Category Archives: ALS

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

As many as one million individuals in the US live with Parkinson’s disease. While approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age.

Its major symptoms vary from person to person, but can include tremor, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance. The cause of the disease is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.

If you have questions about wheelchair accessible vehicles and are in the New England area give us a call @ 508-697-6006

 

Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Money and Awareness for ALS

Ice Bucket Challenge- Raising Money and Awareness for ALS

Perhaps you’ve seen it online, on your Facebook feed, or across popular morning shows in recent days – the ice bucket challenge! Individuals are taking to media, volunteering to have buckets of ice water poured over their heads to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

What is ALS?
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but is more commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The disease is characterized by the ALS Association as neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Individuals living with ALS suffer from degenerative loss of motor skills, muscle loss, and can even lead to total paralysis.

Some early symptoms can include increasing muscle weakness, especially in the arms and legs, and loss of speech, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Learn more about the disease at www.alsa.org.

While there is currently no cure for ALS, the disease is 100% fatal. There is currently one medication and others in trial period that offer hope to those living with the disease and help slow down symptoms.

Who started the Ice Bucket Challenge?
The ice bucket challenge campaign was started by Pat Quinn, who became an ALS ambassador after being diagnosed with the disease himself. He got the idea from other similar “challenges” that people were doing and then posting online and recognized the power social media could have in spreading awareness and raising money for those living with the disease every day.

Since he kicked off the campaign, celebrities like Justin Timberlake, the cast of Good Morning America, Michael Strahan, Josh Ramsay, the Patriots and others have been challenging each other to “take the plunge” and spread the news.

How is the challenge impacting the Disability community?
Thanks to the ice bucket challenge, the ALS Association has reportedly received $4 million in donations between July 29 and August 12 and have welcomed more than 70,000 new donors! Contributions will go towards finding a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.

The ALS community is hoping the increased awareness and funds could lead to a new breakthrough in fighting for the cause. Even those who are not able to donate have helped raise awareness which could potentially help groups like the ALS Association expedite the extensive collaboration required between individuals, medical institutions, and testing labs which could help lead to a potential cure for the disease and help improve the quality of life for those living with it.

ALS

ALS

ALS Awareness

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease which destroys the ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe. ALS was first recognized as a disease in 1869, by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French Neurologist. However, ALS is sometimes referred as Lou Gehrig’s disease; named after Lou Gehrig, a famous baseball first basemen, whose career was stopped in 1939 when he developed ALS at the age of 36. At that time, ALS was given widespread public attention due to the high profile of this baseball player.

The aim of ALS awareness month is to raise awareness about ALS, gather support for those affected by this condition and to encourage funding and research into a treatment or cure.

Raising Awareness About The Effects Of ALS
ALS affects the body by attacking motor neurons (nerve cells) of the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons are cells which process and transmit signals which help to control muscles. Destruction of motor neuron cells leads to symptoms related to loss of muscle control. Typical symptoms of ALS include inability to walk, speak, eat and even breathe.

As ALS is a progressive disease, more motor neurons are destroyed overtime worsening the symptoms. Difficulty breathing and swallowing are later symptoms; paralysis can also develop. After the onset of this disease, fatality usually occurs within 2-5 years.

Healthy People In Their Prime Can Also Get ALS
ALS typically affects people over the age of 40, including those who were previously enjoyed excellent health in the prime of their lives. Whilst ALS affects a minority of the population (in the US about 30,000 people have this condition), ALS is indiscriminate in the types of people who will be affected by it. Famous people who had ALS include NBA player George Yardley, Senator Jacob Javits and former vice president of the US, Henry Wallace.

ALS can be devastating to both the person and to their friends and family. At present there is no known treatment or cure for ALS. If a cure or greater understanding of ALS is achieved, then it is likely that this will benefit research into related conditions like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease. There could be a similar underlying neurodegenerative condition in each of them.

Supporting ALS Awareness Month
Several organizations which represent people with neurodegenerative diseases back ALS Awareness Month to support those with this condition and to raise funds for research into a cure. These include the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the ALS Association who host seminars and other activities throughout the United States, during May.

To coincide with this awareness month, the ALS Association have in more recent years run a campaign, ‘ALS Across America’. Established in 2008, ‘ALS Across America’ aims to raise awareness about ALS by sharing with the media and public the experience people throughout the United States have with ALS. When we become aware of the plight of people with this serious disease, we are more likely to support them and the related organizations which work to find a cure.

A person can get involved in ALS awareness month by:

  • donating money to help fight this disease
  • becoming inspired after reading and listening to stories about people with this condition
  • advocating for people with ALS
  • staying connected with ALS News and Updates
  • getting involved in the 31 ways to fight ALS in 31 days

Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders affect the nerves that control your voluntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are the ones you can control, like in your arms and legs. Your nerve cells, also called neurons, send the messages that control these muscles. When the neurons become unhealthy or die, communication between your nervous system and muscles breaks down. As a result, your muscles weaken and waste away. The weakness can lead to twitching, cramps, aches and pains, and joint and movement problems. Sometimes it also affects heart function and your ability to breathe.

Examples of neuromuscular disorders include

Many neuromuscular diseases are genetic, which means they run in families or there is a mutation in your genes. Sometimes, an immune system disorder can cause them. Most of them have no cure. The goal of treatment is to improve symptoms, increase mobility and lengthen life.

Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Money and Awareness for ALS

Perhaps you’ve seen it online, on your Facebook feed, or across popular morning shows in recent days – the ice bucket challenge! Individuals are taking to media, volunteering to have buckets of ice water poured over their heads to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

What is ALS?
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but is more commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The disease is characterized by the ALS Association as neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Individuals living with ALS suffer from degenerative loss of motor skills, muscle loss, and can even lead to total paralysis.

Some early symptoms can include increasing muscle weakness, especially in the arms and legs, and loss of speech, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Learn more about the disease at www.alsa.org.

While there is currently no cure for ALS, the disease is 100% fatal. There is currently one medication and others in trial period that offer hope to those living with the disease and help slow down symptoms.

Who started the Ice Bucket Challenge?
The ice bucket challenge campaign was started by Pat Quinn, who became an ALS ambassador after being diagnosed with the disease himself. He got the idea from other similar “challenges” that people were doing and then posting online and recognized the power social media could have in spreading awareness and raising money for those living with the disease every day.

Since he kicked off the campaign, celebrities like Justin Timberlake, the cast of Good Morning America, Michael Strahan, Josh Ramsay, the Patriots and others have been challenging each other to “take the plunge” and spread the news.

How is the challenge impacting the Disability community?
Thanks to the ice bucket challenge, the ALS Association has reportedly received $4 million in donations between July 29 and August 12 and have welcomed more than 70,000 new donors! Contributions will go towards finding a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.

The ALS community is hoping the increased awareness and funds could lead to a new breakthrough in fighting for the cause. Even those who are not able to donate have helped raise awareness which could potentially help groups like the ALS Association expedite the extensive collaboration required between individuals, medical institutions, and testing labs which could help lead to a potential cure for the disease and help improve the quality of life for those living with it.

11th Annual Ride For Hope

11th Annual Ride For Hope

 

11th Annual Ride For HopeIn Loving Memory of John Frontes Sr.

All proceeds to benefit ALS: Lou Gehrig’s Disease

When?
September 21, 2014
Registration begins at 9:00am
Ride Starts at 11:00am

Fee per person: $25.00

Where?
The ride begins and ends at The Mishnock Barn
200 Mishnock Road West Greenwhich, RI 02817

Post Party Includes:
Lunch ~ Live Music *The Allbros Band and The Big River Band*
Raffles ~ Pig Roast ~ Rodeo

Ticket Information
Call Bob Fontes at (401) 822-4917
(401) 263-4626

Website
http://alsrideforhope.weebly.com/

ALS Awareness Month

ALS Awareness Month 2014
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease which destroys the ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe. ALS was first recognized as a disease in 1869, by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French Neurologist. However, ALS is sometimes referred as Lou Gehrig’s disease; named after Lou Gehrig, a famous baseball first basemen, whose career was stopped in 1939 when he developed ALS at the age of 36. At that time, ALS was given widespread public attention due to the high profile of this baseball player.

The aim of ALS awareness month is to raise awareness about ALS, gather support for those affected by this condition and to encourage funding and research into a treatment or cure.

Raising Awareness About The Effects Of ALS
ALS affects the body by attacking motor neurons (nerve cells) of the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons are cells which process and transmit signals which help to control muscles. Destruction of motor neuron cells leads to symptoms related to loss of muscle control. Typical symptoms of ALS include inability to walk, speak, eat and even breathe.

As ALS is a progressive disease, more motor neurons are destroyed overtime worsening the symptoms. Difficulty breathing and swallowing are later symptoms; paralysis can also develop. After the onset of this disease, fatality usually occurs within 2-5 years.

Healthy People In Their Prime Can Also Get ALS
ALS typically affects people over the age of 40, including those who were previously enjoyed excellent health in the prime of their lives. Whilst ALS affects a minority of the population (in the US about 30,000 people have this condition), ALS is indiscriminate in the types of people who will be affected by it. Famous people who had ALS include NBA player George Yardley, Senator Jacob Javits and former vice president of the US, Henry Wallace.

ALS can be devastating to both the person and to their friends and family. At present there is no known treatment or cure for ALS. If a cure or greater understanding of ALS is achieved, then it is likely that this will benefit research into related conditions like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease. There could be a similar underlying neurodegenerative condition in each of them.

The Event ‘Walk To Defeat ALS’ Helps Raise Awareness & Support For People With ALS

Supporting ALS Awareness Month
Several organizations which represent people with neurodegenerative diseases back ALS Awareness Month to support those with this condition and to raise funds for research into a cure. These include the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the ALS Association who host seminars and other activities throughout the United States, during May.

To coincide with this awareness month, the ALS Association have in more recent years run a campaign, ‘ALS Across America’. Established in 2008, ‘ALS Across America’ aims to raise awareness about ALS by sharing with the media and public the experience people throughout the United States have with ALS. When we become aware of the plight of people with this serious disease, we are more likely to support them and the related organizations which work to find a cure.

A person can get involved in ALS awareness month by:

  • donating money to help fight this disease
  • becoming inspired after reading and listening to stories about people with this condition
  • advocating for people with ALS
  • staying connected with ALS News and Updates
  • getting involved with various events to help raise awareness
  • participating in ‘Walk to Defeat ALS’

VETERANS BENEFITS: OPERATION INDEPENDENCE MOBILITY VEHICLE PROGRAM

VETERANS BENEFITS
Come to VMi New England Mobility Center and learn more about the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Operation Independence
veteran mobility equipment VMi New England
OPERATION INDEPENDENCE
VMI is the premier manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans. At the VMi New England Mobility Center we are experts in mobility assessment and customization. We have combined our knowledge with the Veterans across America to increase awareness with disabled veterans regarding VA vehicle benefits, and help them get the benefits they have earned while serving our country:
•  You may be entitled to VA funding for adaptive automotive equipment
•  In many cases, you may also be entitled to a one-time auto allowance for the vehicle itself.Operation Independence helps veterans get into their first wheelchair accessible van. Whether you are entitled to the auto allowance grant or will be personally funding your first wheelchair accessible van, the VMi New England Mobility Center will give you a $1,000 rebate towards the van we are converting for you.VETERAN MOBILITY BENEFITS
To be eligible for financial assistance in purchasing a new or used automobile (or other conveyance), a Veteran or serviceperson must have acquired one of the following disabilities as a result of injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service, or as a result of medical treatment or examination, vocations rehabilitation, or compensated work therapy provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (38 U.S.C. 1151):•  Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet
•  Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, or
•  Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes with a
•  Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective glasses, or
•  Central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of visual field has an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees in the better eye
Even if you are not entitled to the auto allowance grant (21-4502), you may still qualify for an adaptive automotive equipment grant (10-1394) for a wheelchair accessible conversion on a vehicle which you would fund through alternative means. .
“FEDERAL BENEFITS FOR VETERANS, DEPENDENTS AND SURVIVORS”
veteran mobility equipment

The VMi New England Mobility Center values our veterans and the services they provided to protect our freedoms. We see first hand the impact of the sacrifices they have made defending our country. As a result we have put together information that will make it easier for them to find the benefits and support they need.

Key areas of benefits are focused on here:
1. Service Connected Disabilities
2. VA4502 Grant
3. Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE)

Service-Connected Disabilities
Disability Compensation Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service-connected.
Click here to review the Federal Benefits for Veterans
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap02.asp

VA 4502 GRANT
Can a Veteran Receive Financial Assistance From VA to Purchase an Automobile?
Yes. Financial assistance, in the form of a grant, is available to purchase a new or used automobile (or other conveyance) to accommodate a veteran or service member with certain disabilities that resulted from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The grant may also be paid, if disabilities are a result of medical treatment, examination, vocational rehabilitation, or compensated work therapy provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

 

The grant is paid directly to the seller of the automobile for the total price (up to $18,900) of the automobile. The veteran or service member may only receive the automobile grant once in his/her lifetime.
Effective October 1, 2011

Section 804- Enhancement of automobile assistance allowance for veterans would increase automobile assistance from $11,000 to $18,900, effective October 1, 2011

Click here to see a pdf for more details Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants Click here to review the Federal Form VBA-21-4502
http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-4502-ARE.pdf

Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE)
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program permits physically challenged persons to enter, exit, and/or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyance.

