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R. Dooley

Autism Awareness Month

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

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


Types of ASDs
There are three different types of ASDs:

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


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

A person with an ASD might:

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


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

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


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

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

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

Learn about types of treatments »


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toyota Mobility Rebate Information

Toyota Mobility Assistance Program
This program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle.

  • Under this program, the cash reimbursement will be provided for the exact cost you paid to purchase and install qualifying adaptive driving or passenger equipment for transporting persons with physical disabilities
  • This offer applies to all purchased or leased new Toyota vehicles

The program also applies to purchasers of the Toyota Factory Installed Auto Access Seat, where the full $1,000 cash reimbursement will be paid directly to you.
Expect to receive payment within 6-8 weeks after all the paperwork is submitted. Incomplete paperwork will delay the payment.

Leased vehicles require advance written lessor approval of adaptive equipment installations.

Only vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. dealer are eligible under this program.

The adaptive equipment must be installed within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

A Reimbursement Application Form must be submitted to the Toyota Mobility Assistance Center within 90 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment

Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as any aftermarket alteration or equipment installation on an eligible Toyota vehicle that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.

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Dodge/ Chrysler’s Mobility Rebate

Chrysler’s Automobility Program

Overview
Designed to help customers with permanent disabilities enter, exit and/or operate a new vehicle, Chrysler’s Automobility Program can help you do the things you love to do in life. And, we’ll help you hit the road in the style that suits you best. Our goal is to assist in lessening the burden of the financial cost of modifying your vehicle.

How the Program Works
When you buy or lease any new 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT® vehicle from a participating dealership or FIAT studio, Chrysler will give you a cash reimbursement to help reduce the cost of installing the adaptive driver or passenger equipment on your vehicle. Leased vehicles must be leased for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible.

Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.

Please consult a dealership or call Automobility Program Headquarters for eligibility requirements and program expiration dates.

A program application must be used to submit a claim for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the Chrysler Automobility Program. Through this program, Chrysler will provide a reimbursement to each eligible customer who installs qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle (unless discontinued or excluded earlier at the discretion of Chrysler Group LLC).

A medical doctor’s prescription or note may also be required for certain types of modifications. Consult a dealership for more information on which modifications require notes.

Reimbursement
Conversions to Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicles qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $1,000. Running boards qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $400. Alerting devices qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $200. These reimbursements will not be reduced or affected by any additional outside funding. Consult your dealer for complete eligibility requirements.

Eligible Vehicles
Vehicles eligible for reimbursement include 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT vehicles. Dodge Viper, Dodge Dart SE and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT® models are ineligible.

Financing
If you require assistance with financing an adapted vehicle purchase / lease, we can help you finance the cost of your new vehicle, as well as any modifications you make to it. Conventional financing is available through Ally Financial to all qualified new vehicle buyers.

Click HERE for the Application

Honda Mobility Rebate Information

Honda’s Mobility Assistance Program
The Honda Customer Mobility Assistance Program is proud to support the mobility needs of drivers and passengers with physical disabilities. Honda will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer for expenses incurred to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Honda vehicle.

Adapting Your Vehicle
Honda suggests that you request a copy of the Department of Transportation brochure “Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities.”  

The process includes these steps:

  • Determine your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • Evaluate your needs – Contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) for further information.
  • Select the right vehicle – Consult with your evaluator, an adaptive installer and your local Honda dealer to determine the best Honda model to meet your needs.
  • Choose a qualified mobility equipment installer – Shop around and ask about qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty coverage and service. Confirm that they are members of NMEDA.
  • Obtain training on the use of the new equipment – When this process is complete, follow the guidelines and complete and submit an application for assistance to recover up to $1,000 of the cost of your adaptive equipment and/or conversion.

Program Requirements
General

  • Only the original vehicle owner is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Modifications must be completed for the original owner or his/her immediate family.
  • Only new Honda vehicles retailed or leased in the United States from an authorized Honda dealership.
  • Only one reimbursement request per vehicle.
  • Lease-vehicle modifications may be subject to written lessor approval. The customer is responsible for determining and satisfying lease-contract requirements.
  • Honda will consider reimbursement for modifications made to vehicle after February 1, 2004.
  • The written reimbursement request must be received within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.

Adaptations, Modifications or Equipment Installation

  • Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as: alterations or adaptive-equipment installation that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Adaptive equipment installation must have taken place within the time and mileage limits of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • Alterations or adaptive equipment installation requires a prescription or medical documentation to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement requests (invoices) will be compared against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site to verify that the alterer or repair business (individual, partnership or corporation) is registered with NHTSA and that the modification(s) are on the list of NHTSA exemptions.
  • If all conditions are met, Honda will provide up to a $1,000 cash reimbursement. Honda will be the secondary coverage in the case of two or more reimbursement sources.

Exceptions

  • Wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps do not require a prescription, medical documentation or NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • Modifications that DO NOT make inoperative any part of a device or element of design that has been installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard will not require NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • *A reimbursement made by another source, such as medical insurance, will be subtracted from the customer’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance reimbursement $4,000, Customer expense, $1,000. The customer expense of $1,000 will be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Important Customer Information

  • The selection of an equipment manufacturer and installer is solely the customer’s responsibility (Honda does not endorse any company or supplier involved in adaptive equipment. Mobility warranty, installation warranty and related liabilities are not the responsibility of Honda).
  • The reimbursement application form must be completed in its entirety and signed by the customer. It should be mailed along with a copy of all required supporting documentation. (See checklist on application).

Click HERE For the Honda Mobility Assistance Brochure

Wreaths Across America

The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday, December 12, 2015. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. at McClellan Gate, which is at the intersection of McClellan and Eisenhower Drives – near the main entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. At the ceremony, volunteers will receive a short briefing then move to the designated areas of the cemetery to participate in the laying of wreaths at headstones.

Participants are encouraged to use the Metro. No vehicle access will be allowed in the cemetery until 3 p.m. Families with permanent parking passes can park in the Welcome Center Garage free-of-charge until 3 p.m. The Administration Parking Lot is designated parking for those with disabilities. No general parking is permitted in the Welcome Center Garage.

For more information, go to http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that makes epic Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs.

Their vision is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs into awesomeness created by their hands and their imaginations.

Their mission is to give kids in wheelchairs an unforgettable Halloween by creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families

Kids, with their parents’ permission can submit a 1-3 minute video telling them what they want to be for Halloween and why they should be selected for this year’s Magic Wheelchair Build. They will review the submissions and select 5 children, who will then work with designers and builders to create the ultimate wheelchair costume in time for Halloween!

Being in a wheelchair can be tough, so they want to help kids make something truly epic. To do that requires time, money and the support of people like you. But when they’re done, they will change the life of a young wheelchair rider. See some of the costumes here.or check out their Pinterest account.

For more information about Magic Wheelchair you can visit their website or their Facebook Page.

Wheelchair DanceFit: A Program of Aero, Inc.

Aero, Inc. is a not-for-profit integrated mixed abilities dance company located in Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, USA.

Aero, Inc. was founded by Maryan Amaral in 1997. This nonprofit is the first integrated dance company in Greater Boston to perform in local and national venues. They lead workshops and performances in schools, colleges, parks, private and public venues.

” Everyone who wants to dance can dance.”

For more information, contact: maryan@aeroinc.org or visit the website

Rett Syndrome Awareness

What is Rett Syndrome?
Rett syndrome is a postnatal neurological disorder seen almost always in girls, but can be rarely seen in boys. It is not a degenerative disorder.

Rett syndrome is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. There are more than 200 different mutations found on the MECP2 gene. Most of these mutations are found in eight different “hot spots.”

Rett syndrome strikes all racial and ethnic groups, and occurs worldwide in 1 of every 10,000 to 23,000 female births.

Rett syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

Rett syndrome symptoms appear after an early period of apparently normal or near normal development until six to eighteen months of life, when there is a slowing down or stagnation of skills. A period of regression then follows when she loses communication skills and purposeful use of her hands. Soon, stereotyped hand movements such as handwashing, gait disturbances, and slowing of the normal rate of head growth become apparent. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns while she is awake. In the early years, there may be a period of isolation or withdrawal when she is irritable and cries inconsolably. Over time, motor problems may increase, but in general, irritability lessens and eye contact and communication improve.

Rett syndrome can present with a wide range of disability ranging from mild to severe. The course and severity of Rett syndrome is determined by the location, type and severity of her mutation and X-inactivation. Therefore, two girls of the same age with the same mutation can appear quite different.


Testing and Diagnosis
Rett syndrome is most often misdiagnosed as autism, cerebral palsy, or non-specific developmental delay. In the past, making the correct diagnosis called not only for a long list of diagnostic tests and procedures to rule out other disorders, but it also took from months to years waiting to confirm the diagnosis as new symptoms appeared over time. Today, we have a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis. However, since we know that the MECP2 mutation is also seen in other disorders, the presence of the MECP2 mutation in itself is not enough for the diagnosis of Rett syndrome. Diagnosis requires either the presence of the mutation (a molecular diagnosis) or fulfillment of the diagnostic criteria (a clinical diagnosis, based on signs and symptoms that you can observe) or both. Below is a list of labs to share with your ordering physician that can do the MECP2 sequencing + deletion analysis, and the list of diagnostic criteria.

World Heart Day

World Heart Day

World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.

World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. The theme this year is: Heart-Healthy Environments.

For more information please visit the World Heart Federation’s Website!

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club

The American Infidels Veteran Motorcycle Club is a Federally recognized 501c19 War Veterans Organization.

Along with countless volunteers and patriots, we are erecting the first in the State of Massachusetts, 9/11 Mass Fallen Heroes South Shore Memorial located at 777 Plymouth Street Holbrook, Mass.

The Memorial will include a section of steel beam from the World Trade Center and lighted glass panel etched with the Names of the Massachusetts victims of 9/11, those that sacrificed during the massive rescue efforts at ground Zero, Names of warriors that made the ultimate sacrifice fighting in the global war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and those that died from the invisible wounds of war.

To help fund the Memorial, we are providing the opportunity to purchase engraved memorial bricks. These bricks will be permanently installed at and around, the base of the Memorial. Future plans exist for the expansion of the memorial.

For more information please visit their website!

7th Annual Morgan’s Ride Is Tomorrow

7th Annual Morgan's Ride

Sunday September 27, 2015
9:30am – 6:00pm
Hilltop AA Club

Pottle St, Kingston, Massachusetts 02364
Please join us for this ride. A 25 mile ride thought the back roads of the South Shore. Live band, food, raffles and more.. Funds raised go to the Morgan’s Fund. To help the fight against FOP.
$20 PER PERSON.

