Tag Archives: adaptive equipment

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
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. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Adaptive Equipment for Those with Partial Disabilities

Some individuals with partial disabilities say they do not have a need for a fully wheelchair accessible van or truck and state they only need a bit of extra help. For those able to stand with or without assistance, turn, and walk a few steps, there are a number of simple, affordable solutions that can make the vehicle you already own more comfortable and accessible.

Turning Seating
Convenient and affordable, turning automotive seating can eliminate the need to twist and climb into vehicles. Seats can be adapted to automatically swivel over the door frame with the push of a button, allowing drivers or passengers to easily accommodate themselves without having to struggle to get inside. These solutions can be installed in nearly any vehicle, including tall trucks and SUVs. In these cases, the seat lowers to the driver or passenger’s preferred height, then lifts and turns back into the vehicle.

Wheelchair or Scooter Lifts/Carriers
For those who are able to transfer into a vehicle’s seats, whether they are automatic or not, a wheelchair or scooter lifts can stow their equipment in the trunk or roof of a car, back of a van or SUV, or bed of a pick-up truck. These systems can be fully automatic or manually powered, depending on the needs of the user.

Grab Bars and Assist Handles
Grab bars and assist handles can make it safer for those with partial disabilities to enter, exit and drive a vehicle. Extremely affordable and portable, these solutions can be incorporated into nearly any make or model in mere minutes.

Steering Aids
Modifications like low-effort steering and wheel attachments can make driving much easier for those with limited upper body mobility, arthritis, etc. From palm grips to tri-grip designs, spinner knobs and steering cuffs, there is an accessible option to meet every need.

Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
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. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

CAPEable Adventures: Adaptive Sports & Recreation

CAPEable Adventures (CA) is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) chapter of Disabled Sports USA. DS/USA is a national nonprofit organization formed to promote adaptive sports and outdoor recreation.

CAPEable Adventures, Inc. was established in 2007 by a group of individuals on Cape Cod to address the growing desire of local physically and mentally challenged children and adults who would like the opportunity to participate in sports and outdoor recreation. Co-Founder and President Craig Bautz is a T9 Paraplegic who has instructed, competed and participated in adaptive sports for 25 years bringing with him a great deal of knowledge in the field of adaptive sports and therapeutic recreation. Cape Cod offers numerous opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, biking, kayaking, fishing, camping, swimming, the opportunities are endless – and they are now more accessible through programs made available by CAPEable Adventures.

Not only can CA provide services to local residents, with this region being a destination for travelers, CA can provide services to individuals vacationing on the Cape. Having access to adaptive equipment and instruction while traveling can only increase the enjoyment of the Cape’s natural beauty, and allow physically and mentally challenged individuals to enjoy their travel experience alongside their family and friends.

By participating in therapeutic recreational activities challenged individuals improve muscle strength, coordination, equilibrium, balance, endurance, self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, and socialization skills.  But most importantly, participants gain personal fulfillment through accomplishment – something that can translate positively into their everyday lives.

For more information please visit their website at: www.capeableadventures.org

Have You Voted For Your Local Hero?

Click here to view the stories and submit your vote!

What is the Local Heroes Contest?
This is the 4th annual National Mobility Awareness Month. During this month NMEDA has an amazing promotion where they encourage people with disAbilities to embody the spirit of Life Moving Forward by raising awareness of the many life-changing mobility vehicle solutions available today.

NMEDA and their members are mobility advocates dedicated to changing the lives of those living with disAbilities by providing access to quality handicap accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. Whether you are living with a disAbility or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, they want to hear your story of perseverance and strength.

For your chance to win a FREE wheelchair accessible vehicle enter NMEDA’s contest by telling them what makes you (or your loved one) a Local Hero!

This year they will be giving away 4 handicap accessible vehicles:

  • one to a caregiver
  • one to a senior (60+)
  • one that is battery powered (for in-town driving only)
  • one in the general category.

Over 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues. This is your chance to change the lives of just a few of those triumphing in the face of adversity.

Local Heroes Contest! Enter To Win a Free Accessible Vehicle!

This is the 4th annual National Mobility Awareness Month. During this month NMEDA has an amazing promotion where they encourage people with disAbilities to embody the spirit of Life Moving Forward by raising awareness of the many life-changing mobility vehicle solutions available today.

NMEDA and their members are mobility advocates dedicated to changing the lives of those living with disAbilities by providing access to quality handicap accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. Whether you are living with a disAbility or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, they want to hear your story of perseverance and strength.

For your chance to win a FREE wheelchair accessible vehicle enter NMEDA’s contest by telling them what makes you (or your loved one) a Local Hero! You can enter here

This year they will be giving away 4 handicap accessible vehicles:

  • one to a caregiver
  • one to a senior (60+)
  • one that is battery powered (for in-town driving only)
  • one in the general category.

Over 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues. This is your chance to change the lives of just a few of those triumphing in the face of adversity.

It’s Time To Rust Proof Your Vehicle!

Spring has sprung
The snow is gone
& Rain has come
It’s time to rust proof your vehicle!

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
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. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.
Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

The 2015 Local Heroes Contest Begins Next Week

NEMEDA Local Hero Contest – Enter or Vote Today!

May Is National Mobility Awareness Month

Join the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) in celebrating the 4th annual National Mobility Awareness Month. During this amazing promotion, they encourage people with disAbilities to embody the spirit of Life Moving Forward by raising awareness of the many life-changing mobility vehicle solutions available today.

NMEDA and their members are mobility advocates dedicated to changing the lives of those living with disAbilities by providing access to quality handicap accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. Whether you are living with a disAbility or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, they want to hear your story of perseverance and strength. Once the promotion begins, tell them what makes you, or your loved one, a Local Hero for a chance to win a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.

This year they will be giving away 4 handicap accessible vehicles:

  • one to a caregiver
  • one to a senior (60+)
  • one that is battery powered (for in-town driving only)
  • one in the general category.

Find out more about NMEDA and the work they do within the disAbled community and stay tuned for this year’s events!

You can summit your stories on April 15, 2015.
Voting for your favorite Local Hero story will begin on May 1 and end on May 31.

Over 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues. This is your chance to change the lives of just a few of those triumphing in the face of adversity.

Spring Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair accessible vehicles rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
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. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.

Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Driving In A Wheelchair

With the right equipment driving can be a reality for many wheelchair users. Drivers have the option to transfer into the driver’s seat or drive from their wheelchair, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Your mobility dealer can guide you through the range of options for your best driving experience.

  • The driver’s seat can easily be removed so you can drive from your wheelchair or transfer into the original seat.
  • Your mobility dealer can introduce you to the type of vehicle and the adaptive equipment that will make you comfortable behind the wheel.
  • You can drive from your wheelchair in any side-entry converted vehicle.
  • Rear-entry vehicles do not allow driving from a wheelchair.

What To Consider When Shopping For A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

If you have a disAbility and don’t yet have an accessible vehicle, it’s difficult to know where to start. You’ve worked with your doctor and therapist, maybe even a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS), but they don’t know your budget, your preferred car or van, or where the nearest mobility dealer is.

Your medical team will help, of course, but you have homework to do:

Set a budget
How much can you afford to pay for a new or used wheelchair van? Figure in the down payment, monthly payment, insurance, gas and an estimate for yearly maintenance. Look for rebates, grants, loans, etc. to help reduce the price tag.

Research, research, research
Your doctor or therapist may recommend necessary adaptive equipment, but there may be other equipment you’d like. Check out the many options available now.

Testing, testing
If you can, test drive different vehicles at the mobility dealership to get the feel of spaciousness, ease or difficulty of loading, driving and parking, etc.

As you narrow the choices down, you might want to rent your top choice for a weekend or week-long trip. Time on the road will determine if the make and model are right for you.

Ask yourself these questions

  • Does it fit lengthwise and width-wide in my driveway or garage?
  • Is there space enough for the ramp or lift to deploy?
  • Can I easily reach and work all the controls?
  • If you plan to use a transfer seat- Is the seat comfortable? (Like your favorite chair at home—can you sit in it for hours and still be comfortable?)

There are many factors to consider that you may not have thought about until you test drive several candidates.

Find a mobility dealer
You will need to find an expert on wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. There are some things to consider when searching for the perfect mobility dealer to assist you.

  • Where are they located?
  • How experienced are they?
  • Do they offer a full-service shop?
  • How many vehicle options do they have available?

Six-Month Maintenance on Accessible Vehicles

Every vehicle needs maintenance on a periodic basis, and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle is no exception. Do you take your van to a regular mechanic occasionally for oil changes and tune-ups and then a mobility dealer for the adaptive equipment check-up every six months?

Going to two different places when you don’t need to is poor time management. For smooth operation of your time, vehicle and adaptive equipment, skip the mechanic and take it to a us – we can do both in just one trip.

We have the training and experience needed to maintain and repair complicated, high-tech systems and controls installed in modern wheelchair accessible vans and the expertise in dozens of features that a regular mechanic is not trained to repair.

Steering Aids

Deep-Dish Steering Wheel
This device brings the steering wheel rim approximately 4″ closer to the wheelchair driver and is normally used with a low-effort steering system. It improves wheelchair accessibility to the steering wheel and lessens the range of steering motion.

Foot Steering Control
This devise transfers control of hand operated driving function to foot operation. Auxiliary and secondary vehicle controls are also adapted to foot operation.

Horizontal Steering Column
This motorized, telescoping steering column allows for adjustment of steering in a variety of planes and positions. It adapts to the reach limitations of a driver, and can be positioned for right or left hand use.

Low Effort Steering
This feature reduces the effort to steer the vehicle by approximately 40 per cent.

One Hand Drive Control System
This steering system is designed for people with limited or no use of lower extremities by good strength in one arm and hand. Its main component is a knob through which steering, brake, and throttle are activated. Auxiliary switches can be located adjacent to the knob, with toggle switches for convenience.

Steering Column Extension
This extension brings the steering wheel 2 -6″ closer to the wheelchair driver. It provides extra leg room and compensates for reduced range of movement.

Steering Spinners
Spinner knobs permit safe operation of the steering wheel by drivers who must steer with one hand. It allows them to remain in contact with the steering wheel at all times. They come in a variety of configurations including an amputee ring, knob, so called “quad-steering cuff,” palm grip, tri-pin and v-grip.

Zero Effort Steering
This reduces the effort required to steer the vehicle by approximately 70 per cent. A back-up steering system is usually recommended. It is available for vehicles with power steering.

Un-Converted Senior-Friendly Vehicles

Are you looking for comfortable seating, a roomy driving position, safety, good visibility and wide doors with high entries/lowered floors so you don’t have to struggle to get in and out? In a vehicle with style, of course! Well now most automakers are designing cars with features that are more senior-friendly.

What to look for:

  • Sliding rear doors that require little strength or even better, power sliding doors. Power anything is a plus.
  • Brighter instrument displays and larger type.
  • Doors that open wider.
  • Navigation screens closer to eye level and not at arm’s length.
  • Large side mirrors.

AAA recommends that drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific health issues/mobility needs:

  • For hip, knee or leg problems, a 6-way adjustable power seat is easier for drivers to enter and exit. Also look for seat heights that hit the driver between mid-thigh and lower buttocks.
  • Arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls.
  • Those with diminished vision should look for extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and easy-to-read displays with contrasting text. And less glare. (Blue-green instrument lighting is easier to read than red.)
  • A roomy trunk that can fit a walker or wheelchair.

