BLOG – Website Makes Accessible Travel Better

The sky is the limit with user-powered rating site

Planning a trip can be an intimidating but exhilarating decision — especially for someone in a wheelchair. After the destination is chosen, spending the time doing all the proper research is critical – particularly when traveling alone. Things like, making sure the airline knows you’re coming and can store your wheelchair during flight, checking out the transportation options upon arrival, selecting restaurants that have proper ramps and elevators – and the all-important hotel room. Will it really have all the accessible necessities for a comfortable stay?

Even when all the fieldwork is completed and many, many professional agents over the phone and email have confirmed the checklist of needs – you finally get to the hotel and there is no roll-in shower. For some people with disabilities, this means no bathing at all during the trip. Yuck!

That’s exactly what happened to Brett Heising, founder of brettapproved.com during an important business trip. The hotel moved him across town – just so he could have

Brett Heising, Founder of BrettApproved.com

Brett Heising, Founder of brettapproved.com

something most others find very basic – a proper place to bathe. Because the new accommodations were not to his liking, it caused him to have to stop and research his surroundings all over again; something he had not budgeted any time for.

Heising was born with cerebral palsy. This makes it difficult for Heising to walk, so he usually uses a manual wheelchair.

After this fiasco along with several similar frustrating trips gone wrong, Heising decided to invent a service that would change the way people with disabilities travel. Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s a Body Stabilizer

Pull and hold the body to the table

It’s called a handhold and it helps individuals with certain types of paralysis pull and then hold themselves up to the table. screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-12-20-04-pm

By gripping the handhold with one hand, it allows the person’s trunk to become more stable, resulting in increased coordination. It also allows the user to perform daily activities such as reading, writing, or playing games. The handhold can be used on any smooth, hard surface, and features a 4″ diameter suction cup that provides the necessary suction when the user is pulling up on the handhold. Continue reading

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BLOG – Breaking the Bad News

It's not what you say, it's what they hear.

Nobody likes to deliver bad news, including doctors. When the diagnosis is paralysis, there has been a long history of keeping patients in the dark for fear that knowing the facts will cause patients to give up hope for a fulfilling life. Current medical ethics dictatescreen-shot-2017-02-13-at-1-59-29-pm that patients and families be told the truth. Today, the questions focus on how and when to deliver the bad news–and on how much patients really hear and understand.

Thea Flaum, founder of FacingDisability.com has conducted on-camera interviews of almost 100 people with spinal cord injuries and members of their families. And when she asked people,” How did you develop an understanding of the injury?” she discovered – regardless of how and when the prognosis was delivered – people only “got” the news when they were ready to hear it. “What’s more,” Flaum says, “ no matter how wrenching, how anguished, how great their resistance to hearing the news – no matter how clumsily or carelessly the bad news was delivered – it did not seem to affect how they coped with their injuries or the way they lead their post-injury lives.”

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-2-30-01-pmMarie, who was injured in 1998 at the age of 22, and has quadriplegia said, “Denial is a great thing. I knew in the back of my head what I was dealing with, but there was also that hopeful piece. Maybe the injury isn’t quite as permanent as they’re saying. But that came gradually. I was being practical and planning, and trudging forward, and doing my therapy, but not completely losing hope that I would regain some movement.” Today, Marie coordinates the SCI mentoring program at a major rehabilitation hospital. Continue reading

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BLOG – Special Treatment for Women with SCI

Women make up 20 percent of the SCI community

Only 20 percent of all spinal cord injuries happen to women. As a result, most treatments are designed for men. But treating men and women in the same way isn’t always practical. Although many of the psychological and medical needs are similar, women with paralysis have other specific needs.

Heather Taylor, PhD

Heather Taylor, PhD

Heather Taylor, PHD, Psychologist & Director of Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research, TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston, says though reproductive needs are the most obvious, and even most pressing, women with paralysis have other specific needs. “It’s important that women recognize they are different,” Taylor says. You can watch Taylor talk about women with spinal cord injury by clicking here: “what-about-women? Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s an Adaptive Computer Keyboard!

Keyless keyboard makes typing easier

The OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard is an adapted computer keyboard and mouse that requires no finger or wrist motion to operate. Two dome shaped controllers provide all 128 screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-12-30-39-pmkeys and mouse functions.

It’s been designed for anyone who has hand or finger issues that keep them from using a regular keyboard and mouse, or for those who want to type more comfortably. Two accessible domes replace keys to minimize hand and wrist exertion, creating a pain-free typing experience.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-12-22-30-pm

Video instructions for the Orbitouch

This American-made computer keyboard alternative has helped individuals with disabilities or injuries become more productive, connected, and most of all, independent. The powerful communication tool is simple to learn and easy to use. An ergonomic keyboard and mouse in one, it is an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard. It requires no software installation and comes with everything needed to begin typing quickly. The keyboard helps individuals with hand, finger injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, arthritis, and autism.

The simple sliding and navigating of the two domes produces/types the desired character. Once the user’s hand, arm, or prosthetic device is placed on the domes, all typing and mouse movements can be executed without ever removing them. It can even allow the user to type while wearing boxing gloves!

You can find one for sale here.

For more about assistive technology listen to one of our therapists talk about adapting a screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-1-36-43-pmcomputer for someone with a high-level spinal cord injury.

 

 

 

Do you know anyone that uses a keyless keyboard? How do they like it? Leave a comment below!