Veterans are trained, through the VA Driver’s Rehabilitation Program, how to safely operate their vehicle on our nation’s roadways.

The VA also provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, UVLs (under vehicle lifts), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls, left foot gas pedals, reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, and digital driving systems.

Additionally, VA’s program provides reimbursements for standard equipment including, but not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary for the safe operation of an approved vehicle. For more information click on the link below.
http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/AAE.asp

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

“Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants”

Can a Veteran Receive Financial Assistance From VA to Purchase an Automobile?
Yes. Financial assistance, in the form of a grant, is available to purchase a new or used automobile (or other conveyance) to accommodate a veteran or servicemember with certain disabilities that resulted from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The grant may also be paid, if disabilities are a result of medical treatment, examination, vocational rehabilitation, or compensated work therapy provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The grant is paid directly to the seller of the automobile for the total price (up to $11,000) of the automobile. The veteran or servicemember may only receive the automobile grant once in his/her lifetime.

What Disabilities Must You Have to Qualify for the Automobile Grant?
A veteran or servicemember must have one of the following disabilities to qualify for the automobile grant:

  •  loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet
•  loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, or
•  permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a certain degree

Does VA Pay to Adapt a Vehicle?
Yes. Those qualified for the automobile grant, and veterans or servicemembers with ankylosis (immobility of the joint) of one or both knees or hips resulting from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated by active military service may also qualify for the adaptive equipment grant.

Adaptive equipment includes, but is not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Contact should be made with your local VA medical center’s Prosthetic Department prior to purchasing any equipment.

The adaptive equipment grant may be paid more than once, and it may be paid to either the seller or the veteran.

How Can I Apply for an Automobile and/or Special Adaptive Equipment Grant?
You can apply for the automobile and/or the special adaptive equipment grant by completing VA Form 21-4502, Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment and submitting it to your local VA regional office. The instructions on the VA Form 21-4502 contain a list of adaptive equipment that has been pre-approved for particular disabilities.

Note: After you complete and submit Section I of the application, VA will complete Section II and return the original to you. You are responsible for obtaining the invoice from the seller, updating Section III, and submitting the form to your local VA regional office for payment.

If you are entitled to adaptive equipment only (i.e., service connected for ankylosis of knees or hips) you should complete VA Form 10-1394, Application for Adaptive Equipment – Motor Vehicle and submit it to your local VA medical center. Additionally, VA Form 10-1394 should be completed for approval of equipment not specified on the VA Form 21-4502.

How To Really Move On When You Can No Longer Walk

There are a lot of nightmare scenarios no one wants to personally experience. One is getting a phone call that someone you love is hurt and another — permanently ending up in a wheelchair. Many people say they’d rather be dead if this happened to them, but oh how things change when you actually find yourself in this situation.

Keep Newey Mobile - VMi New England Wheelchair Vans

Simply put people don’t want to die, so they deal with it and move on, but it’s never that easy.  And for some even, they’re never able to, so forever languishing in a living hell.

To truly see how it is possible to move on after becoming a wheelchair-user and be enlightened, read on for seven awesome insights.

Accept that you must reinvent yourself.

One of the first things to know when you become a wheelchair-user is that you are no longer who you were before.  If your body is different after going through such a dramatic injury. A lot of people fight against this, wanting to hold onto their previous able-bodied self, but the fact is they will never be that person again.

Instead of desperately holding onto someone you once were, embrace this as an opportunity to reinvent yourself.  If you no longer do tree work, get that engineering degree you always wanted and finally feed that part of your brain from here on out.  A serious bodily injury can really open new doors.

Find out how to still use your body as much as possible.

It can be so difficult no longer being able to use your body like before, but don’t give up on moving your body just because you can’t use it 100 percent.  Instead, push yourself as much as possible.  If you can’t move your legs, you can try electrical stimulation to the legs.  If you can’t transfer yourself but you get really close, try for years until you finally get it.  Never give up on your body’s strength and pushing it (safely of course).  Even if you move your body involuntarily, knowing you’re still utilizing all four limbs in some way is a must for the soul long-term.

You should also be working out on a regular basis. Serious cardio and strength training is a must when you use a wheelchair since getting your heart rate can be a great way to boost endorphins in the brain.  When you’re not getting the cardio you would otherwise get from regular able-bodied activities, like walking all the time, you must find another way to get it. It’s a huge must.

Develop a negative thinking coping mechanism.

It can be almost too easy getting into a negative train of thought when things aren’t going well as a wheelchair-user.  The tendency to blame the wheelchair for all of your problems is almost too easy.  Whenever you find yourself angry because you need a wheelchair, try to click your mind into a positive place; a place you’ve created just for this.  Maybe it’s a happy memory or a place you absolutely love.

Take on the “survivor success” mentality. 

I love this one. Never forget that you are a survivor for living life sitting-down.  This is an existence that challenges a human both mentally and physically.  Whenever you feel empty inside because you can’t use your god-given legs, remind yourself that you are a  survivor in the exact sense, and let that feed your ego if you must.  Not many people can do what you do and do it so well. Yes, you do rock.

Learn to love yourself.

It can be easy being jealous of everyone that can walk when you can’t, but if you learn to love yourself completely, you’ll be a lot happier.

If you have a hard time finding things you absolutely love about yourself, make a list and ask friends and family their input.  You’ll be surprised at what you hear and chances are it will make you feel awesome.

Appreciate your unique perspective.

It can take several years to get to the mindset of enjoying the interesting perspective of  living life sitting down —  the people we meet, the lessons we’ve learned through our struggles, the way it helps us look at life differently, perhaps even better.  When you have a body that doesn’t respond like it once did, you have no choice but to look at the world differently. This without question, sharpens the mind.

Be grateful for what you still have.

Each moment you’re able to breathe is a gift whether you believe it or not, and when you use a wheelchair this is even more true since so many of us have had near death experiences. It may sound cliche, but yes, do count your blessings. 

Life is too short to wish for unicorns and golden tickets in chocolate bars. The here and the now is all we got. Enjoy your ice cream before it melts.

How have you been able to move on after becoming a wheelchair-user?

 

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Timeline

National Disability Employment Awareness Month TimelineThis year’s theme is “Because We are EQUAL to the Task.” This theme mirrors the reality that people with disabilities have the talent, education, desire, training, and experience to be successful in the workplace.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Facts & Figures

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013 facts & figuresHeld each October, Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues. The opportunity to earn a living and be self-supporting is a broadly held goal by Americans. Work is a foundation of stability for individuals and can give one’s life meaning and purpose.  Unfortunately, the rate and level of employment for people with disabilities is staggeringly low. Labor force participation is 22% for people with disabilities as compared to 69% for people without disabilities.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013

Because We Are EQUAL to the Task

2013 NDEAM Poster

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for 2013 is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.”

NDEAM’s roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

VA Benefits for Veterans – APPLY NOW

VETERANS

salute

If you need a wheelchair van (driver or passenger) you may be eligible for one at little to no out of pocket cost. We, too, are Veterans and understand your needs.

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

The Auto Allowance Grant: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with flat rate federal grant of $19,505.00 towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. This grant is paid to the seller of the vehicle and must be approved by the VA before the purchase.
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for equipment and training to enter, exit and/or operate a motor vehicle. This equipment includes but not limited to platform wheelchair lifts, kneeling systems, power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls and braking and digital driving systems.
Non Service Connected Van Modifications: This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (approximately $25,000) for non-operational equipment for entry and exit to the van. Issuance of equipment is considered medical and is not included as part of the Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program.

“U.S. veterans make so many sacrifices for our freedoms,” said Doug Eaton, president of VMI. “We’re indebted for their service and believe our disabled vets should have easier access to mobility vehicles. That’s why we teamed up with Paralyzed Veterans and the VMI Select Dealer Network to establish Operation Independence. Through this national program, we’ll help raise awareness of the federal grant money that is available to our vets to help them purchase a new mobility vehicle. We’ll also explain how the national VMI Select Dealer Network can fast track their purchase of a quality mobility van and provide important vehicle maintenance after the sale.”

Operation Independence is a national program developed by VMI and is supported by the Paralyzed Veterans and The American Wheelchair Van Society. A portion of the program will educate veterans about Federal Grant 21-4502, which is available to disabled U.S. vets and was recently increased from $11,500 to $18,900. In addition to the grant, VMI is offering an additional $1,000 coupon that can be used as cash back from the manufacturer or applied toward a down payment for veterans who qualify for the 21-4502 grant and who have not previously taken advantage of the 21-4502 Auto Allowance Grant. The American Wheelchair Van Society will assist all Veterans through the process.

“We’ve found that a number of important government benefits like the 21-4502 program, which provides a grant towards the purchase of a mobility vehicle of their choice, are under-utilized by eligible veterans,” said Al Kovach, National Senior Vice President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and a former Navy SEAL. “This partnership with VMI’s Operation Independence is so important to as it supports Paralyzed Veterans’ Mission: ABLE campaign which enables severely disabled veterans to secure care, benefits and jobs and rebuild their lives. Together, we can leverage our efforts to improve mobility for disabled veterans by connecting them with the vehicles that fit their needs and ultimately help them achieve the independence and dignity they deserve.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges head that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 65 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)

“According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 3.5 million veterans who now live with a service-connected disability,” said Doug Eaton, president of Vantage Mobility International. “Many of those disabled veterans struggle to find employment because they don’t have access to reliable transportation. So, in addition to supporting the Paralyzed Veterans of America national tour, we’ve also teamed up with Toyota Motor Sales USA to give all disabled veterans a chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with our Access360 In-floor Ramp Conversion. We hope veterans in the Houston area will join us at Adaptive Driving Access in Houston to learn more about our Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute contest.”

‘The Big Push for Progress’ initiative was developed to honor Paralyzed Veterans and help local communities “take a stand for veterans and their families.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America, which is celebrating 67 years this year, is urging all Americans to take a stand for veterans. “Our disabled veterans face an unemployment rate three to eight times higher than average,” said Bill Lawson, U.S. Army veteran and national president of Paralyzed Veterans. “That’s just one reason I’m asking my fellow Americans to help redouble our efforts for positive change. We need everyone to be a part of our big push for progress.”

Click here to begin the VA process and receive guidance on getting your benefits.

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2013 Boston abilities expo – wheelchair vans for all!

2013-boston-abilities-expo-wheelchair-vans-for-all

We had a fabulous three days in Boston meeting new friends and seeing old ones.

We displayed the VMI Toyota Sienna Access360 van, the VMI Honda Odyssey Northstar and Dodge Grand Caravan Northstar.

All vans have multiple configurations for driver, front passenger and/or middle wheelchair riders. From large motorized chairs to small pediatric sizes, we were able to custom fit various people and their chairs to this lineup. The ‘Star’ of the show was the Northstar In-Floor wheelchair ramp system. Combined with a lowered floor, it offered the most interior space and ease of use–everyone LOVED it!

Here is a video put together by Monique McGiveney from photos taken at the expo:

 

A special thank you to the Vantage Mobility and johnmccoshphotography.com who made this event a success for VMi New England:

Come to VMi New England 1000 Main St in Bridgewater, MA where every day is a Abilities Expo.

Abilities Expo Boston September 20-22

Abilities Expo  Boston September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

BOSTON, August 24, 2013 /VMiNewswire/ — VMi New England’s community of people with disabilities—which also includes families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals—welcomes the much-anticipated return of the Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo Boston will take place in Boston, United States Of America for three consecutive days. In this international trade show latest and advanced disAbility products and services will be given supreme importance. The main purpose of this expo is to make the  people aware of the developmental changes which are taking place in this sector. At the same time this event will provide relevant and useful information to the disabled and senior individuals.
Abilities Expo Boston is a must attend event for the caregivers, healthcare professionals and the eminent experts related to this field. In this event they will get a chance to share their knowledge and experience with each other in this trade show.

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22 2013

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

For almost as long as we’ve been servicing and selling wheelchair vans , The Abilities Expo has been improving the lives of Americans with disAbilities, their families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. This unique forum features three days of cutting-edge products and services, compelling workshops, fun-for-the-whole-family activities and has become the leading event for the community of people with disabilities (PWDs).

Abilities Expo reaches out to all ages and all sectors of the Community including wounded veterans, persons recovering from immobilizing accidents, seniors with age-related health concerns, children with disabilities, individuals with mobility and spinal issues, people who have vision and hearing impairments, people with developmental disabilities and many more. Whether your challenges are mild or severe, this is your event.

