Let’s Dance!

When I was young, I always wanted to dance. I danced in my room, backyard, in front of the television, and wherever I could without driving my parents, brother, and our poor dog crazy. Music was always important to me, and it still is today. I finally took my first, official dance class two years ago. I looked around, eyeing up the other (much younger) participants, but my nervousness and awkwardness soon dissipated and wow… what a release! Dance is a great outlet for anyone, even for individuals who use scooters or power wheelchairs. Research shows that dance can be a HUGE stress reliever—and it’s an excellent workout too! Please keep in mind that it took me about 20 years to get myself out on the dance floor for a class. If [...]

Happy 131st Birthday FDR!

How does a great leader approach a serious mobility issue? To find out, I took a look at one of the most famous disabled of all time: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR contracted polio the same year I was born. Until my research, I never realized his circumstances shared many similarities with my own. Of course, I most likely will never be presidential material and I wasn't fully diagnosed with multiple sclerosis until I was 73. FDR, on the other hand, was paralyzed at 39 while campaigning for the office.  But the actual details, many evident in the new movie Hyde Park on the Hudson, were largely unpublicized. FDR was paralyzed from the waist down. Though I am not paralyzed myself, we both have the similar bowel and urinary issues, [...]

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 [...]

Let’s Get Positive!

Depression can creep up on you like a silent rainstorm brewing. The seasonal changes can also play a big part. When you leave for work in the darkness and return in darkness, life seems a little… gloomy, quite frankly! Let’s fight those dreary, sad feelings with some mood lifting techniques.  I tried to find some strategies other than the usual “get your eight hours of sleep”.  Medications can help, but they are not cheap and may cause side effects. How do you disengage yourself from those lackluster feelings? Getting outside can be a chore sometimes, but it can tremendously elevate your mood. How-to-fight-depression.com emphasized this important concept on their website. You will reap the benefits, whether you are sitting outside [...]

Eye-Tracking Technology to Keep an Eye on

Assistive technologies are making daily mundane tasks that many take for granted a whole lot easier for the disabled and mobility-challenged. The overall goal for researchers that work on these technologies is to help the client achieve more independence. Imagine trying to use a computer without the use of your arms and hands. How would you control the mouse and keyboard? That's the problem that Tobii Rex and eyeCan are currently trying to fix. Tobii Rex With the Tobii Rex, you can control the cursor using just your eyes. Currently, the user must click a button on the keyboard in order for the device to “click” what you’re looking at; however, the technology is still quite impressive, and I’m sure accessibility can only get [...]

Independent Living Centers

It’s been over a half century, but I remember when... Each individual living with a disability faced his or her own challenges largely on their own. They had unique problems and it was difficult to know where to turn for assistance or even advice. Independent Living Centers were created specifically to handle that issue. They exist in every state. If you have never visited one, you should consider it, especially if you have a disability. You may find the help you need in dealing with all sorts of issues. Whether the one closest to you is an ILC or a CIL (Center for Independent Living), you will find they are community based, cross-disability oriented and non-profit and they are operated by people who have their own disabilities. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Judged

So you've been judged inadequate. So what? Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. - Matthew 7:1-2. I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of loving friends and I'd never expect an untoward reaction to my mobility challenge or my method of dealing with a sharply increasing walking disability. At times I find myself on my own in a public setting and I get the occasional stare or attempt to help me. I am aware that my initial reactions were really an expression of pride (strange, that's the brand of my scooter) and I realize the error is in my reaction. Instead, I tend to accept the offer of help or ignore the stares. [...]

Shame on Us

Disability hate crime, which can occur in many forms, is a blight on the public image of entire countries. It constitutes a violation of a disabled person's human rights and dignity. A scan of headlines out of the UK is enough to scare anyone in a wheelchair or disability scooter. Such activity does not seem rampant here in the States, but in the UK it seems to make headlines on a daily basis. According to a report from the British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), disabled people in the UK face harassment, insult and attack almost as a matter of routine. A "collective denial" among police, government and other public bodies means little is done to challenge the situation, the government's human rights watchdog has concluded [...]