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Quiz Answer – it’s an adaptive dog leash!

Originally used for a bike - clever leash adapts to a wheelchair as well

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-3-55-27-pmThe bike tow leash began as a bike leash for running and exercising a dog safely. The popular leash quickly found its way to being used on wheelchairs also. The stiff yet flexible design keeps the leash from getting tangled — and the dog from getting too close or in front of the individual. The leash keeps both the rider and the dog safe. It makes an outing with a dog pleasurable, hands-free and fun! Continue reading

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Answer – It’s an adaptive shampoo tray!

Water and soap drain away while sitting up

There’s nothing like clean hair to help someone feel refreshed.

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-9-56-13-amThis shampoo tray aid is designed to remain and fit comfortably while allowing the individual to have their hair shampooed when sitting upright in any chair. The device has the ability to conform over and around any chair and should be placed between the back of the individual’s head and the shampoo sink behind them. It allows the individual to remain upright in a comfortable seated position — and is helpful to the hairdresser or caregiver because it can reduce the risk of back strain. Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s an adaptive toilet transfer board

The Personal-Aide Wheelchair to Toilet Transfer Board is made for tight spaces in just the right places.

Transfer boards are used to aid mobility when the feet and legs are fully or partially impaired. This one was made especially with the toilet in mind. The board has curved notches that will securely hug certain areas of a locked-down wheelchair and can gently screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-27-09-pmhook to the curves of a toilet seat.

This model has a shorter chair-end, which may make transfers easier for some users with certain types of mobility issues.

These transfer boards have been designed in cooperation with clinicians to optimize the strength-to-weight capacity and have been shaped for specific tasks. All boards are made as thin and light as possible using durable, multi-ply Baltic Birch finished with a non-marring, Continue reading

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Quiz Answer – It’s a Dressing Aid!

Bra Angel assists wth putting on a bra

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-1-08-40-pm The “Bra Angel” was designed by an occupational therapist to aid women who find it difficult to bring both ends of a brassiere together when dressing. It’s especially helpful if hand weakness is an issue. That’s because the clasping mechanism can be further adapted to assist making bra closure and application simpler and easier.

The clever tool can be used with most brassiere type as the telescopic action adjusts easily for size. screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-1-08-28-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Bra Angel” is durable, latex free and lightweight.

One size fits all. You can see one online here.

You can see and hear a lot more about getting dressed with a spinal cord injury by looking here. screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-1-15-31-pm

 

 

 

 

Thank you for playing – please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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BLOG – Expecting The Unexpected after

Spinal Cord Injury

FacingDisability.com has nearly 2,000 videos of family members answering real-life questions about how they cope with a spinal cord injury.

1-smallestOne of the more unexpected findings we discovered during the hundreds of interviews we videotaped over the years, was that the life changes caused by the injury could ultimately be quite positive. Here’s what we found:

 

 

 

The achievements after their injury were often greater than if they were never hurt at all

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-56-11-pmPatricio, injured at age 24 – “I was either going to jail (before injury) or six feet under.”

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-56-26-pmMichelle, injured at age 21 – “I found a new career!”

 

Ginger, injured at age 44 “I was forced to examine my values and screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-55-26-pmpriorities.”

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-56-45-pm Tony, injured at age 27 “I became a father.”

 

 

For parents – it’s just another beginning

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-58-17-pm Clarissa; son injured at age 19  – “I became interested in disabilities rights.”

 

Mary; daughter injured at age 22 “…gradually letting go of that and screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-58-01-pmjust experiencing your new life was the best part.”

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-58-09-pmCarol Ann; son injured at age 20 “him going to Harvard Business School; that’s been such an experience for the whole family.”

 

 

For siblings – spinal cord injury can add jealousy, anger ad guilt — but not forever.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-00-39-pmJavier; sister injured at age 7 “Growing up, there was more attention coming to her. And when I was younger, I was kind of mad about it. But now…I mean, it happened, and obviously, she’s going to need more attention, more help, and my parents need my help.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-00-58-pmEunice; sister injured at age 7 “I was the oldest one, I was already 14 and I was about to turn 15. I didn’t understand the gravity of it all until several months passed.”

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-01-04-pmJennifer; brother injured at age 23 “I felt many times that I wish I had done something that night that would have changed the course of his evening. It was the week before Christmas — maybe if I had just called to ask about what some of his holiday plans were, maybe it would have offset the night five minutes or so; that would have changed it.”

 

And for children with a parent facing a new or established injury…

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-16-05-pmElizabeth; father became paraplegic before she was born “My dad being the way he is has given me a direction in my life because I’ve always participated in and been curious to learn about the wheelchair, to ask about the disability.”

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-15-50-pmJennifer; mother injured when she was 14 “I understood it on one level, but it was also very frustrating, I sort of felt like I have all these questions, and I’m a teenager, and I don’t understand, I don’t understand why it’s not about me. It was hard.”

 

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-15-58-pmSean; mother injured he was in his 20’s “I think a lot of the unknown…I’d never known anyone close, that had that sort of condition.”

Keeping an open mind and keeping up with therapies associated with spinal cord injury can make a huge difference in quality-of-life down the road. Many individuals are happy and living fulfilled lives with all levels of injury.

How has your life or the life of a loved-one changed as a result of paralysis? Feel free to leave your comments and insights.

 

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