Americans With Disabilities Face Too Many Bumps in the Road

Our survey of Americans with disabilities revealed that:

  • 28% encounter a barrier to a building, transportation or service once a week
  • 20% encounter a barrier at least once a day
  • 36% live in a home that is not wheelchair accessible; of this group:
  • 70% have steps leading into the home
  • 51% cannot afford to make their homes wheelchair accessible
  • 25% say they find ways to “deal with” the challenges and inconveniences
  • 16% say that landlord/homeowner/condo board won’t allow modifications

Top 5 challenges to wheelchair/scooter users:

  1. Unsafe sidewalks due to hazardous slopes, uplifted/deteriorated/blocked sections of sidewalk.
  2. Narrow aisles/thruways in public places
  3. Non-compliant curbs and crosswalks
  4. Blocked wheelchair ramps
  5. Buildings that are completely inaccessible

In January 1987, Robert L. Burgdorf Jr. drafted the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a response to an appalling problem: widespread, systemic, inhumane discrimination against people with disabilities.” On July 26, 1990 the bill that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public was signed into law. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Problem solved, right? Not exactly.

In March 2017, we surveyed 554 Americans with disabilities (including people who live with or are companions to people with disabilities). The provisions of the ADA have effectively removed many barriers, but our survey revealed that far too many still remain.

Barriers Everywhere

Americans with disabilities often encounter barriers that prevent them from entering a building, accessing transportation or accessing a service. 28% of survey respondents say that, on average, they encounter a barrier once per week. 12% said it happens multiple times per day!

What Gets in the Way?

Those who depend on a wheelchair or scooter (or accompany someone who does) were asked to rank a list of common barriers and obstacles that prevent them from entering a building, accessing transportation or accessing a service in order of the most frequent challenge to the least frequent challenge. The #1 complaint: Unsafe sidewalks due to things like hazardous slopes, uplifted and/or deteriorated sections and sections of sidewalk blocked by poles, trees and other obstructions.

Crumbling sidewalks and roads are a common sight in many communities. In 2015, the city of Los Angeles agreed to fix a huge backlog of crumbling, impassable sidewalks and remove other barriers that prevented wheelchair access–a violation of the ADA. The L.A. City Council took this action only after attorneys for the disabled filed a lawsuit.

At Home, You’re On Your Own

36% of our survey respondents who depend on a wheelchair or scooter, or live with someone who does, say that their home is not wheelchair accessible.

70% face a huge hurdle before they can even enter their homes: STEPS! Once inside, 55% say narrow doors impede their ability to maneuver around the home. 53% are inconvenienced by inaccessible bathroom fixtures.

What’s the Big Deal?

Why wouldn’t a person who needs a wheelchair or scooter simply renovate his or her home to make it completely wheelchair accessible? The #1 reason: money. 

51% of survey respondents said they can’t afford to make alterations to their homes. While some federal and state organizations and private non-profit charities offer grants to subsidize remodeling costs, Americans who depend on a wheelchair or scooter are typically responsible for the costs associated with modifying their homes, even those who live in a rental property.

Many of the 25% who say they find ways to deal with the challenges and inconveniences of living in a home that is not wheelchair accessible certainly have a reduced ability to live independently or even spend time alone. When the challenge is a flight of steps, assistance from one (preferably two) people is required, which adds another challenge: finding people who are ready, able and willing to assist whenever needed.

Define “Reasonable”

Under the ADA and the Fair Housing Act, Americans who have a disability, can ask for a reasonable accommodation for that disability.

16% of our survey respondents say that they haven’t made their home wheelchair accessible because a landlord/homeowner or condo board won’t allow them to make alterations to the home.

According to this
joint statement by the US Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development: “A request for a reasonable accommodation may be denied if providing the accommodation is not reasonable – i.e., if it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the provider, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester’s disability-related needs.”

Try to make sense of that.

Willful Disregard for the Law

The ADA guarantees protections to people with disabilities but too often, rules are broken, provisions ignored and ambiguities exploited without consequence to anyone but the people with disabilities.

Essentially, a landlord or anyone who has authority over the property can use the “undue burden” clause to deny a request for accommodations. The person with a disability can file a Fair Housing Act complaint to challenge that decision and in the meantime endure barriers that may be in violation of the law.

Joyce Forrest, a Washington DC resident, risks her life everyday just to travel to her bus stop in her wheelchair. Matt Trott of Falls Church, VA, one of the wealthiest counties in Virginia, faces similar obstacles. Like many wheelchair users, they suffer tremendous inconveniences and dangers, and they do not have the same opportunities as everyone else, but local officials do nothing. Apparently, it takes a lawsuit or a news team to get government officials to look into the problems. Not fix, look into.

Too often, people with disabilities have to fight long and hard for the rights and protections afforded under the ADA.

What is Disability Discrimination in New York?

New York State Flag

What Laws Apply to Disability Discrimination in New York?

If you work in New York, you are protected from disability discrimination at the workplace by both federal and state law – the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).  If you work in New York City, you have an added layer of protection under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

What are Your Rights?

Discrimination on the basis of disability is illegal.  If you have suffered an adverse employment action (e.g., you have been fired, laid off, suspended, subjected to a hostile work environment, demoted, etc.) and you believe that your disability played a role in the decision to take such adverse employment action, you should contact an employment lawyer.

How is a Disability Defined?


Under the ADA, to qualify as “disabled,” a person must have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual,” have a “record of such an impairment,” or be “regarded as having such an impairment.”

In 2008, the ADA Amendments Act was passed and added the following guidance to how “disability” should be defined such that:

  • “The definition of disability in this chapter shall be construed in favor of broad coverage … to the maximum extent permitted by [law].
  • “An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.”
  • “An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.”
  • “The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as (I) medication, medical supplies, equipment … prosthetics … hearing aids and cochlear implants … mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies; (II) use of assistive technology; (III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or (IV) learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.”

What is a Major Life Activity?

“[M]ajor life activities include … caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.”

The term “major life activity” “also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including … functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.”

What is it to “Be Regarded as Having an Impairment”?

“[a]n individual meets the requirement of ‘being regarded as having such an impairment’ if the individual … has been subjected to [discrimination] … because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.”


The NYSHRL defines disability as “ (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term shall be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held.”

Note that this definition is a bit more limited than the ADA because it requires an employee to show that his or her disability can be reasonably accommodated.  On the other hand, the definition is a bit broader in that it does not exclude temporary or transitory conditions.


The NYCHRL offers the broadest definition of disability.  Under the NYCHRL, disability is defined as “any physical, medical, mental or psychological impairment, or a history or record of such impairment.”