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Rehabilitation Information

Rehabilitation describes specialized healthcare dedicated to improving, maintaining or restoring physical strength, cognition and mobility with maximized results. Typically, rehabilitation helps people gain greater independence after illness, injury or surgery.

Usually delivered by a diverse team of experts, rehabilitation blends many specialties for the best treatment plan, such as:

  • Physical therapy for increased strength and mobility
  • Occupational therapy for improved everyday living skills
  • Speech and language therapy for improved communication

Enhanced healing and function with rehabilitation therapy

Rehabilitation plays a critical role in healing, repair and recovery in a wide range of injuries, illnesses and conditions:

  • Improves speech, everyday skills and mobility in stroke, head injury and other neurological disorders
  • Strengthens bones and promotes muscular healing after total joint replacement surgery and other orthopedic surgery
  • Maximizes function and independence after spinal cord injury
  • And many others

Rehabilitation therapy pairs a team of expert doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals with advanced technology. Each plan is custom-designed for the patient’s diverse individual needs.

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the most prestigious award and highest honor that the United States military has to offer. Despite its prestige, however, there’s much that people don’t know about this coveted decoration:

  • There are three different versions of the Medal of Honor: one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force.
    A separate Coast Guard version has also been authorized, but it has yet to actually be awarded to anyone. In the meantime, personnel from the Coast Guard and Marine Corps receive the Navy version of the prestigious decoration.
  • There is only one woman, who has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor: Mary Edwards Walker.
    Walker served as a Union Army surgeon, during the Civil War. She received the Medal of Honor in 1865 for her exemplary service in field hospitals, during the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861) and a series of other battles over the next three years.
  • There is also only one U.S. President, who has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor: Teddy Roosevelt, for his service as a Rough Rider.
    When the Spanish-American War broke out, Roosevelt quit his job as Secretary of the Navy to lead a volunteer regiment, know as the Rough Riders. He then played a pivotal role in the Battles of San Juan Hill and a series of other confrontations in Cuba. Accordingly, President Clinton posthumously honored him with the award in 2001.
  • 3,492 different people have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
    Astoundingly, 19 men have been awarded the honor twice. Fourteen of these double recipients received two separate Medals of Honor for two separate acts of valor. The remaining five double winners received both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor for the same act.
  • The youngest ever recipient of the Medal of Honor earned the award at age 11 and received it at age 13. His name was Willie Johnston.
    Johnston enlisted in the Union Army alongside his father, in June 1861, as a drummer boy. A year later, their unit, the 3rd Vermont Infantry, was overpowered by Confederate Forces and forced to retreat down the Virginia Peninsula. During this famous “Seven Days Retreat,” the soldiers and other drummers in Willie’s unit shed their weapons and instruments, in an effort to flee faster. Willie, however, held onto his drum and was later asked to play for the entire division on July 4th… an exemplary act, which led President Lincoln to recommend him for the Medal of Honor.
  • Jacklyn “Jack” Lucas, is the youngest Marine to have ever received the Medal of Honor.
    He is also the youngest person to have received the honor in the 20th Century. Lucas lied his way into the armed forces, during World War II, at the age of just 14. Then, at 17, he shielded several of his fellow soldiers from enemy grenades, during Iwo Jima; absorbing the full blast with his own body.
  • It is illegal to wear someone else’s Medal of Honor.
    Interestingly, though, it is no longer illegal to pretend you have one. In 2006, President George W. Bush attempted to make it illegal by signing the Stolen Valor Act into law. This act imposed a prison sentence of up to one year on anyone, falsely claiming to have received a Medal of Honor. However, the Supreme Court later struck this act down in 2012, ruling that it violated the First Amendment right to free speech.
  • There are two father-son pairs that have won the Medal of Honor.
    Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and his son, General Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to both be awarded Medals of Honor. The only other such pairing was President Teddy Roosevelt and his son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who led the first wave of troops onto Utah Beach during the Normandy Landings of World War II.
  • There are also five pairs of brothers that have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
    The first of these pairs was John and William Black, who both won the decoration for their exemplary service in the American Civil War. Brothers Charles and Henry Capehart also received the award for courageous actions during the American Civil War. Brothers Harry and Willard Miller received the honor for the same naval action, during the Spanish-American War. Brothers Allen and James Thompson received the award for the same action, during the American Civil War. Lastly, brothers Antoine and Julien Gaujot have the unique distinction of receiving their medals for actions in separate conflicts; Antoine for the Philippine-American War, Julien for crossing the border to rescue both Mexicans and Americans, during the Mexican Revolution.
  • In 1993, the U.S. Army commissioned a study to investigate possible racial discrimination in the awarding of the Medal of Honor.
    After an exhaustive review of military files, a group of Distinguished Service Cross recipients were upgraded to the higher honor.
  • In 1998, a similar study was commissioned to investigate possible discrimination against Asian Americans in the awarding of military decorations.
    It resulted in President Clinton awarding 22 Asian-American World War II heroes the country’s highest medal for valor in 2000. Twenty of these medals went to American soldiers of Japanese descent, who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the European Theater. One went to Senator Daniel Inouye, a former U.S. Army Infantry officer in the 442nd RCT.
  • More than half of all Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously; a testament to the danger of the courageous sort of “beyond the call of duty” acts, which merit the honor in the first place.
  • When you get a Medal of Honor, you earn a lifetime of special benefits and privileges.
    For example, your kids are eligible for admission to United States military academies, without having to secure nominations or meet quota requirements. Also, if you were not previously eligible for burial in Arlington Cemetery, you are now.
  • Medal of Honor recipients also receive invitations to all future presidential inaugurations and inaugural balls.
  • As of 2002, in addition to the actual medal, all Medal of Honor recipients also get a special Medal of Honor Flag.

The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Centers

The Nathan Hale  Foundation was incorporated on April 4, 2006.  The Foundation and  Veterans Outreach Centers were  founded solely by Christopher C. Hart President/Founder and Executive Director of both the Plymouth and Middleboro Massachusetts offices. The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center is non-profit, tax-exempt, 501 c(3) organization.

Main Office – Plymouth
All transportation appointments and information
763 State Road, Plymouth MA 02360
508-224-0100

Middleboro Office
260 Centre Street, Middleboro MA 02364
781-923-0900

They believe it is their civic duty to help the troops and their families who face personal hardships while serving our country.

The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center provides these programs FREE of charge to Veterans and their families:

ALL SERVICES ARE FREE!

  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Hale to the Arts ~ Painting Classes
  • Veterans Appreciation Dinners
  • Day Outings
  • Chair Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Food Pantry
  • Cycling Program
  • Clothing Outlet
  • Combat Stress/ Counseling

For more information please visit their website: TheNathanHaleVeteransOutreachCenter.com

 

Things You Should Know Before Renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Whether your own wheelchair accessible vehicle is undergoing repairs or modifications or you’re testing the adaptive automobile waters before taking the plunge with the purchase of one, renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van is an affordable, convenient and comfortable way of improving your mobility.

If you’re looking to rent this type of vehicle, these are some good tips to keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Handicap Van?
If you’re all about saving your pennies, there are many ways to reduce the cost of renting a wheelchair accessible van. Here are just a few:

  • Avoid renting an accessible vehicle airport. Enjoy lower taxes and minimal fees by going to a dealer or rental agency outside the airport grounds.
  • Reserve online whenever possible to take advantage of special offers.
  • Fill up the tank before returning the vehicle. More often than not, this will be less expensive than paying the fill-up fee or pre-paying for gas at the rental agency.
  • Don’t double up on insurance. If your personal auto insurance already covers you for rentals, make sure you don’t sign up for redundant coverage.

Where to Go
Many mobility dealers maintain a fleet of accessible cars or conversion vans for rental purposes. Identify and contact the location nearest you to find out if they have handicap vehicles available to meet your needs. There are also a number of companies that specialize in accessible rental vehicles.

When to Rent
A wheelchair accessible van or car can transform the lives of people with disabilities or temporary mobility impairment. Renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be particularly helpful when:

  • Your current wheelchair accessible vehicle requires repairs or maintenance over a period of multiple days.
  • You’re going on a road trip or long ride – a rented wheelchair accessible vehicle can make these much more comfortable. Even if you own a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you might still consider renting a vehicle in order to avoid putting the mileage and wear on your own van.
  • A loved one or family member with a disability visits. If you don’t own an accessible vehicle, renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can facilitate transporting your friends and family.

Massachusetts Run For The Fallen Is On Saturday!

 Massachusetts Run For The Fallen

They are a group of runners, walkers, and support crew with a mission.

To run in honor of every Massachusetts Service Member Fallen since September 11, 2001. They run to raise awareness for the lives of those who died, to rejuvenate their memories and keep their spirits alive. MARFTF seeks to honor those who have fallen under the American Flag. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Military Friends Foundation at 1-84-HELP-VETS or MARFTF@militaryfriends.org

Rain or Shine
Saturday, September 12, 2015
84 Eastern Avenue
Dedham, MA 02026

Not a runner? Come out and cheer on the runners and show your support for the families!

8:00 am – Registration Opens
9:00 am – Name Reading
10:00 am – Timed Run Start
10:10 am – Memorial Run Start
11:00 pm – Post Run Event

  • $30 donation (supports the cost of the event and families of the Fallen) receives a bib, limited edition MARFTF t-shirt, finishers medal and food ticket.
  • Live Music
  • Boston Marathon Tough Ruck
  • Lynn English JROTC Drill Team
  • Post-run: Family Fun including face painting, Ice Cream, raffles and more!
  • RFTF active wear for purchase to benefit Families of the Fallen

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, often referred to as “afib”, is an irregular heartbeat, a rapid heartbeat, or a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. Atrial fibrillation is due to a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system, and is the most common heart irregularity, or cardiac arrhythmia.

Is Atrial Fibrillation Serious?
While atrial fibrillation may not sound serious, and is often considered to be a minor health issue, it can actually be quite risky and potentially even life threatening.

Since the blood doesn’t properly move from the atria into the ventricles and then on to the rest of the body, it can starve the body of oxygen-rich blood, leaving you feeling weak, tired, or even incapacitated.

Even more serious is that the blood that remains in the atria can pool and create blood clots, which may get spawned to the rest of the body, causing a stroke. Stroke is not only the number three killer, it is the number one cause of permanent disability.

