Tag Archives: ability

Autism Awareness Month

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

ASDs are “spectrum disorders” which means ASDs affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. People with ASDs share some similar symptoms, such as problems with social interaction. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.


Types of ASDs
There are three different types of ASDs:

  • Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)
    This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
  • Asperger Syndrome
    People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
    People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.


Signs and Symptoms
ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

A person with an ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel


Diagnosis
Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.

ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with an ASD might not get the help they need.


Treatment
There is currently no cure for ASDs. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth to 3 years old (36 months) learn important skills. Services can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem.

Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children under the age of 3 years (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through an early intervention system in your state. Through this system, you can ask for an evaluation.

In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not need to wait for a formal ASD diagnosis.

Learn about types of treatments »


Causes and Risk Factors
We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD.
  • Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD.
  • ASDs tend to occur more often in people who have certain other medical conditions. About 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic disorder, such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs, for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid.
  • We know that the once common belief that poor parenting practices cause ASDs is not true.
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASDs occurs before birth. However, concerns about vaccines and infections have led researchers to consider risk factors before and after birth.

ASDs are an urgent public health concern. Just like the many families affected in some way by ASDs, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the risk factors that make a person more likely to develop an ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASDs, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.


Who is Affected
ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but are almost five times more common among boys than among girls. CDC estimates that about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with an ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out. We believe the increase in ASD diagnosis is likely due to a combination of these factors.

Within the past decade, CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has been estimating the number of people with an ASD in the U.S. We have learned a lot about how many children in the U.S. have an ASD. It will be important to use the same methods to track how the number of people with an ASD is changing over time in order to learn more about the disorders.


If You’re Concerned
If you think your child might have an ASD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts,contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns.

If you or the doctor is still concerned, ask the doctor for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child. Specialists who can do a more in-depth evaluation and make a diagnosis include:

  • Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
  • Child Neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
  • Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who know about the human mind)

At the same time, call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.

Where to call for a free evaluation from the state depends on your child’s age:

  • If your child is not yet 3 years old, contact your local early intervention system.You can find the right contact information for your state by calling the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285.Or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages Birth through 3″.
  • If your child is 3 years old or older, contact your local public school system.Even if your child is not yet old enough for kindergarten or enrolled in a public school, call your local elementary school or board of education and ask to speak with someone who can help you have your child evaluated.If you’re not sure who to contact, call the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities at 1.800.695.0285 or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Children with Disabilities: Ages 3 through 5″.

Research shows that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for an ASD as soon as possible.

Side Entry Versus Rear Entry Wheelchair Vans

The question of a Rear Entry wheelchair van versus a Side Entry van often comes up in conversation when a first time buyer enters the accessible van market. There are several things to consider; first, the family or care giver needs to decide on where the wheelchair user is going to sit. If the person in the wheelchair is able to drive and will be independent there are other things to consider, but for now, let us stay with an assisted member of the family.

Door height is an issue. For that we need to know how tall the person sits in their wheelchair.

Scooter or Power chair is next. Size and weight combination will come into play as we move along in the discovery process.

Will the person transfer into a  seat or will they remain in their wheelchair while traveling?

Okay, now we get into seating. The side entry offers both mid-section and front seat options with tie-downs located throughout. In a rear entry van, the mid-section to rear of the vehicle, are the only seating options while remaining in the wheelchair.

There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van versus six available seats in a rear entry. Both are in addition to whoever is in the wheelchair, which gives a total of six people in a side entry and up to seven in a rear entry.

For folks with a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal. Over six feet of space is afforded to tie down the wheelchair and no turning to forward face is necessary.

A side entry requires up to eight feet accommodating the lowering of the ramp allowing access into your van. This may prohibit the use of the ramp while inside a garage or if someone parks to close while at the mall or a doctor’s appointment.

The rear entry does not have the blocked in problem, you are always accessing your van from the aisle.

In summation, like anything else, it is best to try before you buy. Our Mobility Center has both styles of wheelchair vans. See which style suits your lifestyle and then consider the purchase of either a new or used mobility equipped van. Always consult with your mobility product specialist for any additional questions you may have.

Asperger Syndrome

About AS:

  • It is a neurological disorder that affects the way information is processed in the brain.
  • AS is a hidden disability. Many people appear very competent, but they have difficulties in the areas of communication and social interaction.
  • AS has a genetic and hereditary component and may have additional or interactive environmental causes as yet unknown.
  • AS is a developmental disability. All individuals have social/emotional delays, but continued growth seems to be life-long.
  • The incidence of AS is thought to be 1 in 250. As many as 50% of people with AS may be undiagnosed.
  • There are currently four males diagnosed with AS for every one female, but the true ratio may be as high as one female for every two males.

AS affects each person differently, although there is a core set of features that most people with AS have, to different extents:

  • People with AS have normal to very high intelligence and have good verbal skills.
  • Challenges with the use and understanding of language in a social context.
  • Trouble understanding what someone else is thinking and feeling (called theory of mind or perspective taking).
  • Needing to be taught social behavior that is “picked up on” intuitively by others.
  • Difficulty understanding non-verbal cues such as hand movements, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
  • Challenges with organization, initiation, prioritizing, all called executive functioning tasks.
  • Focusing on small details rather than the bigger picture
  • Most people with AS have intense interest areas such as movies, geography, history, math, physics, cars, horses, dogs or reptiles. These interest areas change every 3 months to several years
  • Friendships are usually formed through mutual interest areas or activities.
  • Most people with AS view the world in black and white with difficulty compromising or seeing the gray areas.
  • Most individuals with AS describe themselves as feeling different, like aliens in our world.
  • Anxiety and/or depression are major components for many people with AS and may affect their ability to function.
  • Some individuals with AS have extreme and debilitating hyper- or hypo-sensitivity to light, noise, touch, taste, or smell. The environment can have a profound impact on their ability to function.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

ASDs are “spectrum disorders” which means ASDs affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. People with ASDs share some similar symptoms, such as problems with social interaction. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.


Types of ASDs
There are three different types of ASDs:

  • Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)
    This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
  • Asperger Syndrome
    People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
    People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.


Signs and Symptoms
ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

A person with an ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel


Diagnosis
Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.

ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with an ASD might not get the help they need.


Treatment
There is currently no cure for ASDs. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth to 3 years old (36 months) learn important skills. Services can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem.

Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children under the age of 3 years (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through an early intervention system in your state. Through this system, you can ask for an evaluation.

