Scooter Transportation: A Chicken or Egg” Problem?

When my wife and I decided we had to do something to make transporting my mobility scooter easier, we quickly encountered a chicken-or-egg type of problem. At the time, she was driving a Ford Focus. Though the scooter easily breaks down into four pieces that fit neatly into the trunk (but with no room for anything else), lifting each piece over the wall of the trunk to get it in became an issue. If we went shopping and made four or five stops that meant my wife was having put the strain own her back muscles 8-10 times a trip. Besides this impact on her, the trips became less enjoyable as I didn't want her to have to unload and load the scooter so many times. I often opted to sit in the car rather than put her through the hassle. We [...]

Winter Funerals

Funerals are very personal ceremonies whether they are for a close relative, a friend, or yourself. I recently went to an important one myself. You’d think mobility access would be taken for granted in situations like this, even in winter. Nope. Despite the fact most New England funeral homes are made over Victorian homes that originally included several porches and stairs, access is not something that has been overlooked. I’ve always seen street level entrances or ramps suitable for electric wheel chairs or mobility scooters as needed. Parking lots are generally clear of snow and well-marked. I did find the interior to be a bit crowded, particularly with both a power wheelchair and a mobility scooter arriving at the same [...]

Getting the Most of Disabled Helping Disabled

So, you are riding a mobility scooter and life seems pretty good even, though you do face a few limitations that sometimes make you feel like a second class citizen. You are at peace with your life, why stir up the pot with a trip to an Independent Living Center? The basic idea behind the independent living concept is that the disabled, regardless of the manner, have a similar background and a shared struggle that can be abetted by banding together, at least on some issues. The idea that disabled people are the best experts in dealing with their own needs is a valuable concept. I recently saw a report on an ILC in the southwest that helped a gentleman who lost his voice due to cancer. It wasn't too difficult to find an augmentative [...]

Charging Stations and Traffic Rules Proposed in Macon

Macon-Bibb County in Georgia, the country’s first “Age-Friendly Community” according to the AARP and the WHO, has proposed new legislation to help motorized wheelchair and mobility scooter users navigate city streets. In this article by Jim Gaines of Macon.com, he writes that City Councilman Frank Tompkins isn't taking the AARP title for granted; as a strong advocate for the disabled, he is asking for four charging stations for mobility aids in high traffic areas of downtown Macon. This will allow for electric wheelchair and mobility scooter users to make a brief pit stop to recharge before setting back out in the city. Gaines is also proposing some laws to help keep scooter and wheelchair users safe on the streets of Macon. Traffic [...]

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 WheelchairTraveling.com, [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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,” [...]

The Blueprints for a Handicap-Friendly World

I noticed an article in the press the other day about the first handicapped designed home (designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright) being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 1949 Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House was designed by the famed designer. Mr. Laurent was a World War II veteran who used a wheelchair. The Laurent House was the only structure Wright specifically designed for an individual with a disability. Of more than 1,000 designs, Wright considered the home to be one of the 35 most important works of his career. The Laurent family lived in the home for 60 years. The Laurent House Foundation acquired the house and FLW furnishings in February 2012. The article got me to thinking, what if more designers [...]