For more information about Atrial Fibrillation you can go to: www.stopafib.org

Tomorrow Is The Greater Boston Stand Down Event!

Greater Boston Stand Down Event

When is Renting a Wheelchair Van Right for You?

To Fill a Gap During Repairs
When you need to make repairs to your wheelchair accessible vehicle or wheelchair van it is more difficult for you than the average car owner. What do you do when you don’t have the vehicle? Most of us don’t have a second wheelchair van we can use. When the repair is unexpected or more serious than anticipated, how do you manage? Do you cancel and reschedule all your doctors’ visits and planned activities for you and the people you care for? No! Simply make arrangements for a rental van so you can get yours repaired and still go on with your life.

To Accommodate a Visitor Using a Wheelchair
Are you or a wheelchair user you know flying into our area and need to have access to a wheelchair van rental? Would you like to have a grandmother or grandfather or other wheelchair-using relative come and spend some time with you and your family? A wheelchair van rental can give the freedom to come and stay without unnecessary barriers to family fun and mobility.

To Bring a Loved One Out From a Care Facility
For those in a nursing facility for an extended time-whether that is for a week, month or years-and those of us that care for them-visits and outings are critical for keeping spirits up and connections alive. A wheelchair van rental can make these outings better for everyone.

Wheelchair vans are much easier to use and enable most of us to handle getting someone in and out of the vehicle easily and without risk of injury or inconvenience.

Ease of use makes us all more likely to set aside the time and know that we can have a successful outing without the struggle of getting into and out of vehicles that are not wheelchair accessible

To Try a Wheelchair Van Before You Buy One
Buying a wheelchair van is a big decision and requires considerable care in making sure that the vehicle you choose will work for your particular situation. While all wheelchair vans have similarities, the differences are significant. The differences in height, width and shape may not seem like much to some. However, when you are in a wheelchair and have special equipment or physical limitations to accommodate, a couple of inches on one side or the other can be the key to complete happiness with your wheelchair van.

Maybe you think a wheelchair van would help your life but you have not been able to justify the expense. Sometimes trying it out can help you to feel that you are making the right decision. Maybe you will find that a wheelchair van is not right for you because of the fit, your family size or the conditions you drive in. Regardless, renting a wheelchair van can help you to assess that far better than a simple test drive.

When Your Disability is Only Temporary
Access to a wheelchair van can be a lifesaver when you are recovering from an injury or medical procedure that forces you to use a wheelchair for a limited period of time. Whether you have had surgery, or have suffered a broken bone or other injury, even an illness that limits your mobility, having to be in a wheelchair is not easy. Wheelchair van rentals can ensure that this temporary problem does not keep you restricted in your ability to make the most of the situation.

Having a wheelchair van rental accessible during your recovery means that the van is there when you need it. When you want to go for a ride, visit a friend or run to the store…

Using public transportation or medical transportations services limits your convenience and easy access to mobility

When you have recovered and no longer need the vehicle, simply return it to us and go on with your recovery and normal life.

For Doctor’s Visits and Medical Transportation
For the occasional doctor’s visit, using a transportation service may be a reasonable choice. However, when you are going through periods of multiple visits, testing, etc over several days or weeks or have a condition that requires regular, frequent appointments, the convenience of a wheelchair accessible van rental cannot be beat. Financially it will also work out to be less expensive in many situations.

When medical visits have got you running ragged, take some of the load off with a wheelchair van rental scheduled around your needs with the built in flexibility that comes with having it dedicated to you.

Do you want to take a detour on the way home from the doctor? Go out to lunch or do a little shopping? This is the kind of convenience that wheelchair accessible van rentals can provide.

For Special Occasions and Outings
Don’t let access to convenient wheelchair van transportation keep you from bringing your wheelchair-using loved ones to special events like weddings, birthdays, retirements and other “can’t miss” occasions. Wheelchair accessible van rentals enable you or that special person to attend significant occasions in the most convenient, comfortable and affordable manner possible.

For Road Trips and Vacations
Many people take rental wheelchair vans on long trips and vacations. Often, the wheelchair van or handicapped van they have is not large enough or dependable enough for their needs. Even with the excess mileage charges, the overall rental cost can fit into the vacation budget.

Recreation Opportunities For People With Disabilities

All Out Adventures
All Out Adventures provides outdoor accessible recreational opportunities throughout Massachusetts for people of all abilities, their families and friends. Summer programs include accessible kayaking, canoeing, hiking and cycling. Winter programs include snowshoeing, x-country skiing & sit-skiing, ice skating, sled skating and snowmobile rides.

Accessible Swimming Pools
Accessible Swimming Pools outdoor swimming pool lifts are available at all of the State Parks and Recreation Department’s 20 swimming pools. The pools are free. Contact pool directly for information about other site factors affecting accessibility.

AccesSport America
AccesSport America is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery of higher function, fitness, and fun for children and adults with disabilities through high-challenge sports, which include kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.

Arcs.
Local Arcs provide a variety of social and recreational activities for children and teens with developmental disabilities.

Bostnet / Guide to Boston’s Before & After School Programs
Build the Out-of-School Time Network (BOSTnet) has built a network of out-of-school time (OST) resources and opportunities for all children and youth, including those from low-income families and youth with disabilities.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary offers nine miles of walking trails guiding through a variety of field, woodland, and wetland habitats. A quarter-mile, handicap accessible trail and boardwalk along the bank of Indian Brook. Universally accessible facilities: Nature Center, Restrooms, All Persons Trail.

BSC (Boston Sports Club) Adaptive Swim Program
On Monday and Wednesday evening, between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, BSC Waltham (840 Winter Street) offers an adaptive swim program for children, youth, adolescents and adults with disabilities in our 93 degree therapy pool. Volunteers between the ages of 16-20 from neighboring schools and organizations offer their time to pair with an individual seeking to increase range of motion, flexibility, and strength but most importantly to socialize with other individuals and families. Our adaptive swim program is offered during the school year (September thru May) in 8-week sessions at a cost of $200 per session. Our 120,000 square foot, state of the art facility can accommodate families in our men’s, women’s or family changing rooms, fully equipped with showers, lockers, restrooms, towels, and other amenities.

  • 781-522-2054
  • 781-522-2512

CAPEable Adventures
offers adaptive sports & therapeutic recreation activities to local residents and vacationers to the Cape.


Cape Cod Challenger Club

Cape Cod Challenger Club offers noncompetitive sports and recreation opportunities for children with disabilities.

Challenger Sport League
Some towns have challenger teams. The goal of the challenger team is to play with no pressure and to educate typical peers and their parents about sportsmanship. The program is available for boys and girls, ages 3 – 19 with all types of physical and developmental disabilities. Call your local town recreation department to find out if they offer challenger sports.

Children’s Physical Developmental Clinic at Bridgewater State University
BSC students from all majors have opportunities to volunteer as clinicians and work with children and youth with disabilities, ages 18 months to 18 years. Clinic dates are to the right on website’s homepage.

Choral / Community Voices
Open to individuals 16 years of age and older. Must be willing to be committed for 12 weeks. Provides a choral opportunity for adults and young adults with developmental delays. Singing in an ensemble, individuals will have the opportunity to develop and refine vocal technique, listening skills, and team-work. Repertoire will include songs from the masters, traditional and folk favorites, as well as pop and Broadway tunes. Performances are scheduled in December and June. Fee $156/fall, $243/spring.

Compelling Fitness
Compelling Fitness in Hanover provides group and / or individual physical fitness training for children and adults with special needs.

Fitness Program / Special Needs Training
Call your local YMCA.

Horseback Riding – PATH International Centers in Massachusetts
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, PATH International was formally known as North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Though PATH Intl. began with a focus on horseback riding as a form of physical and mental therapy, the organization and its dedicated members have since developed a multitude of different equine-related activities for therapeutic purposes, collectively known as equine-assisted activities and therapies (or EAAT).

JF&CS Sunday Respite Program
JF&CS Sunday Respite Program for Children with Developmental Disabilities including those on the Autism Spectrum. Program includes swimming, music and art therapy. The program meets at the Striar JCC in Stoughton from 1:00 -4:00. This program is run by JF&CS with additional funding from Eastern Bank.


Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S)

  • Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S) Thirteen specialized athletic programs are available. K.I.D.S. hosts dances, sports banquets, social activities and recreational events throughout the year. Serves individuals and families throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Participants range in age 5-40 and have varying disabilities. http://www.kidsinc.us/
  • info@kidsinc.us
  • 1-866-712-7799

LIAM Nation Athletics (formerly known as FOSEK, Friends of Special Education Kidz)
sports leagues for special needs children in Tewksbury and surrounding communities in Merrimack Valley. Accomodates athletes of all abilities. Bombers Baseball, Striker Soccer, Little Reds Basketball.

Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program
Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Accessibility to Massachusetts State Parks is achieved through site improvements, specialized adaptive recreation equipment, and accessible recreation programs.

Massachusetts Hospital School Wheelchair Recreation & Sports Program
Wheelchair sports and recreation program for children ages 9 to 21. Horseback riding, swimming and , Wheelchair Athletes Program.

Miracle League of Massachusetts
Miracle League of Massachusetts provides baseball for special needs children. Free to participate (includes uniform). Located at Blanchard Memorial Elementary School Ball Field in Boxborough.

New England Wheelchair Athletic Association (NEWAA)
Volunteer organization that helps individuals with physcial disabilities participate in recreational
and sports activities. The NEWAA provides opportunities for athletic competition by sponsoring
regional and local meets.

Partners for Youth With Disabilities Provides mentoring programs that assist young people reach their full potential. Partners provides several types of mentoring programs including one-to-one, group mentoring and e-mentoring.

Piers Park Sailing
Piers Park Sailing provides programs for disabled youth and adults aboard 23-foot sonar sailboats on a no charge basis. Serves those with amputations, paralysis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, hearing impaired, sight impaired and other disabilities. Successfully integrates youth with disabilities into summer youth sailing programs. Scholarships are available for all Adaptive sailing programs. “Yes You Can Sail” program Friday eves for $35.

  • (617) 561-6677

Senseability Gym
Senseability Gym serves special needs children in greater Hopedale area. Our mission is to provide a parent-led sensory gym, giving children with special needs a safe, fun, indoor area where they can play and accommodate their sensory needs.