Exhibitor Profile

Automobiles, van/conversions – Assistive technologies – Bathroom equipment – Beds, furnishings & accessories – Chairs & accessories – Clothing & apparel – Daily living aids – Durable medical equipment – Exercise, recreational, sports equipment & services – Home medical equipment & services – Incontinence products – Insurance & insurance services – Legal services – Publications – Ramps/lifts – Rehabilitative care/services – Residential programs – Seating/positioning systems & accessories – Travel & hospitality services – Wheelchairs, scooters & walkers

Boston Abilities Expo– Event for People with Abilities–Makes Boston Debut September 20-22

Abilities Expo–the Nation’s Leading Event for People with Abilities–Boston September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

BOSTON, August 22, 2013 /VMiNewswire/ — VMi New England’s community of people with disabilities—which also includes families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals—welcomes the much-anticipated return of the Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo has enjoyed tremendous success in bringing life-enhancing products and services, education, resources and fun to people with disabilities in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Jose each year.

The Abilities Expo Boston will feature an impressive line-up of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities—including physical, learning, developmental and sensory disabilities.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to bring Abilities Expo to Boston,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “We can’t wait help people explore the possibilities and open their eyes to all the things they can do.”

The Latest Products and Services
Attendees will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and much more.

Relevant Workshops
A series of compelling workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free-of-charge to all attendees. Sessions will focus on travel, emergency preparedness, therapeutic recreation, thriving as a parent of a unique child, home accessibility, finding the correct mobility device and that is just for starters.

Sports, Instruction, Dancing and More!
Abilities Expo does not merely inform, it engages and it entertains. Attendees of all levels of ability will learn the latest hip hop dance moves and play a host of adaptive sports like rowing, power soccer and more. And the kids will love the face painting!

Meet the Animals
Animals have become an intrinsic part of the community of people with disabilities. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent. Expo-goers will enjoy assistance dog demos, and learn how service monkeys can help people with special needs.

Celebrity Encounters
Meet Chelsie Hill, co-founder of the dance sensation Team Hotwheelz and one of the dynamic divas of Push Girls, Sundance Channel’s award-winning, boundary-breaking docu-series that traces the lives of four women in Hollywood who happen to be in wheelchairs.

Jennifer French, silver medalist for Sailing at the 2012 Paralympian Games and the 2013 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will conduct a workshop and book signing for her new autobiography, On My Feet Again.

Come to VMi New England’s Mobility Center were every day is a Ability Expo

Driving is Important to all of us / Available Resources

Mobility Center driving resources program

Driving is Important to all of us / Available Resources

Educate yourself on how to maintain your abilities. Why, because unfortunately our driving skills can diminish over time. Statistically, we will outlive our ability to be safe drivers by 7-10 years. Continuing to drive safely may involve the “sharpening” or “assessment” of certain skills. Driving is a complex task. Certain medical/surgical conditions or aging may cause decreased vision or perception, diminished strength/dexterity, stiff joints, slowed reaction time, and/or cognitive changes.

Talking with your doctor is important if you’ve had a neurological event, change in your health or a medical/surgical issue that may have affected your capacity to drive. Your doctor oversees your entire medical picture and can help you make a decision about continuing to drive. An objective, comprehensive evaluation can help both you and you doctor get a better handle on your capabilities. Your doctor can refer you to a Driving Evaluation Program for an assessment. Even if “areas of concern” are found there may be specific treatments by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist or Neuropsychologist that can help “sharpen” those skills.

If you want to “check in” to score your driving skills you can complete a self assessment. Stay as safe as you can as long as you can.

Two helpful resources:

AARP – www.aarp.org Excellent website, connects to a number of resources. Online quiz- “Test Your Driving IQ.” Course-“55 Alive – Driver Safety Program” (very good and popular 8 hour course for $10).

Local AAA offices – have a great $5 CD-Rom “Roadside Review “to use at home. Most libraries, Senior Centers and Counsel on Aging Centers may also have them.

Other resources:

Driving Evaluation Mobility Center Program
Call (508) 697-6006 with evaluation questions. We provide helpful information for family, client and physician. Lessons and/or therapy as forms of retraining may be recommended. It has several parts which can include – a assessment, and an on-the-road evaluation. It is usually a private pay service.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety – www.seniordrivers.org
On line quiz, great booklets and brochures that can be downloaded or ordered for free. “Drivers 55 Plus” (large green booklet that has a self rating form of questions, facts and suggestions for safe driving). “How to Help an Older Driver” (large while booklet, comprehensive).

Hartford Insurance Company –www.thehartford.com/alzheimers
www.thehartford.com/talkwitholderdrivers Very helpful and thorough booklets.

AOTA– the website for the American Occupational Therapy Association. www.aota.org/olderdriver/ It has a lot of information on how OT s can help people in the community, and are involved in Driver Evaluation and Training. It also has many links to other sites, articles, and other helpful information.

Registry of Motor Vehicles – www.mass.gov/rmv/ (select Mature Drivers). It has many helpful links including several of the above listed resources; information on disabled plates and placards, law enforcement.

Alzheimer’s Association– www.alzmass.org They can send someone to the house to talk with the client. This often helps to have an informed outsider.

Veterans’ benefits in the United States

first american us flag 1777

Veterans’ benefits in the United States

President Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, in 1865 towards the end of the US Civil War, famously called for good treatment of veterans: “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan”. The American Civil War produced veterans’ organizations, such as the Grand Army of the Republicand United Confederate Veterans. The treatment of veterans changed after the First World War. In the years following, discontented veterans became a source of instability. They could quickly organize, had links to the army, and often had arms themselves. Veterans played a central role in the post-World War I instability ofGermany, while in the United States, the Bonus Army of unemployed veterans was one of the most important protest movements of the Great Depression, marching on Washington, DC, to get a claimed bonus that Congress had promised them.

Each state of the United States sets specific criteria for state-specific veterans’ benefits. For federal medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, prior to 7 September 1980 the veteran must have served at least 180 days of active duty, after the above-mentioned date, the veteran must have served at least 24 months. However, if the veteran was medically discharged and receives a VA service-connected disability stipend, the time limits are not applicable.

American veteran experience after World War II

World War II Veteran on Memorial Day 2013 at the San Francisco National Cemetery

After the Second World War, in part due to the experience of the First World War, most of the participating states set up elaborate veterans’ administrations. Within the United States, it was veterans groups, like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, that pushed for and got the G.I. Bill enacted. These gave veterans access to free or subsidized education and health care. The newly educated GIs created a significant economic impact, and with the aid of VA loans were able to buy housing and establish themselves as part of a growing American middle class. The explosion of the suburbs created sufficient housing for veterans and their families.

American veteran experience after OEF and OIF

Many veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have had to face challenges unique to warfare in the 21st century. One significant difference between OEF and OIF and previous wars is a greater dependence on reservists and repeat deployments. Up to 80% of troops deployed at the beginning of OEF were part of the part of the Army National Guard and Reserve[5] and about 40% of currently serving military members have been deployed more than once.[6] This has meant that many deployed troops, not being as “ steeped in military culture ”[7] have had more difficult transitions into military life, and for many the increased redeployment rate has meant more transitions, more uncertainty, longer terms, and shorter dwell times, all of which contribute to greater stress.

Due to medical advances, warfare in the 21st century tends to yield more survivors with severe injuries which soldiers in previous wars would have died from.[8] This means that, though fewer service members die, more return from war with injuries more serious, and in turn more emotionally devastating, than ever before. Among these injuries is the increasingly common traumatic brain injury, or TBI, the effects of which can range from a mild concussion to amnesia and serious neurological damage.[9]

Female veterans in the U.S.

Women have served in the United States military for over two hundred years. Some female veterans perceive themselves as discriminated against by their male counterparts and, as such, women who have served in the armed forces have sometimes been known as “the invisible veterans”.[10] Women were not fully recognized as veterans until after WWII, and prior to this they were not eligible for VA benefits. The current percentage of U.S. Veterans who are women is more than 8 percent. Women make up nearly 11.6 percent of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans.[11] A tri-state (Washington, Idaho, Oregon) women veterans conference in Pendleton, Oregon, in April 2008, attracted 362 women veterans, according to the East Oregonian newspaper.

African American veterans in the U.S.

African Americans have participated in every war fought by or within the United States. Black veterans from World War I experienced racial persecution on returning to the U.S. from overseas, particularly in Southern cities.[12]Black veterans from World War II continued to be denied equality at home despite President Harry S. Truman‘s desegregation of the military after World War II. Black veterans went on to play a central role in the Civil Rightsmovement. The National Association for Black Veterans is an organization that provides advocacy and support for African American and other minority veterans.

Health effects of military service and treatment for veterans

The effect of active military service can be profound and lasting, and some veterans have found it difficult to adjust to normal life again. An article in the London Metro on 28 January 2010 was titled “Veterans prone to suicide” and cited a report by the Mental Health Foundation [1] which said that not enough was being done to care for the Afghanistan war veterans, and many “plunged into alcohol problems, crime and suicide” upon their return. Indeed, in the U.S., the suicide rate among veterns is 300% the national average.[13] Support services were found to be patchy from area to area. Figures from 2009 showed that twice as many veterans were in prison than there were British troops currently in Afghanistan. Homelessness, street-sleeping and relationship breakdown are also commonly reported. Research done by he UK homelessness charity CRISIS (1994) and the Ex-Services Action Group (1997) both found that a quarter of homeless people had previously served in the armed forces.[14] The Times newspaper reported on 25 September 2009 that in England and Wales the number of “military veterans in jail has more than doubled in six years”.[15] Another Times article of the same date quoted the veterans mental health charity Combat Stress[16] reporting a 53% increase in referrals from doctors

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment among veterans

Further information: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

New treatment programs are emerging to assist veterans suffering from post-combat mental health problems such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is becoming an important method for the treatment of mental health issues among veterans, and is currently considered the standard of care for depression and PTSD by the United States Department of Defense. CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to change the patterns of thinking or behavior that responsible for patient’s negative emotions and in doing so change the way they feel. It has been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD among war veterans. Recently, online programs that pair CBT with therapist interaction have also proven effective in treating mental health problems among veterans. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is also an effective and non invasive, drug free treatment for PTSD, although it has not been tested against specific military traumatic exposure for efficacy.Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) also has applications in this field.

Help for veterans

Necessity has resulted in a number of sources of help being made available for veterans. Many of these are independent, charitable organisations, and in some countries the aftercare and rehabilitation services provided by Governments have been inadequate.[17] This may be because they do not wish to give attention to the negative effects of military service and the difficulties of readjustment to civilian life for it may have an adverse impact upon recruitment for their armed forces. Nevertheless, help is available and veterans should feel able to make contact and ask for assistance or advice without feeling that this is a weakness. Military service can be a profoundly unnatural experience and it is likely that some help may be needed in debriefing and rehabilitation into the community, whether it be medical, psychological, practical or financial.

Serving those who have Served

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

what is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles (muscle action we are able to control, such as those in the arms, legs, and face). The disease belongs to a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons.

Motor neurons are nerve cells located in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord that serve as controlling units and vital communication links between the nervous system and the voluntary muscles of the body. Messages from motor neurons in the brain (called upper motor neurons) are transmitted to motor neurons in the spinal cord (called lower motor neurons) and from them to particular muscles. In ALS, both the upper motor neurons and the lower motor neurons degenerate or die, and stop sending messages to muscles. Unable to function, the muscles gradually weaken, waste away (atrophy), and have very fine twitches (called fasciculations). Eventually, the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement is lost.

ALS causes weakness with a wide range of disabilities (see section titled “What are the symptoms?”). Eventually, all muscles under voluntary control are affected, and individuals lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs, and body. When muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, people lose the ability to breathe without ventilatory support. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. However, about 10 percent of those with ALS survive for 10 or more years.

Although the disease usually does not impair a person’s mind or intelligence, several recent studies suggest that some persons with ALS may have depression or alterations in cognitive functions involving decision-making and memory.

ALS does not affect a person’s ability to see, smell, taste, hear, or recognize touch. Patients usually maintain control of eye muscles and bladder and bowel functions, although in the late stages of the disease most individuals will need help getting to and from the bathroom.

Who gets ALS?

As many as 20,000-30,000 people in the United States have ALS, and an estimated 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease each year. ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected. ALS most commonly strikes people between 40 and 60 years of age, but younger and older people also can develop the disease. Men are affected more often than women.

In 90 to 95 percent of all ALS cases, the disease occurs apparently at random with no clearly associated risk factors. Individuals with this sporadic form of the disease do not have a family history of ALS, and their family members are not considered to be at increased risk for developing it.

About 5 to 10 percent of all ALS cases are inherited. The familial form of ALS usually results from a pattern of inheritance that requires only one parent to carry the gene responsible for the disease.  Mutations in more than a dozen genes have been found to cause familial ALS.

About one-third of all familial cases (and a small percentage of sporadic cases) result from a defect in a gene known as “chromosome 9 open reading frame 72,” or C9orf72. The function of this gene is still unknown. Another 20 percent of familial cases result from mutations in the gene that encodes the enzyme copper-zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1).

What are the symptoms?

