Tag Archives: comfortable

Tips For Including People With Disabilities At A Party

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to hold a party where all guests — with and without disabilities — feel welcomed, respected and have fun. All it takes is some planning.

 Don’t be afraid to include guests with disabilities
People with disabilities have their disabilities 24/7, so they know how to create work-arounds so that they feel comfortable. If you know someone has a disability, use a simple strategy — ask the person what they need to be fully included. All too often people with disabilities are not invited to events, or don’t go because they feel embarrassed to “put someone out” by asking for a simple thing that will help them attend. By telling them that their presence is valued, and asking what they need, you will build a new level of trust and affection. For example, one of the biggest things that aging loved ones need is a ride. So help them find a carpool or send an accessible taxi or ride to pick them up and return them home.

RSVP
Not all disabilities are visible, so you may not know that someone you want to include in your event has some special needs. By including a line about accommodations in the invitation’s RSVP, you are already letting guests know that everyone is welcome. If it’s a party for children, parents can tell you, right off the bat, what their child’s needs might be to attend the party. They will be happy you asked! “We want everyone to have fun — please let us know if you have dietary restrictions or require other special accommodations to attend! We will do our best to meet everyones needs.” Note that you aren’t promising to meet all needs — if you can’t find a sign language interpreter at the last minute or there is another issue, for example, you will be able to let your guest know in advance. Indeed, they may be able to help you find a solution!

Physical Access
Most public places are accessible. However, because religious institutions are exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many of them are not fully accessible. Thus, if your event is at a venue that is not physically accessible to all, move it to a place that is. That can mean a different room in a place of worship, or to a completely different place. Venues should have a ground level entrance or ramp, an elevator if it’s upstairs, and accessible bathrooms. Most public places (hotels, restaurants, bowling, video games, pools, bounce houses, etc.) are usually equipped for people with disabilities. Just check with the venue ahead of time. If you have someone coming who uses a wheelchair, you should also put the menorah on a table that is low enough for them to also be able to light candles.

Special Diets
Anyone can have allergies, celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but you won’t know unless you ask on the invitation RSVP. Making sure there is an option for cake, snacks, treats and other food for these guests can be as simple as picking up a gluten free cupcake to serve with the cake. It is thoughtful to have refreshments that everyone can enjoy.

Addressing attitude
Kids and adults can be daunted when encountering someone who is different from them. If it’s a children’s event you can talk to the group at the start of the party about kindness and respect for each other and each others differences. A party is a great opportunity for kids to learn about one another.

Involving parents
Parties can be exhausting for the hosts. Asking a parent or two to volunteer to help at the party, particularly if it’s a big group, can lighten the load for the hosts. Parents may feel more comfortable, especially if their child has social anxiety issues, if they are invited to stay or help as an option.

Sensory overload awareness
Parties can cause sensory overload for any child or adult. But for a person with autism or a sensory processing disorder, a party can be really overwhelming. Offer opportunities for guests to take a break, perhaps in a quiet room away from the crowd. Some venues may have options for turning down music or minimizing stimulation — and that is useful anywhere there are a lot of kids! Latex allergies (balloons) and chemical sensitivities (use of highly scented cleaners or staff wearing perfumes) are real issues. Solutions: Use alternative mylar balloons. Ask people to not wear strong scents, and choose unscented cleaning products.

Communication
If a guest attending the party is non-verbal or communicates in other ways such as American Sign Language or a communication board, talk about it with the guests. Installing free Dragon software onto an Ipad in advance can enable you to speak with someone who is deaf as it instantly transcribes what you are saying. Having an interpreter can be worth the cost, as all the people can communicate and maybe learn a little sign language! Remember to speak directly to a child or adult whether s/he is verbal or not.

Reading, Cognitive Access and Vision Issues
Children and adults with cognitive, learning disabilities or vision impairments might not be able to read the menu, instructions for a scavenger hunt or a game score sheet. Pictures and verbal instructions are useful, as well as pairing children with those who can help. It’s always great to have an extra pair of reading glasses around if you are inviting seniors. But you can always tell someone who can’t see or read what they will need or what to know.

Enjoy the party!
Don’t let inclusion stress you out. If you are reading this list and considering these tips, you’re already doing more than most! Stay positive, smile and throw that PARTY!

Accessibility in the Workplace

With more and more people with disAbilities entering the workforce each year, the demand for increased accessibility on job sites continues to grow. While many places of employment adhere to ADA standards, there are other things to consider when looking to improve accessibility. If you’ve just started a new job or have found certain difficulties completing your duties at your current position, these two strategies can help better problematic situations.