Spaulding Adaptive Sports
Spaulding Adaptive Sports offers adaptive sports and recreation activities in Boston, Cape Cod and the North Shore. Includes wheelchair tennis, hand cycling, adaptive rowing, waterskiing or windsurfing.

Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA)
Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) provides year round sports training and athletic competition for all persons with intellectual disabilities. Minimum age requirement is eight years of age. There is no maximum age requirement. SOMA summer games offers aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, sailing, tennis and volleyball. Go to above link to search SOMA region that covers your town.

Sudbury Adaptive Sports & Recreation
Programs for all ages and abilities.

Super Soccer Stars Shine
Our unique program uses soccer as a vehicle to teach life skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. Our innovative curriculum, designed by licensed educators and therapists, promotes the complete growth and development of each player. Our low player-to-coach ratios encourage and empower players to increase social potential with teammates, build self-awareness and confidence and advance gross and fine motor skills — all while each individual improves at his or her own pace! Located at 1 Thompson Square, Suite 301 in Charlestown. Call for information. Low pricing options and scholarship applications available.

Therapy and the Performing Arts – Cape Cod
Provides children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to enjoy various arts and recreational programs in addition to receiving therapeutic benefits from their participation. Children gain new and rewarding experiences from which they develop self-confidence, increase motor function, and have fun. Offers age appropriate programming on Cape Cod for children and young adults diagnosed with down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalies, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders and othe cognitive and physical disabilities. Classes are taught by certified instructors/ therapists with expertise in various disciplines. Programs are offered on a sliding scale fee based on the family’s ability to pay.


TILL Autism Support Center

TILL Autism Support Center has social programs for those with autism spectrum disorders. Programs include exciting Family Fun Days that include apple picking, rock climing, sledding, in-door gym time, zoo trips, holiday parties and much more.

Town Recreation Departments
Most programs are open to participants from neighboring towns. Call area town recreation department to find out if it has special programming for children with disabilities.

Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn.
Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn. offers information about beach wheelchairs, biking, boating and more!

TopSoccer Program / Outreach Program for Soccer
is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with a mental or physical disability. For additional information or would like to start a TOPSoccer Program in your community contact:

YMCAs
YMCAs are accessible and offer a range of classes. Call your local YMCA to find out what programs are available.

The Lowell YMCA “Adaptive Aquatics Program” accommodates children with mild to moderate neurological, physical, or social challenges.

  • (978) 454-7825.

Oak Square YMCA of Greater Boston at 615 Washington St, Brighton has a new adaptive fitness room & offers Adapted Adult Speciality Fitness Partnership Program on Wednesday and Saturday 11AM – 12:30PM on the Fitness Floor.

Hopkinton YMCA offers seasonal specialized programs. “Aim High” archery program and “Rock On!” is an outdoor ropes course and rock climbing for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or related social communication disorders.

  • 45 East Street in Hopkinton.

WaterFire Access Program
A water-taxi program at Dyer Street Dock in Providence Rhode Island which provides an unforgettable experience of the art work for children and adults with disabilities to assure that they can join in the most popular arts event in the state and share the experience with their families and friends. Reservations are required. Each Water Fire Access passenger can bring along one companion.

Waypoint Adventures
Adventures for people of all ages and abilities

Whole Children offers movement, art, recreation and music programs for infants, children and teens of all abilities. Located in Hadley.

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

Government Grants for People with Disabilities

Find government grants and financing for handicap vehicles for people with disabilities nationwide. Money can be located with a little patience and a lot of research through various government programs. We’ve compiled a list of the most well-known government grant programs to assist your search for help funding a wheelchair van.When paying for a handicap van, you can use money from government grant programs for people with disabilities, as well other funding resources like disability grants, loans, fundraiser money, foundation endorsements, or any other funding source. We’ll work with your chosen foundations or any government grant program, after they verify financial assistance, to get you on the road!

To learn more about applying for wheelchair van grant funding to buy a handicap van or convert a pre-owned minivan, read “How to Apply for a Grant for Wheelchair Vans, Mobility Equipment, or Minivan Conversions.”

Government Wheelchair Van Financing Resources
Fund your wheelchair van with these government grant programs provided by the U.S. government and locally in your state.

Administration for Children & Families
On this website, new funding opportunities are displayed as they become available.

Grants.gov
The U.S. government resource listing federal grants available.

Medicaid
Sometimes provides assistance when children or other special circumstances are involved.

Medicaid/Department of Human Services (DHS)
Children are screened as part of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program of Medicaid. Under Medicaid’s “rehabilitative services,” people often receive handicap van or lift funding to achieve their “best possible functional levels.”

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Located within each state’s Department of Human Services (per state), helps you prepare for work, train for a job, find a job, or keep a job as early as high school. Services are prioritized according to the severity of the disability.

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
Check your state’s branch for grant availability.

Division of Developmental Services (DDS)
Check your state’s branch for grants.Those with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration can contact the agency about its Plan to Achieve Self Support(PASS). A PASS plan sets aside income to buy equipment or services in a way that keeps income, as well as resources, below the SSI eligibility cut-off so there are no reductions in benefits. The emphasis is on whether the handicap van or equipment will help the SSI recipient become vocationally self-sufficient. It’s important for an individual to contact and receive the approval of Social Security before setting up a PASS plan. Once money has been set aside for a PASS, spending it on something else can result in the loss of SSI benefits.Please note: You can use multiple sources of funding that include grants, loans, and other funding assistance. If you’re unable to find government grants for people with disabilities or need to acquire more money to help pay for your wheelchair van and/or mobility needs, check out more opportunities at our mobility finance page.

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

Asperger Syndrome

About AS:

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

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

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

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For some people, an automobile is a necessity not a luxury.

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls
Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?
The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist
Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull
Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull
Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider
When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation
No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Funding an Accessible Vehicle

For some people living with disabilities, purchasing a handicap accessible vehicle seems like it’s only a dream. With the cost of medical equipment and treatments, raising the funds needed to purchase a van or truck can be challenging. However, there are a number of programs and options available should you need assistance. These rebates and funding opportunities make getting behind the wheel of an accessible vehicle a smooth ride.

Financing
When it comes to financing handicap accessible vehicles, the number of options can be overwhelming. From traditional sources available at dealerships to third party organizations, being able to afford a new van or car will require you to do a bit of research on what the best route is for you and your family. In most cases, however, financing a vehicle can break down payments into manageable monthly installments, making your purchase more affordable.

Rebates
Many manufacturers offer rebate programs to customers with disabilities purchasing accessibility products. Each manufacturer handles their rebate program differently, however most of them grant opportunities to receive up to $1,000 back on vehicle customizations. To provide more information about these programs, we’ve compiled a list of manufacturers with such offers, as well as contact details, on our Rebates page.

Government Funding
From Veterans Administration Agencies to Medicare and Medicaid, there are also government funding options available for those wishing to purchase handicap accessible vehicles. As with any other funding option, prior research is necessary to ensure you qualify for coverage, however your local mobility dealer can go over your options with you and help you make an informed decision.

Fundraising
Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can be challenging, but is definitely a route to consider. After all, there are not many things that can’t be accomplished when a community bands together. Although it may not be a viable option for everyone, raising funds through donations and sponsorships might make the journey to a new vehicle much easier. Websites like GoFundMe have also made it simpler to rally supporters and accept donations.

With these options, owning handicap accessible vehicles is more affordable than you might think. Be sure to visit a mobility dealer to go over your needs and uncover even more possibilities.

Accessible Preparations for Memorial Day

Hosting a Memorial Day Party is the perfect way to kick off your summer adventures, and here are some tips on how to make sure your gathering is accessible and fun for all!

Choose Your Location
To ensure all of your guests are able to easily maneuver around your party and its surroundings, make certain there are ramps, lifts or unobstructed entryways available for guests in wheelchairs. Another thing to consider is parking. If some of your guests will be arriving in wheelchair accessible vans, they might need a little bit of extra room to deploy a lift or ramp.

You can host an accessible Memorial Day party if your home or apartment is less than wheelchair-friendly. Local parks often rent out pavilions or picnic areas for gatherings, and these areas often boast open spaces and paved paths, making them a great bet for guests in wheelchairs.

Perfect Your Spread
From grilling up veggies and even fresh fruits, to stocking up on refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat, making sure you’re serving up tasty treats is perhaps the most important part of throwing a great, memorable party. When planning your party’s spread, always take into consideration any possible allergies or food restrictions your guests might have. If you’re sending out invites, it might be a good idea to ask guests of any food requirements right on the invitation, so you’ll be armed with the right information when it comes time to shop and prep.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Every good party needs some entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full band though—making your own fun is easy! You could set out the board games for some old school fun or create a dance floor on your deck or living room with plenty of room. Start a game of trivia, charades or bingo, you could even break out the karaoke machine and make some hilarious and potentially embarrassing memories.

Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering all of the brave men and women who served (and continue to serve) in our country’s Armed Forces. As such, if you have a disabled veteran attending your party, think of ways that you can honor him/her in some special way.

Toy Like Me

Toy Like Me

Toy Like Me is a recent Facebook campaign calling for more representation and diversity in the toy industry with their main goal being the production of toys for children with disabilities. The page features submissions from parents who have given makeovers to existing toys to better represent their kids. Makies, a UK dollmaker, responded to the campaign by developing accessories for their dolls such as hearing assistance devices and walking aids, as well as creating a doll with a distinct birthmark.

The company has a process similar to Build-a-Bear, where you can choose what clothing and accessories you’d like your doll to have, but goes a step further by allowing the customization of facial features, hairstyle and skin color. This is already a great way for kids who look nothing like Barbie—which is majority of kids in the world—to be able to have a toy in their own likeness. According to Metro UK, the company will soon release a line that includes hearing aids and canes and are working on a character that uses a wheelchair. They are also testing the ability to customize facial characteristics, so parents will be able to design a doll with a facial birthmark in the same spot as their child.

Makies uses 3D printing technology, which allows the dolls to be produced and shipped out faster than any other traditional doll-making process. A blog post on the company’s website says that the dolls should be up in their store soon. Both boy and girl dolls are available, at the price of $115 USD. As for the campaign, the fight for all-inclusive toys is far from being over. Toy Like Me is continuing their crusade by encouraging major toy corporations, like Mattel and Playmobil, to get on the bandwagon and produce more diverse toys.

For more information please check out the Toy Like Me Facebook page!

Fibromyalgia Awareness

What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have “tender points” on the body. Tender points are specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. These points hurt when pressure is put on them.

People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, such as:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Morning stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called “fibro fog”).