If you can’t find one car that has it all, remember that there are many different types of adaptive equipment that could work for you. Adaptive equipment options vary from the ability to control secondary functions like turn signals and wipers with a touchscreen or voice control to pedal extenders, swivel seats and much more.

Find Financial Resources for Your Mobility Needs

Far too often, you find it hard to afford many of the tools and resources that you need in everyday life. For that reason, there are several alternative ways to get funding that will ensure that you get the assistance you need to live a hassle-free life without worrying about breaking the bank.

Here are a few sources of financial assistance to look into if you are finding it hard to cover all of your mobility expenses.

Medicare:
Usually offered only through private companies, Medicare can be a good option for certain medical devices and equipment and is based on your medical necessity for the goods or services you may need help with.

Medicaid:
While there is no exclusive list in terms of medical equipment covered, cases are approved on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid is a great option to look into if your expenses and needs aren’t covered by Medicare.

The IRS:
Did you know that certain mobility aids such as adaptive driving equipment can be deducted from your federal taxes? Contact your local tax adviser to see what equipment and supplies you use regularly to see if they can be deducted.

State Programs:
Check with your state’s vocational rehabilitation agencies to see if your mobility needs are approved for financial assistance. If any of it helps you get to work or perform your job efficiently, you may be covered here. Aside from that, you may also want to check out your local Center for Independent Living to see if they have any other resources that you can look into for financial assistance.

Vehicle-Related:
If you’ve recently had any adaptive equipment or ramps installed in your vehicle—or, for that matter, if you’ve recently purchased wheelchair van—there are some dealerships that will reimburse you for such things. Check with your local mobility-friendly dealership to learn more.

With these resources at your disposal, you can hopefully stop worrying about money and focus more on living a stress-free life where your mobility needs are easily met.

Department of Veteran Affairs: Making Mobility Equipment Accessible & Affordable

The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great resource for making mobility equipment accessible and affordable through available benefits. There are several options available to shoppers for new equipment as well as those looking for upgrades with their current equipment.

One option is to accept a special benefit allowance for automobiles. These funds are available for modifications covered in the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program for existing vehicles- from mini-vans to motor homes. One should check with the local VA office to make sure criteria are met before making a purchase for a specialized vehicle. The application for adaptive equipment is also titled VAF 10-1394. Find more specific information about modifications and the list of required documents for reimbursement by following this link to the VA program profile.

Once in ownership of a modified vehicle, the VA helps cover some repairs however, regular maintenance is not covered. The VA typically allows for two vehicles to be purchased or modified in a 4-year period and exceptions are made for instances of theft, fire, accident, court or legal actions, costly repairs and changes in the driver’s medical needs that would require a new vehicle.

A second option deals with the prescription of orthotic equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Once a veteran is assessed to need mobility equipment by the VA and its doctors- an approved and accredited firm helps fit the veteran in need the top of the line orthotic equipment.  For a list of these firms, follow this link.

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

A Little Extra Help: Adaptive Equipment for Those with Partial Disabilities

Some individuals with partial disabilities say they do not have a need for a fully wheelchair accessible van or truck and state they only need a bit of extra help. For those able to stand with or without assistance, turn, and walk a few steps, there are a number of simple, affordable solutions that can make the vehicle you already own more comfortable and accessible.

Turning Seating
Convenient and affordable, turning automotive seating can eliminate the need to twist and climb into vehicles. Seats can be adapted to automatically swivel over the door frame with the push of a button, allowing drivers or passengers to easily accommodate themselves without having to struggle to get inside. These solutions can be installed in nearly any vehicle, including tall trucks and SUVs. In these cases, the seat lowers to the driver or passenger’s preferred height, then lifts and turns back into the vehicle.

Wheelchair or Scooter Lifts/Carriers
For those who are able to transfer into a vehicle’s seats, whether they are automatic or not, a wheelchair or scooter lifts can stow their equipment in the trunk or roof of a car, back of a van or SUV, or bed of a pick-up truck. These systems can be fully automatic or manually powered, depending on the needs of the user.

Grab Bars and Assist Handles
Grab bars and assist handles can make it safer for those with partial disabilities to enter, exit and drive a vehicle. Extremely affordable and portable, these solutions can be incorporated into nearly any make or model in mere minutes.

Steering Aids
Modifications like low-effort steering and wheel attachments can make driving much easier for those with limited upper body mobility, arthritis, etc. From palm grips to tri-grip designs, spinner knobs and steering cuffs, there is an accessible option to meet every need.

How to Choose the Right Mobility Vehicle for You

With several mobility vehicle options available, how do you know which one is going to be the best fit for you?

Most vehicles can be modified with hand controls, foot pedals and adaptive equipment to make driving easier for someone who has limited mobility. While those modifications help you drive, they don’t actually help you get into the vehicle. Picking the right mobility vehicle should start with entry.

When you use a wheelchair to get around, it’s important you have a vehicle that allows you to get in and out in the most convenient way possible. If you have good upper-body strength and can’t stand the thought of driving a van, you may be able to get by using a sedan or coupe – at least for a little while. If you use a large power chair that won’t fit in the back seat of a car or have no one to help you get it there even if it could, a full-size or minivan might be more appropriate.

To find out the differences between mobility vehicles so you can pick the right one for you, consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type below.

Sedans and Coupes
Having a sedan or coupe usually means you have to transfer from your wheelchair to the car seat, which can put a lot of strain on your arms and shoulders – or those of your caregiver. When you think about a long-term solution, having to transfer and load a wheelchair for many years may not be practical. Not only that, but if the weather isn’t ideal (snow, rain, excessive heat), this all becomes even more difficult. Standard cars can have motorized lifts or platforms attached to them, but those are generally just for loading a wheelchair in the back or trunk and don’t help with your transfer.

While cars might not be the most practical solution for all wheelchair users, many people still choose them because they are more stylish than a van and tend to be less expensive. The cost of the vehicle with gas is generally less on an unconverted sedan or coupe than a converted van. Plus, if you already own a car, getting assistive equipment is cheaper than buying a brand new mobility vehicle.

SUVs
SUVs are similar to sedans and coupes in that they usually require a transfer from the wheelchair to the car seat. That means they don’t work for wheelchair users without much upper-body strength or strong caregivers, especially since SUVs sit higher and the transfer involves more lifting. SUVs also don’t have a lot of interior space and may not fit larger wheelchairs – even in the trunk.

One of the major benefits of having an accessible SUV is the All-Wheel Drive feature, which makes driving in inclement weather a little bit safer, especially when hand controls are used.

Minivans
Wheelchair-accessible minivans are one of the most practical options for someone with limited mobility. Converted minivans usually come with a ramp system and automatic sliding door to make entry and exit into the vehicle easy – without having to leave your wheelchair. This makes getting in and out much quicker and puts almost no stress on the body of the wheelchair user or caregiver. In addition, some wheelchair-accessible minivans offer different seating options so you can sit in the front and avoid feeling like cargo.

Converted minivans are one of the most convenient options, as they are large enough to fit a wheelchair user, but not so large they may be hard to drive and park for if you have limited mobility. While these might be the perfect solution for many wheelchair users, some people don’t like the idea of driving a minivan and you always have to park with enough space on the side to lower the ramp.

Full-Size Vans
Full-size mobility vans are a great option for larger wheelchair users or those in heavy power chairs. While these vehicles offer the most space, having a full-size van also usually means you use a lift, which takes up space inside the vehicle and may rattle around when you drive. Lift operation may also take longer than that of a ramp and often requires the assistance of another person. Having a lift, however, does make loading and unloading possible without having to transfer from the wheelchair.

While each type of mobility vehicle has its perks and drawbacks, it’s important to find the one that works best for you. It is critical to find a reliable wheelchair-accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment manufacturer so you get a product that will last. If you need additional assistance in determining which option is ideal for you, talk to an authorized mobility dealer and ask for a demo of the vehicles that interest you.

Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike

Yesterday, July 13, 2014, The Boston Wounded Vets MC Run (They Fought, We Ride) presented a brand new Harley Davidson 2014 trike to wounded Soldier Andy Kingsley from Athol.

The trike was purchased by Monies raised by the Boston Wounded Vets Motorcycle ride.
The Mobility & Adaptive Equipment was installed by us, VMi New England.

Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike1 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike2 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike9 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike10 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike11 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike3 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike12 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike4 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike13 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike5 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike14 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike6 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike7 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike15 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike16 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike8 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike17 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike18

Spring Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance

Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair vans rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
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. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.

Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment
Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

For example, we can maintain primary and secondary driving controls, as well as providing service for wheelchair ramps and scooter lifts. Along with power seat bases, power door operators, wheelchair securement systems and other adaptive equipment. Those are only a few of the areas that our certified technicians can service and maintain. We also have a rust prevention/treatment that we highly recommend.

You’ll also find that we offer installation as well as service for a range of adaptive equipment like lowered floors, raised doors, adaptive steering controls, turning automotive seats and hand controls. All of our technicians are fully certified in mobility equipment so that you always know you’re in good hands with us.

Automotive Innovations has also created a innovative and ever evolving maintenance program over the past 25 years for our customers. We know that making sure your vehicle and adaptive equipment is in good condition is important to you, but we also understand that it can be difficult for you to tell when or if something needs service or repair. That’s why we started our operational preventative maintenance program over 20 years ago. This program ensures that your wheelchair van or mobility equipment is always in the best operational condition possible, but also assesses the need for repairs or replacement most of the time before anything happens.

We’re dedicated to giving you the peace of mind that you deserve and the maintenance you need to maintain your freedom at all times.

 

Driving with Paralysis


The first step in the process of learning to drive with paralysis is to get a thorough evaluation from a qualified driver trainer to determine your basic driving set-up, specific modifications, and driving equipment. An evaluation includes vision screening and assesses muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion; coordination and reaction time; judgment and decision making; and ability to drive with adaptive equipment.

To find a qualified evaluator, contact us today (508-697-6006) we maintain a list of certified specialists throughout the New England area.

As for getting a drivers license, 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, but you may receive a restricted license, based on the use of adaptive devices.

Once you get the go-ahead from the evaluation, it’s time to think about the kinds of vehicles that suit your abilities and needs. Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration with the evaluator and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. The following questions can help with vehicle selection and whether you can adapt a car you already own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will a passenger car suffice (will you be driving from a wheelchair or can you transfer to the car seat? If you can transfer in and drive a car your choices are much wider.
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate 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 or walker?

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.

The cost of modifying a vehicle varies greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, 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. Contact your state’s department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. 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.
  • 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.

Find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Ask questions, check credentials and references. 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? Do they provide training on how to use the equipment? Do they provide service? What is the cost? How long will it take to do the work? What is the warranty?

Sure-Grip Mechanical Hand Controls

Easyspin RF 360 – New
The Easyspin RF360 utilizes precise radio frequencies to operate up to 6 secondary functions wirelessly from the stylish and ergonomic spinner.

The Spinmaster spinner knob and Easyspin indicator system have been the standard in one-handed steering for more than a decade but our drive to improve and refine led us to supersede these proven performers. While inheriting the distinctive characteristics of its predecessors; featuring durable construction, smooth and reliable operation, and quick release mechanism, as well as the original and unique Spinmaster steering wheel clamp, the Easyspin RF360 ups the ante with its own innovative features.