Speak Up and Ask About Accessibility
Perhaps the building’s entrance is equipped with a ramp and automatic door opener but the door to your office or company suite is not. Maybe the accessible bathroom or stall is too small and difficult to maneuver in, or your cubicle doesn’t allow you to make turns in your chair. Most of these issues have relatively simple solutions and employers shouldn’t be hesitant to requesting changes to the building manager or scheduling the updates themselves. However, if you do not speak up and report these issues, they might go permanently unnoticed. Even if you find that your employer is not convinced that the changes are necessary, be sure to stress to them that workers are likely to be much more productive in an environment they can easily access and feel comfortable in.

If You Have a Disability Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
While we wish every single building or office in the world was 100 percent accessible, sometimes people with disAbilities must work around unavoidable barriers. If you find that there are aspects or areas of your job that you cannot independently complete or access, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Whether it’s by opening a heavy door or carrying your laptop to the conference room, most of your colleagues would be happy to be of assistance. It might be especially helpful to designate a routine for a specific co-worker to help with a task you know you’ll be performing each day.

Whether it’s your first job or where you plan to retire, your place of employment should be comfortable and accessible – an environment in which you can thrive. Report issues and ask for help whenever you need it and you’ll be working towards a fulfilling and rewarding career.

The Benefits of a Wheelchair Van for Service Dogs

Many of the innovative designs that make up a wheelchair van are also convenient for your four-legged friends. From spacious cabins to simple ramps systems, a wheelchair van just might empower a service dog nearly as much as it enables a person with a wheelchair, a caregiver or a disabled veteran. Wheelchair vans allow service dogs and their owners to:

  • Find comfortable and flexible seating in the roomy cabins
  • Remove the unnecessary and dangerous stress and strain from traditional loading and unloading options
  • Speed up the process of entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Create safer alternatives in parking spot entrance, exit and maneuverability
  • Transport the entire family in one trip
  • Prevent the wear and tear a dog may unintentionally inflict upon smaller vehicles
  • Integrate durable floors for wheelchairs that are scuff-resistant for dogs, too
  • Enter and exit from the same side door at nearly the same time

Options For Driving From A Wheelchair

There are two options for a person who uses a wheelchair to drive an accessible vehicle. They can drive from their wheelchair and or transfer to the driver’s seat.

Drive from your wheelchair
Driving controls can be adapted to operate from your wheelchair. Usually this means some form of hand controls, though other solutions are possible. There will also be an automatic docking system to secure your wheelchair. All of this will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment from an experienced mobility installer.

Safety

  • Because you have the opportunity to travel by yourself, you need to be sure you are able to get out in an emergency.
  • Typically wheelchair accessible vehicle have fail-safe devices for the doors, ramps/lifts and docking systems. These include battery backups and manual over-rides.

Other drivers

  • In many wheelchair accessible vehicles, the front passenger seat can be switched to the drivers side, and there is a docking system on both sides so you can travel as a passenger.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

Transfer to the Driver’s Seat
Some wheelchair users prefer to transfer to a driving seat because they find it more comfortable or easier to drive. Sometimes it’s necessary because your wheelchair may not be suitable for driving. Using the standard car seat also means that you don’t need to fit a specialist seat belt.

By contrast, transferring into the driver seat may not be suitable if you have a specialist seating system in your wheelchair and may be difficult if you have limited mobility.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be adapted to allow you to enter with your wheelchair or scooter (by ramp or lift), secure the wheelchair or scooter in the vehicle, and then transfer to the driving seat. You can replace the standard car seat with one that swivels and slides so that you can transfer into it more easily.

Safety

  • You will need a docking system for securing the wheelchair – you need to be able to do this by yourself.
  • Because you may be traveling by yourself, you need to be sure you will be able to get out in an emergency.

Transferring

  • Transferring between the wheelchair and the seat does take some effort – make sure you can do it even on a bad day.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle to let you transfer comfortably and that there are handholds and supports where you need them. You may need to fit extra hand rails or other supports.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

How To Choose A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When you’re choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you need to think not only about all the same things you do when you’re choosing a standard car, but also other, more specific, things too. Just as when you’re choosing any other car, you may need to compromise and decide which features are most important to you.

Things To Consider

Size

  • Will it fit on your driveway or in your garage? Don’t forget you need to think about the space required for the ramp/lift to be deployed
  • Will it be easy to drive in traffic and on the roads you normally drive on?