In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not need to wait for a formal ASD diagnosis.

Learn about types of treatments »


Causes and Risk Factors
We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD.
  • Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD.
  • ASDs tend to occur more often in people who have certain other medical conditions. About 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic disorder, such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs, for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid.
  • We know that the once common belief that poor parenting practices cause ASDs is not true.
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASDs occurs before birth. However, concerns about vaccines and infections have led researchers to consider risk factors before and after birth.

ASDs are an urgent public health concern. Just like the many families affected in some way by ASDs, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the risk factors that make a person more likely to develop an ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASDs, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.


Who is Affected
ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but are almost five times more common among boys than among girls. CDC estimates that about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with an ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out. We believe the increase in ASD diagnosis is likely due to a combination of these factors.

Within the past decade, CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has been estimating the number of people with an ASD in the U.S. We have learned a lot about how many children in the U.S. have an ASD. It will be important to use the same methods to track how the number of people with an ASD is changing over time in order to learn more about the disorders.


If You’re Concerned
If you think your child might have an ASD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts,contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns.

If you or the doctor is still concerned, ask the doctor for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child. Specialists who can do a more in-depth evaluation and make a diagnosis include:

  • Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
  • Child Neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
  • Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who know about the human mind)

At the same time, call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.

Where to call for a free evaluation from the state depends on your child’s age:

  • If your child is not yet 3 years old, contact your local early intervention system.You can find the right contact information for your state by calling the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285.Or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages Birth through 3″.
  • If your child is 3 years old or older, contact your local public school system.Even if your child is not yet old enough for kindergarten or enrolled in a public school, call your local elementary school or board of education and ask to speak with someone who can help you have your child evaluated.If you’re not sure who to contact, call the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities at 1.800.695.0285 or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Children with Disabilities: Ages 3 through 5″.

Research shows that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for an ASD as soon as possible.

How One Toys ‘R’ Us Trip Brought Mobility to Hundreds of Disabled Kids

These $200 alternatives to power wheelchairs are helping physically impaired kids get moving.

Cole Galloway’s workspace at the University of Delaware resembles a ransacked toy store. There are piles of plastic tubing, swim noodles, stuffed animals, and battery-powered Jeep and Barbie cars everywhere. But Galloway, 48, is a physical therapy professor and infant behavior expert whose lab has a very clear mission: to provide mobility to children with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Galloway started his infant behavior lab to study how children learn to move their bodies. He was particularly interested in finding ways to close what he calls “an exploration gap” — the difference between typically developing children and those who suffer from mobility issues due to conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. In 2007 Sunil Agrawal, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university, approached Galloway in a conversation he says went something like this: I’ve got small robots. You’ve got small babies. I wonder if we can do something together.

The two professors started building power mobility robots that let disabled children explore their surroundings with greater confidence and independence. But due to the cost and heft of the parts, their early vehicles cost tens of thousands of dollars and weighed up to 150 pounds, making them inaccessible to the families who needed them the most. Galloway’s solution to those problems came to him during a visit to Toys ‘R’ Us, where he saw he could shift his vision of “babies driving robots” to the lower tech “babies driving race cars.” It was then that Go Baby Go was born.

Unlike electric wheelchairs, which are usually reserved by kids above age three, Galloway’s cars can be used in the critical early years of development. He estimates that so far Go Baby Go has retrofitted an estimated 100 toy cars, a small dent for the more than half a million American children under the age of five who have mobility problems. To spread his mission, Galloway has traveled across the country, posted YouTube videos and spoken with dozens of parents. He hopes that others can learn from his work and build cars of their own: “If you’re not going to drop what you’re doing and come work for us, at least contact us — we’ll send you everything we have.”

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

VMi New England Wheelchair vans & ramp:Lift options
Easy Car Makeovers for Adaptive Driving

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.

  • 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 accelerators 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 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?

Adaptive Driving Aids: Reduced Effort Modifications

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

Reduced Effort Modifications

Reduced Effort Steering
Reduced effort modifications are used in conjunction with hand controls and other adaptations to reduce the physical strength required to perform the operations of braking and steering. Reduced effort braking and reduced effort steering are modification packages that make the steering wheel or brake pedal easier to turn or push. The level of assistance or “reduced-effort” is adjusted to the level prescribed by the driving rehabilitation specialist, based on the strength of the driver.

  • Drive-Master’s low effort and no effort braking modifications significantly reduces the required pressure needed to press down on a pedal to brake.
  • Drive-Master’s reduced effort steering modification reduces the amount of effort it takes to move a steering wheel. There is low effort to no effort available depending on the model of car and tire size.

Adaptive Driving Aids: Advanced Driving Controls

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

advanced driving system

Advanced Driving Controls

Advanced driving controls, or “high-tech driving systems” have advanced tremendously over the years, thus creating options for drivers with higher levels of disability. Advanced driving controls are truly a custom solution. As a result, the key components of these systems are combined, fitted and installed based on an extremely thorough process of evaluation, prescription and fine-tuning.

Hand Controls
Hand Controls in the advanced driving aid category are of course more advanced and are typically for individuals with very limited mobility and strength for operating a vehicle. A slight touch of various adaptive devices allow the car to accelerate and brake with ease.

  • Electric Gas and Brakes are operated from an electric servo in the form of a joystick or lever input device. Individuals can then use their hands to control their speed and to brake.
  • Pneumatic Gas and Brakes are operated from an air pressure system and controlled by an easy joystick, foot pedal or other device.

Steering Controls

  • Horizontal Steering accommodates a limited range of motion when the driver cannot use a conventional steering wheel.
  • Reduced and Zero Effort steering is for users who do not have adequate strength to operate the vehicle with factory resistance levels.
  • Electric steering allows the steering control to be located almost anywhere to assist the operator. They can be operated in the forms of miniature steering wheels or joysticks.

Electronic Gear Selection
Electronic Gear Selection allows the operator to push a button for a gear selection.

Remote Accessory Controls

  • Voice Scan uses one to two targets or buttons to operate a multitude of functions within the vehicle while utilizing a verbal audible menu.
  • Single Touch allows vehicle functions to be moved to a different location in order to fit the needs of the disabled driver.