Suits Any Vehicle Wiring Configuration
The standard configuration for the Easyspin RF360, VAC6, can include up to 6 vehicle accessory controls in only one mode of operation.

With 6 functions you can cover operation of all frequently used accessories such as:

  • Indicators
  • Headlights
  • Horn
  • Washers and
  • Sequential wipers.

You can also control non-essential vehicle accessories such as:

  • Electric windows
  • Tiptronic gear shifting
  • Cruise control and
  • Integrated phone controls while maintaining quick access to those frequently used accessories.

The user can alter the button configuration at any time to suit their needs. Simultaneously holding two buttons for a couple of seconds will instantly swap their functions. Any button, any function, total flexibility.

The design of the Easyspin RF360 with its integrated buttons and unique hammerhead shape has been created specifically to fit your hand’s ergonomics. It didn’t happen by accident, over 18 months were spent undertaking research, development and testing with designers, occupational therapists and clients. It also features a soft rubber overlay grip for your comfort.

Features:

  • Ergonomic shape and soft overlay rubber grip for your comfort
  • Operate up to 6 functions
  • Supported by the world renowned Spinmaster steering wheel clamp, known for providing superior durability and gripping strength without damaging your steering wheel
  • Features a quick release function so that it may be removed at any time with the press of a button, allowing unrestricted access for other drivers
  • Strong, robust design, constructed from heavy-duty mining-grade injection molded glass filled UV resistant nylon to withstand years of regular use
  • 2 years battery life with LED low battery warning light, easily accessed battery slide and life-extending sleep mode
  • Mechanical Hand Controls

Push/Rock
The original and the best, the Sure Grip Push/Rock system, has become known for its comfort, precision and overall safety.

Unlike other hand controls styles, the push/rock system puts the operating handle in a vertical position; the driver eases the handle back to accelerate and pushes forward to brake. This unique rocking motion allows full-range braking and acceleration with minimal hand travel while keeping the hand in a natural position.

Sure Grip’s Push/Rock controls are known for having the easiest gas in the industry today thus, allowing for hours of fatigue free driving. The push/rock style will give you the driving experience you have been longing for.

Sure Grip hand control designs prevents contact with legs or knees at higher speeds. The upright handle also allows the installation of controls in smaller vehicles or tight spaces other controls would not fit. Controls do not impede pedal use.

Push/Pull

The Sure Grip Push/Pull hand control uses the same movement to apply the gas and brake as other Push/Pull controls; however the pivot point for the Sure Grip control is on the left-hand side of the wheel close to the handle, this allows for a shorter stroke and greater leverage. In addition to the pivot point, the handles position is at a slight angle, an angle that makes a big difference to the driver. The benefits of Sure Grip’s unique Push/Pull hand control design include:
Less strain on fingers and thumb
Flexible hand positions for lower fatigue and cramping while driving
The ability for both hands to keep contact with the steering wheel
In addition to the benefits enjoyed as a result of the handle and its position, drivers will also appreciate the other features that Sure Grip’s Push/Pull offers including:
Superior pedal feel, with constant acceleration and no “dead spots”
Limited modifications to the vehicles dash

Push/Right Angle
Unlike other Push Right/Angle controls, the Sure Grip Push Right/Angle’s body doesn’t pivot or move when the accelerator is applied. The pivot point for the Sure Grip control is on the left-hand side of the wheel, and only the handle pivots. A stationary main body has many benefits for the driver including:

Increased leg room for getting in and out of the vehicle, as many installs allow brake rod to pass through the dash
Full acceleration without the control hitting the drivers lap
Greater two-handed contact with the steering wheel due to the shortened stroke of the handle
In addition to the benefits enjoyed as a result of the stationary main body, drivers will also appreciate the other features that Sure Grip’s Push Right/Angle offers including:

Superior pedal feel, with constant acceleration and no “dead spots”

  • Lower fatigue while driving
  • Limited modifications to the vehicles dash

Push/Twist
Pivot Point
The Sure Grip Push/Twist control uses the same motorcycle style acceleration as other Push/Twist controls, but has an auxiliary handle that makes the twisting motion easier and allows for longer, more comfortable driving.

  • In addition to the unique benefits enjoyed with our other hand controls, such as increased leg room and ease of use, drivers will also appreciate the other features that the Sure Grip Push/Twist offers including:
  • Superior pedal feel, with constant acceleration and no “dead spots”
  • Lower fatigue while driving
  • Limited modifications to the vehicles dash
  • Easier braking

AutoLock is an accelerator lock out device that comes standard on all of Sure Grip’s hand controls, and is an added safety feature for the driver or those that share the vehicle. With the push of a button or knob, the accelerator function of the hand control can be disabled and help prevent accidents through misuse of the control by mechanics, valets or any other unqualified user. Autolock is available in both electronic and manual formats.

Sure Grip Recreation
Sure Grip hand control users now have the option of adding the Push/Rock style of driving to their favorite recreation vehicles. Sure Grip has developed easy installation applications for many of the nation’s top selling side-by-sides, go carts and golf carts.

The Handling You Need 

Sure Grip has always given its users great control of their vehicles. Now that Sure Grip has hand controls designed specifically for smaller off-road vehicles that same control can be enjoyed wherever you decide to go.
Unlike other hand controls Sure Grip’s handle is in the vertical position, which gives precision control and the ability to drive with both hands on the wheel. With two hands on the wheel, drivers have the control needed when headed off the beaten path.

Veigel North America Hand Controls

Veigel is the internationally leading manufacturer of driving school systems and driving aids for handicapped persons. They believe in absolute customer satisfaction which we are achieving by developing and manufacturing our products at the highest quality level.

With over 80 years of experience manufacturing adaptive driving products like, mechanical hand controls, and an in-house R&D facility everything Veigel manufacture has been designed and tested to meet the highest standards in quality, function and design. The average employee has 15 years of experience at Veigel Automotive. The combined effort of so many years of dedication and focus have resulted in the highest quality, most reliable and safest products on the market.

Veigel 4100 Classic Hand Control
The Veigel hand control is an accelerator and brake that fits perfectly into the interior of modern vehicles. Thanks to the ergonomically optimized handle and the additional individual adjustability of the grip angle the acceleration becomes easier, fatigue-free and adapts to every hand position of the driver. To accelerate you simply turn the handle on your hand control clockwise. In order to break, just push the hand control slightly front wise. The break can also temporary be locked in place. The hand control can also easily be fold away.

Veigel 4200 Compact Hand Control
Proven hand control technology from Automotive Innovations and Veigel in a modern design – this is the principle of the COMPACT hand control. The functional principle is rather simple: To accelerate the ergonomically designed handle is only to pull backwards. A short push forward activates the break, which also can be temporary locked in place. As the CLASSIC, the COMPACT can also be fold away.

Veigel Commander
The optional fitted Veigel Commander for CLASSIC or COMPACT allows the driver to conduct the most important secondary functions of the vehicle unstressed with just one finger. The device can be used very easily and merges perfectly with the award-winning Design of the Veigel hand control. In addition the Original lever can still be used as normal.

Veigel Basic-Commander
The Basic Commander enables the driver to indicating in each situation, even at a roundabout, without repositioning or letting your hand loose of the steering wheel. Also this switch is really easy to use and fits perfectly to the award-winning design of the Veigel hand control. Needles to say, that the original lever still can be used as normal.

  • The Basic Commander is available for the COMPACT and the CLASSIC hand control.
  • Classic leather-clad
  • Complying with your request you can order the hand control in leather-clad.

Wells-Engberg Mechanical Hand Controls

Their mechanical hand controls provide safe, easy and more convenient vehicle operation as well as being priced competitively with other manufacturers. They manufacture 4 different types of mechanical controls to suit all needs.

Wells-Engberg controls come with a universal mounting, using a common set of connectors which allows installation in the majority of domestic and foreign cars, light trucks, and vans equipped with automatic transmission and power brakes. They also have designed special mountings for some vehicles which make installation even easier.

Their two cable controls are supplied with a mounting which allows the cable to be run directly to the accelerator pedal itself. Wells-Engberg is constantly striving to keep up with the automobile manufacturers and supply the physically challenged population with the most advanced products available.

CT-100 Rotary Cable Control

  • Mechanical control with a flexible accelerator cable going directly to the accelerator pedal assembly twist handle (same as motorcycle grip) to accelerate.
  • Push handle toward brake pedal for braking.
  • Control is mostly aluminum and is black anodized.
  • Uses universal mounting brackets.
  • Order either right or left hand.
  • The cable design allows reduced amount of hardware in driver’s area. This gives the driver more leg room.

CP-200 Right Angle Control

  • To operate accelerator pull handle down toward lap.
  • Cable attached to handle goes directly to the accelerator pedal assembly.
  • Push handle toward brake pedal for braking.
  • Control made mostly of aluminum and is black anodized.
  • Uses universal mounting brackets.
  • Order either right or left hand.
  • Cable design reduces hardware in the driver’s area allowing more leg room.

MPD Mechanical Hand Controls

Freedom. It’s an essential part of an active life. It means setting your own agenda, getting behind the wheel and going where you want to go whether you’re running errands across town or visiting family and friends across the country.

Mobility Products & Design (MPD) gives you that freedom. For 52 years, we’ve been designing and refining customized, ergonomic driving controls that keep you actively involved in your world.

Their easy-to-use mechanical hand controls make driving simple-just push forward to brake and pull down to accelerate. Our wide selection of steering controls puts you in command of your vehicle, enabling you to enjoy a driving experience that minimizes fatigue. Our extension and foot controls make everyday tasks convenient for you-from turning the ignition key to setting the parking brake.

MPD controls look as good as they perform, with finished surfaces and sleek lines to complement your vehicle’s interior. They are adaptable to most cars, trucks, and vans, and they are flexible enough to allow an ambulatory person to operate the vehicle with ease.

These controls are built to be reliable, providing you with years of dependable performance. We back their strength with a full two-year warranty that gives you peace of mind as well as freedom.

All steering controls are readily detachable for ambulatory person.
Available Options for All 3500 Hand Controls:
Horn and/or headlight dimmer can be included in the installation.
Knob and foam grips are interchangeable, depending on your preference.

3500F Hand Control Foam Grip Straight Handle 

Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Our foam grip handle was designed two inches longer in length than most hand controls, ensuring comfortable driving control and greater leverage when braking and accelerating.

3500FX Hand Control Foam Grip Offset Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control has everything the “Classic” 3500F offers, but with additional options. For instance, your installer can choose the handle angle to suit your preference. If you are tall, it can be angled around your leg so that you can reach full acceleration. If you have difficulty reaching the turn signal. The handle easily adjusts closer to the turn signal lever.

3500K Hand Control Knob Grip Straight Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
You will recognize this popular hand control. It now comes with a standard bent brake rod which allows the control to be mounted higher in the vehicle for your driving convenience.

3500KX Hand Control Knob Grip Offset Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control has everything the “Classic” 3500K offers, but with additional options. For instance, your installer can choose the handle angle to suit your preference. If you are tall, it can be angled around your leg so that you can reach full acceleration. If you have difficulty reaching the turn signal. The handle easily adjusts closer to the turn signal lever.

3501FB Hand Control Foam Grip Straight Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Our foam grip handle was designed two inches longer in length than most hand controls, ensuring comfortable driving control and greater leverage when braking.