Money

  • What’s the price?
  • If you’re buying it yourself, what’s the resale value likely to be?
  • What will it cost you to insure?
  • What’s the fuel consumption like?

Comfort and convenience

  • Can you get in and out easily?
  • Can you use the controls?
  • Is it quiet and smooth when you’re driving?
  • Is there good visibility for everyone in the vehicle?

Space

  • Is there room for all the people and luggage you want to carry?
  • What about times when you might want to carry a lot of luggage or equipment (ex. holidays)?

Features

  • Does it have everything you need?
  • What about air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows, remote start, heated seats, etc?

Performance

  • Does it give you reasonable speed and acceleration?
  • What about braking, ride and handling?

Specific considerations

Getting in and out

  • Will you choose a ramp or a lift?
  • Will you have someone to assist you?
  • Can you get in and out without hitting your head or having to duck?

Traveling position

  • Where will your wheelchair sit?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows?
  • Will you be able to talk to other people easily?

Safety

  • How will you secure yourself and your wheelchair?
  • How will you secure any equipment you use to get in and out?
  • How will you secure anything else (unattended wheelchair, luggage, equipment, etc)?

Reliability

  • Can you rely on the equipment you use to get in and out?
  • What happens if it breaks down?
  • Are there manual over-rides for any powered equipment?
  • Do you have a suitable dealer nearby for servicing?

Build quality

  • Different conversions have been built to different standards, so some will be more comfortable and less noisy inside than others.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair accessibility helps people who can no longer get around without support. You can optimize your home and your daily life to make things easier for your loved one if they are not as mobile as they use to be.

Wheelchair Ramps
Ramps make it much easier for people in wheelchairs to exit and enter their homes. The material for the ramps should be standard wood, but you can use protective coatings on the ramp to make sure that the weather doesn’t weaken it. You must check to see if the person using the wheelchair can easily push themselves up the ramp and down the ramp without the wheels getting snagged on anything.

Don’t space the wooden planks too far apart. The gaps in the wood can cause a bumpy ride at the least and a health hazard if you’re not careful. You can even buy portable ramps that you can take with you on road trips. The person in the wheelchair may also need help getting into vehicles and other establishments. Portable ramps can certainly come in handy at the most inconvenient times.

Wider Doors Inside
You must ensure that doors have easy paths of travel. Don’t place boxes or other items close to doors when a person using a wheelchair will have to navigate through the opening. The doors in the home may need to be wider if they are less than 32 inches wide. The wheelchair user must have plenty of space to get through.

Wider doors can also make a people feel more comfortable inside the home. The bare minimum amount of space can make them feel cramped and closed in. They should at least be given some freedom of movement even though they are using a wheelchair.

Wider Hallways
Wider hallways are also essential to the comfort and well-being of someone who gets around in a wheelchair. The wheelchair must be able to move freely through the halls with plenty of space to spare. Make sure there is at least 36 inches of space between the walls in the hallways.

You might also need wider hallways if the wheelchair will need to turn corners to get to different rooms. It can be difficult for a wheelchair to navigate through tight corridors without rounded corners. Leaving plenty of space will ensure a happier and healthier experience.

Bathroom Changes
It’s time to get rid of that bathtub in your bathroom. Showers are much more accessible for wheelchairs than bathtubs. You can also install hand-held shower heads and seats so that people using wheelchairs can have a better chance at bathing themselves. The person will be much more comfortable in the shower since they can just open the door and wheel their way in.

How To Have A Comfortable & Safe Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle In Winter

We’re sure there’s no need to remind you, given the freezing temperatures outside, but winter is in full effect. During this season, keeping warm is an absolute top priority to both stay comfortable and safe. Whereas summer makes driving feel like a blast, winter might mean your accessible vehicle is taking on some damage you might not even know about.

Frozen seats, iced over windows and cold air are only some of the effects you’ll be experiencing unless you make sure to follow these helpful tips. With proper preparation, your wheelchair van doesn’t have feel like a refrigerator.