Adaptive Driving Aids: Basic Driving Aids

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

Basic Driving Aids

2013 Toyota Tacoma Hand Controls installed at VMi New England Mobility Center Automotive Innovations, Inc.
Basic driving aids are adaptations which are engineered to allow you to utilize the more “able” aspects of your body in order to operate your vehicle. Hand controls, left foot gas pedals and pedal extensions are among the many options that fall into this category.

Hand Controls
Hand Controls allow you to use the upper part of your body to do what might be difficult for the lower parts – such as braking and accelerating. A variety of hand control options are available to fit your needs and preferences.

  • A Push/Pull is the basic of hand controls allowing you to push forward to brake and pull back to accelerate.
  • A Push Right Angle is a hand control where you push forward to brake and pull down towards your lap to accelerate.
  • A Push/Twist is a hand control where you push forward to brake and twist similar to a motorcycle grip to accelerate.

Steering Controls
Steering Controls are adaptations added to the steering wheel of a vehicle. Steering controls make steering for those with limited grip or strength an easier task.

  • A Spinner Knob is a small knob that presses firmly in the palm of your hand. A spinner knob gives the operator a steady grip and the ability to steer with one hand.
  • A Palm Grip is made only by MPD and allows your hand to comfortably sit in a lightweight aluminum wrap with sheepskin liner. The Palm Grip allows firm steering control for those who have little or no gripping ability. The Palm Grip is ideal for those with arthritis.
  • A Tri-Pin is a steering grip that comfortably rests your hand in-between three pins. The pins are adjustable and can be used to accelerate, brake or be used on the steering wheel instead of a spinner knob. If need be, they can also be custom fitted to operate the turn signal, horn and dimmer.

Extension Controls
Extension Controls are driving aids that give users the extra inch they need to be comfortable in their accessible vehicle. Whether they are shorter than average or have limited strength in their arms these adaptations can make all the difference in driving.

  • Pedal Extensions are for vehicle operators who can not reach the gas or brake pedal. Pedal extensions give the driver the inches they need to sit and drive comfortably at a safe distance from the airbags.
  • Turn Signal Extensions consist of a simple rod to the right side of the steering wheel that can be adjusted appropriately to meet the needs of the driver.
  • Key Extensions are available for those who have trouble with the turning motion of starting their vehicle. The additional leverage is adjustable to fit the needs of the operator.
  • Steering Column Extensions allow up to six inches between the operator and the steering column.

Foot Controls
Foot Controls are for individuals who have zero to limited feeling in their feet. Foot controls are also valuable to those who may have a prosthetic limb and need to use their left foot to drive.

  • Left Foot Gas Pedals allow drivers to accelerate using their left foot. A pedal is attached to the accelerator that is located on the left side of the brake. A guard is then placed over the original accelerator so that the right foot does not inadvertently rest on the factory installed pedal.
  • An Accelerator & Brake Guard is a shield that goes over the accelerator, brake or both when the operator is using hand controls to operate the vehicle. An accelerator and brake guard is a safety feature that prevents operators from accidentally resting their foot on the brake or accelerator.

Winter-Maintenance Tips for Your Wheelchair Van

Winter Driving
Maintain Your Mobility Equipment

We recommend keeping the bottom door track of your handicapped van clear of any debris by vacuuming out the track every 2 or 3 weeks. Debris in the bottom track will cause the door motor to work harder and even weaken or burn out prematurely. Such problems will only be more of an inconvenience in cold weather.

Check Your Brakes
Make sure your brakes are in good working condition. You should never postpone having brake work done because you never know when you might have to drive on snowy or icy roads.

Check Your Lights
Headlights are essential in snowy weather; not only do they help you see clearly, but they also help others see you. So you make sure your lights are clean and that all bulbs and fuses are working properly.

Remember Your Fluids
We advise having all fluids (including brake fluid, antifreeze, washer fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, etc.) checked and “topped off.” In addition, we also recommend that you consider keeping a half tank of gas in your accessible vehicle at all times–you don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

Don’t Forget Your Battery
Having your battery checked is especially crucial for handicapped accessible vans. The cold weather is strenuous on any battery but even more so on an accessible van’s battery. An accessible van has to power ramps, lifts, and doors, so it uses more battery power than other minivans. A common problem we see at our Mobility Center is customers who do not drive their accessible van enough to keep the battery charged and healthy. You can keep the battery charged by driving your vehicle more than 3 hours a week or by using a battery charger. Under normal conditions, batteries will typically last for 3½ years, so if your battery is older than that, we recommend that you make sure that it’s in good condition or think about replacing it.

Good Tire Maintenance Is Crucial
Good tires might be one of the most essential driving tools in winter weather. Worn, bald, badly aligned, or badly balanced tires can cause accidents in any type of slippery weather. You’ll need to test the air pressure and tread on your tires and have your tires rotated so that the better ones are in the front for more traction and control. If you need new tires soon, don’t wait, get them now! If you have snow tires and live in areas with heavy and frequent snowfall, don’t hesitate to use them.

Don’t Forget Your Windshield
Taking care of the windshield on your wheelchair van entails more than having good wipers. Windshields on minivans and full-sized vans are large, so having good wipers and properly functioning rear and front defrosters are musts. Also, small dings in a windshield can become large cracks when it’s cold. Cracks are a result of the stress of having freezing temperatures on the outside of the windshield and the warm heater on the interior of the windshield. If this occurs, fix the ding and avoid the risk of replacing a costly van-sized windshield!

Snow Equipment
If you ever get stuck or break down in snow or other inclement winter weather, having the appropriate equipment to get yourself out of your vehicle is important. We recommend keeping a shovel, sidewalk salt, snow scraper/brush, jumper cables, spare tire, jack, and flares in your vehicle during the winter months. Also, if you live in an area with frequent and/or heavy snowfall, keep tire chains in your vehicle for extra traction.

Emergency Kit
Another recommendation is keeping a snow emergency kit in your car. Your emergency kit should include a cell phone, a cell-phone car charger, a blanket, a flashlight with good batteries, hand warmers, snacks, and water. Your kit should be able to keep you relatively comfortable while waiting in your vehicle for assistance to arrive. Please remember, if you’re waiting in your vehicle for assistance, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow or ice so carbon monoxide won’t enter the vehicle.