The onset of ALS may be so subtle that the symptoms are overlooked. The earliest symptoms may include fasciculations, cramps, tight and stiff muscles (spasticity), muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg, slurred and nasal speech, or difficulty chewing or swallowing. These general complaints then develop into more obvious weakness or atrophy that may cause a physician to suspect ALS.

The parts of the body showing early symptoms of ALS depend on which muscles in the body are affected. Many individuals first see the effects of the disease in a hand or arm as they experience difficulty with simple tasks requiring manual dexterity such as buttoning a shirt, writing, or turning a key in a lock. In other cases, symptoms initially affect one of the legs, and people experience awkwardness when walking or running or they notice that they are tripping or stumbling more often. When symptoms begin in the arms or legs, it is referred to as “limb onset” ALS.  Other individuals first notice speech problems, termed “bulbar onset” ALS.

Regardless of the part of the body first affected by the disease, muscle weakness and atrophy spread to other parts of the body as the disease progresses. Individuals may develop problems with moving, swallowing (dysphagia), and speaking or forming words (dysarthria). Symptoms of upper motor neuron involvement include spasticity and exaggerated reflexes (hyperreflexia) including an overactive gag reflex. An abnormal reflex commonly called Babinski’s sign (the large toe extends upward as the sole of the foot is stimulated in a certain way) also indicates upper motor neuron damage. Symptoms of lower motor neuron degeneration include muscle weakness and atrophy, muscle cramps, and fasciculations.

To be diagnosed with ALS, people must have signs and symptoms of both upper and lower motor neuron damage that cannot be attributed to other causes.

Although the sequence of emerging symptoms and the rate of disease progression vary from person to person, eventually individuals will not be able to stand or walk, get in or out of bed on their own, or use their hands and arms. Difficulty swallowing and chewing impair the person’s ability to eat normally and increase the risk of choking. Maintaining weight will then become a problem. Because cognitive abilities are relatively intact, people are aware of their progressive loss of function and may become anxious and depressed. A small percentage of individuals may experience problems with memory or decision-making, and there is growing evidence that some may even develop a form of dementia over time. Health care professionals need to explain the course of the disease and describe available treatment options so that people can make informed decisions in advance. In later stages of the disease, individuals have difficulty breathing as the muscles of the respiratory system weaken. They eventually lose the ability to breathe on their own and must depend on ventilatory support for survival. Affected individuals also face an increased risk of pneumonia during later stages of ALS.

How is ALS diagnosed?

No one test can provide a definitive diagnosis of ALS, although the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs is strongly suggestive. Instead, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the symptoms and signs the physician observes in the patient and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Physicians obtain the individual’s full medical history and usually conduct a neurologic examination at regular intervals to assess whether symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy of muscles, hyperreflexia, and spasticity are getting progressively worse.

Since ALS symptoms in the early stages of the disease can be similar to those of a wide variety of other, more treatable diseases or disorders, appropriate tests must be conducted to exclude the possibility of other conditions. One of these tests is electromyography (EMG), a special recording technique that detects electrical activity in muscles. Certain EMG findings can support the diagnosis of ALS. Another common test is a nerve conduction study (NCS), which measures electrical energy by assessing the nerve’s ability to send a signal). Specific abnormalities in the NCS and EMG may suggest, for example, that the individual has a form of peripheral neuropathy (damage to peripheral nerves) or myopathy (muscle disease) rather than ALS. The physician may order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a noninvasive procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take detailed images of the brain and spinal cord. Standard MRI scans are normal in people with ALS. However, they can reveal evidence of other problems that may be causing the symptoms, such as a spinal cord tumor, a herniated disk in the neck that compresses the spinal cord, syringomyelia (a cyst in the spinal cord), or cervical spondylosis (abnormal wear affecting the spine in the neck).

Based on the person’s symptoms and findings from the examination and from these tests, the physician may order tests on blood and urine samples to eliminate the possibility of other diseases as well as routine laboratory tests. In some cases, for example, if a physician suspects that the individual may have a myopathy rather than ALS, a muscle biopsy may be performed.

Infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV), polio, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease can in some cases cause ALS-like symptoms. Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy, and spinal muscular atrophy also can mimic certain facets of the disease and should be considered by physicians attempting to make a diagnosis. Fasciculations, the fine rippling movements in the muscle, and muscle cramps also occur in benign conditions.

Because of the prognosis carried by this diagnosis and the variety of diseases or disorders that can resemble ALS in the early stages of the disease, individuals may wish to obtain a second neurological opinion.

What causes ALS?

The cause of ALS is not known, and scientists do not yet know why ALS strikes some people and not others. An important step toward answering this question was made in 1993 when scientists supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the SOD1 enzyme were associated with some cases of familial ALS. Although it is still not clear how mutations in the SOD1 gene lead to motor neuron degeneration, there is increasing evidence that mutant SOD1 protein can become toxic.

Since then, over a dozen additional genetic mutations have been identified, many through NINDS-supported research, and each of these gene discoveries has provided new insights into possible mechanisms of ALS.

For example, the discovery of certain genetic mutations involved in ALS suggests that changes in the processing of RNA molecules (involved with functions including gene regulation and activity) may lead to ALS-related motor neuron degeneration. Other gene mutations implicate defects in protein recycling. And still others point to possible defects in the structure and shape of motor neurons, as well as increased susceptibility to environmental toxins. Overall, it is becoming increasingly clear that a number of cellular defects can lead to motor neuron degeneration in ALS.

Another research advance was made in 2011 when scientists found that a defect in the C9orf72 gene is not only present in a significant subset of ALS patients but also in some patients who suffer from a type of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This observation provides evidence for genetic ties between these two neurodegenerative disorders. In fact, some researchers are proposing that ALS and some forms of FTD are related disorders with genetic, clinical, and pathological overlap.

In searching for the cause of ALS, researchers are also studying the role of environmental factors such as exposure to toxic or infectious agents, as well as physical trauma or behavioral and occupational factors. For example, studies of populations of military personnel who were deployed to the Gulf region during the 1991 war show that those veterans were more likely to develop ALS compared to military personnel who were not in the region.

Future research may show that many factors, including a genetic predisposition, are involved in the development of ALS.

How is ALS treated?

No cure has yet been found for ALS. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug treatment for the disease—riluzole (Rilutek)—in 1995. Riluzole is believed to reduce damage to motor neurons by decreasing the release of glutamate. Clinical trials with ALS patients showed that riluzole prolongs survival by several months, mainly in those with difficulty swallowing. The drug also extends the time before an individual needs ventilation support. Riluzole does not reverse the damage already done to motor neurons, and persons taking the drug must be monitored for liver damage and other possible side effects. However, this first disease-specific therapy offers hope that the progression of ALS may one day be slowed by new medications or combinations of drugs.

Other treatments for ALS are designed to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with the disorder. This supportive care is best provided by multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals such as physicians; pharmacists; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; nutritionists; and social workers and home care and hospice nurses. Working with patients and caregivers, these teams can design an individualized plan of medical and physical therapy and provide special equipment aimed at keeping patients as mobile and comfortable as possible.

Physicians can prescribe medications to help reduce fatigue, ease muscle cramps, control spasticity, and reduce excess saliva and phlegm. Drugs also are available to help patients with pain, depression, sleep disturbances, and constipation. Pharmacists can give advice on the proper use of medications and monitor a patient’s prescriptions to avoid risks of drug interactions.

Physical therapy and special equipment can enhance an individual’s independence and safety throughout the course of ALS. Gentle, low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, and stationary bicycling can strengthen unaffected muscles, improve cardiovascular health, and help patients fight fatigue and depression. Range of motion and stretching exercises can help prevent painful spasticity and shortening (contracture) of muscles. Physical therapists can recommend exercises that provide these benefits without overworking muscles. Occupational therapists can suggest devices such as ramps, braces, walkers, and wheelchairs that help individuals conserve energy and remain mobile.

People with ALS who have difficulty speaking may benefit from working with a speech therapist. These health professionals can teach individuals adaptive strategies such as techniques to help them speak louder and more clearly. As ALS progresses, speech therapists can help people develop ways for responding to yes-or-no questions with their eyes or by other nonverbal means and can recommend aids such as speech synthesizers and computer-based communication systems. These methods and devices help people communicate when they can no longer speak or produce vocal sounds.

Nutritional support is an important part of the care of people with ALS. Individuals and caregivers can learn from speech therapists and nutritionists how to plan and prepare numerous small meals throughout the day that provide enough calories, fiber, and fluid and how to avoid foods that are difficult to swallow. People may begin using suction devices to remove excess fluids or saliva and prevent choking. When individuals can no longer get enough nourishment from eating, doctors may advise inserting a feeding tube into the stomach. The use of a feeding tube also reduces the risk of choking and pneumonia that can result from inhaling liquids into the lungs. The tube is not painful and does not prevent individuals from eating food orally if they wish.

When the muscles that assist in breathing weaken, use of nocturnal ventilatory assistance (intermittent positive pressure ventilation [IPPV] or bilevel positive airway pressure [BIPAP]) may be used to aid breathing during sleep. Such devices artificially inflate the person’s lungs from various external sources that are applied directly to the face or body. Individuals with ALS will have breathing tests on a regular basis to determine when to start non-invasive ventilation (NIV).  When muscles are no longer able to maintain normal oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, these devices may be used full-time.

Individuals may eventually consider forms of mechanical ventilation (respirators) in which a machine inflates and deflates the lungs. To be effective, this may require a tube that passes from the nose or mouth to the windpipe (trachea) and for long-term use, an operation such as a tracheostomy, in which a plastic breathing tube is inserted directly in the patient’s windpipe through an opening in the neck. Patients and their families should consider several factors when deciding whether and when to use one of these options. Ventilation devices differ in their effect on the person’s quality of life and in cost. Although ventilation support can ease problems with breathing and prolong survival, it does not affect the progression of ALS. People need to be fully informed about these considerations and the long-term effects of life without movement before they make decisions about ventilation support.

Social workers and home care and hospice nurses help patients, families, and caregivers with the medical, emotional, and financial challenges of coping with ALS, particularly during the final stages of the disease. Respiratory therapists can help caregivers with tasks such as operating and maintaining respirators, and home care nurses are available not only to provide medical care but also to teach caregivers about giving tube feedings and moving patients to avoid painful skin problems and contractures. Home hospice nurses work in consultation with physicians to ensure proper medication and pain control.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal Government’s leading supporter of biomedical research on ALS. The goals of this research are to find the cause or causes of ALS, understand the mechanisms involved in the progression of the disease, and develop effective treatments.

Scientists are seeking to understand the mechanisms that selectively trigger motor neurons to degenerate in ALS, and to find effective approaches to halt the processes leading to cell death. This work includes studies in animals to identify the molecular means by which ALS-causing gene mutations lead to the destruction of neurons. To this end, scientists have developed models of ALS in a variety of animal species, including fruit flies, zebrafish, and rodents. Initially, these genetically modified animal models focused on mutations in the SOD1 gene but more recently, models harboring other ALS-causing mutations also have been developed. Research in these models suggests that depending on the gene mutation, motor neuron death is caused by a variety of cellular defects, including in the processing of RNA molecules and recycling of proteins, as well as impaired energy metabolism, and hyperactivation of motor neurons. Increasing evidence also suggests that various types of glial support cells and inflammation cells of the nervous system play an important role in the disease.

Overall, the work in familial ALS is already leading to a greater understanding of the more common sporadic form of the disease. Because familial ALS is virtually indistinguishable from sporadic ALS clinically, some researchers believe that familial ALS genes may also be involved in sporadic ALS. For example, recent research has shown that the defect in the C9orf72 gene found in familial ALS is also present in a small percentage of sporadic ALS cases. Further, there is evidence that mutant SOD1 is present in spinal cord tissue in some sporadic cases of ALS.

Another active area of research is the development of innovative cell culture systems to serve as “patient-derived” model systems for ALS research. For example, scientists have developed ways of inducing skin cells from individuals with ALS into becoming pluripotent stem cells (cells that are capable of becoming all the different cell types of the body). In the case of ALS, researchers have been able to convert pluripotent stem cells derived from skin into becoming motor neurons and other cell types that may be involved in the disease. NINDS is supporting research on the development of pluripotent cell lines for a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS.

Scientists are also working to develop biomarkers for ALS that could serve as tools for diagnosis, as markers of disease progression, or correlated with therapeutic targets. Such biomarkers can be molecules derived from a bodily fluid (such as spinal fluid), an imaging assay of the brain or spinal cord, or an electrophysiological measure of nerve and muscle ability to process an electrical signal.

Potential therapies for ALS are being investigated in a range of animal models, especially in rodent models. This work involves the testing of drug-like compounds, gene therapy approaches, antibodies and cell-based therapies. In addition, at any given time, a number of exploratory treatments are in clinical testing in ALS patients. Investigators are optimistic that these and other basic, translational, and clinical research studies will eventually lead to new and more effective treatments for ALS.

How Can I Help Research?