3501FBX Hand Control Foam Grip Offset Handle 

Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control has everything the “Classic” 3500F offers, but with additional options. For instance, your installer can choose the handle angle to suit your preference. If you have difficulty reaching the turn signal. The handle easily adjusts closer to the turn signal lever.

3501KB Hand Control Knob Grip Straight Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
You will recognize this popular hand control. It now comes with a standard bent brake rod which allows the control to be mounted higher in the vehicle for your driving convenience.

3501KBX Hand Control Knob Grip Offset Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control has everything the “Classic” 3500K offers, but with additional options. For instance, your installer can choose the handle angle to suit your preference. If you have difficulty reaching the turn signal. The handle easily adjusts closer to the turn signal lever.



3502TW with Wrist Support and Tri-Pin
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control offers a Tri-Pin shaped handle with a foam wrist support and side hand guard, adding more wrist support than standard right angle controls for driving comfort.

3502WHD with Wrist Support 

Meets or exceeds VA specifications
This control offers a U-shaped handle with a foam wrist support and side hand guard, adding more wrist support than standard right angle controls for driving comfort.

“NEW” 3300KT Push/Rock with Removable Soft Grip Knob Traditional Handle 

Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Our NEW & improved Push/Rock includes a removable handle for added safety. They come in either a Soft Foam Grip or a Foam Grip. Push Down for brake & Rock Back for gas. Simple to adjust the brake & gas. Smooth operation & easy to use.

“NEW” 3300KV Push/Rock with Removable Soft Grip Knob Veigel Handle 

Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Removing the handle prevents other drivers from accidentally engaging the hand control. Besides being able to choose what grip you want you can also choose the handle style you want: either a Traditional Handle or a veigel handle.

3400F Hand Control Foam Grip Straight Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Push/Pull with foam grip handle. Same brackets as the 3500, NO extra Inventory. Simple to adjust gas & brake.

3400K Hand Control Knob Grip Straight Handle
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
Push/Pull with Knob Grip. Great applications for Titled Vehicles and Non Titled Vehicles such as Gem cars and Golf Carts.



3700 Hand Control Push/Pull Control
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
The versatile Tri-Pin was designed to feel comfortable. It may be mounted for right- or left-hand operation, according to your preference It can be installed in a variety of full-size vans, including lowered-floor minivans.

3700 Minimum Effort Throttle Hand Control Push/Pull Control
Meets or exceeds VA specifications
The versatile Tri-Pin was designed to feel comfortable. It may be mounted for right- or left-hand operation, according to your preference. It is made to be installed in Ford full-size vans.

DADC Mechanical Hand controls

At DADC, their philosophy is simple: deliver the best driving experience possible. Their hand controls are designed to become one with your car, so you are not driving a hand control you are driving your car.

Quality Materials and Reduced Maintenance
They use quality materials, including durable stainless steel for an attractive finished product. DADC uses self-lubricating components to eliminate maintenance, squeaks and grease stains on clothes.

Less Fatigue, Less Discomfort
Holding the DADC hand control in your hand feels light and natural, which is why our clients prefer it. Our ergonomic design is an extension of the body’s natural responses to reduce fatigue, especially on long distance drives or in stop and go traffic.

Road Tested to Racing Standards
DADC’s founder’s son, Roger, is a racer, so when it came to design, it was important for William to build a hand control that delivered on the racetrack not only the road. The patented vacuum assist provides better throttle control, especially in tight turns or on bumpy roads.

Protect your Automotive Investment, Share with Pedal Pushing Drivers
DADC hand controls fit a wide range of vehicles with little or no cutting to the dashboard. Our cable operated throttle control means a cockpit free of clutter and unencumbered access for you and your pedal pushing family and friends.

Automobile Handicap Hand Control System – DADC 500

This automobile handicapped hand control works with a vacuum assisted twist grip to give you precise, effortless, finger-tip control of the throttle. In addition, the floor area is free, making it possible for other drivers to easily share a vehicle equipped with this system. The twist approach uses less space than other lever actuated hand controls.


Automobile Handicap Hand Control System – DADC500P

The 500P model offers the same vacuum assist capabilities as the 500 model, but uses a pull throttle to control acceleration and braking instead of a twisting action. This motion gives those with limited gripping capacity the same effortless operation as the 500 model and uses only a little more room for operation.

Both the DADC500 and DADC500P provide a rugged and seemingly simple ergonomic design, allowing the driver to rest a hand on the handle while controlling the vehicle through turns and over rough roads. This results in better control and less fatigue, especially on long trips.


Driving Aids Development Corporation (DADC) Special Features

  • Attractive appearance! Resilient, comfortable control grip.
  • Maintenance free! Self lubricating components used throughout.
  • All fasteners and major parts are high-strength stainless steel.
  • Registered with the FDA.
  • Accepted by the V. A.
  • Meets or exceeds all requirements of S.A.E. J1903 JUL89.
  • Licensed under U.S. Patent No. 4436191

But what about cruise you ask? Will it still function? Not to worry. Cruise control is fully operational even when the
adaptive driving aid is engaged.

Remember, the DADC adaptive driving aid does not replace the pedals that came with your vehicle, but is added to them. This also means that able bodied drivers can operate your modified vehicle normally, without learning to use the adaptive driving aid that makes it possible for you to operate your own vehicle.

DADC 500 Twist
Vacuum assisted, motorcycle styled twist handle for throttle and push for brakes.

  • Precise fingertip operation
  • Reduced range of motion required to operate
  • Eliminates discomfort and fatigue

DADC 500 Push Pull

Vacuum assisted, traditional push-pull handle, pull for gas, push for brake.

  • Reduced range of motion required to operate
  • An options for drivers considering expensive electronic controls

DADC 500 Manual Push Pull

Traditional push-pull handle, pull for gas, push for brake.

  • Quick, light action and smooth response

DADC 500 Manual Push Rock

Rock back for gas and push for brake.

  • Avoid confusion between brake and acceleration

DADC Brake Only

Traditional push-pull handle, push for brake.

  • Access to brake without moving the foot

DADC Turn Signal Adapter
Operate the Turn Signal control from the right side of the wheel

  • Lightweight Aluminum
  • Mounts to turn signal wand
  • Left and right mounting option

DADC Key Tee
Developed for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Fits in tight spaces and gives hurting hands leverage on the key.

  • Fits most any key
  • Effortless key-turn, reduced hand strain
  • Improves leverage
  • Reduces Pain

DADC Game Wheel

Enjoy the action of online simulated driving and racing.

  • Operate gas and brake from the hand control instead of the joystick
  • Share your game wheel with pedal pushing family and friends

Helping First Time Disabled Drivers with Mobility Equipment

Helping First Time Disabled Drivers with Mobility Equipment
First time disabled drivers with mobility equipment face unique milestones and considerations when preparing for the road. Parents and caregivers must seriously consider if they feel their child or loved one with a disability is adequately prepared for driver education. While that is a decision for each party to make individually, we offer advice for those who would like to begin preparing for the day their loved one takes the wheel.

Provide them with early mobility experience.
If your loved one is in a power wheelchair or has the ability to operate a bike with three wheels, helper handles or an arm operated bike, use these vehicles to practice safe crossing, learn about street signs and signaling and to strengthen spatial and visual skills necessary for safe motor vehicle operation.

Allow them to co-pilot your drives.
If your loved one is at the age of developing an interest in driving and directions, have them provide turn-by-turn directions to your destination. Developing navigation skills and a familiarity with the routes they might frequently take will provide comfort and confidence when they get behind the wheel for the first time. Additionally, have them call out speed limits, lights changing color and other road signs they must be conditioned to note while driving.

Seek out a driver rehabilitation evaluation.
Go ahead and set up an evaluation with your Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist long before the “real” test. This assessment will offer useful insight into both their strengths and areas in need of improvement. This will also confirm if your loved one is a candidate for safe driving. If you have concerns with their vision, reflexes, ataxia, or any additional areas pertinent to driving, such as mobility equipment, they may be disqualified from getting their license.

According to a study commissioned by The National Disability Authority, twice as many people with disabilities, as opposed to those without, do not drive a car regularly. This doesn’t have to be the case! Driving with a disability is a matter of equipping your loved one with the right education, practice and equipment to operate the vehicle. Hand controls, steering aids, ramps, lifts and other adaptive equipment give people with disabilities the freedom to take on the road and gain independence.

Funding Your Wheelchair Van with a Grant


Mobility beyond the wheelchair is out there, but so often, it’s out of reach financially for individuals with disabilities who have spent thousands on medical care. There are several avenues that lead to funds for a wheelchair accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment for driving, like loans, government assistance, mobility rebates and grants. So what’s great about grants?

Grant money doesn’t need to be repaid, which makes it especially attractive. What’s more, grant opportunities are plentiful; relevant grant-making organizations and foundations will supply partial or complete funding on wheelchair accessible vans for sale or assistive equipment; and you can combine funds from several sources to purchase the freedom and independence an accessible vehicle provides. Obtaining a grant to fund an accessible vehicle requires patience, perseverance and a detailed application process. Though it sounds daunting, these tips will help you navigate the process:

  • Be Patient

Grant providers don’t work in your time frame. They process thousands of applications just like yours, so you may wait longer than you’d like for a response. Expressing your aggravation to the grant provider might be counterproductive. Lowering your expectations will also lower your level of frustration during your quest for grant money. If you’re prepared for progress to move slowly, you’ll be thrilled if it takes less time than you expect.

  • Be Prepared with Necessary Information

With the likelihood you’ll want to apply to several granting institutions, it simply makes sense to have your basic information gathered and quickly accessible, so you can begin filling out an application as soon as you’ve identified another potential grant opportunity. Though the requirements on grant applications vary, you’ll need personal information on all of them, such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number (if you have one), marital status, financial information and personal background details. It’s all about expediting the application process on your end. Keep in mind that funding organizations have different policies and requirements, so you’ll need to be flexible.

  • Line up Medical Records and References

Granting institutions will want to see your medical records. Your physician can provide you with a copy. Some physicians prefer to send your records directly to the granting institution. Either way, be sure your physician understands why you need your medical records. While you’re at it, ask your physician to write a letter of recommendation. It’s not necessary, but a letter from your physician, written on letterhead stationery, can often be helpful when applying for a grant. Ask that the letter be addressed to a generic individual (“Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”), so you can include a copy with each application.

Now’s the time to get references to support your efforts – ask close friends, neighbors, colleagues, church members and anyone who you believe will provide convincing, compelling input about your character and disability. Funding organizations want their personal perspective about your accomplishments, your attitude and how you manage your disability on a daily basis. Your references can also comment on how grant money to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle would improve your present lifestyle.

  • Make Your Case

Your mission is to help the funding organization understand your personal history, your challenges and the impact any hardships have had on your life. Be honest and persuasive in telling your story to the grant provider (including an articulate, straightforward narrative, 1-2 pages in length), describing your plans for the funding and its potential positive effect on your future. Focus on setting yourself apart from other applicants with an emotional, inspiring account. You’re in competition for a limited amount of money, so this is important.

  • Research and Identify Appropriate Granting Institutions

You now have the necessary documents and backing to begin applying for grants. Start your research with these handicap van grants, sorted by location, medical need, veterans, special needs children and others to find one or more grants for your specific situation. If you search the Internet, use “disability grant providers,” “disability grants” and other relevant keyword phrases to find foundations and organizations. If you’re a disabled veteran, check with the Veterans Administration. Remember, you can combine sources to amass as much money as possible for your wheelchair van or adaptive equipment.