A person may have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Such conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. There may be a number of factors involved. Fibromyalgia has been linked to:

  • Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Illness
  • Certain diseases.

Fibromyalgia can also occur on its own.

Some scientists think that a gene or genes might be involved in fibromyalgia. The genes could make a person react strongly to things that other people would not find painful.

Who Is Affected by Fibromyalgia?
Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age.

People with certain other diseases may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).

Women who have a family member with fibromyalgia may be more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It’s important to find a doctor who is familiar with the disorder and its treatment. Many family physicians, general internists, or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints or soft tissues.

Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach. The team may include your doctor, a physical therapist, and possibly other health care providers. A pain or rheumatology clinic can be a good place to get treatment.

What Can I Do to Try to Feel Better?
There are many things you can do to feel better, including:

  • Taking medicines as prescribed
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • Making work changes if necessary.

What Research Is Being Done on Fibromyalgia?
The NIAMS sponsors research to help understand fibromyalgia and find better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent it. Researchers are studying:

  • Why people with fibromyalgia have increased sensitivity to pain.
  • Medicines and behavioral treatments.
  • Whether there is a gene or genes that make a person more likely to have fibromyalgia.
  • The use of imaging methods, such as magnetic resonate imaging (MRI), to better understand fibromyalgia.
  • Inflammation in the body and its relationship to fibromyalgia.
  • Nondrug therapies to help reduce pain.
  • Methods to improve sleep in people with fibromyalgia.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Wheelchair Vans A/C

Everything You Need to Know About Your Wheelchair Vans A:C


How does the A/C system work?

We all want the ultimate chill blasting out of our vents; especially when it comes to surviving summers heat. When the A/C system kicks in on those hot, sweaty days, that’s something we all cherish. But, believe it or not, there’s no ice machine inside your van (but at one time ice was used to cool people’s rides down). In fact, the cold air generated by your A/C system is actually hot air with hot gases removed during a multi-step process.

It really is thermodynamics but we’re not get into that. The cliff’s note version is simply about changes in pressure causing changes in temperature. Turn the A/C on and the compressor compresses the system’s refrigerant (Freon) raising its temperature. It loses heat as it flows through the condenser (that second radiator looking thing in front of the radiator). It passes through the receiver/dryer where contaminants and moisture are removed, and then on to the expansion valve/accumulator where the refrigerant is slowed down further, causing it to lose pressure and temperature before it gets to the evaporator. The evaporator is like a mini radiator (not to be confused with the heater core — they are two separate things) inside the dash of your vehicle that gets cold as it further lowers the refrigerants temperature and, additionally, removes moisture from the air. The ventilation system’s blower motor blows air over the cold evaporator and pushes cool air into the passenger compartment. Complicated, but refreshing!

Now that you know what being cool is all about, if you have problems being cool, call us to set up an appointment for an A/C Performance Check.

How often should my A/C be inspected?
You tell us. How’s the air feeling in your wheelchair van? Are you refreshed and cooled with full air flow when your A/C is pumping? Well, if you answered “Yes, I am  cooler than bein’ cool (ICE COLD!),” you can cross A/C inspection off your list.

For all the “No” respondents: do you fall into the “my A/C is not cold enough” or the “it’s taking way too long to cool down,” side of the spectrum? Stop sweating and stop in for an A/C Performance Check, we’ll have you back rolling down those hot summer streets cooler than ever. So chill, your A/C is only an inspection away from cooler days.

How often do I need my A/C system “recharged”?
Only when the cool breeze no longer feels as chilly as you remember. Simple enough. Now, it is true that a well maintained A/C system can go its entire life without needing a recharge. But, that’s if you’re extremely lucky.

If you start noticing your A/C isn’t reaching those refreshingly cool temperatures, have your system inspected. In this situation, most vans Honda, Toyota, Dodge and Ford will be low on Freon. And since the A/C is a sealed system, low Freon is a big sign that something is not right. It could be a small leak that needs attention or possibly part of the A/C is failing – bring it in and we’ll perform an A/C Performance Check and get to the root of the problem. We’ll get you back out there cruising with a nice, cool breeze again.

What is refrigerant?
Typically referred to by the DuPont trade name Freon, the most common Freons are R-12, R-134A, and soon, HFO-1234yf. Freon is pretty similar to motor oil and radiator coolant in that it is a working fluid designed for a specific system; In this case, your car’s A/C system.

Refrigerant is a specially formulated mixture that’s sole purpose for transforming hot air into cold air. It does this by absorbing and releasing heat, ultimately leaving cool air behind.

What exactly is Freon?
Sounds like an automotive A/C history lesson is in order. Well, welcome, pull up a seat and put on your thinking cap.

Freon, better known as R-12, was the primary chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) used in car A/C systems up until it was banned in the mid 1990s after the EPA discovered that it was depleting our planet’s ozone Layer. Talk about toxic.

The auto industry has since switched to the CFC free R-134a. Since the elimination of CFCs from the auto industry —and all industries for that matter—the ozone layer has regained its structure, and the ozone holes caused by CFCs are expected to fully close by about 2050 according to the EPA.

What is the Montreal Protocol? (R-12)
No, this isn’t a treaty you learned about in history class. The Montreal Protocol is actually the official title of the banishment of R-12 (Freon) and other CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons) emitting products from further use anywhere on the planet. And for good reason—CFCs were discovered to be tearing big holes in our ozone layer.

The Montreal Protocol was first signed into law in 1987. If the entire industrial world follows the environmental standards meant to eliminate the use of ozone depleting gases (in place in the United States since 1996), the ozone is said to fully recover by 2050.

The Montreal Protocol is why we now use R-134a instead of the ozone depleting R-12. Starting in 2013, certain U.S. vehicle models will begin transitioning to an even more efficient and safer cooling agent called HFO-1234yf. Talk about a mouthful. HFO-1234yf is said to have almost no environmental impact what-so-ever. And that’s something we can all look forward to.

What’s the difference between R-134a and R-12?
You can say the difference is so big that it has spared the fate of the entire planet. Not to get all deep on your psyche and all, but after it was discovered that R-12 and a whole multitude of products containing Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) were destroying the ozone layer, environmental scientists immediately started work on an alternative cooling agents free of ozone depleting CFCs. That formula is R-134a: the standard and only refrigerant permitted in automotive A/C systems today.

R-134a, though safer, is not perfect:
Beginning in 2013, R-134a is being replaced by a new formula, HFO-1234yf, available on select U.S. car models. HFO-1234yf is the cleanest, safest refrigerant yet. And what’s even more important is that it has been studied and certified as leaving no impact on the environment what-so-ever. Talk about a great advancement in A/C technology that will help protect our planet for all those driven to cruise the open roads for many years to come.

But why replace R-134a?
Well, although R-134a was designed with the ozone layer in mind, it’s still made with chemicals that can harm the environment if they leak out of your A/C system or are disposed of improperly. With that known fact, international environmental scientists knew an even safer A/C refrigerant was out there waiting to be formulated.

HFO-1234yf is set to become the refrigerant standard:

  • It has been tested and found to leave behind virtually no impact on the environment.
  • If your A/C system should leak, there’s no longer an environmental freak out.

It’s all about the future generations of drivers. Our goal as automotive professionals is to provide the best care for your mobility vehicle while preserving the natural environment of the road your vehicle cruises down for many years to come.

How many parts make up a wheelchair van A/C system?
Your A/C system consists of five major parts, all working together to cool you off and all your passengers.

Most A/C systems are built with:

  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Receiver dryer or Accumulator
  • Orifice tube or Expansion valve
  • Evaporator

Your A/C system also consists of hoses and refrigerant charging ports, but the significant work occurs in the five parts listed above. You can learn more about each part that makes up your A/C system starting with the next question. Cool.

What is the A/C compressor?
The compressor is the core, primary part of every A/C system. If you want to stay cool, a working compressor is essential. We’ve seen people try to create cold air with out one. Trust us, it doesn’t work.

The compressor:

  • Pressurizes the refrigerant that cools the air in your mobility van.
  • Senses temperature changes: Compressors monitor and control temperature output with an electrically operated clutch. This clutch turns on and off whenever you change the temperature, choose a different airflow setting or just when plain old air from outside drops or rises in temperature.
  • Powered by the serpentine belt: That winding belt under your hood is responsible for powering many crucial components, including your A/C compressor.

Signs of a worn compressor: Oil or Freon leaks, noise, and erratic or no operation are indications that a compressor may need to be replaced. We can inspect your car for leaks using special refrigerant detecting dyes and devices. You may not be able to see a leak, but our equipment, sometimes referred to as a “sniffer,” can detect—or sniff-out—a chemical leak even if no liquid is visible. Yea, you can say we’re pretty advanced over here.

What is an A/C condenser?
Consider it the master of turning hot refrigerant gasses into liquid. The condenser is mounted at the front of most vehicles, usually in front of the radiator. Air passes through the condenser, turning the hot refrigerant gas into a condensed, cooler refrigerant liquid.

An A/C condenser is:

  • Found In front of the radiator and often referred to as a mini-radiator
  • The master refrigerant cooler. And still champion. The Condenser radiates the hot refrigerant gasses that have entered from the compressor, reducing its temperature and pressure, turning it into a liquid that moves on to the A/C Dryer.

Signs of a worn condenser:

  • Leaks
  • Clogged, corroded or damaged fins or tubes
  • Poor air conditioning performance

What’s a receiver/dryer?
The receiver or dryer is found on vehicles with a thermal expansion valve. It’s the safety net responsible for trapping all harmful debris, moisture and liquids from reaching the compressor and other vital A/C parts.

The roles of the receiver/dryer:

  1. Separates gas from liquid. If liquid isn’t contained in the dryer, it can enter and destroy your compressor (Compressors aren’t designed to handle liquids. Only gas).
  2. Removes moisture. To trap moisture, a desiccant is used. Desiccant is similar to those moisture killing packets you find in the packaging of new electronic devices.
  3. Filters out contaminants. No one wants a contaminated A/C system. Contaminants can lead to accelerated parts wear and damaging corrosion.

Quick fact: If there’s any moisture present in your compressor, it can mix with the Refrigerant and create very damaging corrosive acids.

Symptoms of a worn receiver/dryer:

  • Poor air conditioner performance
  • Moisture on glass and/or inability of defroster to remove moisture from glass and windows

The receiver/dryer must be replaced in the following situations:

  • Anytime the A/C system is opened for repair, the reciever/dryer will need to be replaced.
  • Whenever a technician has determined moisture or debris has permanently damaged your receiver/dryer performance.