The NINDS and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) are committed to studies of disease patterns or risk factors among persons with ALS in order to better understand the causes of ALS, the mechanisms involved in the progression of the disease, and to develop effective treatments. The National ALS Registry, a program to collect, manage, and analyze data about persons with ALS, was launched in October 2010 and is actively enrolling individuals with the disease. The Registry includes data from national databases as well as de-identified information provided by persons with ALS. All collected information is kept confidential. Persons living with ALS who choose to participate can add their information to the Registry by visitingwww.cdc.gov/als.

Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease. Many neurological disorders don’t have good treatment options. By participating in a clinical trial, individuals with an illness or disease can greatly affect their life and those of others affected by a neurological disorder.  For information about finding and participating in clinical trials, visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You atwww.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrials. Use the search terms “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” or “ALS AND (your state)” to locate trials in your area.

The NINDS contributes to the support of the Human Brain and Spinal Fluid Resource Center in Los Angeles. This bank supplies investigators around the world with tissue from patients with neurological and other disorders. Tissue from individuals with ALS is needed to enable scientists to study this disorder more intensely. Prospective donors may contact:

Human Brain and Spinal Fluid Resource Center
Neurology Research
W. Los Angeles Healthcare Center
11301 Wilshire Blvd. (127A)
Building 212, Room 16
Los Angeles, CA 90073
310-268-3536
www.brainbank.ucla.edu

 Where can I get more information?

For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at:

BRAIN
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
(800) 352-9424
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

Information also is available from the following organizations:

ALS Association
1275 K Street, N.W.
Suite 1050
Washington, DC   20005
advocacy@alsa-national.org
http://www.alsa.org External link
Tel: 202-407-8580
Fax: 202-289-6801
Les Turner ALS Foundation
5550 W. Touhy Avenue
Suite 302
Skokie, IL   60077-3254
info@lesturnerals.org
http://www.lesturnerals.org External link
Tel: 888-ALS-1107 847-679-3311
Fax: 847-679-9109
Muscular Dystrophy Association
3300 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ   85718-3208
mda@mdausa.org
http://www.mda.org External link
Tel: 520-529-2000 800-572-1717
Fax: 520-529-5300
Project ALS
3960 Broadway
Suite 420
New York, NY   10032
info@projectals.org
http://www.projectals.org External link
Tel: 212-420-7382 800-603-0270
Fax: 212-420-7387
ALS Therapy Development Institute
300 Technology Square
Suite 400
Cambridge, MA   02139
info@als.net
http://www.als.net External link
Tel: 617-441-7200
Fax: 617-441-7299
Prize4Life
P.O. Box 425783
Cambridge, MA   02142
contact@prize4life.org
http://www.prize4life.org External link
Tel: 617-500-7527

Student Engineers Build Feeding Arm For Hingham ALS Patient

VMiNewEngland.com

Pimkin needed help eating and he asked UMass Lowell’s engineering students to invent a machine that could feed him. He heard about the group of students through someone online and then successfully approached them.
“They interviewed me and decided that they wanted to make me the subject of their project,” he told Patch through email.  “Before they made the arm, they came to my home.  Took measurements and then worked on the machine.  It took about six months or so.   During this time, we stayed in contact sharing ideas about how the device would be most useful.”
The students built a  “feeding arm”  which Pipkin uses everyday and has helped him become more independent.
“I’ve lost so much of my independence with this terrible disease, Pipkin said.   “So every little bit of independence I can get back, is a very big deal for me.”
The mechanical device picks up food and delivers it to Pipkin and helps him improve his self-care and his daily needs.  The ALS patient says he uses the arm to eat foods like yogurt, oatmeal and grits but has a hard time eating larger foods.
Pipkin was also very gracious for the students’ work and hopes more feeding arms will be created in the future for ALS patients.
“I thought the students seemed dedicated and truly wanted to help me,” he said. “They seemed to really care that the arm would work and function properly.”
Pipkin has been battling ALS for eight years, which is rare – usually the deadly disease claims its victims within 4-6 years.
Before being diagnosed,  Pipkin was living in Manhattan and pursuing a successful career in marketing global fragrance brands for companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Calvin Klein and Estee Lauder.   Pipkin’s last project was spearheading the successful launch of Mariah Carey’s first fragrance “M” in 2007.
Thanks to his brave efforts, Pipkin is being named the official chairperson of a new campaign by the Needham-based ALS Therapy Alliance to raise awareness, money and hope for people fighting ALS.
“It is important to contribute to ALS research because there are people like me, every day, fighting to stay healthy in the hopes that there will be a breakthrough,” says Pipkin. “Doctors told me that I would not live more than a few year; eight years later, I am still here and I’m in relatively stable health. I want to encourage people to keep fighting ALS,”
“We had our stressful moments,” said the Fitchburg 22-year-old. “But we worked it out.”

Accessible Travel Massachusetts

The Commonwealth features some unique accessible opportunities:

CAPEable Adventures was established in 2007, by Craig Bautz, to address the growing desire of physically and mentally challenged children and adults who would like the opportunity to participate in sports and outdoor recreation. CAPEable Adventures offers sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent disability. Activities include water sports, cycling, skiing, curling, fitness and special sports events.

Perkins Museum Take a multi-sensory journey through the history of blind and deafblind education over the last 200 years.

Handi Kids Camp, a non-profit, recreational facility for children and young adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Ironstone Farm is home to Challenge Unlimited and Ironstone Therapy, two non-profit organizations established to provide a variety of services for people with and without disabilities, using horses and the wholesome environment of a working farm.

F1 Boston features F1 cars designed specially for children with disabilities.

Forever Young Treehouse at the Institute for Developmental Disabilities Inc., the first of its kind in the state.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site now offers special audio tours.

Zoar Outdoor has kayaks with adaptive seating for paraplegics, visual signals for folks with hearing loss and special rafting trips for visually impaired people.

Arts & Culture

The Museum of Fine Arts offers Artful Healing Programs. These are theme-based tours and art making activities at area hospitals, healthcare centers, and at the MFA for children, youth, teens, and their families in a group setting or in patients’ rooms.

The Museum of Science Boston has Access Features and Programs as well.

Audio described performances are available at:
Wheelock Family Theatre
Huntington Theatre
American Repertory Theatre offers both ASL and Audio described performances.

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Outdoor Activities

Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR)
The DCR has many adaptive programs and events throughout the year.

Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

Mt. Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Rd., Lanesborough, 413-499-4262

• Paved ¼ mile loop trail at summit of Massachusetts’ tallest peak has spectacular views
• Meets all codes and guidelines for accessibility
• Visitor Center, Restrooms, Interpretive Program, Trail Opportunity

At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts. Rising above the surrounding Berkshire landscape, dramatic views of 60-90 miles distant may be seen. It became Massachusetts’ first wilderness state park, acquired by the Commonwealth in 1898, to preserve its natural environment for public enjoyment. Wild and rugged yet intimate and accessible, Mount Greylock rewards the visitor exploring this special place of scenic and natural beauty. The roads to the summit are open seasonally from late-May through November 1; weather permitting into the Fall.

Pittsfield State Forest, 1041 Cascade Street, Pittsfield, 413-442-8992

• Tranquility Trail is a ½ mile paved through the forest crossing a brook and accessible by wheelchair.
• Picnic area, Restrooms, Interpretive Program, Optional Audio Tour component

Streams, waterfalls and flowering shrubs abound in Pittsfield State Forest. 65 acres of wild azalea fields are a profusion of pink blossoms in June. The forest has two camping areas, two picnic areas and a swimming beach. Fishermen frequent scenic Berry Pond, one of the highest natural water bodies in the state at 2,150 feet in elevation. The vista from the top of Berry Mountain, accessible by auto road from April to December, is a striking panorama and a great place to watch the sun set.

Savoy Mountain State Forest 260 Central Shaft Road, Florida, (413) 663-8469
A quarter mile of stabilized stonedust trail travels through woods and skirts the lake. Offers benches and views.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Adams to Lanesborough, 413-442-8928

• 11.2 mile paved trail
• Accessible for handicapped
• Visitor Center, Restrooms, Picnicking

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a former railroad corridor converted into a 10-foot wide paved, universally accessible, passive recreation path. It runs parallel to Route 8 through the towns of Cheshire, Lanesboro and Adams. The southern end of the rail trail begins at the entrance to the Berkshire Mall off MA Rte. 8 in Lanesboro and travels north to the center of Adams.

Vietnam Veteran’s Rink, 1292 Church Street, North Adams, (413) 664-8185

• Public skating hours
• Wheelchair accessible
• Ice-skating sleds are available

Undermountain Farm, 400 Undermountain Road, Lenox, (413) 637-3365

• Handicap accessible
• Lessons available for those with moderate disabilities

A beautiful Victorian Farm surrounded by 150 acres of pasture, forest and hay fields. A large airy indoor arena (81 x 160), a spacious outdoor arena, and access to miles of riding trails provide ample facilities for riding pleasure.

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, (413) 637-0320

• All-Persons Trail is a one-third-mile long and accessible to everyone.
• Restrooms , Education Center.

STRIDE Adaptive Sports offers exceptional instruction in adaptive ski & snowboard lessons in all methods at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock and Catamount Ski Area in South Egremont. See website for more details. The Great Race, March 16, 2013. For STRIDE participants to have the opportunity to show off what they learned through the STRIDE program. The event includes a BBQ with a DJ and fun for all!

Accessible Beaches
Accessible Camping
Accessible Pools

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Sightseeing Tours

Duck Tours The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK”, a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle. First, you’ll be greeted by one of our legendary tour ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating your tour. Then you’re off on a journey like you’ve never had before. The Duck Tours might be a great way to see a lot of Boston for those who cannot participate in the walking tours of Boston as some are equipped for wheelchair access, make sure you contact the company ahead of time for details: 617 450-0068.

Freedom Trail Boston’s Freedom Trail is a walking tour that visits historical sites in downtown Boston: The State House, Granary Burial Grounds, King’s Chapel, site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, home of Paul Revere, Old North Church, USS Constitution, and Bunker Hill. The trail begins in Boston Common where you can purchase a ticket at the visitors center and join a group or tour on your own. The trail is long and has a lot of hills but it is accessible. The Granary Burial Grounds, resting place of Sam Adams, John Hancock, Mother Goose, and Paul Revere (to name a few) is wheelchair accessible. The entrance is located on the northeast side of the cemetery (down an alley on Beacon Street).

Harvard Yard Walking Tour The student-lead Harvard Yard tour gives you a first hand account of the history behind the famous university. The tour is wheelchair accessible, and is free to the public. Wheelchairs are available with a week or more advance notice.

Cruises

Boston’s Best Cruises

The following Boston’s Best Cruises operations are fully ADA accessible:
MBTA Harbor Express – Quincy, Hull & Logan to Long Wharf North, Boston. Year-round operation.

Boston Harbor Islands – Long Wharf North to Georges and Spectacle Islands. May through Columbus Day.

Sunset Cruise – 90 minute nightly tour through Boston Harbor from Long Wharf North. May through Columbus Day.

New England Aquarium Whale Watch – Aquarium dock to Stellwagen Bank. April through October.

The Harbor Cruise vessel is not ADA accessible, but an ADA accessible Harbor Cruise can be arranged with proper notice.

Adaptive Programs

All Out Adventures. Outdoor recreation for people of all abilities.

Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers – Boston, North Shore and Cape Cod support individuals of all abilities in leading active, healthy lives through participation in adaptive sports and recreational activities. Spaulding opened its first Adaptive Sports programs in Boston and on Cape Cod in 2001, and since that time has expanded to include the North Shore. These three sites offer a wide range of land and water based adaptive sporting activities that focus on the value of sports and fitness. At these Centers, participants living with disabilities play wheelchair tennis, hand cycle, kayak, windsurf or row in adaptive boats, and engage in a number of other activities through which they learn new life skills, make new friends and enjoy themselves as they rebuild their strength, gain a sense of independence and self-confidence. The programs are delivered under the supervision of Spaulding clinicians and adaptive sports professionals, and are open to children and adults. Staff members help each participant find the most appropriate activities to meet their capabilities and help them Find Their Strength.
877-976-7272

Community Boating. Persons with disabilities and their guests will have the use of specialized, accessible sailboats and transfer equipment, dedicated staff assistance to get in and out of the boats, and sailing instruction, all for only $1.00! Several seat configurations in the boats are available for people with various disabilities. Reserved sessions, usually an hour in length, can be customized to meet individual needs. They can consist of a short sailboat ride for therapeutic recreation or a more learn-to-sail class structure, leading to ratings and expanded sailing privileges.

Windrush Farm. Windrush expands and enriches the personal, emotional and physical abilities of all those we serve by partnering with our horses and the environment.

The Sports Club Finder connects you with community-based programs, including Paralympic Sports Clubs that have been developed to provide sports programming and physical activity opportunities for disabled Veterans along with youth and adults with disabilities, regardless of skill level. All programs and activities at these organizations are based in the community and are run by the local organization.