Organizations that support specific conditions often provide grants to people living with that disorder. Examples include United Cerebral Palsy, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

When you’ve identified a potential granting organization, read their mission statement and get an application form. Craft a cover letter in which you align your needs with the organization’s goals to demonstrate how you can help achieve the provider’s objectives. This is essential information for the funding organization.

  • Contact the Grant Providers

If at all possible, speak or write to the person in charge when you begin the application process to fund your handicap van. Typically, assistance programs will assign a project officer or contact person to help you through the details. Always be polite and thank them for their time. Through this direct line of communication, you can have your questions and concerns addressed. Get a contact name, phone number and email address for every organization to obtain status updates on your application. Request information on their timeline for choosing a candidate for the funding opportunity.

  • Stay Organized and Aware

With multiple applications at different stages in the process, it’s essential to keep track of your documents and deadlines. You should be able to put your hands on documents and paperwork at any given moment. Devise a system to remind yourself of important dates and deadlines, and be sure everything is submitted on time. Stand out from other applicants by demonstrating your desire to earn their financial assistance – meet all deadlines and stay up-to-date on the status of your applications.

Keep copies of all of your applications (electronic or paper copies, or both), and save any confirmation numbers or application numbers you may receive in a safe, readily accessible place. You may be asked for them at some point.

It may take time and effort to get the funding you need for a wheelchair van or adaptive equipment, but it’s absolutely worth it to gain the freedom and independence that can change your life.

Why a Toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in New England

Toyota offers some of the best options on the market when it comes to wheelchair accessible vans.  Each van offers comfort, reliability, and reasonable pricing for its conversion.   Choosing a new wheelchair van isn’t always as easy as choosing a traditional car.  There isn’t a particular one-size-fits-all van that covers every need or preference. As you make your choice, keep in mind a few practical reasons to choose an accessible Toyota.

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

Variety

Toyota’s wheelchair accessible minivan is a modified version of the Toyota Sienna and is the most popular Toyota vehicle that is converted for accessibility.  Overall, it’s an easy vehicle for the major wheelchair accessible vehicle manufacturers to convert. Toyota currently produces five different models of the Sienna that are available for modification:

  • Sienna L- the L model is the most basic model of Sienna.  It includes all the standard features and will often be the lowest priced model.
  • Sienna LE- the LE is still a fairly basic model but includes a rear-view camera and enhanced climate controls.
  • Sienna SE- Sienna SE is a mid-level option that offers enhanced navigation displays, rear-view cameras, and cross-traffic controls for ease and maneuverability.
  • Sienna XLE- Sienna XLE is outfitted with leather-trimmed driver and front passenger seats.  It also features a blind spot monitor and a power lift gate with jam guard.
  • Sienna Limited- The Sienna Limited is the final and most luxurious model of Sienna.  The Limited features many of the standard and upgraded features of the other models while offering more extras like a JBL sound system, driver and passenger leather- trimmed seats, and a dual moon roof.

Any one of these models of the Sienna can be easily modified to accommodate your specific needs.  Budgetary constraints and your individual situation will play a major part in which model you decide to purchase.  Once you’ve made that decision, VMi New England Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center will help you find a Toyota wheelchair van that combines Toyota’s infamous quality with comfort and accessibility.

Adaptability

Toyota’s wheelchair accessible vans don’t start out being adapted for accessibility.  These vans start as traditional vehicles without any modifications before being converted to accommodate individuals with disabilities.  Toyota relies on certified wheelchair conversion manufacturers, such as VMI, to fit the vehicles with lowered floors, kneeling systems, ramps, and more.

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center

After the initial conversion is made the vehicle is sent to our Bridgewater, MA Mobility center where we can make even more adaptations to your vehicles. Mobility seating, hand controls, and pedal extensions are all available and fit beautifully inside the modified Toyota Sienna. There are even products that allow users to control the vehicle by pressing a few key buttons or by simply flipping a switch on the vehicle.

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

2013 Toyota Sienna XLE VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

Though the middle row of seats is removed to accommodate a wheelchair, there are still plenty of options to satisfy your needs. Both front seats can be removed to allow the wheelchair user to ride up front and there is a full bench seat in the back for children or guests. There is also a large trunk to accommodate groceries or additional supplies.

Safety locks and straps are installed into the floor of the van to keep wheelchair passengers in place and prevent any excess movement during transit.  The lowered floors help to compensate for a wheelchair passenger’s added height.  There are countless additional features and add-ons, so it is clear that the Toyota Sienna’s adaptability and flexibility are two key factors that make it a good choice for an accessible vehicle.

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England Mobility Center

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England Mobility Center

Style

When it comes to the Sienna, you’ll be hard pressed to find a vehicle as stylish. This Toyota is available in a rainbow of colors from a vibrant cherry red to a subtle sage green. Its sleek exterior is curvier and more modern than that of some types of minivans.

The interior is stunning, and the more customizations you make, the more personal and warm the vehicle feels. Its spaciousness accommodates passengers for a ride to the store or a road trip to Disney World with the same comfort and style you’d get from a luxury vehicle. If you’re looking for an accessible vehicle that is practical and attractive, be sure to consider the Toyota Sienna for its superior style.

 

Why Choose a Toyota?

A Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar 360 is one of best wheelchair accessible vans on the market. The variety of options means there’s really one for everyone. It’s able to be adapted with ease and features many options to suit all your needs. And, to top it all off, it’s a beautiful vehicle that will provide its purchaser’s with a long life and a lot of fun. It has, without a doubt, cemented its place as a top-rated accessible van that will retain its value and perform under the most rigorous conditions.  If the Toyota Sienna fits what you’re looking for in an accessible van, then come take it for a spin! Contact VMi New England today to schedule a test drive by filling out our online contact form or by giving us a call at 508-697-6006.

Understanding Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome

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Understanding Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after they’ve recovered from their initial bout with the disease. An interval of 30 to 40 years usually elapses before the first PPS symptoms occur, but intervals as short as eight years and as long as 71 years have been documented. Modern rehabilitation may restore individuals with post-polio to their regular level of functioning; it may also require that they return to or begin using braces, crutches, canes, wheelchairs and a variety of adaptive equipment.

Weakness is the general symptom of post-polio syndrome. Muscle strength decreases when the nerve supply to the muscle is reduced. Symptoms can appear in the muscles that were affected at the time polio was contracted or in previously unaffected areas. Most new pain problems in polio survivors result from repetitive strain injuries to weakened muscle fibers and muscular tissues.

Understand

  • Post-polio syndrome is not a recurrence of the virus.
  • The rest necessary to resolve pain and inflammation often leads to further weakness and atrophy. Thus, a vicious cycle of increasing weakness, increasing pain and increasing disability can result.
  • Shrinking of muscle size and decreasing strength occurs very slowly, at a rate of 1 percent of muscle strength per year.
  • Individuals with post-polio have less muscle reserve and may need more time to resume normal activity after surgery or severe illness.
  • Family and friends should be supportive of lifestyle changes, accept the survivor’s physical limitations and assist polio survivors in taking responsibility for their own care.

Causes

Aging of the previously damaged muscles and limbs and chronic strain of muscles whose strength was overestimated. (Post-polio survivors who consistently use remaining muscles at high intensity for many years are likely to develop Progressive Post-Polio Muscular Atrophy).

Medical problems unrelated to polio which may cause progression of post-polio weakness and lead to new symptoms.

Additional factors which contribute to late muscle deterioration include:

  • Normal age related loss of motor nerve cells
  • Environmental toxins which can hasten nerve degeneration
  • Health problems, such as a heart condition, pneumonia, arthritis or a fracture
  • Disuse atrophy, resulting from an age-related reduction in activity

Symptoms

  • Unaccustomed muscle fatigue
  • Significant fatigue after moderate exercise or activity
  • Rapid muscle tiring or feelings of total body exhaustion
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Arthritis in the back, wrist, hand and in joints of lower extremities; degenerative arthritis of the shoulder and carpal tunnel from canes and crutches
  • Osteoarthritis of spine and peripheral joints, scoliosis, bursitis, tendonitis, myofascial pain syndrome, foot and toe deformities, and chronic pain from strain to back and neck muscles.
  • Osteoporosis of spine and long bones. (Long bone fractures may occur with minimal stress.)
  • Pain in the spine, lower back and upper limbs
  • A “flu-like” aching in muscles
  • Muscle weakness and/or loss of muscle use
  • New muscle weakness, both in those muscles originally affected and those unaffected, increased weakness or pain, generalized fatigue, post-exercise weakness and/or pain, muscle twitching or muscle spasms. (These may be signs of overuse before lasting muscle weakness occurs.)
  • Respiratory problems/breathing difficulties
  • Morning headache or confusion, difficulty swallowing, shallow breathing patterns and breathlessness while speaking (Deteriorating respiratory muscles may require breathing aids.)
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia, restless sleep, nightmares, sleep apnea (which can result from sever respiratory impairments)

Living with Post-Polio Syndrome

Since some medical professionals do not recognize the symptoms of PPS, it is very important that a general medical evaluation be done to exclude other conditions which may mimic post-polio syndrome.

Further diagnosis and treatment by a specialist may then be necessary. Specialists dealing with post-polio syndrome include neurologists, pulmonogists, physiatrists and orthopedists.

Managing Post-Polio Syndrome

  • Pain and inflammation of muscles, joints and supportive tissues must be reduced through traditional therapy techniques.
  • Any activity which is the source of repeated injury, muscle strain, cramping or persistent fatigue should be avoided.
  • Polio survivors should exercise on a regular basis, including flexibility, strengthening and conditioning exercises into their regimen. Warm-water pools are especially helpful.
  • Corrective shoes, canes, crutches and appropriate lower extremity bracing help prevent arthritis in the back and joints of the lower extremities
  • Light leg braces, wide grips on wrists and hands and maintaining reasonable body weight reduce the danger of arthritis.
  • Severely affected polio survivors should use wheelchairs or electric carts when traveling long distances.
  • Psychological stress from the development of new impairments and disabilities is an important and real problem for polio survivors who experience the late effects of polio. Depression and anxiety may be secondary effects. Support groups can be helpful

What is post-polio syndrome?

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is an infectious viral disease that can strike at any age and affects a person’s nervous system.  Between the late 1940s and early 1950s, polio crippled around 35,000 people each year in the United States alone, making it one of the most feared diseases of the twentieth century.

The polio vaccine was first introduced in 1955; its use since then has eradicated polio from the United States. The World Health Organization reports polio cases have decreased by more than 99 percent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 1,352 reported cases in 2010.  As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic as of February 2012, down from more than 125 in 1988.

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after recovery from an initial acute attack of the poliomyelitis virus.  Most often, polio survivors start to experience gradual new weakening in muscles that were previously affected by the polio infection.  The most common symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and a gradual decrease in the size of muscles (muscle atrophy).  Pain from joint degeneration and increasing skeletal deformities such as scoliosis (curvature of the spine) is common and may precede the weakness and muscle atrophy.  Some individuals experience only minor symptoms while others develop visible muscle weakness and atrophy.

Post-polio syndrome is rarely life-threatening, but the symptoms can significantly interfere with an individual’s ability to function independently.  Respiratory muscle weakness, for instance, can result in trouble with proper breathing, affecting daytime functions and sleep.  Weakness in swallowing muscles can result in aspiration of food and liquids into the lungs and lead to pneumonia.

Who is at risk?