How to stay safe in your wheelchair accessible vehicle:

  • Always keep spare hats, gloves, blankets and extra layers in your wheelchair accessible vehicle. Unfortunately, cars break and, if it happens to you, having these extra essentials will make your wait for help bearable or even life-saving.
  • Make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. This helps weigh down your car in icy conditions and also prevents running out of fuel while lost or stuck in the snow.
  • Check your antifreeze levels weekly or bi-weekly for any potential leaks. You would much rather find one in your garage than learn about it on the road when your engine stops.
  • Switch your windshield wiper fluid to cold weather formula ASAP. Summer formula is great in the heat, but it’ll freeze during winter and either clog the pipes or ice over your windshield when sprayed.
  • Especially for those in a wheelchair, an extra-long/telescopic ice scraper will do wonders in creating maximum visibility. Don’t forget to clean the roof as well, which will prevent a pile of snow from hitting the car behind you.
  • Store an emergency cell phone battery in the glove box for when you’re potentially lost or stranded. Just make sure to keep the battery charged!

How to stay warm:

  • There’s no reason not to enjoy heated seats even if your accessible vehicle wasn’t installed with them. Pick up aftermarket seat warmers to provide both heat and additional support for your back and hips.
  • Stop by your local hardware store to grab a can of silicone spay. A quick spray along the window and door cracks will help prevent moisture buildup, which means your doors won’t freeze shut overnight.
  • Use steering wheel covers to help insulate your hands and also provide extra grip for slippery conditions.
  • Switch your heat settings over to recirculate the interior air. This reheats the already hot air instead of pulling in cold air from the outside. During the summer, always keep air coming in from the outside to cool the engine. But during the winter, the air inside does the job just fine.
  • Starting at around $100, you can install an aftermarket remote car starter. Now you can start and pre-heat your acessible vehicle from the comfort of your living room, just remember to set your dials accordingly each time you leave your car.
  • And of course, sip on some delicious coffee or tea from an insulated container.

Applying these ideas will help keep you comfy and safe during the harsh winter months. Always make sure to drive safe; and smile, because spring is just around the corner.

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.

Service Dogs

Service dogs can build your independence by boosting your mobility. These four-legged friends pull wheelchairs, function as a mobile cane for balance, and even perform many of the daily tasks you may have difficulty with.

While these “working dogs” are trained to retrieve dropped items, pull clothing on and off, and bring medication, their canine capabilities also prove to be essential in an emergency. For all of the reasons your furry friend is important to your daily routine, it’s equally important to ensure their safety during travel. Properly securing your service animal correctly in your vehicle can be a matter of life and death for both of you.

Just as you would secure your wheelchair with straps and other devices, you should secure your service animal properly and comfortably in your vehicle, as well. Be sure the car is properly ventilated and that crates or units are secured.

As a service dog usually stays by the owner’s side, a belt usually proves as the best option in securing your dog in the vehicle to guarantee his/her safety. Help your hound out with a body harness specifically made for canine car travel. Service vests can even be custom-made to better suit your animal and your vehicle.

Some dogs may get uncomfortable not being able to look out of the window and see where they are going, especially small dogs. The Snoozer Lookout helps satisfy your pooch’s curiosity and need to see. The Snoozer Lookout is a seat that allows your pet to sit higher while staying safely strapped in.

It goes without saying that properly securing your service animal not only keeps them safe from harm on the roadways, but also makes for a comfortable ride along with you.

Accessibility in the Workplace

With more and more people with disAbilities entering the workforce each year, the demand for increased accessibility on job sites continues to grow. While many places of employment adhere to ADA standards, there are other things to consider when looking to improve accessibility. If you’ve just started a new job or have found certain difficulties completing your duties at your current position, these two strategies can help better problematic situations.

Speak Up and Ask About Accessibility
Perhaps the building’s entrance is equipped with a ramp and automatic door opener but the door to your office or company suite is not. Maybe the accessible bathroom or stall is too small and difficult to maneuver in, or your cubicle doesn’t allow you to make turns in your chair. Most of these issues have relatively simple solutions and employers shouldn’t be hesitant to requesting changes to the building manager or scheduling the updates themselves. However, if you do not speak up and report these issues, they might go permanently unnoticed. Even if you find that your employer is not convinced that the changes are necessary, be sure to stress to them that workers are likely to be much more productive in an environment they can easily access and feel comfortable in.

If You Have a Disability Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
While we wish every single building or office in the world was 100 percent accessible, sometimes people with disAbilities must work around unavoidable barriers. If you find that there are aspects or areas of your job that you cannot independently complete or access, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Whether it’s by opening a heavy door or carrying your laptop to the conference room, most of your colleagues would be happy to be of assistance. It might be especially helpful to designate a routine for a specific co-worker to help with a task you know you’ll be performing each day.

Whether it’s your first job or where you plan to retire, your place of employment should be comfortable and accessible – an environment in which you can thrive. Report issues and ask for help whenever you need it and you’ll be working towards a fulfilling and rewarding career.