Physical, Medical, Mental or Psychological Impairment

“Physical, medical, mental, or psychological impairment” is defined as “an impairment of any system of the body; including … neurological … musculoskeletal … sense organs and respiratory organs… cardiovascular … reproductive … digestive and genito-urinary … hemic and lymphatic … immunological … the skin … endocrine system … or a mental or psychological impairment.”

What Damages Are Available?

Plaintiffs can recover damages for the following: reinstatement, compensatory damages (damages to compensate the employee for lost wages), punitive damages (damages to punish the employer for its act(s) of discrimination), injunctive relief (a court order forcing the employer to do – or not do – something), attorneys’ fees (the amount that a Plaintiffs’ attorney would be paid based on a reasonable hourly rate and the amount of time put in by the attorney) and costs (hard costs for litigation, e.g., filing fees, depositions, court costs, photocopies, mail, etc.).

What Other Laws Are at Play?

Wage Payment Laws – Are you sure you are being paid for all of your time worked?  Even if you are paid a salary or have a “manager” or “supervisor” title, you may still be entitled to overtime or other wages.  The laws at play here are the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the State New York Labor Law (NYLL)

Workers’ Compensation – If you suffered an injury at work, you may have a workers’ compensation claim.

Medical Leave Laws – Certain employees are entitled to unpaid leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  If you suffer an adverse employment action based upon taking or requesting leave (for yourself or a family member), you may have a claim under the FMLA.

What Should You Do?

If you have suffered an adverse employment action, and you believe that it is related to your physical condition and/or disability, you should absolutely call an employment lawyer.  We respond to all inquiries within 24 hours and offer free initial consultations.  Contact us today.

Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC Can Help

Granovsky & Sundaresh is a boutique labor and employment law firm with offices in New York City and Cleveland that helps employees with all aspects of employment law.  Our practice specializes in discrimination, severance negotiations, employee wages, medical leave and non-compete/non-disclosure agreements.  We offer free consultations and have a proven track record of results.  If you need help, call us to set up a free consultation today.

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5 tips how to get back on track after a knee injury

Knee injuries are no fun, because they not only come with pain, but they also limit your movements and take quite a long time to heal completely and for you to get back to where you were before the injury. Lucky there are thing you can do to aid in your knee injury recovery and to make this process take a bit less time than it usually would.

#1: Rest, ice, elevate

The vary first thing you should do when you are recovering from a knee injury is give your knee time to heal. If you start activity too soon, without the injury being properly healed, you can easily re-injure your knee and  even make the injury worse. So rest your knee and avoid putting stress or weight on it, if it still huts to do it. And start to walk on it only when that doesn’t hurt anymore. Then I would also recommend your icing your knee to keep the swelling down and to ease the pain that knee injuries bring, as well as elevating your knee when you aren’t standing will also provide pain relief as well as quicker healing.

#2: Talk to your doctor

Before you start any additional activity, you should talk to the doctor that is treating your injured knee. There are many different knee injuries that one can sustain, and they all also require different times to heal and different recovery process. Consult with your doctor as to when would be the best time for you to ease back into exercising and how to exactly do it, so you can do it without being scared that you will do something to hurt your knee again. You can even go to a physical therapist if you want, because these doctors specialize in injury recovery and will be able to provide you with the best possible advice.

#3: Stretch and strengthen

One of the first things to do, when your injury is beginning to heal and you want to get back on track of  being active and working out, is to stretch the knee and strengthen it. Many times knee injuries take your knee out of commission for several months, in which time the muscles around your knee can get weak and stiff. So do strengthening and stretching exercises with your injured knee, and your knee will be able to bare your weight and the stress of movement better, hurting less and letting you get back do exercising and doing simple everyday activities as soon as possible.

#4: Ease back into it

The most important thing to remember when you are starting to be active and working out after a knee injury is to ease into it. You absolutely cannot just start vigorous training, not only because you will be in excruciating pain if you do this, but also because that can hurt your knee again, throwing all of the healing that your injury had done out of the window and leaving your injured once again. Start slowly and make sure to intensify your workouts for about 10 to 15 % at most, because this way you won’t be over-working your injured knee, but still will be able to get back in shape.

#5: Compress your knee

Also think about getting a some sort of compress for your injured knee. It can be knee sleeves, simple elastic bandages that you tie around your knee or even basketball knee pads that often have the sleeve like abilities plus an added padding on the knee for shock absorption. This type of compression gear will keep your knee tight, in shape as well as will keep your joint warm for longer, which will all help you with the pain or discomfort you will be sure to feel at first when you start exercising after a knee injury.

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Wheelchair Bowling – Adapative Bowling Equipment Review

Many sports have been adapted for wheelchair users and bowling is a popular one. The American Wheelchair Bowling Association has more than 500 members and growing. Many bowlers enjoy the sport without the use of any special equipment. They are able to roll up to the foul line lock their brakes and throw the ball. However, in some cases a person’s disability may not make it that simple. In these situations, additional equipment may be needed. Luckily, there are is a wide range of adaptive bowling equipment created specifically to assist wheelchair bowlers, such as ball ramps, ball grip handles, and ball pushers.

Adaptive Equipment for Bowling in a Wheelchair

Maddak-Two-Piece-Bowling-RampThe first piece of equipment that wheelchair bowlers can use is a ball ramp. Ball ramps are perfect for bowlers who have limited range of motion because they allow the user to easily control the ball’s release from their lap. These ramps are usually made of lightweight aluminum and work by allowing the user to simply place the top end of the ball ramp over their lap and the bottom end at the foul line; the bowler then places the ball at the top of the ramp and then releases it down the lane.

Other popular bowling ball ramps works by allowing the user to press a large button/switch with light pressure from their hand or foot to activate the ball release for a guided roll down the lane.

An additional tool is the grip handle bowling ball. For wheelchair users, the grip handle allows for better power and easier control by allowing them to use a grip handle rather than finger holes. There are two parts to this special ball—a spring-loaded handle, and the bowling ball. Once the handle is released, it retracts into the ball, allowing it to roll smoothly down the lane.grip-handle-bowling

Finally, there are bowling ball pushers. These super simple tools give the bowler control over the force and the angle of their roll. Ball-pushers have an easy grip handle at one end and forked prong at the other. Simply use the stick to push and angle the ball down the lane. These are so simple in fact, you could DIY-it, if you so desired.bowling-ball-pusher-2

Using this knowledge and equipment can help make bowling a more competitive and fun sport for wheelchair users. Also, check with your local bowling alley, they may have special lanes or even hold regular wheelchair events.

By Dustin Via The Bowling Universe who’s mission is to help bowlers, of all skill levels, find great products that improve their game.