While polio is a contagious disease, PPS cannot be caught from others having the disorder.  Only a polio survivor can develop PPS.

The severity of weakness and disability after recovery from poliomyelitis tends to predict the relative risk of developing PPS.  Individuals who had minimal symptoms from the original illness are more likely to experience only mild PPS symptoms.  A person who was more acutely affected by the polio virus and who attained a greater recovery may experience a more severe case of PPS, with greater loss of muscle function and more severe fatigue.

The exact incidence and prevalence of PPS is unknown.  The U.S. National Health Interview Survey in 1987 contained specific questions for persons given the diagnosis of poliomyelitis with or without paralysis.  No survey since then has addressed the question.  Results published in 1994-1995 estimated there were about 1 million polio survivors in the U.S., with 443,000 reporting to have had paralytic polio.  Accurate statistics do not exist today, as a percentage of polio survivors have died and new cases have been diagnosed.  Researchers estimate that the condition affects 25 to 40 percent of polio survivors.

What causes PPS?

The cause of PPS is unknown but experts have offered several theories to explain the phenomenon—ranging from the fatigue of overworked nerve cells to possible brain damage from a viral infection to a combination of mechanisms.  The new weakness of PPS appears to be related to the degeneration of individual nerve terminals in the motor units.   A motor unit is formed by a nerve cell (or motor neuron) in the spinal cord or brain stem and the muscle fibers it activates.  The polio virus attacks specific neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord.  In an effort to compensate for the loss of these motor neurons, surviving cells sprout new nerve-end terminals and connect with other muscle fibers.  These new connections may result in recovery of movement and gradual gain in power in the affected limbs.

Years of high use of these recovered but overly extended motor units adds stress to the motor neurons, which over time lose the ability to maintain the increased work demands.  This results in the slow deterioration of the neurons, which leads to loss of muscle strength.  Restoration of nerve function may occur in some fibers a second time, but eventually nerve terminals malfunction and permanent weakness occurs.  This hypothesis explains why PPS occurs after a delay and has a slow and progressive course.

Through years of studies, scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and at other institutions have shown that the weakness of PPS progresses very slowly.  It is marked by periods of relative stability, interspersed with periods of decline.

How is PPS diagnosed?

The diagnosis of PPS relies nearly entirely on clinical information.  There are no laboratory tests specific for this condition and symptoms vary greatly among individuals.  Physicians diagnose PPS after completing a comprehensive medical history and physical examination, and by excluding other disorders that could explain the symptoms.

Physicians look for the following criteria when diagnosing PPS:

  • Prior paralytic poliomyelitis with evidence of motor neuron loss.  This is confirmed by history of the acute paralytic illness, signs of residual weakness and atrophy of muscles on neuromuscular examination, and signs of motor neuron loss on electromyography (EMG).  Rarely, people had subtle paralytic polio where there was no obvious deficit.  In such cases, prior polio should be confirmed with an EMG study rather than a reported history of nonparalytic polio.
  • A period of partial or complete functional recovery after acute paralytic poliomyelitis, followed by an interval (usually 15 years or more) of stable neuromuscular function.
  • Slowly progressive and persistent new muscle weakness or decreased endurance, with or without generalized fatigue, muscle atrophy, or muscle and joint pain.  Onset may at times follow trauma, surgery, or a period of inactivity, and can appear to be sudden.  Less commonly, symptoms attributed to PPS include new problems with breathing or swallowing.
  • Symptoms that persist for at least a year.
  • Exclusion of other neuromuscular, medical, and skeletal abnormalities as causes of symptoms.

PPS may be difficult to diagnose in some people because other medical conditions can complicate the evaluation.  Depression, for example, is associated with fatigue and can be misinterpreted as PPS.   A number of conditions may cause problems in persons with polio that are not due to additional loss of motor neuron function.  For example, shoulder osteoarthritis from walking with crutches, a chronic rotator cuff tear leading to pain and disuse weakness, or progressive scoliosis causing breathing insufficiency can occur years after polio but are not indicators of PPS.

Polio survivors with new symptoms resembling PPS should consider seeking treatment from a physician trained in neuromuscular disorders.  It is important to clearly establish the origin and potential causes for declining strength and to assess progression of weakness not explained by other health problems.   Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) of the spinal cord, electrophysiological studies, and other tests are frequently used to investigate the course of decline in muscle strength and exclude other diseases that could be causing or contributing to the new progressive symptoms.  A muscle biopsy or a spinal fluid analysis can be used to exclude other, possibly treatable, conditions that mimic PPS.  Polio survivors may acquire other illnesses and should always have regular check-ups and preventive diagnostic tests.   However, there is no diagnostic test for PPS, nor is there one that can identify which polio survivors are at greatest risk.

How is PPS treated?

There are currently no effective pharmaceutical treatments that can stop deterioration or reverse the deficits caused by the syndrome itself.  However, a number of controlled studies have demonstrated that nonfatiguing exercises may improve muscle strength and reduce tiredness.   Most of the clinical trials in PPS have focused on finding safe therapies that could reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have tried treating persons having PPS with high doses of the steroid prednisone and demonstrated a mild improvement in their condition, but the results were not statistically significant.  Also, the side effects from the treatment outweighed benefits, leading researchers to conclude that prednisone should not be used to treat PPS.

Preliminary studies indicate that intravenous immunoglobulin may reduce pain and increase quality of life in post-polio survivors.

A small trial to treat fatigue using lamotrigine (an anticonvulsant drug) showed modest effect but this study was limited and larger, more controlled studies with the drug were not conducted to validate the findings.

Although there are no effective treatments, there are recommended management strategies.  Patients should consider seeking medical advice from a physician experienced in treating neuromuscular disorders.  Patients should also consider judicious use of exercise, preferably under the supervision of an experienced health professional.  Physicians often advise patients on the use of mobility aids, ventilation equipment, revising activities of daily living activities to avoid rapid muscle tiring and total body exhaustion, and avoiding activities that cause pain or fatigue lasting more than 10 minutes.  Most importantly, patients should avoid the temptation to attribute all signs and symptoms to prior polio, thereby missing out on important treatments for concurrent conditions.

Learning about PPS is important for polio survivors and their families.  Managing PPS can involve lifestyle changes.  Support groups that encourage self-help, group participation, and positive action can be helpful.  Counseling may be needed to help individuals and families adjust to the late effects of poliomyelitis.  Experiencing new symptoms of weakness and using assistive devices may bring back distressing memories of the original illness.

What is the role of exercise in the treatment of PPS?

Pain, weakness, and fatigue can result from the overuse of muscles and joints.  These same symptoms also can result from disuse of muscles and joints.  This fact has caused a misunderstanding about whether to encourage or discourage exercise for polio survivors or individuals with PPS.

Exercise is safe and effective when carefully prescribed and monitored by experienced health professionals.  Exercise is more likely to benefit those muscle groups that were least affected by polio.  Cardiopulmonary endurance training is usually more effective than strengthening exercises, especially when activities are paced to allow for frequent breaks and strategies are used to conserve energy.  Heavy or intense resistive exercise and weight-lifting using polio-affected muscles may be counterproductive, as this can further weaken rather than strengthen these muscles.

Exercise prescriptions should include

  • the specific muscle groups to be included,
  • the specific muscle groups to be excluded, and
  • the type of exercise, together with frequency and duration.

Exercise should be reduced or discontinued if it causes additional weakness, excessive fatigue, or unduly prolonged recovery time that is noted by either the individual with PPS or the professional monitoring the exercise.  As a general rule, no muscle should be exercised to the point of causing ache, fatigue, or weakness.

Can PPS be prevented?

Polio survivors often ask if there is a way to prevent the development of PPS.  Presently, no intervention has been found to stop the deterioration of surviving neurons.  Physicians recommend that polio survivors get a good night’s sleep, maintain a well-balanced diet, avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking and overeating, and follow a prescribed exercise program.  Lifestyle changes, such as weight control, the use of assistive devices, and taking certain anti-inflammatory medications, may help with some of the symptoms of PPS.

What research is being done?

Scientists are working on a variety of investigations that may one day help individuals with PPS.  Some basic researchers are studying the behavior of motor neurons many years after a polio attack.  Others are looking at the mechanisms of fatigue and are trying to discover the roles played by the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction (the site where a nerve cell meets the muscle cell it helps activate), and muscles.

Determining if there is an immunological link in PPS is also an area of interest.  Researchers who discovered inflammation around motor neurons or muscles are trying to find out what causes this immunological response.

 Where can I get more information?

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

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

 

Post-polio syndrome (PPS, or post-poliomyelitis syndrome or post-polio sequelae) is a condition that affects approximately 25–50% of people who have previously contractedpoliomyelitis—a viral infection of the nervous system—after the initial infection. Typically the symptoms appear 15–30 years after recovery from the original paralytic attack, at an age of 35 to 60. Symptoms include acute or increased muscular weaknesspain in the muscles, and fatigue. The same symptoms may also occur years after a nonparalytic polio (NPP) infection.

The precise mechanism that causes PPS is unknown. It shares many features with chronic fatigue syndrome, but unlike that disorder, it tends to be progressive, and can cause loss of muscle strength. Treatment is primarily limited to adequate rest, conservation of available energy, and supportive measures, such as leg braces and energy-saving devices such as powered wheelchairs, analgesia(pain relief) and sleep aids.

mobility concept vehicles for wheelchair drivers

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” ~Unknown

dodge wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles
Were going to change the world one person at a time
Join the revolution
Do you want a 4×4 wheelchair vehicle you can drive?
We have built 4×4 accessible vehicles going all the way back to the 80’s
Want a 4×4 SUV you can drive your wheelchair from?
Want a Ford Explorer SUV that is a wheelchair accessible vehicle?
We can and will build you a concept vehicle you can drive from a wheelchair.
 'Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.'    - -George S. Patton
‘Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.’    – -George S. Patton

One definition of resilience is “the ability to cope with shocks and keep functioning in a satisfying way”. Resilience is about the self organizing capacity of systems. This means the ability to bounce back after disaster, or the ability to transform if a bad stage has happened. Both of these forms of resilience seem relevant to explore in our times, especially in relation to Assistive Driving Technology for Wheelchair Drivers.

Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations as a company is aware of this challenge and has been working on cutting edge wheelchair driving technology since the 80’s

automotive mobility concept vehicle systems
Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations is leading in its study of ever evolving automotive wheelchair driving systems.

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

Ford wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

The way we see it, everyone has a fundamental need to have there own personal transportation, to access anything they need like, clean water, food, fibres and many other goods and services.

For future human development it is essential to understand the contribution each person can make to human livelihoods, health, security and culture if given the chance.

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

Resilience thinking is part of the solution, as it thrives at building flexibility and adaptive capacity. People and nature are interdependent. That means, we have to look for collaboration within society to find resilient solutions.

Interdependence between people and nature.

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Exploring the missing links in our imagination
Solutions to find new possibilities in the Assistive Driving Technology require creativity.

