more exercise. Besides losing weight and building strength, my real desire is to increase my flexibility and getting some movement into my all-but-petrified legs. I have a gym located exactly one mile from my condo. It is a mile I can travel safely on my mobility scooter and because my three-wheel Pride Go-Go Elite can adroitly get in and around fitness equipment for easy transfer from my mobility scooter. But now I am finding the real trick is keeping myself warm for the one mile trip. I need to negotiate [...]