What is an accumulator?
An accumulator is similar to a receiver-dryer but only found on vehicles with an orifice tube. If you have an accumulator, that means you don’t have a thermal expansion valve.

The accumulator:

  • Monitors and controls the amount of refrigerant that enters the evaporator.
  • Stores excess Refrigerant so that it cannot enter and damage the compressor.
  • Filters debris and removes moisture from the A/C System.

When to replace the accumulator:

  • Anytime the A/C system is opened for repair, the accumulator will need to be replaced.
  • Whenever a technician has determined moisture or debris has permanently damaged your accumulator’s performance.

What is a thermal expansion valve/orifice tube?
The orifice tube or thermal expansion valve is located between the condenser and the evaporator. Its job is to constantly monitor the pressure and temperature of you’re A/C system in order to determine the exact amount of refrigerant that can safely enter your evaporator. An orifice tube may also contain a fine mesh screen to block contaminants from the rest of the system.

Quick fact: If too much or too little refrigerant enters the evaporator, you could have a big problem on your hands. The proper function of the thermal expansion valve or orifice tube is crucial for successful A/C system operation.

Signs of a worn orifice tube or thermal expansion valve:

  • Poor A/C system performance
  • When a technician has determined it has become dirty or clogged

What is an evaporator?
The evaporator is responsible for cooling air and removing moisture. If cold, refreshing air is hitting your face, your evaporator is working like a champ.

The evaporator:

  • Located right behind your dash. The evaporator is the last and most important stop before cold air can hit your face.
  • Cools air with refrigerant. Low pressure Refrigerant traveling through the evaporator absorbs heat from the passenger compartment dropping the temperature of the evaporator. Air blown over the cool surface of the evaporator then comes out the vents providing the chill you expect.
  • Commences cold air flow. The best and final stage. Cold air should now be blowing out your vents thanks to the hard work of the evaporator.

Symptoms of a worn evaporator:

  • Poor A/C system performance

What is a compressor clutch?
Before the compressor turns on, a special electro-magnetic clutch, conveniently called the “compressor clutch,” is necessary to engage and disengage the compressor cycle. The compressor clutch tells the compressor when to turn on or off so that the Freon (refrigerant) is correctly pressurized for use by the condenser which is then delivered to the evaporator where the chill begins.

Experiencing A/C problems with your Braun, VMI or Eldorado wheelchair van? call to schedule a A/C inspection today.

What is the clutch cycling switch?
The clutch cycling switch senses and controls the temperature in the evaporator core to prevent it from freezing. Although most cars can blow air at temperatures as low as 60 degrees, the temperatures inside the evaporator core can get cold enough to completely freeze the entire core. Not good! The clutch cycle’s job is to make sure the evaporator temperature doesn’t reach the point of glacier temperatures.

Symptoms of a failing clutch cycling switch:

  • Evaporator freezing up
  • Evaporator does not get cold enough

What is a refrigerant charge port?
This is where the magic happens. The refrigerant charge port is the connection point where new refrigerant can enter the system during an A/C system recharge. Your port is usually located on the bigger A/C hose near or on the accumulator.

Caution: Only properly equipped and qualified persons should perform A/C recharging services.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited brain disorder that results in the progressive loss of both mental faculties and physical control. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 to 50, and worsen over a 10 to 25 year period. Ultimately, the weakened individual succumbs to pneumonia, heart failure or other complications.

Everyone has the HD gene but it is those individuals that inherit the expansion of the gene who will develop HD and perhaps pass it onto each of their children.

Presently, there is no cure. Although medications can relieve some symptoms, research has yet to find a means of slowing the deadly progression of HD.

Current estimates are that 1 in every 10,000 Americans has HD and more than 250,000 others are at-risk of having inherited it from a parent. Once thought a rare disease, HD is now considered one of the more common hereditary diseases.

Every person who inherits the expanded HD gene will eventually develop the disease.
Over time, HD affects the individual’s ability to reason, walk and speak

Symptoms Include:

  • Personality changes, mood swings and depression
  • Forgetfulness and impaired judgment
  • Unsteady gait and involuntary movements
  • Slurred speech and difficulty in swallowing

The Scope of HD
Approximately 30,000 Americans have HD, but the devastating effects of the disease touch many more. Within a family, multiple generations may have inherited the disease. Those at-risk may experience tremendous stress from the uncertainty and sense of responsibility. In the community, lack of knowledge about HD may keep friends and neighbors from offering social and emotional support to the family, fostering unnecessary isolation.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has a nationwide network that provides support and referrals for individuals with HD and their families.

Genetic Testing for HD
Individuals can be tested for the gene that causes HD. The test may be used to confirm a diagnosis of HD, but may also be used as a predictive test before symptoms arise. Some individuals at-risk for HD feel that it is important to know whether they carry the gene. Others ultimately choose not to be tested. While the actual procedure is simple, the decision to have the test is not. HDSA recommends that persons wishing to undergo presymptomatic testing for HD do so at one of our HDSA Centers of Excellence, or at a testing center with specific training in working with HD. A list of these testing centers is available from HDSA

HD affects both sexes and all races and ethnic groups around the world.
The Decision to test is highly personal and should never be rushed or forced.

Who is At-Risk?
Every child of a parent with HD has a  50/50 chance of inheriting the expanded gene that causes the disease. If the child has not inherited this expanded gene, he or she will never develop the disease and cannot pass it on to their children.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) protects people from discrimination by health insurers and employers on the basis of their DNA information. This federal law also enables individuals to take part in research studies without fear that their DNA information might be used against them by health insurers or in the workplace.

However, GINA protections do not extend to long term care, disability or life insurance policies. Anyone contemplating testing should first consider adding one or more of these types of policies before starting the testing process.

Advocacy
HDSA advocacy works to advance legislation and policy to improve the lives of HD families by raising awareness about HD in the U.S. Congress, by promoting legislation, policy and regulations that would help individuals in the HD community, by educating Federal agencies about HD, and by partnering and collaborating with national organizations that have common goals. Learn more at www.hdsa.org/advocacy.

Join us in the fight against HD
YOU can help HDSA in our efforts to end HD and provide resources for those who must face this disease daily. Both funds and volunteers are needed. Contact the HDSA National Office to find out how YOU can help.

HD does not skip generations; if one does not inherit the expanded gene, one cannot pass it on

An End To HD?
In 1993, researchers identified the gene that causes HD. Since then, research has moved quickly towards developing treatments and, ultimately, a cure. HDSA supports the goals of clinical and basic research at leading research facilities globally.

Clinical and observational trials are an important way you can help to sustain the momentum of HD research and move potential new therapies through the approval process. Visit the Research section of the HDSA website for more information and to find a trial in your area. There are opportunities for all HD family members – gene positive, at-risk, gene negative, and caregivers – to participate.

About HDSA
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is the largest 501(C)(3) non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease. Founded in 1968 by Marjorie Guthrie, wife of folk legend Woody Guthrie who lost his battle with HD, the Society works tirelessly to provide family services, education, advocacy and research to provide help for today, hope for tomorrow to the more than 30,000 people diagnosed with HD and the 250,000 at-risk in the United States.

Where to find help
You are not alone in facing HD. HDSA has developed a nationwide network that includes Chapters and Affiliates, HDSA Centers of Excellence, Support Groups, and Social Workers that are ready to assist you with referrals and resources in your area. To learn more, please visit www.hdsa.org or call 888-HDSA-506.

Research worldwide is working to unlock the mystery of HD and find a cure

Bridgewater’s POW Remembrance Dinner

Bridgewater's POW Remembrance Dinner

Bridgewater will hold a POW-MIA Remembrance Dinner.
A ceremony will be performed to help us remember those who have not returned home.

Saturday, June 13.
VFW Post 2125, 40 Orange Street
Tickets are available for $25.
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Dinner Starts at 6 p.m.

Dinner includes: Caesar salad, balsamic marinated grilled chicken, creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Contact Jason Cox for more information or tickets:
Call  339-832-8712
Email  j.coxusmc@outlook.com

Travis Mills Foundation Retreat

The TMF retreat, located in Maine, will provide fully accessible facilities dedicated to serving the recreational and reintegration needs of combat-wounded veterans and their families. The retreat will fill a vital role in the recovery, camaraderie, spousal support, reconnection, and relaxation needs of our disabled veteran families.   Upon completion of extensive renovations, veteran families from all over the United States will be invited to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, site-seeing, campfires, adaptive sports, and spa treatments like massage, facials, and yoga.

For more information and updates on their progress to fully renovate and rehabilitate the property please visit The Travis Mills Foundation Retreat website. If you would like to show your support by donating to the Travis Mills Foundation you can do so here.

April Is National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month

The following information and more can be found on The Foundation For Sarcoidosis Research’s website: www.stopsarcoidosis.org

April Is National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect almost any organ in the body. It causes heightened immunity, which means that a person’s immune system, which normally protects the body from infection and disease, overreacts, resulting in damage to the body’s own tissues. The classic feature of sarcoidosis is the formation of granulomas, microscopic clumps of inflammatory cells that group together (and look like granules, hence the name). When too many of these clumps form in an organ they can interfere with how that organ functions.

Sarcoidosis is a multi-system disorder.  Symptoms typically depend on which organ the disease affects.  Most often the disease will affect the lungs.