Creativity is the answer to missing links in our imagination, at least according to Jim Sanders. They have found a unique way to explore the relationship between current automotive designs, people and technology.
A safe operating vehicle for people in wheelchairs
“In the face of ever evolving change in transportation needs, we need to work together to find safe mobility solutions for humanity. The key is in creative mobility solutions that connect nature with people. Flexible and adaptive strategies will bring us further. By stretching our imagination, we will start to explore the unknown. And by always looking for new combinations of technology, and common sense, we will find the new solutions.” Jim Sanders 2013

Sometimes even the smallest shift in thinking or doing can create the biggest changes in someones lifecan you save trust for a rainy day?necessity is the mother of invention

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driven by the freedom of the choice  to explore the worlds future possibilities

 VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations is one of America’s best providers of wheelchair vans, vehicle modifications, and adaptive equipment including hand controls, wheelchair and scooter lifts, ramps, raised doors, lowered floors and specialized gas, brake and steering controls. With hundreds of accessible vehicles available to be custom built for your specific needs, from the industries best manufacturers such as VMI, Eldorado and Braun, at our New England mobility center.   Founded in 1984 and offering the best equipped mobility facility in New England with a unparalleled commitment to offering a broad selection of specialized vehicles and services to meet the needs of every customer. Our facility is also Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified (first in Massachusetts) through the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), resulting in Automotive Innovations being held to the highest standards in the vehicle modification industry.   We have a strong and committed Veteran sales staff with many decades of experience satisfying our customers’ needs. Feel free to browse our inventory online, visit our huge indoor showroom where every day is a ability expo, request more information about vehicles, set up a test drive or inquire about financing!   Feel free to call upon our friendly Mobility Consultants with any questions you may have about options on wheelchair vans or any of our other products. 508-697-6006We look forward to exceeding your expectations for decades to come!
concept |ˈkänˌsept|nounan abstract idea; a general notion: structuralism is a difficult concept | the concept of justice.• a plan or intention; a conception: the center has kept firmly to its original concept.• an idea or invention to help sell or publicize a commodity: a new concept in corporate hospitality.• Philosophy an idea or mental picture of a group or class of objects formed by combining all their aspects.• [ as modifier ] (of a car or other vehicle) produced as an experimental model to test the viability of new design features.ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (in the sense ‘thought, frame of mind, imagination’): from Latinconceptum ‘something conceived,’ from concept-‘conceived,’ from concipere (see conceive) .
exceed |ikˈsēd|verb [ with obj. ]be greater in number or size than (a quantity, number, or other measurable thing): production costs have exceeded $60,000.• go beyond what is allowed or stipulated by (a set limit, esp. of one’s authority): the Tribunal’s decision clearly exceeds its powers under the statute.• be better than; surpass: catalog sales have exceeded expectations.mobilitynoun1 elderly people may become socially isolated as a result ofrestricted mobility: ability to move, movability,moveableness, motility, vigour, strength, potency.2 the gleeful mobility of Billy’s face: expressiveness,eloquence, animation.3 the mobility of the product: transportability,portability, manoeuvrability.4 an increasing mobility in the workforce: adaptability,flexibility, versatility, adjustability.
freedom |ˈfrēdəm|nounthe power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint: we do have some freedom of choice | he talks of revoking some of the freedoms.• absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government: he was a champion of Irish freedom.• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved: the shark thrashed its way to freedom.• the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily: the shorts have a side split for freedom of movement.• (freedom from) the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing):government policies to achieve freedom from want.• the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.• unrestricted use of something: the dog is happy having the freedom of the house when we are out.• archaic familiarity or openness in speech or behavior.

Funding Resources for Special Needs and Adaptive Equipment

Funding Resources for Special Needs and Adaptive Equipment


(800) 722-WISH (9474)
www.wish.org
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation’s mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish® experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors and entire communities.


(636) 227-2339
www.afastl.org
ACTION FOR AUTISM helps families attain the care, treatment, and educational support they may not otherwise be able to receive. Funds assist with cost of schooling, physical, occupational, and speech therapies; provide care and support for children and families; help parents learn how to better support and teach their child; and also help families attain other services specific to the needs of their child.


(217) 895-2341
www.cnhinc.org
Camp New Hope, Inc. offers summer camp and year-round respite programs for children with developmental disabilities.

Charles N. Gorham Memorial Fund
(815) 394-4616
Charles N. Gorham Memorial Fund support only disabled children under the age of 15 years who reside in Winnebago County, Illinois.


(800) 323-WISH (3474)
www.childrenswish.org
Since its inception, Children’s Wish Foundation has continued to expand its programs to enhance the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses. Recognizing our families’ needs outside of the scope of wish fulfillment, we stepped up our commitment to the children by developing a hospital enrichment program wherein we place educational and entertainment materials in children’s hospitals throughout the world. We also created a Family Focus program that allows our Wish Families a respite from hospital or treatment life. Children’s Wish Foundation is dedicated to bringing joy and happiness to children with life-threatening illness around the world. This dedication has created memorable experiences in 53 countries.


(302) 454-2730
www.blue-gold.org
Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities is a well-respected Delaware foundation dedicated to raising funds and consciousness in support of programs that enrich the lives of Delawareans with intellectual disabilities. Established in 1956, the private, nonprofit organization is dedicated to identifying and funding programs based on community need.


(516) 377-1605
www.dcrf.com
Disabled Children’s Relief Fund provides disabled children with assistance to obtain wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, walkers, lifts, hearing aids, eyeglasses, medical equipment, physical therapy, surgery. Blind, Deaf, Amputees, and children with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Encephalitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spina Bifida, Down’s Syndrome, and other disabilities receive assistance.

Division of Specialized Care for Children
(800) 924-0623
internet.dscc.uic.edu
Division of Specialized Care for Children offers care coordination and cost-supported diagnosis and treatment for children with chronic health impairments determined eligible for program support.


(800) 221-6827
www.easterseals.com
Easter Seals Disability Services offers help, hope and answers to more than a million children and adults living with autism and other disabilities or special needs and their families each year. Services and support are provided through a network of more than 550 sites in the U.S. and through Ability First Australia. Each center provides exceptional services that are individualized, innovative, family-focused and tailored to meet specific needs of the particular community served.


(773) 755-4700
www.elks.org
Elks is a fraternal order with nearly a million members and a 141-year history, a network of more than 2000 lodges in communities all over the country, a generous charitable foundation that each year gives millions in scholarships, an inspiration to youth, a friend to veterans and more. To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.


(816) 201-1569
www.cerner.com/firsthand/
First Hand Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps children with health-related needs when insurance and other financial resources have been exhausted. Our mission is to directly impact the health status of a young life. Since our inception in 1995, First Hand has assisted more than 93,000 children in 73 countries around the world.

George S. Weeks Trust c/o Bank One Trust Co., N.A.
P.O. Box 1308
Milwaukee, WI 53201Financial assestance to needy, legally blind individuals of Fayette and Bourbon Counties, KY, for equipment, supplies, and training.


(847) 624-LEXI (5394)
www.helpingfromheaven.org
Helping From Heaven – The Lexi Kazian Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the comfort and quality of life for children with special needs. This is accomplised by providing education, therapy and playground equipment, therapy toys, resources and scholarships for families and therapists in need of financial assistance and/or community support.


(217) 522-7985
www.iltech.org
The Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) is a statewide, not-for-profit agency, in our twentieth year of service. Our mission is to enable people with disabilities so they can fully participate in all aspects of life. We believe disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes a person’s right.


(800) 272-0074
www.illinois-elks.org
The Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation program generates direct assistance to physically challenged children and scholarship assistance to physical/occupational therapy students in Illinois. The program assists any child under the age of 21 who is a legal resident of the State of Illinois with medical assistance, as long as it falls within the IECCC scope and guidelines.


(217) 744-7777
www.silcofillinois.org
Illinois Youth with Disabilities Leadership Summit assists youths who wish to apply should have a disability, be between the ages of 17-24, live in Illinois and have a strong desire to learn and grow as a leader. This Summit will empower young leaders to learn from each other and from successful adults with disabilities who are recognized leaders and role models.


(866) 224-1197
www.indianachildrenswishfund.org
Founded in 1984, Indiana Children’s Wish Fund is the only wish granting organization in the State of Indiana accredited by and a member of the “Association of Wish Granting Organizations”. We are not affiliated with, or a part of, any national or other wish granting group. Indiana Children’s Wish Fund (ICWF) grants the wishes of only Indiana children between the ages of 3-18 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The average cost of a wish is $5,500 and funding is made possible through the support of corporate donations, individuals, and fundraising events.


(818) 707-9707
www.joniandfriends.org
The Joni and Friends International Disability Center has a Wheels for the World program that provides wheelchairs to children and adults affected by disability worldwide. 21 offices nationwide. International offices in Europe, Pacific Rim, Africa and Asia.


(888) 918-9004
www.kidswishnetwork.org
Since 1997, Kids Wish Network has been making dreams come true for thousands of children all over the country. The charity started out with the single purpose of granting wishes to children suffering with life-threatening conditions. Since then we have created numerous programs benefiting kids nationwide. The catalyst for launching these programs began when it became clear to us that the children we serve demonstrated needs above and beyond the extent of wishes.


(800) 549-2647
www.sites.kiwanis.org
Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. In the early years, members focused on business networking. In 1916, Kiwanis became an international organization with the creation of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario. In 1919, the organization changed its focus to service. By 1962, worldwide expansion was approved. In 1987, women officially were allowed into the membership.

The Knights of Columbus organization was formed in 1882 to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works. The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 13,000 councils and 1.7 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.


(888) ALS-1107
www.lesturnerals.org
The Les Turner ALS Foundation is the only independent publicly supported non-profit organization in the Chicago-area devoted solely to the treatment and elimination of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Foundation’s programs are available to all ALS patients and caregivers, regardless of where they receive their medical care.

Louis S. Oppenheim Trust
(309) 655-5385
Medical and living expenses to financially needy, blind residents of Peoria County, IL.


(866) 583-2392
www.mofirststeps.com
Missouri First Steps offers coordinated services and assistance to young children with special needs and their families. First Steps is designed for children, birth to age 3, who have delayed development or diagnosed conditions that are associated with developmental disabilities.


(317) 249-8488
www.mdff.org
Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation’s No Boundries exists to provide resources, services, and adaptive equipment to enable patients with muscular dystrophy and their family members to live independent and productive lives.


(800) 344-4867
www.nationalmssociety.org
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Direct Assistance program relieves some of the financial burden that comes with purchasing the goods and services needed to manage MS when other resources (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or other personal/community resources) aren’t available. The Society helps people affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, and providing programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.


(858) 576-0590
www.resthavenchf.org
Rest Haven Children’s Help Fund is a California 501 c (3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to addressing the health needs of children. Rest Haven’s mission is to provide funds for health related services for children in San Diego and Imperial counties when no other funds are available. To fulfill this mission Rest Haven Children’s Health Fund provides one time or short term funding for health related needs for individual children who meet our eligibility requirements. Funds are also provided to assist health care development and to purchase needed services.

Scott Rose Foundation, Inc.
(606) 862-4221
Contact: Lawrence Kuhl, Treas.
P.O. Box 5001
London, KY 40745-5001Support only to disabled, disadvantaged young residents of southeastern KY.


(813) 281-0300
www.shrinershq.org
Shriners Hospitals for Children® is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Every year, Shriners Hospitals for Children® provides care for thousands of kids with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, in a family-centered environment regardless of the patients’ ability to pay. It’s how Shriners Hospitals for Children® has been Changing the World through Caring for Kids since 1922.


(212) 268-5999
www.skipofny.org
SKIP of New York is the way home for chronically ill and developmentally disabled children. Each child is partnered with a service coordinator and a supervisor. Each service coordinator supports about 20-25 families per month. Those families can be with them for a short period of time or for a lifetime. They are called upon to reach out and assist with every aspect of the child’s life. Service coordinators are involved with educational systems, medical emergencies, appeals processes, anything and everything that touches a family’s life.