Three Ways to Help Your Child

All parents ask “What more can I do to help my child become the best he can be?”

 All parents are scared to death when told their newborn will likely not make it through the night.  My Mother and Dad were no exceptions.

During the first year of your child’s life, you are the center of his world. As the mother, you have carried this tiny human being within your womb, supplying it’s every need for entrance into this world.   As the father, you have been at your partner’s side, comforting her, choosing a name and enjoying planning the arrival of your son or daughter.

The day comes, and your dreams are about to burst into reality. But suddenly, something is wrong.  Your newborn is not placed into your arms but is instead rushed to a neonatal unit, leaving you more frightened and confused than you have ever felt in your lives.

Each passing day brings gratitude;  your baby is still alive, but you walk around with millions of questions and very few answers.  What did I do wrong?  You searched your head, trying to recount every moment of carrying your pregnancy.  You kept every doctor’s appointment; you ate right, never missed taking a vitamin.  You exercised, and dreamed of giving birth to a beautiful, healthy child.

Every newborn needs great care, but your little one needs more specialized care and handling.  You soon learn how to feed and attend to your child’s condition, and you do everything the doctors, nurses, therapists have instructed.

There are many things you as a parent can do to help your son or daughter progress that no one else can do.   Simple things costing very little financial burden can help your child reach goals.

Sleep tapes are a great way of helping your youngster gain self-confidence in hs ability to achieve the best his physical condition will allow.

Studies, such as the one done by Sid Kouider at the Ecole Normale  Supérieure in Paris, and his colleagues found that our brains are as active when we are asleep as when we are awake and capable of acting upon given concepts.

This means that no matter how damaged a brain is, it is still open to accepting positive suggestions, especially when drifting off or already asleep.  Unencumbered by grown-up issues, children’s brains are like sponges, ready and capable of soaking up all the positive reinforcement given to them.

When positive concepts are repeated over and over night after night, the brain translates these ideas to the body.

Sleep tapes can be found on the internet offering a variety of topics, anything from improving inner and outer health to positive reinforcements for champion bowlers.

Your voice is the best

The best way to help your child accept positive suggestions during sleep is to record a tape yourself.

Before birth, your baby knew your and your husband’s voice feeing your love and the comforting, safe sound of your words, sensing you were a safe, positive environment for growth and fulfillment of all of his needs.

Listening to your voice at night will sooth and help the things you say to be absorbed and translated, into action when your child is awake.

My Dad made the tapes.  I   loved his voice.   They relaxed me, and I believed everything he told me.  They became my bedtime stories that would come true.

At first, they were filled with concepts he wanted for my future; health, strength, a great unconditional love for myself and others, a great desire for knowledge, and the ability to learn quickly and easily.

It worked. Within a year, I went from a third-grade reading level to eighth-grade level.  The following fall I enter a regular high school, only a year older than my peers.

At fifteen, Dad encouraged me to write my night tapes.  We sat for hours deciding what to write and taping it.   How we giggled and joked when I tried to taped it. I couldn’t understand half of what I reordered, but Dad got every single word.  I know it was the prelude to my love of writing.

Nothing happens overnight.  In the case of sleep tapes, it’s true, but if you play the tapes three to five times a night, you will very likely notice positive results within a few weeks.

Fill your home with music and your heart will heal

Every living plant, animal, and human being respond to sounds, internal and external and each sound vibrates at  different frequencies   Our universe is composed of an infinite number of sounds constantly stimulating our sense of hearing.

Noises such as traffic, chatter, and phone ringing are giving off Bata waves at a rate of fourteen to twenty hertz per second.  This speed causes our brains to send different chemicals to our bodies.   If the sound we hear is too harsh, our bodies react in a negative manner. We walk around feeling tense, have stomach aches, and are worried and depressed.

When we are doing something we love, being creative, and happy, our brain is experiencing alpha waves at eight to thirteen hertz.  At this speed, the chemicals have a positive effect on our health.

Listening to music with a pulse of about sixty beats per minute can shift the human consciousness from the beta state to the alpha range, enhancing alertness and enabling the brain to release Dopamine.  This natural chemical helps the body to relax and heal.

Dopamine affects our pleasure center, allowing us to enjoy our favorite melodies.   Your child will benefit by listening to happy music. If your son daughter is deaf or hard of hearing, place them where they can feel the melody and the beat. Their body will respond to the movement and the vibrations of the music.

While listening to our favorite music, our pain tolerance increases due to the release of Endorphins from the brain.  When we feel pain or stress our brain immediately sends out endorphins to the affected area of our bodies.

Music being played before bedtime or during physical/occupational therapy sessions helps tightened muscles to relax, easing movements needed in performing the exercise. Therapy is more productive done to soft music.

I grew up in a home alive with musical notes.  Dad and mom loved to dance.  A night rarely went by without my parents either jigger bugging or tangoing across the floor.

Daddy played the Flamingo guitar.  He knew it wasn’t my taste, but my Rock and Roll wasn’t his.

Studies have shown that different types of music send specific chemicals down to our bodies.  Folk music releases Serotonin, a neurotransmitter helping our emotions.

Jazz and R&B can release either Serotonin or Norepinephrine, both a mood enhancer.

Classical music from the great composers fills the heart, body and soul with Norepinephrine or Dopamine allowing us to relax and experience theta range brain waves. Mozart, Handel, Chopin, and Debussy always gave me a sense of comfort, good will, and a sense of security.

Enjoying Music Together

Each individual has a preference for the type of music that sets their souls soaring and their body responding happily.  Play different types of music for your child.   No matter how young or what your child’s disabilities are, fill your home with music.  Discover what makes him smile, kick his feet or clap his hands.

Create family time with everyone participating.  Your child will feel love as the whole family listens to his/her favorite music.

Dance with him.  If your son or daughter can walk, perform different moves with him. Swing your arms, kick your legs, and have fun.  If he has trouble balancing or is confined to a wheelchair, pick him up in your arms, dance around with him, letting him feel the beat and the rhythm.  Show him the music is alive.

Give your youngsters something they can make noise with, a pot and spoon, a toy drum.  It doesn’t matter what it is as long as he can make ‘his’ noise with it.

When I was very young, Mom tied small bells on my wrists and ankles encouraging me to move.  Lol. I was a natural when it came to shaking them!

There are so many ways for you and your child to enjoy music together. Sing his favorite songs with him.  Watch his reaction to different sounds and types of music.  Do certain melodies help him relax, smile, and respond to the world around him.  Do other kinds of music make him anxious and uncomfortable?