Holyoke Rows
THURSDAY ROWING AT Holyoke Rows. This Universal Access Program is free to people with disabilities and their families. They meet on Thursdays May – October at Holyoke Rows. Everyone is welcome from first time rowers to experienced racers. Call Stephanie at 413-320-3134 to set up a lesson.

Piers Park Sailing Center
The Adaptive Sailing Program at Piers Park Sailing Center is a nationally recognized non-profit sailing program which has served over one thousand people with disabilities since the program’s inception in 2007. In 2009, US Sailing awarded PPSC as the Best Community Program for disabled sailors. In 2010, we were honored to be designated a Paralympic Sports Club.

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Sports Venues

Banknorth Garden (home of the Boston CelticsBoston Bruins)

Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox)

Gillette Stadium (home of the , New England Patriots, New England Revolution )

Transportation

Ferry to the tip of Cape Cod
The Boston to Provincetown ferry service is wheelchair accessible?
Vessels are wheelchair accessible on both the Boston and Provincetown docks. You may require the assistance of our crew depending upon the tide. Please call 617-748-1428 extension 1251 for additional information. Our high speed ferry has wheelchair accessible restrooms, our excursion service aboard the Provincetown II (which is a much older vessel) does not.

Rental Car (Wheelchair Van)

Bus
MBTA: The MBTA bus system serves the entire Boston area, and is dedicated to increasing the accessibility of all its services. All buses are accessible, and are equipped to serve the wheelchair dependent rider. Find out more information about accessibility. Visit the online subway map for a list of accessible stops or call the Office for Transportation Access with any questions: 800 533-6282.

The accommodations and attractions listed are accessible to people with disabilities and have indicated that they meet the following criteria for accessibility:

  • accessible parking, where parking is available.
  • wheelchair-accessible route from parking areas to entrance, elevator, public restroom and other public areas.
  • service animals accepted.

Additional criteria for accommodations include:

  • wheelchair-accessible guest rooms.
  • the ability to handle special requests for a text telephone or TDD; and for visual notification of fire alarm, incoming phone calls and door bell.

Before planning a trip, we strongly recommend that you call ahead to find out if accommodations and attractions meet your specific needs. Many accommodations and attractions that do not carry the access symbol, provide some, but not all, of the services listed above. For example, many historic buildings have accessibility on the first floor only.

 

2013 Swing for ALS Charity Golf Tournament Pinehills Golf Club, Plymouth, MA

2013 Swing for ALS Charity Golf Tournament Pinehills Golf Club, Plymouth, MA

Swing__pine_hills__chapter_logo swing

JUNE 11th, 2013

For more info on the SWING FOR ALS – click here!

http://webma.alsa.org/site/Calendar?id=158321&view=Detail

 

Take a swing at ALS at the fourth Annual Swing for ALS Golf Tournament!  Support the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease at one of Massachusetts’ finest golf courses —Pinehills Golf Club, Plymouth, MA.  The day will begin with golfer registration at 10:30 AM followed by a shot gun start at 11:00 AM.  Our evening program will begin around 5:00 PM with dinner and an exciting live/silent auction that you won’t want to miss!

 

Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Address: 54 Clubhouse Drive

Plymouth, MA 02360

 

Not a golfer? Dinner-only tickets are available! Just click Buy Tickets.

 

For more information on tickets and sponsorship opportunities, or to register over the phone, please contact Susan Adler at susan.adler@als-ma.org, or call The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter at 781-255-8884 (ext. 234) or 888-CURE-ALS (Toll Free).

Amputee Driving Controls South of Boston, MA

Amputee Driving Controls South of Boston, MA

2013 GM Equinox Hand Controls Boston Amputee Driving Controls

VMi New England and Automotive Innovations promotes full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other legislation which guarantees full participation in society for all people, regardless of disability. We are dedicated to helping with motor vehicle modifications to meet the needs and concerns of amputees.

Support:

We will do our best to provide motor vehicle mobility solutions and resources for people who have experienced the loss of a limb and those involved with their lives. We are a supplier and installer of handicap and amputee driving devices.

Driving after Amputation: Automotive Mobility Equipment for Amputees
Driving after amputation is possible with the right equipment and vehicle modifications

After a limb has been amputated, for any reason, a person is typically not able to drive an automobile the same way they did before. However, there are several adaptive devices that can enable an amputee to continue driving and maintain his or her independence. The site of amputation(s) will determine exactly what type of vehicle an amputee is able to drive, and what other types of adaptive mobility equipment will be necessary. Here is a general overview of the various amputations and what equipment might be necessary with each one:

VMi New England and Automotive Innovations Bridgewater, MA has installed the following amputee driving equipment for over 25 years:

Hand Controls Boston, MA

RIGHT LEG

•Amputee Left foot gas pedal
Hand Controls 
•Automatic Transmission
•Power Braking

BOTH LEGS

•Hand Controls for brake and accelerator
•Amputee Spinner Knob
•Automatic Transmission
•Emergency Brake Extension
•Chest Strap

EITHER ARM

•Automatic Transmission
•Amputee Steering Device
Reduced Effort Steering
Zero Effort Steering
Zero Effort Brake
•Modified Gear Shifter
•Electric Gear Shifter
Electric Parking Brake
•Modified Secondary Controls (turn signals, dimmers)

Not every vehicle can be modified appropriately, and if the amputee is also a permanent wheelchair user a lowered floor minivan or mobility van may be their only option. That is why it is necessary to first be evaluated by a driver rehab specialist and then follow up with a certified mobility specialist to look at all of your adaptive equipment options as recommended by your driving evaluator.

2012 VW Van Left Foot Gas Pedal

VMi New England and Automotive Innovations sells and installs all of the above equipment.
Set up an appointment to meet with a mobility specialist today and let us help you regain your independence after amputation.

From the Department of Veterans Affairs: Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE)

The Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program permits physically challenged persons to enter, exit, and/or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyance.

Veterans are trained, through the VA Driver’s Rehabilitation Program, how to safely operate their vehicle on our nation’s roadways.

The VA also provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, UVLs (under vehicle lifts), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controlsleft foot gas pedalsreduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, and digital driving systems.

Additionally, VA’s program provides reimbursements for standard equipment including, but not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary for the safe operation of an approved vehicle.

PDF application for adaptive equipment

Automotive Innovations has a substantial inventory of wheelchair accessible vans in Bridgewater, MA, and would be happy to set up a time for a demonstration. Every day is a Abilities Expo just south of Boston with access to factory direct inventory of hundreds of wheelchair vans in every make, model, and color available.

The Left Foot Accelerator, like model 3545S, is an accelerator pedal for persons with limited or no use of the right leg requiring them to drive with their left leg. It is equipped with a guard to prevent the driver from inadvertently resting their right foot on the accelerator pedal. The Left Foot Accelerator incorporates a quick release mechanism and is easily removable without tools.

LFA The (LFA) was designed for the driver that has lost control of only his right foot.

Left Foot Accelerator By Automotive Innovations is a  leader in design & quality. The (LFA) is extremely adjustable allowing it to be used in virtually any vehicle. The (LFA) is also equipped with a quick disconnect allowing (LFA) to be released and removed from the vehicle when not in use. Only the mounting plate is permanently mounted to the floor.

2012 Toyota Camry Left Foot gas Pedal

A left foot accelerator pedal device which allows persons lacking sufficient functionality of the right foot or right leg to operate a motor vehicle accelerator pedal using their left foot. The device incorporates an accelerator pedal activator which engages the motor vehicle accelerator pedal and is operable attached by a main shaft to a left side accelerator pedal. The main shaft is supported by a base unit which is removable attached to a base plate affixed to the vehicle floor. By depressing left side accelerator pedal a person lacking functionality of the right foot may operate the vehicle while the device may be easily removed from base plate allowing a person of normal functionality to operate the vehicle.

Automotive Innovations is New England’s premier mobility controls dealer. A Quick Release Left Foot Gas Pedal with Pedal Guard allows the driver to accelerate with the left foot. This pedal is installed on the left side and is mechanically linked to the original manufacturers pedal. The Pedal Guard shields the original pedal thereby making it inoperable. This quality crafted pedal is fully adjustable. The lightweight design of the pedal along with its quick release feature makes it quick and easy to remove and install, as the Left Foot Accelerator Pedal with Pedal Guard slides in and out of a base that is bolted to the floor. This makes the a Left Foot Accelerator Pedal with Pedal Guard is a smart choice.

Pedal Extensions

Automotive innovations gas and brake pedal extensions adjust to allow 6″ to 12″ or longer if necessary of extended reach. Made of durable lightweight aluminum or steel, Pedal Extensionsprovide comfortable driving after installation. Pedal Extensions fold down out of the way to allow other persons to operate the vehicle. Pedal extensions must be installed by authorized dealers. They fit most American cars and vans. Call now for more information on price and available appointment times.

Left Foot Gas Pedal

Designed for people with limited or no use of their right foot, the quick release left foot gas pedal enables those drivers to utilize their left foot for gas operation. The pedal can be installed in any vehicle with an automatic transmission. No adjustments are necessary after installation, and the unit can easily be removed to allow other drivers to operate the vehicle. A pedal stop is part of the unit, and will not allow the right foot to inadvertently apply throttle.

Block Pedal Extensions

Our pedal extensions are fabricated from structural aluminum tubing with a non-skid surface. They have adjustable slots for two stainless steel clamps that go around the gas and brake pedals (can also be modified for clutch pedal extensions). Standard sizes range from 1″ to 4″ high. This is a semi-permanent installation.

Custom Foot Pedal Extensions

Automotive Innovations carries a full line of custom gas, brake, and clutch pedal extensions for all driver’s needs.

Left-Foot Gas Pedals:
Your vehicle can be modified to allow you to use your left foot to control the gas pedal. This modification is designed for quick installation and removal so your vehicle can be shared with other drivers not in need of this adaptation.

508-697-6006

info@VMiNewEngland.com

Boston, Massachusetts, Low Priced Handicap Accessible Wheelchair Vans for MA

VMi New England will offer you a low price on your next custom van purchase in Boston, Massachusetts and nationwide. We give customized assistance to help you find affordable new or used wheelchair cars with side and rear entry lowered floor van conversions. Our handicap autos are ideal for personal or commercial transportation for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and powerchair users. We will bring you a new or used wheelchair van to Boston and still save you thousands of dollars. So get away in Boston, Massachusetts, MA, and explore the possibilities.

You can choose many options for handicap vans including the option to buy a mobility van, sell your wheelchair van to us, trade in a vehicle towards the purchase of a mobility van, convert your vehicle with van conversions for wheelchair accessibility and find adaptive mobility equipment for handicap vans.

 

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

Toyota Lowered Floor Mini Van

Get Great Deals on New and Used Mobility Vans in Boston, Massachusetts – MA

If you want or need to buy a wheel chair van in Boston, then we can help. With brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, Dodge and Chrysler, along with our wide variety of new wheelchair vehicles with new conversions and used wheelchair vehicles with new or used conversions, you are sure to find the right disability car to meet your needs. We carry used handicap vehicles by Braun, VMI, and other brands with models such as the Braun Entervan, VMI Northstar, and many others (even maybe a AMS ). If you don’t see the specific handicap vehicle make or model that you’re looking for, please contact one of our mobility consultants today. VMi New England is committed to assisting you in your search to find the perfect adapted van that will meet your mobility needs at a price that is affordable to you.

Sell Your Disability Car in Boston, Massachusetts

VMi New England Toyota Sienna Northstar

 

Need to sell your scooter van or non-converted minivan? We buy handicap accessible vans of all types and brands from nearly all manufacturers in Massachusetts or nationwide. It’s also possible for us to purchase non-converted minivans including Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Dodge (long wheelbase only). For your convenience VMi New England now has mobility consignment programs, giving us new mobility alternatives and solutions. Also, for a very minimal cost you can sell your wheelchair lift van through our vast network of mobility classified listings online. Our previous customers can take advantage of our nationwide wheelchair van classified listing service for free.

VMi New England accepts most cars, trucks, minivans, sports cars, off road vehicles or ramp vans for trade-in when buying a wheelchair minivan. We won’t let a trade in stop you from buying a new or used wheelchair vehicle or wheelchair vehicle conversion. Come in for a quick price quote on the value of your trade-in vehicle.

Let us install a wheelchair accessible vehicle conversion into your Dodge, Chrysler, Volkswagen, or Honda minivan. VMi New England’s mobility dealership has low prices on safe, quality side and rear entry wheelchair van conversions that have been around for over 20 years.

Contact us when purchasing or installing mobility equipment in Boston, Massachusetts such as wheelchair lifts, mobility scooter and powerchair vehicle carriers, transfer seats, or other adaptive equipment. VMi New England offers popular brands of driver aids and If you don’t find the specific mobility equipment that meets your handicap van needs, we will make it special order it for you.

HELP FIND A CURE FOR Lou Gehrig’s Disease UMASS ALS CHAMPION FUND

The Champion Fund aims to help Dr. Brown and his colleagues pursue ALS research leads and breakthroughs right now that might otherwise take years to attract funding from traditional sources. As a result, this Fund will make researchers at UMMS better prepared to “seize the moment” when highly promising ALS discoveries are made.