Lastly, we always recommend that, if you can, you stay in when the road conditions are bad. However, if you need to venture out, here are some precautions to remember when driving in bad weather:

Clear All Snow Off Your Vehicle
Make sure that you clear all of the snow and ice off of your vehicle before you go anywhere. Ice and snow clumps that aren’t cleared off can be very dangerous because they can suddenly shift and obstruct your view or fly off your vehicle into another driver’s view. Allow yourself extra time before venturing out to take the steps needed to clear all of the snow off your accessible vehicle—even if it includes asking a friend or neighbor for assistance.

Slow Down
Reducing your speed by 50% allows more control over your vehicle in the event that you begin to skid or hydroplane. However, slowing down too much or stopping on heavy snow-filled roads can cause a vehicle’s tires to spin and get stuck in the snow. While driving in snow, you should keep some momentum so that your tires are continuously moving and you don’t lose traction.

Recovering From a Skid
If you’re driving in inclement weather and your vehicle starts to skid, the best thing to do is to steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go—and not hit your brakes. Your normal reaction might be to brake, but that can make the wheels lock up, making steering difficult. Driving in the snow can be dangerous, so if you aren’t comfortable, try to avoid the roads in severe weather.

Rust Prevention
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast, but our rust prevention processes, product, plan and application has been found to be most effective. Our rust proofing is ever evolving and has been for over the past 25 years.

  • Our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required, we apply it as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your handicap accessible vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

 

As seen in the picture below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.
IMG_0697Once the rust is this bad there’s not much we can do other than replace the van.
So call us or come in today to rust proof your van before it’s too late.

How Car Insurance Fees Can Be Lowered For Handicapped Drivers

DSC_4322
One common misconception about car insurance is that handicapped drivers pay more for coverage than non-handicapped drivers. This simply is not true. Federal law prevents car insurance companies from discriminating against handicapped drivers due to their disabilities. Many states have additional laws on the books, and even if car insurance companies were allowed to discriminate, they would likely discriminate in favor of handicapped drivers; statistically speaking, they are more careful than non-handicapped drivers and much less likely to be involved in accidents. Nevertheless, handicapped drivers need the lowest possible rates on car insurance just as much as all other drivers, and it is worthwhile to know a few ways that they can cut their car insurance fees.

Handicapped drivers should first look for safety discounts because this is one of the fastest ways to change premium rates without adjusting the coverage levels. Many car insurance companies offer safety discounts for any drivers who have vehicles with special safety features like side airbags and anti-lock brakes. You can find out whether your car insurance company offers these discounts by studying your policy contract or simply by calling your car insurance agent and asking about available options. If your car is already outfitted with safety features, you are wasting money by not asking for discounts, and if your car is not outfitted, you might look into having some low-cost safety measures installed to keep your car insurance fees low. Ask whether modifications that you have made to a car for your handicap qualify for discounts; even something like oversized mirrors can often have a positive effect on premiums. Other discounts will apply to handicapped drivers who take road safety courses, students, and even drivers who have simply kept their insurance coverage up for a specified length of time. The key is to ask-you will often be surprised at how quickly your car insurance fees will drop.

Online car insurance websites can also help handicapped drivers to find lower rates. Reputable websites will not ask about a driver’s handicap or even inquire as to the handicap status of the driver. Instead, car insurance websites will ask questions about your vehicle and driving record to determine how much of an insurance risk that you pose, and this information will be submitted to car insurance companies in order to return a few quotes. These websites make it easy to look at your insurance options, which in turn, can help a driver to find a better policy than what he or she currently has. Always take the time to compare car insurance quotes. Handicapped drivers and all other drivers can benefit from this, as it is the best possible way to keep rates down.

How Ford Wheelchair Van Insurance Really Works

If you’re ever in a accident in your wheelchair van and have insurance questions or need your to have repairs made contact the experts at the Mobility Center in Bridgewater, MA with your questions 508-697-6006

2013 Ford Tuscany Wheelchair Van

Buying insurance can be a complicated process. For those of us who haven’t spent a great deal of time thinking about insurance and how it works, purchasing insurance for a wheelchair van can be rather intimidating. So here is a little information about the way Ford wheelchair van insurance really works.

Information about Coverage
Your Ford wheelchair van insurance is made up of individual elements. When one talks about vehicle insurance, they’re actually referring to a combination of different forms of insurance with different purposes.

For example, you can buy liability insurance. That will pay for any damage you might cause if you have an accident. Liability insurance is a legal requirement. Bodily injury liability coverage will defray the medical expenses of anyone who may be injured by your vehicle in an accident.

Due to the high number of people who fail to meet their state-mandated legal obligations, many Ford wheelchair van drivers purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. This feature of a policy will protect you in the event that another driver collides with you and doesn’t have adequate coverage.

There is insurance designed to cover all of our own medical expenses if you’re in an accident and most new vehicle buyers purchase comprehensive policies that cover damage caused by vandalism, weather, and virtually any other mishap. If you are still making payments on a financed vehicle, the lender will generally require proof of comprehensive coverage as a term of the loan.

Those are only a few of the different forms of coverage that may be involved in covering your Ford. Different policies have different benefits and various insurance companies offer variations on the same theme. You may be interested in hearing about some of the other forms of protection they offer when insuring your wheelchair van.

Information of Rate Determinations
Now that we’ve discussed what you’re buying, we can explore why it costs so much! Most of us find insurance rather expensive and many wonder why different people may be subject to wildly different rates. There are a number of factors at play.

The most significant factor in setting insurance rates is the driver. Insurance companies evaluate data and look at multiple variables to determine how likely you are to be in an accident or to file a claim.

That’s why a 45-year old with a perfect driving record pays less for the same coverage than an 18-year old who’s already collected numerous. Your age is just one example of the many demographic variables influencing your rates. Your driving history is another.

Unfortunately, that means you’ll pay more than most people when you insure your Ford wheelchair van. Even if you are a fantastic driver, the overall statistics do indicate that drivers with disabilities are more likely to be involved in claims and accidents. US federal law prohibits insurance companies from discrimination based on disability, but they can consider those statistics when determining rates.

Your Ford wheelchair van will also influence how much you pay for your insurance. Again, the insurance companies base their rates on all available data and they have a very good idea of how much different vehicle types cost to repair and how likely they are to be involved in a claim. That’s why a sports car will cost more to insure than a dull four-door sedan.

It’s also another reason while you will be paying more than the average for your wheelchair van insurance. Wheelchair vans tend to cost a great deal to repair and data does indicate that they are more likely than many vehicle types to be involved in insurance claims. Additionally, wheelchair van owners need to be certain that their special equipment and modifications are insured. That drives up the price of their policies even more.