The magic of music not will only shower many benefits upon all your children as it brings your family together, it will give you, as parents, a sense of being somewhat in control of your children’s health and welfare.

It will lift your spirits, and you’ll feel more balanced within yourself.

A picture is worth more than 1000 words

No saying is truer than this one when it comes disabled kids

Remember, your son or daughter who was born with a disability doesn’t realize he can’t do things like other children.  Until exposed to the outside judgements, all isjudgmentsh his world.

It is your role as parents to help him accept these differences in a way that it instills confidence, and yes, pride in who he is and his accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

Never tell him that he can’t be a doctor or a singer.  Dreams are vital fo the healthy development of your child.  Even if your son or daughter dreams of becoming a baseball or ballet dancer are unrealistic, do not quash. it

Encourage and enhance all dreams.  My parents did.  At age five, I was strapped into braces up to my chest.  I loved ice skating more than anything.   My Father knew this was impossible given my condition, but each day, in every way, he helped me build my dream.

Dorothy Hamill was my favorite skater.  I longed to be like her.  Dad helped me cut out every picture her we could find in newspapers/magazines and plaster them all over my room.  He bought me a bright red skating outfit and a pair of ice skate which we hang on my bed post.  They were the first things I saw in the morning and the last things I saw at night.   We visited the local skating rink, and Dad held me in his arms (he was an expert skater) and skated around with me, so I could feel the movements and feel the wind rush through my hair.      And I was so proud of my Dorothy Hamill haircut

I asked Dad on the day I got my Master’s degree in Special Education, why he bothered to go through all that for a dream he knew, could never come true?

He looked at me with his big brown twinkling eyes and said, “I love you.   I knew you wouldn’t ever be a skater, but I wanted to give you the self-confident to strive for any dream you wanted.”

Give your child the gift of dreams and confidence to do be his best. Don’t limit them with your fears and doubts. Don’t worry about dreams that won’t come true.   Living with a disability has a way of changing each dream into a goal that can come into reality.  Every dream that doesn’t come true leads to the possibility the next one will.

myfaceSunday Erickson, was born with cerebral palsy. According doctors, much of her brain was destroyed at birth. Despite these dire predictions, she obtained BA in Social Anthropology, and a Master’s in Special Ed and Rehabilitation. She taught United Cerebral Palsy in Ft. Lauderdale, and is a freelance writer and is the author of TU-TU MUCVH.


References Study: Performing Music Gets Us High/ Scott Douglas/ Jan 1 5, 2013/Health Is listening to negative lyrics or “angry” music really harmful for my child?/Douglas Gentile developmental psychologist  are the advantages of sleep tapes/charles moore tyapes/susan castle sic and development: musical ways to engage developmentally disabled children ten relaxations techniques for child facts, what does serotonin do?/by james mcimtosh/ed by helen webberley the brain and learning disabilities/copyrighted by marcus simmons/2008 these scripts to help children cope with  anxiety and  stress/dr tara zuckerman, phd/psychologist  for children , young adults and adolescents

ttps:// what age does a child-individual becomes conscious/aware of hi s decision?/Mateusz Szumala/organizational psychologist with a clinical twist   Children/ Ages & stages/ S. Eccles, Ph.D., is professor of psychology, education, and women’s studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor2.pdf parentd deal with the fact  that their child has a \disabilty/

William C. Healey/CEC Today Vol.3 No. 5 – November 1996 The Council for Exceptional Children


10 Technologies that Are Redefining Disability Right Now

Advances in technology affect all kinds of people, but this sort of progress can truly transform the lives of those with physical and mental disabilities. From mind-controlled exoskeletons to driverless cars, the past couple of years have been a windfall for accessible tech and we’ve compiled a list of 10 exciting innovations that are already redefining disability.

Mind-controlled Exoskeletons

We’re kicking things off with what may just be the most sci-fi sounding entry on the list. Bafflingly, when a 29-year old paraplegic man named Juliano Pinto kicked the ceremonial first ball at the 2014 World Cup using a mind-controlled exoskeleton to help him walk/kick, it didn’t make for major headlines. What should have been frontpage news was mentioned in passing, but it was an incredible achievement that would have seemed implausible just a short time ago.

Eye-controlled Wheelchairs

From mind control to eye control. There’s no more intuitive way to pilot anything than with your eyes. There have actually been several successful eye-controlled wheelchairs in the past couple years, but one of the most promising systems was the Eyedrivomatic, developed by Patrick Joyce, a 46-year old British inventor with motor neurone disease. The technology gives the old “watch where you’re going” refrain a whole new meaning.

Accessible Clothing

Unfortunately, those with disabilities are often forced to use goods and services designed for the non-disabled population and adapt them to their particular situation. In recent years, however, there has been a boom in accessible fashion, and companies like IZ have created fun, fashionable clothing lines truly catered to the disabled community.

3-D Printed Limbs

As we mentioned earlier, 3-D printing is a godsend for accessibility and we’ve seen the technology work wonders in the field of prosthesis. We’ve seen custom-made, 3D-printed arms and legs help folks navigate and manipulate the world around them and but Alex Pring’s prosthesis takes the cake. The 7-year old, Central Florida boy was gifted with a 3-D printed version of his favorite superhero’s arm and Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. delivered it to him in person.

Wheelchairs that Climb Stairs

Stairs: The bane of every wheelchair user’s existence. That may soon change, however, as several stair-climbing wheelchairs are currently in development with a few already in production. One of the most promising is Scalevo, the brain-child of a team of students at ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of the Arts. While ramps are still integral to accessible design, this technology may soon provide wheelchair users with a way of tackling a previously insurmountable obstacle.

Driverless Cars

Tesla Motors and Spacex CEO Elon Musk has thrown substantial weight behind this idea and recently made waves by saying that Tesla could have a commercially-available driverless car within two years. Why is this technology accessible? It allows those with disabilities that leave them unable to drive traditional cars to own and operate their own vehicles. That sort of mobility could be life-changing for thousands, perhaps millions around the world.

Accessibility Maps

Sadly, many major cities around the world lack accessible public transportation and infrastructure, but in recent years, a host of dedicated applications have aimed to make it easier to navigate a frustratingly inaccessible world. Case in point, Jason DaSilva’s AXS Map, which maps accessible locations around the US and uses community input to rate them from their friendliness to those with disabilities.

“Smart” Wheelchairs

These days, it seems everything is “connected,” and wheelchairs have benefitted from that revolution. Just like TVs, cars, and a host of other technologies, wheelchairs have gotten “smarter” in recent years and some models can now store and connect to a user’s health history, monitor their vital signs, and even send out distress calls in case of emergency.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was once a staple of science fiction, but of late, it has been a hot topic in the real world. Head-mounted VR sets like Occulus VR’s Occulus Rift provide an immersive experience and wide commercial availability could make VR the talk of 2016. While the technology is still in its infancy, it could soon provide disabled users with virtual access to a variety of experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible. It has become cliche to say, but the future truly is now.