Dr. Brown is widely recognized as a pioneer in neurodegenerative disease research and for 30 years has dedicated his career to unlocking the secrets of ALS, a degenerative disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness, leading to paralysis and eventually death. There is currently no treatment to stop or reverse ALS. Brown has been a leading visionary for ALS treatment and part of nearly every fundamental ALS breakthrough to-date, including the identification of mutations in a gene that is responsible for the rare, familial form of the disease. Brown’s work has opened a window into ALS that has drastically changed the research landscape and provided patients and loved ones touched by ALS with something very rare: hope.

The Champion Fund aims to extend and supplement the already great fundraising initiatives benefiting UMMS. Dr. Brown and team has been fortunate to receive support from a diversity of groups, including the Massachusetts-based Angel Fund and national partner CVS Pharmacy, both of which have been raising money for UMMS and acting as champions in the fight against ALS for more than 10 years. The Champion Fund will complement and extend those funding sources to augment the overall effort..

Now is the time. There is hope. But, victories are a team effort. Join us – become a champion and help fight back against ALS.

View the list of the campaign’s Honorary Co-chairs.

Toyota Sienna Wheelchair Van: Gallery

 

2013 Toyota Sienna LE
VMI Northstar Wheelchair Van For Sale

2013 Toyota Sienna DS292397 Front Left Side View
 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Front Right Side View2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Rear Right Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Rear Left Side View2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Steering Wheel and Dash Left Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Right Side Steering Wheel and Dash View2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Left Side View - Elias4 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Indide View2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Trunk Open Seats Up View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Trunk Open Seats Down View

2005 Toyota Sienna XLE LMT
Braun Toyota Sienna Rampvan Sold
2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Left Front 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Right Front2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Left Rear 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Right rear2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Front Seat 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Dash2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 DVD and Sunroof 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Back Seats2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 Ramp 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited Braun Entervan 5S383443 trunk Open

2005 Toyota Sienna LE
Braun Toyota Sienna Rampvan For Sale

2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Front Left Side Veiw 2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Front Right Side Veiw2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Rear Right Side Veiw 2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Rear Left  Side Veiw2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Steering Wheel and Dash Side View 2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Steering Wheel and Dash View2005 Toyota Sienna 5S363124 Rear Right Side Ramp Out Veiw 2005 Toyota Sienna wheelchair van Trunk Open

 

VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar  rear seat VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar 1 VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar 2 VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar 3 VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar wheelchair van removable seat VMiNewEngland Toyota Sienna Northstar wheelchair van driver

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England1 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England2 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England3 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England7 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England9 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England16 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England35 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England38 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England39 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England40 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England41 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England43 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England44 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England45 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England47 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England49 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England50 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England51

Wheelchair Van Sales from VMi New England Offers You Multiple Finance Options if you live in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine

Available Wheelchair Van Inventory

All makes and models, used and new in stock.

VMi New England are top of the line in terms of safety, durability, and value. We think everyone should be able to experience the personal freedom that comes along with owning a mobility van from Wheelchair Vans of VMi New England. Discuss your financing needs with our professional mobility consultants! We’re passionate about finding the perfect van for you and we’ll be there to guide you through every step of the process, including the possibility of using federal credit union resources, to help you lock in the best interest rate for your handicap accessible minivan.

We know how important mobility is to your personal freedom – we’ll take every measure to ensure you get the van of your dreams. Wheelchair Van Sales for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine has the most comprehensive wheelchair van finance programs in the industry. We want you to know you have options and at Wheelchair Vans of VMi New England, our trained Mobility Consultants can help you thoroughly weigh these options to help your dream of owning a handicap van become a reality. Here are the options you get when you negotiate your best finance deal through VMi Wheelchair Van Sales of USA:

Come visit our facility and see what we have to offer compared to a grey market conversion sold online or from Ebay.
  • Quick Credit Approval – Usually with 24-48 Hours
  • Lowest Fixed Interest Rates in the Mobility Industry – Based on Your Credit
  • Nationwide Financing Available in all 50 States
  • Service and Maintenance Contracts Available on new and pre-owned wheelchair vans
  • Custom Leasing Packages
  • Commercial Programs Available

Our desire is your complete satisfaction from start to finish. Our handicap van loan packages can be structured to cover the cost of your minivan, the lowered floor conversion process and the service/maintenance contract with a local service professional in your area. For customers who want the lowest possible monthly payments, Wheelchair Vans from VMi New England in partnership with a local network of mobility dealers, can provide special long-term financing matched with a great fixed interest rate throughout the USA. Call one of our professional mobility consultants now so your mobility goals will become reality sooner, rather than later.

How to adapt your new or pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

How to adapt your pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

Easy Car Makeovers for Adaptive Driving

 CAN I DRIVE AFTER A STROKE newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.

Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet

Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

Servo Steering Servo gas brake

  • Lever  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position. It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate. It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center. It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator

Automotive Innovations offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerator are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers

Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

” Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”

Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while are not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.

Mobility Seating

The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.

Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

Adapting pre-owned vehicles provides stroke survivors with mobility freedom in the vehicle they love and are familiar with.

By: Jim Sanders, VMi New England

Wheelchair Securement Options – Safety and Security on the Road

Wheelchair Securement Options – Safety and Security on the Road

VMi New England wheelchair safety securement

wheelchair van should give you all the freedom that you need to live the life you want. Of course, there are some important choices you’ll need to make when purchasing a wheelchair van, including things like whether you need a wheelchair lift or a ramp, whether you want hand controls installed and what seating configuration will work best for you and your family. However, you’ll also need to consider something else – your safety while in the vehicle. Wheelchair securement options exist to provide you with the best safety while you’re on the road, but you will need to know what system is right for you.

Here at Automotive Innovations, we offer two types of wheelchair securement options – manual and electric/automatic . Both are industry-leading solutions and provide you with tremendous security while riding in your chair on the road. Q-Straint offers a 4-point securement system with floor anchors. You’ll also find docking systems available that lock the wheelchair in place. Q-Straint offers a powered locking mechanism as well, which is more convenient than many other solutions.

EZ Lock has built a reputation for quality and excellence over 20 years in the mobility industry. These docking systems offer ease of use, extremely simple maintenance and tremendous reliability. Featuring durable finishes and hardened steel reinforcement, EZ Lock wheelchair securement options can be great solutions for your needs.

If you are having a hard time choosing between Q-Straint and EZ Lock wheelchair securement options, VMi New England and Automotive Innovations will be there to help you out. The expert Mobility Consultants at Automotive Innovations know exactly what products will best fit your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. We can also explain the various options available to you so that you know you’re making an informed decision regarding your safety while on the road.

How to Buy a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle in New England and Save Time and Money

How to Buy a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle in New England and Save Time and Money

Maintenance is an inevitability with any vehicle, and the specialized parts of any wheelchair accessible vehicles can make finding a location for service and repairs difficult. This is not an issue with Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations. For over 25 years we have received specialized training in repairing and servicing wheelchair-accessible vehicles, wheelchair ramps and lifts, and any other accessory, no matter the model. A relationship with us can be the first step to maintaining a properly functioning vehicle.

VMi New England Service Department

wheelchair accessible vehicle is a specialty vehicle and is different from your neighbor’s sedan. Purchasing online can make finding a repair and maintenance location a less straightforward process. A purchase from a Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations is a promise for maintenance at the same location (we have been in he same town for over 20 years).

VMi New England Wheelchair Showroom

No two people or wheelchairs are the same, and with that no two vehicles are the same. With the hundreds of options available for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, they can be made to fit any variety of needs. How do I know what options I want, what height I need my vehicle to be, or what preferences I have? Find out first hand what van or ramp combination fits you best. Come try a VMI Summit, a VMI Northstar Toyota Sienna 360 or VMI Honda Odyssey may fit you better than a  BraunAbility Toyota with Quiet Drive and or the new BraunAbility Honda Odyssey

 

Find out and see first hand why grey market online converted vans are not the value they might appear to be

Rollx 2011 Honda

Nothing wrong with this van according to several internet mobility experts

Online shopping limits the buyer to taking the word of the seller at face value, but at Vmi New England all of these options can be tried out firsthand. 

It is important that an investment as big as a mobility vehicle is perfect for you, so it is a good idea to try out what fits your style best.

Vmi New England will work closely with you to help determine how you can qualify for the maximum amount of available manufacturer rebates as well as state & federal tax deductions. Both are excellent ways to save money, but the rules & requirements can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience applying for them. We’ve helped many customers receive these incentives and know exactly which steps you need to take to ensure the best chance of receiving them yourself. That level of service is hard to match online.

The internet is a fantastic research tool and can help you decide what vehicle is perfect for you, but no one vehicle is a one-size-fits-all match. 

Come visit Vmi New England where everyday is a Abilities Expo we are just a short ride away from Boson and try all the best mobility vehicles available out personally to make sure it is the perfect one for you. 

It is your life, your money, and you should get a vehicle that comes with great service, guaranteed maintenance, and fits like a glove.

Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? 

info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

508-697-6006

Tips for Buying a Wheelchair Van / Mobility Vehicle Online

Can you buy a mobility vehicle online?
Yes. The question, however, is how to buy a vehicle appropriate for your needs, compliant with industry regulations and standards, and one with which you will be satisfied in regards to future service and warranty.

wheelchair accessible van financial aid

What do state laws say about the online purchasing process?
Some states have specific laws concerning selling a vehicle across state lines. These laws are designed to protect the consumer, so check with legal counsel regarding the laws in your state.

Will I ever personally meet a representative from an Internet seller? Will they provide references?

QUESTIONS


Probably not. Most Internet sales companies do not usually have regional sales representatives. You’ll be assigned an “in house” sales rep who will assist you but with the lack of personal interaction, they may not be able to fully assess your needs. By choosing a local seller, you can personally meet individuals who have purchased and used the services of your local retailer.

How would I obtain a license tag for a van I purchased online?

You will be able to go to your local tag office and purchase a permanent license tag. There may be a period of time when you cannot use your vehicle as temporary tags are usually not valid except within the state they are issued. Check with your local department of motor vehicles to verify.

How would I obtain a title for a van I purchase out of state?

An out of state Seller who is located in a state other than the state you reside in probably can’t obtain a title for you in your name. The seller may simply provide the title to you at the time of delivery. You would then be required to take the title to your local tag (DMV?) office and transfer it (for a fee) to your name. You should be very cautious about the titling process. Titles are complex and errors can occur. Correcting a title error is a time consuming and often complex task. Knowing the origin of your vehicle and title is extremely important.

If my van’s mechanical systems fail while I own it, who is responsible?

This is a question of warranty and depends on the OEM warranty and the warranty provided by the vehicle modifier. A more significant issue is failure of a vehicle system resulting in bodily injury or property damage. In this case, the vehicle modifier should have what is called “product liability insurance”. This insurance covers any damages to property or injury that might occur as the result of defects, which are the responsibility of the modifier. Without this coverage, the vehicle owner has no one to turn to for responsibility. Make sure to request a certificate of product liability insurance. Vehicle sellers also have what is called “garage keepers insurance” to cover the work they perform. NMEDA dealers carry both types of coverage.

If my van is involved in an accident or stolen after I have purchased it but is still in the care of the online mobility dealer, who is responsible for the damage or loss?
The answer depends on who has what insurance.  So make sure that your insurance starts upon your purchase even if you have not yet received the vehicle. It is a good idea to request a proof of insurance from the Internet seller.  Most reputable vehicle dealers have what is called Garage Keepers Liability Insurance. If they are liable for the loss or damage, this insurance should cover the cost. Sometimes there is a question as to whose insurance is primarily responsible – the Internet seller’s, the trucking company’s or yours.

What if I have substantial problems with a vehicle I purchase online?

Most states have “lemon law” statutes that address defective vehicles. However, YOUR state’s lemon law may not apply if the van was not purchased in that state. Confer with legal counsel about this question.  Aside from lawsuits, in many situations where there is a conflict, personal contact and established relationships help resolve the problem. In the case of on-line purchasing, you may never personally meet an individual from the Internet seller. See the section on Service & Warranty.

How will I know that the vehicle I purchase online will be properly converted and fit the needs of my disability?
Very important question. You really will not know until the vehicle is delivered to you. Every vehicle is different and mistakes can occur. Also, without the Internet seller meeting you personally and you having the ability to “test” the vehicle, there is no way to fully ensure that you or your loved one will properly fit in the vehicle and be able to use it as you desire. Make sure in advance that you have the right to refuse delivery of the vehicle and receive a full refund if, upon delivery, you do not like the way the van fits your needs; it fails to meet your reasonable expectations; or it does not match the description provided by the Internet seller.Come try out all the best wheelchair vans ever built at the oldest and best equipped Mobility Dealership in all of New England2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Left Side View - Elias4Come and meet our all star cast of Veteran Mobility Ambassadors where everyday is a Abilities Expo just a little south of Boston at VMi New England in Bridgewater, MA

Three Questions to Ask Your Mobility Consultant about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Three Questions to Ask Your Mobility Consultant about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

When beginning your search for a wheelchair van in MA, RI, CT, VT, NH & ME, it is important to know which questions to ask your Mobility Consultant.  This could be the first time that you are going through this process, and VMi New England and Automotive Innovations wants you to have a memorable experience.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan CR121019 Inside Front Right Veiw View

We encourage your questions to help make purchasing your wheelchair accessible vehicle enjoyable and educational. Here are five of our most frequently asked questions proposed to our Mobility Consultants.