(309) 235-2385
www.cisnap.org
The Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) provides specialized equipment, services, and education for children with special needs and their families in order to promote independence and quality of life. In order to be considered for SNAP’s assistance, a potential candidate must be between the ages of 3 and 21 with a diagnosed physical or cognitive disability. Priority attention is applied to applicants with a low income status.


(215) 396-4770
www.sunshinefoundation.org
Sunshine Foundation’s sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children, ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to the financial strain that child’s illness may cause. Sunshine’s mission is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children between the ages of 3 and 18. All children need something to believe in, to know dreams can come true. Whether the dream is a visit with a celebrity hero, a family outing, a trip to Orlando, or a special gift, Sunshine Foundation has granted over 34,500 dreams to these special children. Sunshine Foundation, the original wish-granting organization, is one of the few charities that makes dreams come true not only terminally ill children, but chronically ill and abused children as well.


(850) 224-4493
www.abletrust.org
The Able Trust grant program’s goal is to provide funds to qualifying organizations to assist individuals with disabilities gain competitive employment of their choice in their community. The Able Trust recognizes the great diversity of people across the state of Florida and is fully committed to providing grant funding opportunities that serve different disability populations in both Florida’s urban and rural areas.


(561) 391-7601
www.oandp.com
The Barr Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1992 to assist amputees with prosthetic rehabilitation. Our mission is to advance education and improve community support for amputees of the world. The Barr Foundation strives to improve the amputee’s quality of life through access to proper prosthetic care and by encouraging improvements in the care system.


(502) 561-3001
www.dreamfactoryinc.org
The Dream Factory is the only children’s wish-granting organization that does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illness. The organization believes children with chronic illnesses and disorders also suffer from substantial emotional and physical pain. We strive to provide hope and relief from the trauma and corresponding stress and depression that both the children and their families can endure on a day-to-day basis. Doctors agree that providing a dream can improve the quality of life for these children and extend the life of a critically ill child.


(212) 977-9474
www.martylyonsfoundation.org
The Marty Lyons Foundation’s Wish program for any child between the ages of three (3) and seventeen (17) inclusive who has been diagnosed as having a terminal or life threatening illness by their attending physician and confirmed by the Foundation’s medical advisors shall be eligible. OPerates 9 chapters throughout the U.S.


(718) 803-3782
www.spinalcord.org
Founded in 1948, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association is the nation’s oldest and largest civilian organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Americans living with the results of spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D) and their families. This number grows by thirty newly-injured people each day.


(248) 601-9474
www.rainbowwishconnection.org
The mission of The Rainbow Connection is to grant wishes to Michigan children with life threatening or terminal illnesses. A child must be between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 years old and be diagnosed with a life threatening illness. A licensed physician will verify the illness and refer the child for a wish. The child must not have received a wish previously from any wish-granting organization. The child must lives in the state of Michigan.


(617) 619-8257
www.travisroyfoundation.org
The Travis Roy Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the life of spinal cord injured individuals and families by providing adaptive equipment and to finding a cure through increased funding of research, resulting in self-reliance and the ability to be as independent as possible.


www.usvariety.org
Variety Club has been helping children in need since 1927, and it all begins with people like you. At the heart of Variety’s achievements are the remarkable contributions of people in the community, and it is only through their time and effort that we are able to do so much for special children everywhere. Variety’s impact is felt year round in the lives of children of each community where we have a local chapter. Each Board of Directors is made up of altruistic business men and women working at the grassroots level to bring money and assistance where it is needed the most. Because each chapter is the best judge of the needs in its own community, Variety encourages local chapters to create their own fundraising events and decide how to spend the money raised. info@usvariety.orgThe U.S chapters of Variety – The Children’s Charity are a multi-million dollar philanthropic organization with locations throughout the United States. Starting with a baby left on the doorsteps of a movie theater in 1928, we have continued to be a group of local business men and women, many of whom hail from the theater and movie business, reaching out to children in need. Today, through the efforts of our enthusiastic volunteers and generous corporate contributors, we remain true to our heritage by bringing children real, tangible help. Over 26 locations throughout the U.S.


(503) 257-1401
www.wheeltowalk.com
The Wheel to Walk Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children age 21 and younger with special needs. We are a 100 percent volunteer organization with no paid employees. We help children who experience difficulty obtaining funding from their insurance companies. To date, we have helped over 625 children obtain essential equipment or services that they needed to make their day to day lives just a little easier. If you need financial assistance with anything from leg braces, bath chairs, gait trainers to therapy tricycles and wheelchairs, please contact us at the phone number on the left or email us so we can email you an application.


www.heronetwork.com
The Hero Network is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization that seeks to supports the community of individuals working online who grant the needs and wants of others making a wish. We believe that no wish is too large, no hero is too small and that everyone can become a hero.


(800) 821-6805
www.wishuponastar.org
Wish Upon A Star is a non-profit, law enforcement effort designed to grant the wishes of children afflicted with high-risk and life threatening illnesses. Our services are available to children throughout the state of California, ages 3 through 18 years. We have granted over 1800 wishes in our 26 years of service.


www.zanesfoundation.org
The mission of Zane’s Foundation Inc. is to provide financial support to families of special needs children through funds designated for respite care, therapies, or other assistive equipment. Zane’s Foundation will help families attain some of those unique things that the special needs child should have to allow for a more productive life. Through fund-raising efforts and grants, Zane’s Foundation will provide financial assistance to families. Funding for families with special needs children is the cornerstone of Zane’s Foundation.

am i ready for a wheelchair van

am i ready for a wheelchair van

2013 Honda Wheelchair Van Massachusetts


“I’m Not Ready…”
People offer many reasons for staying away from modified vans:
“What I drive is a reflection of my personality. A seven foot high van isn’t who I am.”
“Meeting the challenge of transferring to my car and hauling my chair in behind me makes me feel good about myself.”
“I simply don’t have money for a lift and all the modifications I’d have to do to a van.”

 

Mostly what keeps people in their cars is the I’m Not Ready Syndrome:

  • I’m not ready to give up the fun car.
  • I’m not ready to give up the challenge.
  • I’m not ready to spend the money.

Eventually, two or three primary factors ­ preserving function, maximizing options and flexibility, looking into the future in order to plan for and anticipate change ­ drive the decision and help clarify the choices.

Despite all the good, logical reasons for continuing to drive those cars, many find it difficult to deny nagging shoulder pain, decreased tolerance for the hassles of car transfers and chair loading, or the simple fact that they don’t have the energy they once did. Making a change is a dilemma many survivors confront each day.

 

Reason #1: The Shoulders
The first consideration mentioned by many in the rehabilitation field for making the change from car to van is maintaining and preserving physical function. Research with those injured more than 20 years indicates that the biggest predictor of pain and fatigue two things that can get in the way of function ­ was having experienced pain and fatigue three years earlier. Not making changes when problems first arise is an almost sure way of having them get worse.

The pain and fatigue can come from the distance of the transfer, since getting as close to the car seat as to a bed is difficult. Another consideration is the height of the transfer. Having to lift up or down in the process of doing a transfer adds considerable extra stress to shoulders. Also muscling the chair itself in and out of the car can cause more pain and do damage. And, just the sheer number of transfers continues to accumulateover time. What results from all this is usually joint pain ­ from the neck all the way down to the wrist ­ often arthritic in nature, and often accompanied by tendinitis. The joint pain, the arthritis, the tendinitis are the body’s way of saying that what you’re doing isn’t working very well and is causing some harm.

Researchers have also linked fatigue to future problems, including depression, lower quality of life and, in some survivors, the need for both more durable medical equipment and help from others. As car transfers and chair loading become more difficult, many people report curtailing activities in order to avoid the transfers. Too often therapists encounter aging clients who are giving up things they enjoy – fishing, traveling, even working – because of pain and fatigue. Still, even though people find themselves giving up activities, they resist making the changes necessary to avoid the hassles, the pain, the fatigue. For many it comes down to wanting to fight off the realities of aging with a disability for as long as possible. The arguments are predictable, in part, because they’re so valid: like we said before, big vans are inconvenient and hard to drive, they cost too much, people like the physical challenge of doing transfers. Often it’s an image thing.

 

Reason #2: Image
A vehicle is often an extension of one’s personality. Giving up part of our personality ­ rugged or adventurous individual; sporty, fun kind of guy; or sedate, respectable, suburban family person ­ isn’t easy. Most everyone who buys a vehicle gives some thought to image. Not everyone feels comfortable driving a big van: they can be too big, not sporty enough or they simply don’t fit our self image. While minivans are an option for some individuals, many ­ especially big people who use big chairs ­ find minivans too small for the lift they need and too tight inside for the necessary maneuverability.

Regaining independence following injury and rehab was for many the single most significant achievement of post-paralysis life. Giving up the car may be viewed as giving up ­ not only by the survivor but also by those around him. Yet, making the changes and using the lift may be necessary to maintain that highly prized independence: Isn’t getting there far more important than just exactly how it’s done?

 

Reason #3: Somebody Else
Decisions about what to drive affect more than just the survivor, especially if someone else is doing the chair loading. A change to a van with a lift could be necessary even if your back or shoulders are just fine. Wives, husbands and caregivers age too, and they are often called on to help with many transfers, chores and tasks requiring heavy or awkward lifting. Survivors need to be not only aware but also sensitive to their needs.

Reason #4: $$$$$
A switch to a modified van can add $15,000 to $30,000 or more to the cost of a vehicle. Insurance and fuel costs usually go up, and some modified vans ­ even ones without raised roofs ­ won’t fit in standard garages and may require modified garage arrangements as well. Yet there are costs involved in becoming less active, not going out as much and staying home more. Active people tend to be healthier, happier and less depressed. Going too long on deteriorating shoulders can leave people even more dependent, eventually making hired help more necessary.

People ­ even some who are unemployed and on Medicaid ­ buy vans and somehow find ways to pay for them. Worker’s Compensation, Medicaid Waivers, Vocational Rehabilitation and the VA are all government programs which may help with funding. Charitable organizations such as Easter Seals are a possibility. Fraternal organizations may provide help. Some banks issue extended loans and Independent Living Centers may offer low interest loans.

Lower cost home equity loans may also be an option. There are always fund raisers ­ through church, civic or community organizations. And used equipment, or used modified vans are also possibilities. We tend to figure out necessities.

 

Thinking Ahead
Sound decisions which will provide flexibility for five to eight years need to be based on a realistic assessment of present function and trends in your strength, stamina, life-style, pain and function. Is it practical to stick with a car if strength has been decreasing and pain has been increasing for the past three years? Transfers may not be much of a problem now, but is it realistic to expect they’ll still be as easy in 5 years, when you’re 56? Can you afford not to change?

More often than not, the decision to switch from a car to a van is one of many decisions which contribute to the lifelong process of adaptation to disability. Adaptive equipment helps narrow the gap between aspiration and ability, between wants and needs, and allows us to do so comfortably and safely. Adaptive equipment can help avoid pain, preserve energy and prevent future problems. New equipment can preserve time and energy and help enhance as well as maintain both independence and quality of life.

Quality of life may be the prime consideration for switching from car to van. The switch is a matter of preventative maintenance ­ a change which may allow us to keep the function we have and maintain the quality of life we desire. How we regard these changes can be as important as the changes themselves.

 

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