Wheelchairs for Animals

Human wheelchairs are a time-tested, age-old invention, but in the last few years, we’ve seen an influx of wheelchairs designed to accommodate both furry and not-so-furry friends. 3-D printing could very well have its own entry on the list, but the technology has allowed inventors to cheaply produce highly specialized mobility devices for dogs, cats, turtles, guinea pigs, and even goldfish.

Ten Things You Need To Know When Buying A Transport Wheelchair



Video Transcript

1. What is a Transport Wheelchair?
A transport wheelchair is a wheelchair that is pushed by a companion, it has smaller wheels than a standard wheelchair and it is lighter in total weight. Making it super easy for traveling and lifting into a car.

2. What are a Transport Wheelchairs best uses?
A transport chair is primarily used for short trips to the doctor, the mall, or a restaurant

3. What to look for when buying a transport chair?

The two most important things are:

4. How do I choose the correct size?
Transport chairs come in 3 Sizes:

  • Narrow – a 17” wide seat – for users under 120 lbs.
  • Medium – a 19” wide seat – for users between 120 and 300 lbs.
  • Wide – a 22” wide seat or wider – for users over 300 lbs.

5. Are Transport Wheelchairs foldable?
Yes, all transport wheelchairs fold to a size of 2.5 feet by 9 inches wide – compact enough to fit into any car!

6. Are Transport Wheelchairs comfortable?
When sitting in your transport wheelchair for more than two hours a day, we recommend you sit on a wheelchair cushion and back cushion to increase your comfort.

7. Are Transport Wheelchairs delivered assembled?
Yes! All transport wheelchairs are delivered assembled. No tools needed. All you need to do is take it out of the box and you are ready to go.

8. Do the legrests remove?
Yes, all transport chairs come with removable legrests, that hook on and hook off.

9. What else should we look for when buying a Transport Wheelchair?

10. Which Transport Wheelchairs do we recommend?
Here are three chairs we recommend: Good, Better and Best

Q&A: Quemuel Arroyo of NYC DOT

1800wheelchair caught up with Quemuel Arroyo of New York City’s Department of Transportation during Summer Streets this past August. Quemuel was out with a dozen Invacare handcycles, which anyone could try out for themselves.

We caught with Quemuel recently to find out more about the Summer Streets program and the man, himself:

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you come from and how did you end up at the DOT?

QA-HeadshotA: Though I was born in Dominican Republic, I consider myself a native New Yorker. I first came to NYC when I was three months old and grew up travelling between the DR and NYC. At eighteen I endured a spinal cord injury while downhill mountain biking in Vermont. It was then when I became a member of disability community and an advocate for inclusion and access. Shortly after my accident, I attended New York University where I earned a bachelors of arts in Urban Design and History of Architecture. After NYU, I work at Morgan Stanley before coming to the New York City Department of Transportation.

Q: What’s your role at the DOT?

A: I am the Policy Analyst for Accessibility and ADA coordinator at NYC DOT.

Q: What kind of programs and initiatives are you involved in?

A: Ranging from our Staten Island Ferry to our street plazas and 789 bridges, I oversee all matters of accessibility for the agency.

Q: What was the genesis of the handcycle program? How was it received on Summer Streets? What’s next for those handcycles?

Summer-Streets_Handcycles_DOT1-300x168-bflnyc-orgA: This past summer NYC was ranked one of the top cycling cities in the US. A cyclist myself, I wanted to provide New Yorkers with disability the opportunity to bike like everyone else. Our hand-cycling pilot started as one of many activations during Summer Streets 2015. The public loved the bikes! In three Saturdays, we had close to 900 people ride the 10 hand-cycles we purchased for this pilot. We are still in the pilot stage for hand-cycling and are looking to partner with sister agencies like the park department to gather more feedback on the bikes and assess the publics’ interest in hand-cycling.

Q: Coming from the private sector, how are things different in the public sector?

A: There are many differences working in the public sector, but above all, the responsibility I feel to doing right by all New Yorkers, and specific to my role, New Yorkers with disabilities is real. I am here to represent over 800,000 New Yorkers with disabilities and I think about that every time I enter my office.

Q: Outside of work, what kinds of things are you interested in?

A: I try to stay active and involved outside of work. I have a strong believe in education and particularly in providing quality education to disenfranchised urban youth in New York City. I feed that passion in my works as a board member of New York City Outward Bound Schools and the New York University Alumni Board. After my accident, I was inspired to pursue a fulfilling life by Project Sunshine, an incredible not for profit, and now I am one of their global ambassadors and volunteers. I am avid swimmer and continue to swim regularly at my local YMCA where I once was a lifeguard. I rock-climb regularly and as often as possible, enjoy getaway trips for scuba diving and skiing.

Courtery of Quemuel Arroyo & Barrier Free Living

Redefining Disability: Experts Tackle Tired Cliches

It’s no secret that the general public is ill-informed when it comes to understanding disability. Outside of those who’ve been close to someone with a disability or have had a disability themselves, people don’t necessarily think about what it means to have a physical or mental handicap. That’s partly because the issue has been stigmatized, mischaracterized, and at times, outright ignored.

Even the words we use in discussing it are inadequate: disability and handicap, for instance, both imply that physical and mental differences must inevitably be impediments to living a happy, well-rounded life. In fact, that’s not true at all and is one of the biggest misconceptions floating around about those who are better referred to as “differently abled.”

In effort to bust some more myths about so-called “disability,” we turned to a community of writers that discuss these issues on a daily basis and asked them the following question:

What’s the most persistent myth surrounding disability?

Here is what they had to say…

Tiffiny Carlson

tiffinycarlsonThe AB [able-bodied] public strongly assumes our lives are bleak, depressing and full of sadness because of our said disabilities. I always find it amusing when a new friends says to me, ‘Wow you live well.’ That’s because I do.

Tiffiny is a longtime disability writer from Minneapolis. You can read her work at and @TiffCarlson. She has a C6 spinal cord injury from a diving accident from when she was 14. Tiffiny holds a degree in Mass Communications from Augsburg College.

Emily Ladau

emily-ladauA vast majority of people perceive disability as the source of an unfortunate, unproductive life, when this is completely untrue. In fact, it is this sort of stigmatization that most contributes to the current barriers still faced by the disability community. While disability certainly comes with plenty of challenges, it is really just a particular state of being – one that can even be incredibly empowering, rather than limiting.