Insurance can be complicated and you need to be considerate when making decisions. Having at least a basic understanding of coverage types and the factors influencing the price of insurance should help.

Amputee Veteran embarks on cross-country bike trip from Maine

Rob Jones Journey -  Marine Veteran Cross Country Bike Trip

More than 50,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines have been injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 2,000 of them are now amputees. Marine veteran Rob Jones says his cross country bike trip is for them.

From a distance, the 28 year old looks like any other cyclist enjoying the last of autumn’s splendor in the Camden foot hills in Maine. It’s only up close that you realize this is no ordinary bike trip – since Jones’ legs are man made.

“I’m a combat engineer, so my job when there are IED’s is to find them. I found it with my foot,” said Jones. He lost both legs above the knee in Afghanistan, but not his determination.

He’s riding across the country, 5,400 miles in all, from Bar Harbor, Maine to San Francisco. Calif. He has an entourage of one; his 17-year-old brother Steve Miller.

They will spend around 6 months sleeping on cots in the back of a box truck, eating camping food along the way. They log around 30 miles a day.

Jones can’t stand on his bike to power up the hills because he has no knee joints. Because he has no knees, he can’t use his quads. He powers the bike with his hips and hip. But this Marine says he’s never shied away from a challenge. “The harder you push yourself, the more you’re gonna grow as a person. That’s what life is about for me,”.

Jones powerful message is painfully clear to his kid brother who watches every move he makes from behind the wheel of the support truck. “If someone can do an activity that requires legs, and do it without legs, then you can do anything,” said Miller.

Jones will donate 100 percent of any donations to three charities: The Coalition to Salute Americas Heroes, The Marine Semper Fi Fund and Ride 2 Recovery. He’s hoping to raise more than $1 million.


To follow Jones’ journey across America click here
Rob Jones cross-country bike trip journey


Donate to The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes
To make a donationDontae to The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
click here
Donate to Ride2Recovory

Side Entry Versus Rear Entry Wheelchair Vans

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com12 VS 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar

The question of a Rear Entry wheelchair van versus a Side Entry van often comes up in conversation when a first time buyer enters the accessible van market. There are several things to consider; first, the family or care giver needs to decide on where the wheelchair user is going to sit. If the person in the wheelchair is able to drive and will be independent there are other things to consider, but for now, let us stay with an assisted member of the family.

Door height is an issue. For that we need to know how tall the person sits in their wheelchair.

Scooter or Power chair is next. Size and weight combination will come into play as we move along in the discovery process.

Will the person transfer into a  seat or will they remain in their wheelchair while traveling?

Okay, now we get into seating. The side entry offers both mid-section and front seat options with tie-downs located throughout. In a rear entry van, the mid-section to rear of the vehicle, are the only seating options while remaining in the wheelchair.

There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van versus six available seats in a rear entry. Both are in addition to whoever is in the wheelchair, which gives a total of six people in a side entry and up to seven in a rear entry.

For folks with a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal. Over six feet of space is afforded to tie down the wheelchair and no turning to forward face is necessary.

A side entry requires up to eight feet accommodating the lowering of the ramp allowing access into your van. This may prohibit the use of the ramp while inside a garage or if someone parks to close while at the mall or a doctor’s appointment.

The rear entry does not have the blocked in problem, you are always accessing your van from the aisle.

In summation, like anything else, it is best to try before you buy. Our Mobility Center has both styles of wheelchair vans. See which style suits your lifestyle and then consider the purchase of either a new or used mobility equipped van. Always consult with your mobility product specialist for any additional questions you may have.

Presidential Proclamation – NDEAM 2013

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2013
By the President Of The United States Of America
A Proclamation

Our Nation has always drawn its strength from the differences of our people, from a vast range of thought, experience, and ability.  Every day, Americans with disabilities enrich our communities and businesses.  They are leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, each with unique talents to contribute and points of view to express.  During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we nurture our culture of diversity and renew our commitment to building an American workforce that offers inclusion and opportunity for all.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made great progress in removing barriers for hardworking Americans.  Yet today, only 20 percent of Americans with disabilities, including veterans who became disabled while serving our country, participate in our labor force.  We need their talent, dedication, and creativity, which is why my Administration proudly supports increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  To that end, I remain dedicated to implementing Executive Order 13548, which called on Federal agencies to increase recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities.  As a result of our efforts, the Federal Government is hiring people with disabilities at a higher rate than at any point in over three decades.  Most recently, we updated the rules to make sure Federal contractors and subcontractors are doing more to recruit, hire, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans.  And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, States are taking advantage of new options to support and expand home and community-based services.

In the years to come, I will remain committed to ensuring the Federal Government leads by example.  This year, as we mark the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, I will continue to marshal the full resources of my Administration toward effective and comprehensive implementation.

If we swing wide the doors of opportunity for our family, friends, and neighbors with disabilities, all of us will enjoy the benefits of their professional contributions.  This month, let us uphold the ideals of equal access, equal opportunity, and a level playing field for all Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2013 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

Keep Calm It’s Only An Extra Chromosome

keep calm its only extra chromosome - Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Despite the incredible number of medical advances which have enriched and extended the lives of people with Down syndrome, Trisomy 21 continues to be extremely misunderstood. Many people look at Down syndrome through the lens of outdated stereotypes and misconceptions.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month, celebrated each October, is one way to change that. The goal of Down Syndrome Awareness Month is, of course, to spread awareness, to educate about Down syndrome, and to celebrate people who have Down syndrome, and their abilities and accomplishments.

Facts about Down syndrome:

  • What is Down syndrome?
    Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome, is a genetic disorder which is caused by a full or partial third copy of the 21st chromosome. There are three types of Down syndrome. Trisomy 21, or nondisjunction, is the most common kind, seen in 95% of Down syndrome cases. The extra chromosome is present in every cell in the body. Translocation Down syndrome occurs in about 4% of Down syndrome cases and is caused by a partial copy of the 21st chromosome breaking off and attaching to another chromosome (usually the 14th chromosome). Finally, Mosaic Down syndrome is the rarest case, seen in about 1% of Down syndrome cases. Mosaic Down syndrome happens when the nondisjunction of an extra chromosome is present in some, but not all, of the body’s cells. Some cells will have 47 chromosomes, while the rest will have the typical 46 chromosomes.