 Do you have a service department for wheelchair van repairs?

Our technicians are highly trained and certified and are able to handle any problems you may have with your wheelchair accessible van.  By adhering to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), becoming a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) facility, Automotive Innovations has shown its dedication to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities every day.

Can I test drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle before I purchase one?

Yes you can!  Our “Try Before You Buy” program means that you can test out our vehicles before you make your purchase, so that you can determine which vehicle will suit your needs.  Please contact us for more details.

How do you determine which wheelchair accessible vehicle will be right for me?

Our consultants take every step to get to know our customers to ensure that you purchase the right wheelchair accessible vehicle for you. Our Mobility Consultants go through a detailed step-by-step process to learn about your specific needs in order to get you the proper wheelchair van type, size and modifications to your wheelchair van.This mobility update has been brought to you by Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations your Bridgewater, MA New England NMEDA Mobility Dealer – Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features?

Contact us your local mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

Jim Sanders is one of of the most experienced people in the country at building High-Tech driving equipment and vans for passengers and individuals who drive from a wheelchair. He offers a unmatched practical and theoretical foundation in the application of vehicle modifications for individuals with disabilities. With over 25 years experience, he continues to spearhead new and exciting technological advancements in this growing and emerging market.

Shoppers in Search of a Dodge Wheelchair Van Near Boston, MA Save on Models with Mobility Sales Event

Shoppers in Search of a Dodge Mobility Van Near Boston Save on Models with Sales Event

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Front Seat wheelchair View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Left Side Veiw 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Right Side View

Shoppers in search of a new Dodge Wheelchair Van near Boston will have the opportunity to save on 1999 – 2013 and 2014 models at VMi New England. The dealership is celebrating the out of this world sales event, giving shoppers the opportunity to save tons!

Shoppers seeking a Dodge near Boston can take advantage of savings that are out of this world! VMi New England is celebrating the Out of This World Sales Event right now. If you’re in the market for a new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram, Ability vehicle check out the Mobility vehicles available at the sales event!

The Sales Event is going on now at VMi New England. If you’re in the market for a Dodge Mobility Van near Boston, take advantage of the incredible savings available right now!

Shoppers looking to take advantage of Out of This World savings should visit VMi New England today. Some of the most popular models are available at incredible prices, including mobility equipment for the Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300. If you are looking to upgrade, accessorize or buy, now is the time to save at VMi New England.

Shoppers at VMi New England Enjoy Savings That are Out of This World


Shoppers seeking a Dodge near Boston will receive Out of This World savings on mobility equipment like hand controls, left foot gas pedals and spinner knobs for the 2012 Jeep Liberty, 2013 Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Jeep Patriot, Dodge Journey, Ram 1500, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Charger, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Dodge Grand Caravan, Ram 2500, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, 2014 Jeep Compass, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

With low monthly payments, shoppers at VMi New England will certainly get their money’s worth at the Sales Event! If you’re shopping for the long term, not a problem! We’ve got Out of This World savings for all of our shoppers. With savings up to $10,000 on left over and used wheelchair vans as well as special financing offers, you won’t want to pass this deal up.

Visit us today to save on the new Dodge Mobility Van you’ve been dreaming of. For more information about VMi New England online at newenglandwheelchairvan.com or call 508-697-6006 today!

email us at info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Dodge Families In MA Are Thrilled With The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan

May 18th, 2013

VMi New England, a leading Dodge Mobility dealer in MA, is proud to announce that the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is the best-selling and most-awarded minivan!  Offering a spacious and comfortable interior, impressive entertainment features, and great safety, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is perfect for Massachusetts families.

The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is available at five different trim levels, including the Grand Caravan AVP, the Grand Caravan SE, the Grand Caravan SXT, the Grand Caravan Crew, the Grand Caravan R/T.  All five 2013 Grand Caravan trim levels feature a 3.6L V6 VVT engine with the choice between a six-speed automatic transmission or an AutoStick automatic transmission.

The 2013 Grand Caravan receives an EPA estimated 25 mpg highway, and offers seating for up to seven passengers.  All of the trim levels except for the Grand Caravan R/T offer cloth low-back bucket seats.  The 2013 Grand Caravan R/T features leather-trimmed bucket seats.  The Grand Caravan R/T also offers power driver and front passenger seats and a two-way power adjustable driver lumbar support.  Thanks to foldable seating, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan offers up to 143.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, perfect for fitting everything you’ll need on a family roadtrip!

The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan also offers a number of entertainment features to keep the family occupied on long drives!  Available entertainment options include a 6.5-inch touch screen display, a 40 GB hard drive, audio jack input, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Uconnect featuring a CD player, DVD player, and MP3 capabilities.

Impressive Safety Features

The 2012 Grand Caravan was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and there are many great safety features included in the 2013 Grand Caravan to give you peace of mind when driving around your most precious cargo.  The 2013 Grand Caravan comes standard with seven airbags, including front multistage airbags, a driver inflatable knee-bolster airbag, front seat-mounted side airbags, and side-curtain airbags in all rows.  It also features active front head restraints, Electronic Stability Control, Roll-Resistant tires, and other accident-avoidance measures.  The 2013 Grand Caravan also includes impressive security features, including keyless entry with immobilizer.

For more information about the 2013 Grand Caravan, visit the VMi New England website or call (508) 697-6006.  VMi New England offers a full line-up of new Dodge mobility wheelchair accessible models, as well as used vehicle options from a number of different automotive brands.

Posted in VMi New England

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Trunk Open Seats Up View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan  Steering Wheel and Dash View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan  Steering Wheel and Dash  Side View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Front Right Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Front Left Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Back Right Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Back Left View View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Front Seat View

Another VMI Wheelchair Van on it’s way to Massachusetts

Here we have a brand new 2013 Toyota Sienna Wheelchair Van that is being custom built for Ventura P. It’s going through final inspection in AZ and will soon be on a truck bringing it to Vmi New England in Bridgewater, MA for the installation of a mobility seat, hand controls, electric parking brake and a Ez-Lock Wheelchair Tie Down.

VMI Summit Wheelchair van conversion in final inspection

VMI Summit Wheelchair van conversion in final inspection

VMI New England van soon to be on it's way to Boston, MA

VMI New England van soon to be on it’s way to Boston, MA

Got to make sure everything on the mobility van is perfect

Got to make sure everything on the mobility van is perfect

What a great looking Toyota Sienna Wheelchair van

What a great looking Toyota Sienna Wheelchair van

Soon to be on it's way to the guys in Bridgewater, MA to have the final up-fit  for Ventura

Soon to be on it’s way to the guys in Bridgewater, MA to have the final up-fit for Ventura

May Is ALS Awareness Month : Speak Up Now To Give Hope

May is ALS Awareness month : speak up Now to Give Hope

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is 100% fatal and has few treatments to improve the quality of life. We are committed to helping more people understand the impact that this devastating disease has on individuals and families nationwide. During ALS Awareness Month, we ask that you join us: speak up now to give hope.

Tell Your Story · Sign up · Advocate

May us ALS Awareness month: Speak up Now to Give Hope

What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment–”No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.

As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look “thinner” as muscle tissue atrophies.

Forms of ALS
Three classifications of ALS have been described:

  • Sporadic: The most common form of ALS in the United States – 90 to 95% of all cases.
  • Familial: Occurring more than once in a family lineage (genetic dominant inheritance) accounts for a very small number of cases in the United States – 5 to 10% of all cases.
  • Guamanian: An extremely high incidence of ALS was observed in Guam and the Trust Territories of the Pacific in the 1950’s.

The most common form of ALS in the United States is “sporadic” ALS. It may affect anyone, anywhere. “Familial” ALS (FALS) means the disease is inherited. Only about 5 to 10% of all ALS patients appear to have genetic or inherited form of ALS. In those families, there is a 50% chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease.

Who Gets ALS?
ALS is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles. Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. (That’s 15 new cases a day.) It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. According to the ALS CARE Database, 60% of the people with ALS in the Database are men and 93% of patients in the Database are Caucasian.

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties. Generally though, ALS occurs in greater percentages as men and women grow older. ALS is 20% more common in men than in women. However with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.

There are several research studies – past and present – investigating possible risk factors that may be associated with ALS.  More work is needed to conclusively determine what genetics and/or environment factors contribute to developing ALS. It is known, however, that military veterans, particularly those deployed during the Gulf War, are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.
Half of all people affected with ALS live at least three or more years after diagnosis. Twenty percent live five years or more; up to ten percent will live more than ten years.

There is some evidence that people with ALS are living longer, at least partially due to clinical management interventions, riluzole and possibly other compounds and drugs under investigation.

Diagnosing ALS
ALS is a very difficult disease to diagnose. To date, there is no one test or procedure to ultimately establish the diagnosis of ALS. It is through a clinical examination and series of diagnostic tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis can be established. A comprehensive diagnostic workup includes most, if not all, of the following procedures:

  • electrodiagnostic tests including electomyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
  • blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals
  • spinal tap
  • x-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • myelogram of cervical spine
  • muscle and/or nerve biopsy
  • thorough neurological examination

For more information on the importance of a second opinion, click here.

These tests are done at the discretion of the physician, usually based on the results of other diagnostic tests and the physical examination. There are several diseases that have some of the same symptoms as ALS and most of these conditions are treatable. It is for this reason that The ALS Association recommends that a person diagnosed with ALS seek a second opinion from an ALS “expert” – someone who diagnoses and treats many ALS patients and has training in this medial specialty. The ALS Association maintains a list of recognized experts in the field of ALS. See ALS Association Certified Centers of ExcellenceSM, ALS Clinics and contact your local ALS Association Chapter or the National Office.

Symptoms
Initial Symptoms of the Disease
At the onset of ALS the symptoms may be so slight that they are frequently overlooked. With regard to the appearance of symptoms and the progression of the illness, the course of the disease may include the following:

  • muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech, swallowing or breathing
  • twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • impairment of the use of the arms and legs
  • “thick speech” and difficulty in projecting the voice
  • in more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing

The initial symptoms of ALS can be quite varied in different people. One person may experience tripping over carpet edges, another person may have trouble lifting and a third person’s early symptom may be slurred speech. The rate at which ALS progresses can be quite variable from one person to another. Although the mean survival time with ALS is three to five years, many people live five, ten or more years. In a small number of people, ALS is known to remit or halt its progression, though there is no scientific understanding as to how and why this happens. Symptoms can begin in the muscles of speech, swallowing or in the hands, arms, legs or feet. Not all people with ALS experience the same symptoms or the same sequences or patterns of progression. But, progressive muscle weakness and paralysis are universally experienced.

Muscle weakness is a hallmark initial sign in ALS, occurring in approximately 60% of patients. Early symptoms vary with each individual, but usually include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying.

The hands and feet may be affected first, causing difficulty in lifting, walking or using the hands for the activities of daily living such as dressing, washing and buttoning clothes.

As the weakening and paralysis continue to spread to the muscles of the trunk of the body the disease, eventually affects speech, swallowing, chewing and breathing. When the breathing muscles become affected, ultimately, the patient will need permanent ventilatory support in order to survive.

Since ALS attacks only motor neurons, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell are not affected. For many people, muscles of the eyes and bladder are generally not affected.

Facts You Should Know

  • ALS is not contagious.
  • It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.
  • Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
  • Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more.  More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
  • About twenty percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.
  • ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
  • ALS can strike anyone.
  • The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
  • There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease.  It is important to be knowledgeable about your health plan coverage and other programs for which your may be eligible, including SSA, Medicare, Medical and Veteran Affairs benefits.
  • Riluzole, the first treatment to alter the course of ALS, was approved by the FDA in late 1995. This antiglutamate drug was shown scientifically to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months. More recent studies suggest Riluzole slows the progress of ALS, allowing the patient more time in the higher functioning states when their function is less affected by ALS. Click here for more information on the drug. Many private health plans cover the cost of Riluzole. Further information on Riluzole coverage through Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit can be found in the Advocacy pages of this website.

Reports from three separate patient databases described long range experience with Riluzole. All three reports suggest a trend of increasing survival with Riluzole over time. More studies that are double blind and controlled are needed to confirm these database observations. The trend appears to indicate that longer periods of time than those used in the Riluzole clinical trials may be needed to see the long-term survival advantage of the drug. An interesting observation was that despite the fact that the Irish government provides Riluzole free of charge to people in Ireland with ALS, only two-thirds of the patients registered in the Ireland national ALS database reported taking Riluzole.

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