Emily is a freelance writer, social media professional, and outreach specialist. She lives life on wheels and spends her time creating connections for positive change. Read more from Emily at and @emily_ladau.

Cory Lee

Cory LeeOne of the biggest myths that I frequently come across is that people think traveling isn’t possible for wheelchair users. As a powered wheelchair user, I’ve been to 14 countries and found that almost anything is possible with a little determination. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely possible and well worth the extra effort.

Barely in his mid-20s, Cory Lee is a travel addict who turned his passion into a successful travel blog – – where he shares his accessible adventures with readers. Tweet at Cory here: @coryleetweets.

Mark E. Smith

mark_smithWe still unfortunately live in a society where outer appearance may evoke stereotypes and ignorance despite the depth of one’s character. Nowhere is this more prevalent than within physical disability, where aspects from genius to common humanity may be overlooked based on exterior facades. The myth that those with disabilities are somehow different than others is the most persistent myth of all. Let us look beyond the physicality and see the true character we each possess, regardless of disability — and then our common humanity will be rightfully embraced among all.

Mark E Smith is an author, a speaker, and a long-time mobility industry manager. Mobility and disability are his passions. Do yourself a favor and check out his websites & – also, he’s Twitter @wheelchairjunki.

Not Just for Wheelchairs: A Resource Guide to Universal Design

Universal design is a concept which has been growing in popularity since the late 1990s. It is a design philosophy which encourages the design of spaces and product features that are accessible to people of every age and ability. The principals of this design philosophy are a reaction against traditional “handicapped accessible” spaces and adaptive technology, which often limited the functional range of spaces and devices, and was almost universally aesthetically unpleasant. Universal design is a ground-up philosophy which uses basic elements to create a world that can be shared by people of all abilities.

Some examples of universal design in spaces include:

  • Doors that are opened by levers rather than with knobs, which assist people who have problems with grip, while also easing operation for anyone carrying heavy or large objects. Such levers are commonly available in a wide variety of attractive styles.
  • Entryways that are flat (without stairs) and wide, which make it possible for persons with mobility impairments to access a space without needing a ramp, while providing dramatically easier entry to parents of young children in strollers, and ease the transfer of furniture and appliances.
  • Linear building layouts that offer clear lines of sight can assist people who have communication difficulty, while also facilitating improved lighting, which is beneficial to everyone, especially those with vision difficulty.

Examples of universal design in products include:

  • “Rocker” type lightswitches, which offer simplified operation to everyone, and allow basic access to people with fine motor difficulties, or who use reaching tools.
  • The Cuisinart brand food processor is among the most famous devices incorporating universal design principals, and features large controls with large, clear labels that reduce complexity in the kitchen, while facilitating operation by people with fine motor difficulties.

The philosophy behind universal design is so basic that it is nearly effortless to incorporate the principals into new home construction. So easy, that in some areas, certain elements of universal design are being encouraged through tax incentives, or mandated by law. Homes built with universal design principals need not me modified as highly if and when their occupant’s range of physical abilities change, and when modification does become necessary, they are better equipped to handle such work. For instance, many universally designed homes feature walls built with wider beams, which allow solid mounting of grab-bars, and other wall-mounted devices without the need for extra reinforcement. This reduces costs that frequently fall to public programs including Medicare and Medicaid.

As a practice, universal design has its roots in 1947, when an 11 year old named Marc Harrison suffered a traumatic brain injury that required extensive therapy to help him re-learn basic functions. This event inspired Harrison, and as someone who had experienced a term of reduced physical ability, he received an MFA in industrial design, and began working to merge aesthetic and functional design considerations in a way that hadn’t been previously considered. Harrison is the person directly responsible for the design of the Cuisinart food processor, and up until his passing in 1998, continued to work on a project known as the Universal Kitchen, meant to improve the functionality of the kitchen space to reduce the amounts of bending, reaching, and twisting that is required by traditional designs. Harrison is considered to be the principal figure in the birth of modern universal design.

Please explore the following resources for more information on universal design in theory and practice:

  • Senior Dwelling An audio discussion from NPR on building and choosing homes that are fit to grow old in. Site also includes a written companion story.
  • The Center For Universal Design Providing a list of news items, publications, and programs which target universal design themes.
  • Universal Designers and Consultants A website for a team of architects who specialize in universal design, with some examples of their spaces.
  • Universal Design Resources A list of resources for those interested in purchasing or building a universally designed home, including links to sources for plans, books, and more.
  • Universal Design Showers This article looks at how to create a shower that is accessible and usable to a broad range of people.
  • Kitchen Design This five-minute video examines the kitchen in a home built to model principals of universal design.
  • Universal Design Kitchen This PDF document provides advice on kitchen design.
  • Universal Design Kitchen Tips This GE pictorial illustrates how space can accommodate adjustable appliances in a universally-designed kitchen.
  • All-Generation Home Guide (PDF document) This four-page guide to homes that fit all generations can be printed and carried while shopping for appliances or housing.
  • What Is Universal Design? This 2-page PBS primer gives a crash course in making homes more accommodating.

  • Architect’s Knowledge Resource
    from the American Institute of Architects which includes resources and links to other articles.
  • The Northwest Universal Design Council This site contains a large collection of information for home builders and buyers, including a checklist, and highlights on trouble spots to watch out for in virtually every room in a home.
  • Aging in Place, Gracefully, With Universal Design This article includes sections addressing resale values, cutting costs, and paying for universally designed homes.
  • Housing Solutions for All Ages and Abilities This website outlines the universal design program of Ohio State University, and includes a number of video case studies illustrating the spaces that the program has worked with.
  • Bringing Égalité Home This New York Times article tells the story of one man’s adventure in rebuilding a 20-year old home to incorporate universal design principals
  • The Concept of Universal Design This article illustrates the distinction between universal design, and accessible design.
  • Universal Design Resource List A list of resources for practical help with universal design, compiled by the Office for AccessAbility at the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Aging in Place and Universal Design Resources This PDF document from the California Department of Housing and Community Development is a list of national-level resources for people looking for assistance with remaining in their homes as they age.
  • WELLcome Home This site from Ball State University provides several exhaustive studies of universal design considerations in the home. A must for designers and builders.
  • Living Laboratory This site chronicles one woman’s efforts to build a home to accommodate her disability as well as her family’s needs.
  • Building a Custom Universal Design Home This article from ABILITY Magazine explores how to build a dream home that is universally designed.
  • Home Repair and Universal Deisgn An article from AARP that offers tips on universal design considerations in home repair.
  • Universal and Green Article from Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine looking at merging green technology with universal design.
  • Homebuying Guide: Guide from New Horizons Unlimited, which includes tips on design, remodeling, and working with contractors.