 

  • Is Down syndrome rare?
    No, Down syndrome is not rare. It is the most commonly occurring genetic disorder or birth defect. One out of every 691 babies born in the United States will have Down syndrome, and there are over 400,000 people who have Down syndrome living in the United States. Down syndrome occurs in all races, and while women are at a greater risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome as they get older, the majority of babies with Down syndrome are born to younger mothers.

 

  • What are the effects of having Down syndrome?
    People with Down syndrome usually have hypotonia, or low muscle tone, and developmental delays. Early intervention programs and therapies are able to help children with Down syndrome reach the same milestones as typical children, albeit at a slightly longer pace. The rate at which the person with Down syndrome reaches these milestones, as well as the developmental delays he or she has, will be highly individual. There usually are cognitive delays as well, ranging from mild to moderate. It is important to remember, though, that each person with Down syndrome is different, just like typical people. People with Down syndrome are also at increased risk for various medical conditions, such as heart defects, hearing problems, thyroid conditions, childhood leukemia, and Alzheimer’s. However, medical advances have made most of these issues highly treatable, to the point where people with Down syndrome have life expectancies similar to those of people with typical chromosomes.

 

  • What are the physical characteristics of Down syndrome?
    There are common markers for Down syndrome, which include almond-shaped eyes, a single crease in the palm, flat facial features, small ears, and extra space between the big toe and second toe. However, each person with Down syndrome is an individual, so some people may exhibit many of these characteristics, while others will not have any.

 

  • Can people with Down syndrome lead normal, fulfilling lives?
    People with Down syndrome often do work and make contributions to society. They also get married, as well as have friendships and other meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, most men with Down syndrome cannot have children, or have a lower fertility rate than typical men. About 50% of women with Down syndrome are able to have children. Thirty-five to fifty percent of children born to a mother with Down syndrome will also have Down syndrome, or other developmental delays. Most importantly, people with Down syndrome do lead happy, fulfilling lives. Studies have consistently shown that people with Down syndrome overwhelmingly report being happy with themselves, their lives, and how they look.

 

  • Are people with Down syndrome always happy?
    No. People often refer to people with Down syndrome as always happy, or as constantly full of love and joy, but this does a disservice to people with Down syndrome. They experience the full range of emotions, just like everyone else. Reducing them to one emotion or one feeling reduces them to less of a person. They feel happiness, along with sadness, anger, frustration, and countless other feelings, and they deserve to have those feelings acknowledged.

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.

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

2010 Chrysler Town and Country · For Sale

We just took in a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country LMT as a trade-in for a converted van.

Additional Information

• 10,421 miles
• 4.0L V6 SFI SOHC 24V
• Fuel Type: Gasoline
• MPG City/Hwy: 17 city/24 hwy

Pictures

2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front left 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front right 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 rear right 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854  rear left side 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front side interior view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior front passenger view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front interior view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 dash 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior front  view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 dvd player 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior rear seats 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior rear view2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior left rear floor view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 trunk open seats up view

 

Trade-Ins
We accept both converted mobility vehicles and non-modified vehicles as long as the vehicle is in very good condition. It is also preferred that the vehicle is under 10 years old with odometers at 100,000 miles or less.

Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with disAbilities

newenglandwheelchairvan.com boston strong

Introduction

A Proven Process for Gaining Freedom on the Road

The introduction of new technology continues to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive vehicles with adaptive devices. Taking advantage of these opportunities, however, can be time consuming and, sometimes, frustrating.

The information in this brochure is based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals who work with individuals who require adaptive devices for their motor vehicles. It is centered around a proven process —evaluating your needs, selecting the right vehicle, choosing a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle, being trained, maintaining your vehicle — that can help you avoid costly mistakes when purchasing and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

Also included is general information on cost savings, licensing requirements, and organizations to contact for help. Although the brochure focuses on drivers of modified vehicles, each section contains important information for people who drive passengers with disabilities.

 


 

Investigate Cost Saving Opportunities &Licensing Requirements

Cost Saving Opportunities

The costs associated with modifying a vehicle vary greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, whether you are modifying a vehicle you own or purchasing a new vehicle with adaptive equipment, it pays to investigate public and private opportunities for financial assistance.

There are programs that help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification, depending on the cause and nature of the disability. For information, contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can find phone numbers for these state and federal agencies in a local phone book. Also, consider the following.

  • Many nonprofit associations that advocate for individuals with disabilities have grant programs that help pay for adaptive devices.
  • If you have private health insurance or workers’ compensation, you may be covered for adaptive devices and vehicle modification. Check with your insurance carrier.
  • Many manufacturers have rebate or reimbursement plans for modified vehicles. When you are ready to make a purchase, find out if there is such a dealer in your area.
  • Some states waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.
  • You may be eligible for savings when submitting your federal income tax return. Check with a qualified tax consultant to find out if the cost of your adaptive devices will help you qualify for a medical deduction.

Licensing Requirements

All states require a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to receive an on–the–road evaluation. You cannot be denied the opportunity to apply for a permit or license because you have a disability. However, you may receive a restricted license, based on your use of adaptive devices.

 


 

Evaluate Your Needs

Driver rehabilitation specialists perform comprehensive evaluations to identify the adaptive equipment most suited to your needs. A complete evaluation includes vision screening and, in general, assesses:

  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Judgment and decision making abilities
  • Ability to drive with adaptive equipment

Upon completion of an evaluation, you should receive a report containing specific recommendations on driving requirements or restrictions, and a complete list of recommended vehicle modifications.

Finding a Qualified Evaluator

To find a qualified evaluator in your area, contact a local rehabilitation center or call the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). The phone number is in the resource section. The Association maintains a data base of certified driver rehabilitation specialists throughout the country. Your insurance company may pay for the evaluation. Find out if you need a physician’s prescription or other documen-tation to receive benefits.

Being Prepared for an Evaluation

Consult with your physician to make sure you are physically and psychologically prepared to drive. Being evaluated too soon after an injury or other trauma may indicate the need for adaptive equipment you will not need in the future. When going for an evaluation, bring any equipment you normally use, e.g., a walker or neck brace. Tell the evaluator if you are planning to modify your wheelchair or obtain a new one.