  • General: About one third of patients will experience non-specific symptoms of fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats and an overall feeling of malaise (or ill health).
  • Lungs: The lungs are affected in more than 90% of patients with sarcoidosis.  A cough that does not go away, shortness of breath, particularly with exertion and chest pain occur most frequently with the pulmonary form of the disease.
  • Lymph Nodes: Up to 90% of sarcoidosis patients have enlarged lymph nodes. Most often they are in the neck, but those under the chin, in the armpits and in the groin can be affected.  The spleen, which is part of the lymphatic system, can also be affected.
  • Liver: Although between 50% to 80% of patients with sarcoidosis will have granulomas in their liver, most are without symptoms and do not require treatment.
  • Heart: Researchers estimate that cardiac sarcoidosis, affects more than 10 percent of people with sarcoidosis in the United States, and perhaps as mHeart: any as 25 percent.  Sarcoidosis can cause the heart to beat weakly resulting in shortness of breath and swelling in the legs.  It can also cause palpitations (irregular heartbeat).
  • Brain & Nervous System: From 5% to 13% of patients have neurologic disease.  Symptoms can include headaches, visual problems, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg and facial palsy.
  • Skin:  One in four (25%) of patients will have skin involvement.  Painful or red, raised bumps on the legs or arms (called erythema nodosum), discoloration of the nose, cheeks, lips and ears (called lupus pernio) or small brownish and painless skin patches are symptoms of the cutaneous form of the disease.
  • Bones, Joints & Muscles:  Joint pain occurs in about one-third of patients.  Other symptoms include a mass in the muscle, muscle weakness and arthritis in the joints of the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, hands and feet.
  • Eyes:  Any part of the eye can be affected by sarcoidosis and about 25% of patients have ocular involvement.  Common symptoms include: burning, itching, tearing, pain, red eye, sensitivity to light (photophobia), dryness, seeing black spots (called floaters) and blurred vision.  Chronic uveitis (inflammation of the membranes or uvea of the eye) can lead to glaucoma, cataracts and blindness.
  • Sinuses, Nasal Muscosa (lining) & Larynx:  About 5% of patients will have involvement in the sinuses with symptoms that can include sinusitis, hoarseness or shortness of breath.
  • Other Organs:  Rarely, the gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organs, salivary glands and the kidneys are affected.

 

April is the Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child

In 1986 the Department of Defense deemed April as the Month of the Military Child. From deployments to frequent moves, military children face unique challenges that most youth their age do not experience. This annual awareness campaign recognizes the sacrifices made and applauds the courage of military children.

  • Military families relocate 10 times more often the civilian families; on average, every two or three years
  • Since 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deployed at least once.
  • More than 900,000 children have experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.
  • Children in military families experience high rates of mental health, trauma, and related problems. About 30% reported feeling sad or hopeless almost everyday for 2 weeks during the past 12 months. Nearly 1 in 4 reported having considered suicide.
  • 37% of children with a deployed parent reported that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker.

Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month

The importance of recognizing Autism throughout the month of April is to help better educate and raise awareness to the public. Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be present from birth or form during early childhood, typically within the first three years. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.

People with autism are also known as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) both terms are often used interchangeably. People with ASD have a set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same. ASD affects people in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. Although some symptoms are similar, such as challenges with social interaction, there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.

If you are looking for a way to get involved, donate for just want to learn more information about Autism you can visit the websites of some great organizations such as Autism Speaks, Autism Society and the National Autism Association.

BraunAbility MXV™: Wheelchair Accessible SUV

BraunAbility MXV™

The BraunAbility MXV™ features a never-before-seen door operation, an innovative in-floor ramp and removable seating. This innovative wheelchair accessible SUV represents a brand new era in mobility and we want you to be a part of it. Availability of this vehicle begins Summer 2015.

 

BraunAbility MXV™ Features

  • Fold flat 3rd row seats for extra cargo space
  • Integrated Ford keyfob
  • Nerf bar
  • Sliding shifter for increased space
  • In-floor and lighted ramp
  • Innovative seat design allowing more interior space
  • Removable driver and passenger seats

Sporty Looks and Feel

  • EPA Estimated 17city / 24 hwy / 20 combined
  • 6-Speed Automatic
  • Wheelbase 112.6″
  • Maximum Towing Capacity (estimated) – 5000 lbs.
  • Power Glide Door Integrated w/Factory Key Fob
  • 28″ In-Floor Ramp Width
  • 54 1/4″ Door Entry Height
  • LED Ramp Lighting System
  • Cantilever Seat Bases For Easy Removal

Interior View
The interior of the MXV allows for both front seats to be removed, and the middle seating is removed for wheelchair access. The 3rd row seats remain and allow for 4 passengers in the vehicle.

Adaptive Golf

Whether you want to learn the game or hone your skills, there is a golf program for everyone! Many solutions exist for whatever stops you from enjoying the game of golf, from carts to clubs to accessories and specialty devices.

  • Adaptive golf carts now have swivel and extending seats and armrests to play while seated as well as elevating lifts that allow paraplegics and others with limited leg strength to play from a standing position.
  • Adaptive golf clubs can have special grips for those with missing fingers, deformed hands, osteoarthritis or loss of strength. Some are specialized for seated or standing golfers. Some club shafts are bent for seated individuals.
  • Gloves and grip aids include prosthetic golf grip devices, elastic gripping devices and more.
  • Accessories include tee setters and ball retrieval systems to reduce bending. One device even stabilizes your balance.

Search for a golf program for those with disabilities in your area to get tailored instruction from golf instructors certified to teach. For more information, check out national associations like the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the Disabled Sports USA, and/or the United States Golf Assoc.

The Adaptive Golf Foundation of America has scrambles, classics, opens, championships and tournaments across the country throughout the year.

Tips to Help Overcome the Fear of Driving

Practice practice practice:

  • To boost your confidence, drive to the end of the block and back or around an empty parking lot, then gradually go for longer drives.
  • Ask someone to accompany you if that helps you relax.

Patience:

  • Don’t start driving if you’re not calm and collected. Sit in the car and take deep breaths until you attain peace of mind and only then start the car and drive away.
  • Yoga classes may help you become a more focused, calm and less distracted driver.
  • If you get lost or experience panic, pull over until you calm down. Take as much time as you need. If you have a cell phone, call for directions.

Never get lost!

  • A Global Positioning System (GPS) may lessen the fear of getting lost.
  • No GPS? Print out the map directions from the Internet for those places you go frequently and keep them in the glove box.

Therapy:

Simple solutions to physical problems may help the mental and emotional pangs. For example, a spinner knob on the steering wheel allows accurate one-handed steering; hand controls replace feet for acceleration or braking—whatever the problem, there are solutions.

Occupational Therapists and Driver Rehabilitation Specialists can help. You can get a behind-the-wheel evaluation and recommendations for adaptive driving aids to help overcome many physical drawbacks. Whether the problem is muscle weakness, spasms or something else, therapists can address them.

How To Spring Your Vehicle Out of Winter

With record snowfalls and cold temperatures this winter has been a tough one, so it’s nice to know that Spring is just around the corner. That thick layer of dried road salt is a good reminder of just how hard winter has been on your vehicle, making the transition to spring an important time to give your car some much-needed TLC.

Battery: If you’ve started your car during extreme cold, you’ve heard the hesitation. Winter weather can be tough on all the starting components in your car like the alternator and starter. In turn, this increases the strain on the battery. Spring is a good time to get your battery tested and, if needed, replaced. If you’ve noticed that your interior lights are a bit dimmer or that your power windows move more slowly when the engine is off, this can be a sign that the end of your battery is near.

Brakes: Winter weather and road salt can be rough on your brakes. This is an important time to get these crucial safety items checked, including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid.

Alignment: With potholes and heaves in the payment, there’s a good chance that winter may have knocked your car out of alignment. Getting your wheels realigned can save wear and tear on your tires and improve your gas mileage. Also a car that is out of alignment can be more difficult to steer and stop which can jeopardize your safety.

Tires: When the temperature changes, you may notice that your tires are a bit soft. Keep them at the right pressure for optimal gas mileage. Give a visual inspection to ensure that you have plenty of tread left, as well. Spring showers will mean wet and flooded roads, so be sure your tires can grip. If you are not certain what the tire pressure should be, check the information on the inside of your door.

Belts and hoses: Extreme temperatures can shorten the life of these vital engine components, leading to cracks and peeling on the belts and hoses. A quick inspection can help ensure that you won’t be surprised by a broken belt or hose.

Filters and Fluids: As part of your regular maintenance, be sure to have your filters and fluids checked, including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and antifreeze.

Wipers: Check your wipers for wear and cracks, and replace them if needed. Be sure that the wiper fluid reservoir is refilled.

Exterior: After months of sand and salt, it’s likely your car is well overdue for a washing. Winter’s road grime can be especially harsh on the exterior of your car, making a car wash a great idea. Besides, it will look great, too!

Under Your Vehicle: During winter vehicles are subject to rust and corrosion due to tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your vehicle. Rust is an example of corrosion. Rust is a serious problem and spreads like a rash. It can shorten the lifespan and value of any vehicle. 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. The best time to prevent rust damage to your vehicle is in Autumn: before the first snowflake falls and Spring: after the first heavy rain fall; a little vehicle maintenance will help keep the rust away.

Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year.

The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

The campaign targets primarily the general public and also seeks to raise awareness amongst policy makers, public authorities, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases.

Since Rare Disease Day was first launched by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances in 2008, thousands of events have taken place throughout the world reaching hundreds of thousands of people and resulting in a great deal of media coverage.

The political momentum resulting from Rare Disease Day also serves advocacy purposes. It has notably contributed to the advancement of national plans and policies for rare diseases in a number of countries.

Even though the campaign started as a European event, it has progressively become a world phenomenon, with the USA joining in 2009, and participation in a record-breaking 84 countries around the world in 2014. We hope many more will join in 2015. Some countries have decided to raise rare disease awareness further, for example, Spain declared 2013 as the National Year for Rare Diseases.

The objective is for the World Health Organization to recognize the last day of February as the official Rare Disease Day and to raise increasing awareness for Rare Diseases worldwide.

On rarediseaseday.org you can find information about the thousands of events happening around the world to build awareness for people living with a rare disease and their families. If you are planning an event, you can register your event details on their Post your Event page to get your event listed on the site.

In-Floor Vs Fold-Out Ramps In Mobility Vehicles

If wheelchair ramps are the right option for your transportation needs, the following will shed some light on the types of ramps available for conversions and the unique benefits they each provide.

In-Floor Ramps
As their name suggests, in-floor ramps are stowed under the floor of wheelchair accessible minivans, creating additional interior room for improved maneuverability. These ramps allow for an obstruction-free doorway and clean, uncluttered interior. In-floor models also provide added safety, as there are no components on the floor of the van that one might struggle with.

Fold-Out Ramps
For strength and durability, fold-out ramps are great options for passengers in wheelchairs. When not in use, these ramps sit on the floor of wheelchair accessible vans and extend outward in a folding motion when deployed. Many models offer side rails for easy navigation and perforations of the ramp floors to allow for easy cleaning and debris removal. In addition, fold-out ramps are more budget-conscious than in-floor options.

Each of these options offers unique perks and both are fantastic options for anyone looking to increase their mobility and independence through the use of a handicap accessible van. If you need assistance deciding which of these models is right for you, don’t hesitate to call for more information. We are staffed by industry professionals and certified technicians, so they’re certain to be able to point you in the direction of the perfect ramp option for your transportation needs.