If you find this article useful, please free feel to link or reuse it. All we ask is for a credit back to our site.

Make your home more access able with our assortment of wheelchair ramps, including threshold and folding ramps. We also offer ramps for your car, minivan or full sized van.

How to Prepare for Colder Weather When Living with a Mobility Issue

As much of the nation is headed into, if not already feeling, the coldest time of the year, it’s a good idea to make sure that anyone who uses mobility equipment such as knee walkers or wheelchairs are fully prepared. Depending on the severity of your mobility needs, winter preparedness can vary from case to case, but there are some basic steps you can take to be sure you enjoy a safe winter.

Make arrangements with family members or an aid for help.

If you are in a situation where you already have a visiting or live-in aid that helps with your needs, take the time to go over safety needs for cold and nasty weather. If you don’t have such ready assistance, contact family members or friends to ask if they would be willing to be called upon in the event that you need extra assistance during these cold months.

Allow extra time for your travels.

While many people facing mobility issues already have to factor extra time in for their travels, winter traveling may require even more added time. The threat of treacherous sidewalks, slow and cautious traffic, and even stalled cars means that winter travel can be unpredictable and dangerous. Be sure you allow yourself more time to get to where you’re going.

Have a Back-Up Exit Plan.

Winter weather makes it hard for anyone to head out…particularly those that depend on wheelchair ramps to exit their homes. In the event that your usual exit is blocked or inaccessible, try to have a back-up in mind. If there is no available secondary exit in your home, this is another place you can rely on friends or family for help.

Try to get errands and visits done during the daylight hours.

As temperatures drop towards late afternoon, roads become more unpredictable and dangerous. Because of this, check your local weather and try to get all of your errands and travel done during the warmer hours of the day.

Seek Out Special Aid in Your Area

Public shelters and local organizations may offer special aid to those with disability in the event of winter emergencies. Call ahead and check with these organizations, though, as some require registration. Do some digging to see if your community offers this sort of assistance.

Make sure to follow these steps and you should be well prepared for the coming winter.

Wheelchair Resources – The Disabled in the Community

Disabled individuals face a multitude of challenges on a daily basis. Individuals have to deal with a number of disabilities such as being vision impaired, hearing impaired, wheelchair bound and a number of other disabilities. These disabilities create difficulties for disabled individuals to live regular lives because of transportation, employment, housing and other problems.

To help disabled individuals become acclimated to the non-disabled world, government regulations in the form of the Americans with Disabilities Act has made it easier to adapt. The ADA has created guidelines and laws that need to be met. Because of the ADA, disabled people now have the ability to live, work and enjoy all the conveniences that are available.

To learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act and other aspects of the help available to disabled, please review the following information:

Americans with Disabilities Act

Assistive Technology

Employment Issues


Travel & Transportation

Disabled Resources

1800wheelchair is offer a wide selection of affordable wheelchairs and walking assistance products for the elderly, you’ll find quad canes, 4 wheel walkers, and knee walkers.

From Wheelchair To Hydrotherapy: A Resource Guide To Natural Healing Properties

A lot of effort, time and money is spent on finding medical cures for various diseases. Yet, some of the best cures from natural sources, including herbs and hot springs. The water from hot springs is actually underground water, which comes up to the surface. Until modern medicine was invented in the middle of the twentieth century, natural hot springs used to be considered by many as a great healing agent. Today, there are many people who believe in the healing powers of natural spring waters.


In the 5th century, the famous Greek physician Hippocrates discovered the healing properties of water. He is known as the father of medicine and he has mentioned in his accounts the therapeutic importance of water. If anyone is suffering from any type of muscle injury or joint injury, then hydrotherapy, even though a slow technique, helps immensely in the recovery process. Hydro means water while therapy is derived from the Greek word “therapeia” meaning a service. Hydrotherapy means the use of water to cure certain ailments.

Initially, the process is mild, starting in a warm pool of water with general stretching exercises. Later, it’s taken to a higher level. Hydrotherapy is a very gentle process. It’s excellent for repairing and strengthening injured muscles. The exercises depend upon the type of injury and so they must be done in the presence of a physiotherapist. Natural spring water has many useful minerals and salts which possess healing properties.

  • Water Use: Discusses the use of water in hydrotherapy tanks.
  • Arthritis: Describes how hydrotherapy is beneficial to people who suffer from the condition.
  • Hydrotherapy: Highlights the benefits of hydrotherapy.
  • Effectiveness: The medical report discusses the effectiveness of hydrotherapy in physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
  • Cancer: Explains how hydrotherapy can benefit cancer patients.
  • Pain: Provides information on how hydrotherapy can play a part in pain management.
  • Overview: Presents a comprehensive overview on hydrotherapy.
  • Warm Hydrotherapy: Discusses the effectiveness of the process on muscle relaxation and cardiovascular system.
  • Back Pain: Explores the use of hydrotherapy for relief of back pain, stress, and headaches.
  • Contrast Bath: Hydrotherapy for music-related injuries.

Native Americans

For hundreds of years, Native Americans inculcated a deep reverence for the hot water springs located in the Ouachita Mountain Valley. In 1832, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas was given federal protection. The Colorado springs were studied extensively by scientists. The study found active ingredients such as sulfur, calcium, silica, magnesium, and radium. Elements, such as radium, are excellent for people suffering from tuberculosis. Another spring used first by the Native Americans is the Frankford Mineral Springs located in Pennsylvania. There is evidence near the springs that proves that Native Americans visited the hot springs and believed that the water possessed curative properties.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

One of the most popular Presidents of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, believed that water has healing properties. In 1921, he was diagnosed with polio. At that time, not much was known about the disease and no cure was available. As a result, Roosevelt got paralyzed. After hearing about the therapeutic nature of water, he purchased a resort at Warm Springs in Georgia with the express purpose of treating his aliment. He recovered a lot after the hydrotherapy treatment. Today, the Roosevelt Warm Springs has become a popular hydrotherapy center where thousands of similar patients are cured.

Properties of Water Springs

Even today, people believe in the miraculous healing powers of hot springs. It has been scientifically proven that these water bodies contain high quantity of minerals with curing properties. Minerals like calcium, sulfur, salt crystals, and lithium have a healing effect on many body organs. Sulfur helps in curing many skin diseases like dermatitis, fungal infections, and other skin infections. Bathing and drinking of such mineral rich water is highly beneficial. Not only does the water cure diseases but it’s also very good for the skin. It can help to protect people from various diseases. The temperatures of these waters can range from 30 degrees Celsius up to boiling and beyond so it’s important to be careful when you are visiting a mineral spring. Some other famous water springs are present in Germany, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Qadamgah, Canada, Russia, China and many other countries.