Evaluating Passengers with Disabilities

Evaluators also consult on compatibility and transportation safety issues for passengers with disabilities. They assess the type of seating needed and the person’s ability to exit and enter the vehicle. They provide advice on the purchase of modified vehicles and recommend appropriate wheelchair lifts or other equipment for a vehicle you own. If you have a child who requires a special type of safety seat, evaluators make sure the seat fits your child properly. They also make sure you can properly install the seat in your vehicle.

 


 

Select the Right Vehicle

Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration among you, your evaluator, and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. Although the purchase or lease of a vehicle is your responsibility, making sure the vehicle can be properly modified is the responsibility of the vehicle modification dealer. Therefore, take the time to consult with a qualified dealer and your evaluator before making your final purchase. It will save you time and money. Be aware that you will need insurance while your vehicle is being modified, even though it is off the road.

The following questions can help with vehicle selection. They can also help determine if you can modify a vehicle you own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will another passenger vehicle suffice?
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate your family or other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair?
  • Is there adequate parking space to maneuver if you use a walker?
  • What additional options are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase.

 


 

Choose a Qualified Dealer to Modify Your Vehicle

Even a half inch change in the lowering of a van floor can affect a driver’s ability to use equipment or to have an unobstructed view of the road; so, take time to find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Begin with a phone inquiry to find out about credentials, experience, and references. Ask questions about how they operate. Do they work with evaluators? Will they look at your vehicle before you purchase it? Do they require a prescription from a physician or other driver evaluation specialist? How long will it take before they can start work on your vehicle? Do they provide training on how to use the adaptive equipment?

If you are satisfied with the answers you receive, check references; then arrange to visit the dealer’s facility. Additional information to consider is listed below.

  • Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  • What type of training has the staff received?
  • What type of warranty do they provide on their work?
  • Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  • Do they stock replacement parts?

Once you are comfortable with the dealer’s qualifications, you will want to ask specific questions, such as:

  • How much will the modification cost?
  • Will they accept third party payment?
  • How long will it take to modify the vehicle?
  • Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?
  • Will they need to modify existing safety features to install the adaptive equipment?

While your vehicle is being modified, you will, most likely, need to be available for fittings. This avoids additional waiting time for adjustments once the equipment is fully installed. Without proper fittings you may have problems with the safe operation of the vehicle and have to go back for adjustments.

Some State Agencies specify the dealer you must use if you want reimbursement.

 


 

Obtain Training on the Use of New Equipment

Both new and experienced drivers need training on how to safely use new adaptive equipment. Your equipment dealer and evaluator should provide information and off-road instruction. You will also need to practice driving under the instruction of a qualified driving instructor until you both feel comfortable with your skills. Bring a family member or other significant person who drives to all your training sessions. It’s important to have someone else who can drive your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Some state vocational rehabilitation departments pay for driver training under specified circumstances. At a minimum, their staff can help you locate a qualified instructor. If your evaluator does not provide on-the-road instruction, ask him or her for a recommendation. You can also inquire at your local motor vehicle administration office.

 


 

Maintain Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance is important for keeping your vehicle and adaptive equipment safe and reliable. It may also be mandatory for compliance with the terms of your warranty. Some warranties specify a time period during which adaptive equipment must be inspected. These “check ups” for equipment may differ from those for your vehicle. Make sure you or your modifier submits all warranty cards for all equipment to ensure coverage and so manufacturers can contact you in case of a recall.

For additional copies of this brochure and other important vehicle safety information, you can contact DOT’s web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov and the DOT Auto Safety Hotline: 888-DASH-2-DOT (888-327-4236).

 


 

Resources

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
2425 N. Center Street # 369, Hickory, NC 28601
(866) 672-9466
www.driver-ed.org
www.aded.net

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
11211 N. Nebraska Ave., Suite A5, Tampa, FL 33612
(800) 833-0427 
www.nmeda.org

AAA
1000 AAA Drive, Heathrow, FL 32746-5063
(404) 444-7961
www.aaa.com

Department of Veteran Affairs
(800) 827-1000
www.va.gov

State Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation
Listed in telephone book.


The following manufacturers offer rebates or reimbursements on new vehicle modification.

Daimler Chrysler Corporation
(800) 255-9877
(TDD Users: (800) 922-3826)
www.automobility.daimlerchrysler.com

Ford Motor Company
(800) 952-2248
(TDD Users: (800) TDD-0312)
www.ford.com/mobilitymotoring

General Motors Corporation
(800) 323-9935
(TDD Users: (800) TDD-9935)
www.gmmobility.com

Saturn
(800) 553-6000, Prompt 3
(TDD Users: (800) 833-6000)
www.saturn.com

Volkswagen
(800) 822-8987
www.vw.com

Audi
(800) 822-2834
www.audiusa.com

Dodge Grand Caravan Wheelchair Van Conversion

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar Conversion

VMI first developed the Northstar handicap van conversion in the early 1990’s to meet customer preferences for increased interior space. To this day, the VMI Northstar on the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan remains one of the best mobility ramp vans in America.

By sliding out of a space below the floor, the Northstar mobility ramp maximizes space inside the accessible vehicle. There are so many benefits of an in-floor wheelchair ramp, it is easily understood why its so popular.

Dodge VMI Northstar at Automotive Innovations www.bridgewatermobility.com

VMI New England Dodge Northstar Wheelchair Van VMiNewEngland.com

Description
Interior handles, and switches, buttons are easily accessed
Front passenger seat retains regular functions
No additional noise from handicap ramp
In the event of an accident, the accessible ramp is under the floor-not inside the mobility van
Works on curbs up to 10 inches tall
Increased maneuverability due to greater space inside the accessible van
Ramp-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for ambulatory passengers
Minimized conversion wear and tear (fewer ramp cycles to load/unload additional passengers)
Uncluttered and clean wheelchair vehicle interior
Mobility vehicle interior gets less dirt inside
Increased handicapped ramp width

Specifications
Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
Handicap Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
Door Opening Width – 30.75″
Door Opening Height – 55.125″
Usable Mobility Ramp Width – 29.25″
Wheelchair Ramp Length – 45.75″
Length from Back Seats to Kickplate – 58.25″
Overall Floor Length – 86″
Floor Width at Front Doors – 61″
Interior Height at Driver & Passenger Positions (Without Sunroof) – 58″
Interior Height at Center Position – 57.63″
Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25″

Standard Features
Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar only
Extremely-low 8.0° handicapped ramp angle
Sure Deploy backup system leaves accessible van conversion usable even with power failure
Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind
800lb. handicap ramp weight capacity

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit
Fully-powered accessible van ramp
11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes interior space and headroom for better maneuverability
Complete undercoating and rust proofing
PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
Seamless integration with Dodge Grand Caravan vehicle electronics
Complete control through Dodge keyfob and interior switches
Removable front passenger and driver seat bases
No-skid wheelchair ramp surfacing
Complete crash testing and compliance with all government safety standards
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features
Durafloor (rubberized flooring) to match Dodge Grand Caravan interiors


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Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit Conversion

The Summit folding wheelchair ramp van conversion on a Dodge Grand Caravan is an economical choice compared to the popular Northstar in-floor handicapped ramp conversion from VMI. Summit mobility ramps utilize siderails that are 2 inches tall. This is especially important for those with a hard time navigating an incline. VMI Summit handicapped accessible van on the Dodge Grand Caravan also includes an industry best access ramp length of only 50.25”.

The short handicap ramp provides two key advantages to VMI customers. First, passengers can easily use the Dodge handle for the sliding door and switches because the handicapped ramp is not covering them. Second, users in wheelchairs have more room to move on and off the ramp when other vehicles park too close.

Dodge VMI Summit at Automotive Innovations www.bridgewatermobility.com

VMI New England Dodge Summit Wheelchair Van VMiNewEngland.com

Description
Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit Only
2” siderails help people with a disabilities stay on the ramp when coming in and out
When other vehicles park too close, 50.25” ramp leaves users more room to maneuver
By simply pushing outward on the ramp, it can be deployed incase of a mechanical/power failure
Handicap ramp surface allows debris to fall through so it doesn’t end up inside the vehicle
Mobility ramp has a quiet cabin dut to an anti-rattle device
600lb. handicapped ramp rating

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit
Fully-powered accessible ramp
11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes head clearance and interior space for maneuvering a wheelchair
Complete undercoating and rust proofing
PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce wheelchair ramp angle
Total integration with Dodge systems prevents damage to vehicle/ conversion
Accessible van conversion is controlled through interior sliding-door switches and Dodge keychain
Easy-out passenger and front driver seat stands
No-slip handicapped ramp
Total crash-testing and compliance with all government standards for safety
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Specifications
Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
Mobility Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
Door Opening Height – 54.25″
Usable Wheelchair Ramp Width – 28.88″
Handicap Ramp Length – 50.25″
Length from Back of Seats to Kickplate – 58.25″
Overall Floor Length – 86″
Floor Width at Doors – 61″
Interior Height at Center Position – 58″
Interior Height at Drivers & Passengers Position (Without Sunroof) – 58″
Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25

Standard Features
Power Folding Wheelchair Ramp with Non-Skid Surface
Power Sliding Door with Easy Manual Operation
Maximum Interior Headroom
Undercoating and Complete Rust Proofing
Manual Backup Ramp Operation
Warranty – Mobiltiy Conversion Van
Fully Crash Tested
Remote Control Activation
600 Pound Load Rating for Handicap Ramp
9.7 Degree Handicap Ramp Angle

Optional Features
Rubberized Flooring

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.

2013 Toyota Sienna Information · For Sale

Our New 2013 Toyota Sienna LE Mobility minivan has a New VMI Northstar conversion

Additional Information

6 miles
3.5L V6 EFI DOHC 24V
Fuel Type: Gasoline
MPG City/Hwy: 18 city/25 hwy

Pictures

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

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Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion Information

The all new Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar wheelchair van conversion is vehicular perfection for people living with disability. The Toyota Sienna handicap accessible van with a power in-floor ramp offers the most wheelchair access in a flexible package. And like everything from Toyota, the quality and value are unmatched.

The VMI Northstar handicap van engineers put together the Access360 performance package through years of research and experience that have accumulated into the most versatile mobility van on the market. There is more entry space, more interior height, and better aesthetics. It all adds up to Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans that offers flexibility, ease of use, and safety.

Description
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar
  NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
  NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
  Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
  Greater safety in the event of a collision
  Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
  Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
  No interference with factory seats or controls
  Full use of front passenger seat
  Obstacle-free front row floor
  Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Specifications
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar
NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
Greater safety in the event of a collision
Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
No interference with factory seats or controls
Full use of front passenger seat
Obstacle-free front row floor
Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Standard Features
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar only
Ultra-low 8.0° accessible ramp angle
800lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
Sure Deploy backup system allows users to stow or deploy the ramp  even without power
Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind

Toyota Sienna with Northstar AND Summit
Full-power ramp and conversion
12.75” drop FLEX Floor maximizes headroom & interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
Patented independent rear suspension designed to preserve the ride quality and performance
E-coated floor for maximum corrosion resistance
NEW, ultra-reliable hydraulic PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
Seamless integration with the electronics prevents damage to vehicle/conversion
Conversion control through Toyota keyfob and interior sliding-door switches
Halo-lit, one-touch interior conversion button
Ramp ON/OFF switch allows users to disable all conversion features
(You can open sliding doors for able-bodied passengers without deploying the ramp)
NEW lightweight, removable front seats are easier to install or remove
NEW quick-release straps allow users to remove front seats in seconds
Non-skid handicapped ramp surface
Fully crash-tested and compliant with all government safety standards
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features
Durafloor (rubberized flooring) closely matched to the existing Toyota Sienna interior

Raising Stroke Awareness for the Month of May

Help Raise Stroke Awareness

Many people are familiar with what it means to have a stroke – it is the fourth leading cause of death in America, and so has impacted the loved ones of many. When a blood clot breaks free and blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, stopping blood flow to an area of the brain, brain cells in the affected area die. This results in damage to the brain, and is called a stroke, brain attack, cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or ischemic stroke. Sometimes a person will suffer something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a “mini-stroke” that cuts off the supply of blood to the brain but does not cause lasting brain damage; although there is not permanent damage, there is a high risk of suffering a repeat TIA or a full stroke if not properly treated. Signs that a stroke is happening or has just occurred include sudden weakness or numbness of an arm, leg, or face – commonly just one side, sudden difficulty speaking, sudden difficulty walking or loss of balance, trouble seeing through one or both eyes, or sudden onset severe headache.

In support of Stroke Awareness Month, we invite you to learn more about stroke: how to minimize the risk of one occurring, and how to recognize one happening so that medical help can be called for as soon as possible.  Check in to our blog or Facebook throughout the month of May for more information on stroke and how to participate in awareness campaigns in your area.