  • Sulfur: One of the key minerals found in water springs.
  • Drink the Water: Expounds the benefits of drinking water from hot springs.
  • Springs: Discusses the formation of springs and the minerals found in the waters.
  • Minerals: A study on the minerals found in Virginian warm springs.
  • Waterberg: A report on the chemical and physical properties of thermal springs in the Waterberg region in South Africa.
  • South Kamchatka: A study on the hydrogeochemistry and structure of thermal springs at this location in Russia.
  • Microbes: A study of microbes in carbonate hot springs.
  • Kimberly: Provides information on the physical and chemical characteristics of the thermal spring in Australia.
  • Germany & Middle Europe: Offers information on properties of thermal springs in these places.
  • Calcium: A look at one of the minerals commonly found in water springs.
  • Lithium & Alzheimer’s Disease: Discusses the potential role of lithium in preventing the disease.
  • Comparison: The study compares the benefits of waters from two thermal springs.
  • Springs & Spas: Explains the health benefits of springs and spas.
  • Grover Hot Springs: A hot spring located in California.
  • Liard River Hot Springs: A famous hot springs in British Columbia.

Shop our full selection of safe patient transfer products, including: hoyer lifts, bathtub lifts, transfer benches, and hospital beds.

Beyond The Wheelchair – A Disability Resource Guide

Disabilities come in many different forms. They range from physical disabilities such as loss of sight, loss of a limb to mental disabilities. Each type of disability presents different challenges for individuals such as mobility issues, physical issues and psychological issues.

To help persons with disabilities there are many resources that are available. People with disabilities can receive help with their disabilities and are protected by laws governing the disabled. To help understand the issues of the disabled, we have collected several resources:

Disability Types

  • Disabilities – helpful government site containing information on various types of disabilities.
  • CDC Disabilities – information from the Center for Disease Control on birth defects and other developmental disabilities.
  • White House – useful overview of the governments view of disabilities and legal action that has been taken to help people with disabilities.
  • Disability Data – Census Bureau information on people who suffer from various types of disabilities.
  • – government portal filled with information on a variety of subjects for the disabled.
  • Types of Disabilities – helpful information on the various types of disabilities that exist.




Legal Issues

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Guest-Post: Why Visitability is Necessary

The following is a guest post authored by Melissa theSeed. Find her at or on Facebook at

I vividly remember a point in time where I wished desperately that the whole world was in a wheelchair, so that everyone could know what my daughter had to go through just to go to someone’s home. Now, it looks like the city of Austin, Texas is creating that world. Well, kind of.

Recently, news broke that the city council is deciding on a measure that could make all newly built homes wheelchair accessible. The first two drafts have already been approved, and it looks like the third and final draft may push through without a problem. If approved, levered door handles, light switches placed at lower heights and wide doorways will be required on the first floors of new single-family homes and duplexes. Not widely talked about – yet – the idea behind the legislation is known as “visitability.” This is a concept in home design that seeks to allow resident or visiting wheelchair users to access a home without issue. There are cities in the U.S. that already have these rules in place: San Antonio, Atlanta, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Tucson, Ariz. According to the website, a home is visitable when it meets three basic requirements:

* At least one zero-step entrance
* Doors with a minimum of 32-inch clearance
* At least one bathroom on the main floor that is wheelchair accessible

Becoming Disabled

Some of you may be wondering why this is necessary. If you’re reading this and you’re not disabled then you probably don’t view this as important enough to warrant regulation. But remember, just because you weren’t born with a disability doesn’t mean you will never become disabled. Here are three examples you may have never thought about:

1. Old Age

Think about your (or your friends’) grandparents. Do they use walkers or hearing aids? Do they have trouble standing, reaching, bathing, or cooking? Did they always have those problems? Most likely, these disabilities are of the acquired type. An acquired disability is a condition that was not present at birth, but rather, occurs at some point during an individual’s life. Oftentimes, the word “disabled” is not used when referring to senior citizens, especially if they’ve lived independently their entire lives. But that’s exactly what they have become (and what the large majority of us will become should we be blessed enough to live into our 60’s and beyond). A home built with visitability in mind will increase the chances that a person can live on in their own home rather than being moved into a nursing facility. And by “a person” I mean YOU!

2. Illness

There are also people who remain healthy into their 30’s and 40’s and then become ill or develop medical conditions which limit their ability to be as independent as they have always been. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) typically begin to appear in adults around this age and are debilitating diseases which cause severe physical disabilities. Don’t think this will happen to you? MS tends to appear between the ages of 20 and 40 in otherwise normally developing people and fifteen new cases of ALS are diagnosed daily in the US.

Arthritis is another culprit. According to the CDC, nearly two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65. It’s the most common cause of disability and limits or prevents over 21 million Americans from being able to climb stairs, walk extended distances, or work. It’s more common in women than men but affects all racial and ethnic groups. One study shows that the risk of developing osteoarthritis in your knee that causes pain is 45% and estimates show that 57% of people who have had a knee injury or are obese will develop osteoarthritis. That’s about half of you reading this!

And of course, there are countless other conditions that can strike at any time and cause disability in an adult who has otherwise lived a healthy and independent life.

3. Accidents

What about those that are in accidents and become paralyzed or receive a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Have you seen the show Push Girls? Every one of those women was in an accident that paralyzed them. Any of these situations can happen to each and every one of you. Sounds bleak, I know, but imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t enjoy the little things you do now, like going to your sister’s house for dinner or to your friend’s for girls night as you always have because your wheelchair can’t go up the one step leading into their home, or your wheelchair can’t get through the doorway into the living room. Now imagine if every new home built allowed you to come and go as you please, without even a thought.

Disabled America

According to the US census, 1 in 5 citizens has at least one disability and the number is set to grow as baby boomers age. Just over 1 in 4 American citizens in their 20’s will become disabled before they retire. But the “that can’t happen to me” mentality keeps most of us from worrying about our futures. 64% of wage earners believe they have a 2% or less chance of being disabled for 3 months or more during their working career. The actual odds for a worker entering the workforce today are about 25%!

Maybe it’s time you start thinking about what could happen to you or your spouse now and planning ahead. Don’t you think having a home already set up to visitability standards would make your life easier in the long run? I hope to see this concept become the standard in my lifetime for all our sakes.

Make your home more access able with our assortment of wheelchair ramps, including threshold and folding ramps. We also offer ramps for your car, minivan or full sized van.