Miracle Flights for Kids

Founded in 1985, Miracle Flights for Kids® is a national, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low income very sick children overcome financial obstacles that prevent them from accessing proper medical care and second opinions.

Miracle Flights for Kids® helps fly children who are struggling with serious cancers and other debilitating diseases to specialized medical treatment centers across the U.S. Any child needing medical treatment or seeking out a second opinion not available in their own hometown is eligible to apply for a miracle flight.

Given the growing costs of health care today and how often illnesses can lead to monetary troubles, the Miracle Flights for Kids® program serves those families who are unable to manage the financial burden of getting their children to life-saving treatments far from home. That is why miracle flights are so important to all of America’s children. To date, Miracle Flights has coordinated more than 90,000 free flights, flying over 49 million miles.

Miracle Flights for Kids® exists to help families get the care their child so desperately needs, at no cost to them, as many times as required.

Ability List

Mission
Their mission is to connect the 56 million Americans with disAbilities – as well as those who support them – with the disability resources, organizations, and activities available in their hometowns.

The Problem
Searching for disability resources can be a difficult and incomplete practice and often results in a lot of time spent for very little resources found. The resulting disconnect can lead to the unnecessary isolation of people with disabilities.

Why is this happening?
First of all, there are a lot of great organizations providing resources and services to people with disabilities, but all too often they lack the support necessary to make their offerings known to those who need them most. Furthermore, they often lack the channels to work together. This results in the need to spend many valuable hours searching through countless websites in order for people to find the resources they want and need.

How It Works
AbilityList is the aggregation of all disability resources in a hometown combined with the empowering of users to share what they know, which in turn builds a thriving community of people who are sharing and finding everything they need to fully unite and live full lives. It is comprised of:

A Complete and Accessible Directory
AbilityList provides users with a one-stop directory where they can easily find all of the available resources, organizations and programs available to them in their hometown. No more jumping from site to site. No more wasting time. Only the most relevant and valuable results.

Automatic Updates That Empower
Users can sign up for AbilityList’s simple subscriptions that will automatically funnel relevant updates and information directly to their email/account.

A Community That Shares
Our platform will help people find what they need, and more importantly, share the helpful resources they know of in their community. This will empower users to support each other and ensure that our platform stays relevant and always up to date.

2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games

2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games

Increase Your Awareness On DisAbilities

Anyone, at any time, could acquire a disAbility. We see, read and hear about it almost every day. So, we must educate ourselves and learn what those with disAbilities need us to understand:

  • DisAbilities affect many lives and most people do their best to enjoy their lives. No need to feel sorry.
  • Don’t refer to the person as a disAbled person or handicapped, a better term to use is person with a disAbility.
  • Just seeing the disAbility is wrong. They are people with different abilities.
    · The person will always be who they are. What they like, feel, care about and know is not defined by the their challenges.
    · We each have different frames of mind. Interact with the person, not the disAbility.
  • Parking spaces are valuable. Using an accessible space when you don’t need it is highly frowned upon.
  • Don’t push or touch a wheelchair unless you ask first. Some people may take offense of you trying to help, others may be grateful.
  • Always respect personal space.
  • Don’t ask a person in a wheelchair to hold things for you.
  • When speaking at length with someone in a wheelchair, if available grab a seat or kneel down so you are on the same level and can hear you better.
  • Always talking about the disAbility or referring to it is annoying and uncomfortable.
    · DisAbilities should not always be the topic of discussion.
    · You don’t have to be scared, or feel you have to know the “right” thing to say. Being honest and real is enough.
  • Although some may be physically constrained, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to contribute, or ways in which they can be involved.
    · Being involved and a part of everyday, regular life is important.
    · Just because a person looks or appears like they don’t understand, doesn’t mean they don’t.
  • Think before you speak and act.

 Simply understanding and seeking further knowledge about things you are not sure of is key. People with disAbilities want to  and should be treated as equals. This is why broadening everyone’s knowledge on disabilities is important. NMEDA’s awareness campaign, National Mobility Awareness Month (in May), helps show folks that seniors and people with disAbilities can live active, mobile lifestyles – a need we understand. We hope to educate people on different disAbilities and, in turn, hope that more people will become aware and spread the knowledge.

Rett Syndrome Awareness

What is Rett Syndrome?
Rett syndrome is a postnatal neurological disorder seen almost always in girls, but can be rarely seen in boys. It is not a degenerative disorder.

Rett syndrome is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. There are more than 200 different mutations found on the MECP2 gene. Most of these mutations are found in eight different “hot spots.”

Rett syndrome strikes all racial and ethnic groups, and occurs worldwide in 1 of every 10,000 to 23,000 female births.

Rett syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

Rett syndrome symptoms appear after an early period of apparently normal or near normal development until six to eighteen months of life, when there is a slowing down or stagnation of skills. A period of regression then follows when she loses communication skills and purposeful use of her hands. Soon, stereotyped hand movements such as handwashing, gait disturbances, and slowing of the normal rate of head growth become apparent. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns while she is awake. In the early years, there may be a period of isolation or withdrawal when she is irritable and cries inconsolably. Over time, motor problems may increase, but in general, irritability lessens and eye contact and communication improve.

Rett syndrome can present with a wide range of disability ranging from mild to severe. The course and severity of Rett syndrome is determined by the location, type and severity of her mutation and X-inactivation. Therefore, two girls of the same age with the same mutation can appear quite different.


Testing and Diagnosis
Rett syndrome is most often misdiagnosed as autism, cerebral palsy, or non-specific developmental delay. In the past, making the correct diagnosis called not only for a long list of diagnostic tests and procedures to rule out other disorders, but it also took from months to years waiting to confirm the diagnosis as new symptoms appeared over time. Today, we have a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis. However, since we know that the MECP2 mutation is also seen in other disorders, the presence of the MECP2 mutation in itself is not enough for the diagnosis of Rett syndrome. Diagnosis requires either the presence of the mutation (a molecular diagnosis) or fulfillment of the diagnostic criteria (a clinical diagnosis, based on signs and symptoms that you can observe) or both. Below is a list of labs to share with your ordering physician that can do the MECP2 sequencing + deletion analysis, and the list of diagnostic criteria.

Today is the Freedom Fest at Fort Kent, Maine

August 9th 2014 Freedom Fest

Freedom Fest 2014 is an outdoor concert on August 09, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine to raise funds for a
Veterans Museum & Community Center in Northern Maine.
A joint project of Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 and the Fort Kent Historical Society

“So that the future can understand what the past has given in the name of Freedom”


Their Vision
To build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine to showcase and appreciate the sacrifices provided on our behalf so that our children and future generations will understand the true cost of freedom. The Center shall be a living, breathing kiosk of history providing a dynamic educational opportunity for all those in the community!

Fort Kent Municipal Airport

Tickets: FreedomFest2014.bpt.me
ADULT: $40/$35 advance purchase
Under 16: $25   Under 12: FREE 
or visit Albert’s Jewelry or Gas-n-Go Foods in Fort Kent
Bring your own chair or blankets
NO Backpacks
NO Coolers

Contact Information
Duane Belanger – Martin-Klein American Legion
Email: commander@americanlegionpost133.org
Chad Pelletier – President of Fort Kent Historical Society
Email: fkhistory1@yahoo.com

Featuring
Thomas Nicholas Band
Madison Rising
Mallett Brothers Band
Spirit of Cash
Harold Ford
Laura Lucy & the Cash Band
Gunther Brown
Forget, Forget
Randolph S Michaud
Tennessee Haze
Uprooted
Kindered
Along with the cast of Freedom Fighters TV!
Featuring on opening Bike Run from Plourde Harley Davidson , Caribou to Fort Kent lead by the Patriot Guard Riders & First Lady Ann LePage honoring the fallen and respectfully welcomed in Fort Kent by the Saluting Marine SSG Tim Chambers!    Honored to welcome quad-amputee and American Hero SSG Travis MIlls as well!

Featuring a parachute jump by the First Lady of Maine & Travis Mills courtesy of Wreaths Across America!!

Vendors – Partners
VMI New England ● Fort Kent Lions ● Vets Rock ● Young Marines ● Toys For Tots ● Post 133 LadiesAuxiliary ● Fort Kent Knights of Columbus ● Market Street Coop ● Armed Forces Motorsports Foundation ● Maine Veterans Homes ● National Veterans Family Center ● US VA Togus ● Maine Military  & Community Network  ● Gas-N-Go Foods ● Albert’s Jewelry ● Maine Veterans Services ● VetCenter ● Maine National Guard
● VFW Department of Maine ● American Legion Department of Maine ● AMVETS  Department of Maine ● Fort Kent VFW ● Gary I Gordon Division Sea Cadets  ● KTC’s Brainfreeze  ● Mad Town Grillers ● Carter Dogs  ● Wreaths Across America ● Jeni’s Jewelry  ● JSB Arts ● Maine State Council Knights of Columbus  ● the Lunchbox ● Sally Bateau  ● Maine Army Guard 185th Engineer Company ● Honor & Remember – Massachusetts Chapter● Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce

FREEDOM-FEST 2014
Make a Donation — http://www.iamtheamericanflag.com/donate/

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT, is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. There are more than 70 kinds of CMT. Each kind is caused by a different kind of mutation, and more causes are being discovered every year.

CMT is just one kind of neuropathy (also called peripheral neuropathy). These names simply mean that the peripheral nerves are damaged. There are many other causes of neuropathy besides CMT, including the most common cause—diabetes.

CMT affects all people, all races, and all ethnic groups, throughout the world, affecting about 2.8 million people!

Where Did the Name CMT Come From?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth is named after three physicians who were the first to describe it in 1886: Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie, and Howard Henry Tooth.

Inherited Disorders
Things in our environment do not cause CMT. CMT is not contagious. CMT is inherited. The most common forms of CMT are passed down from one generation to the next, meaning that it is dominantly inherited.

Some forms of CMT are recessively inherited—a person may be affected even though the parents do not have CMT. In this case, each of the parents harbors a mutation in one of their two copies of a CMT gene. If the child inherits the one mutated CMT gene from each of their parents (the chance of this happening is 1 out of 4), then the child will develop CMT.

Sometimes the mutation that causes CMT happens spontaneously during the process that produces the eggs or sperm. In these rare cases, a child will have CMT even though neither parent has CMT. If a child has such a spontaneous mutation, he/she may pass that mutation down to his/her offspring.

Symptoms
Some types of CMT cause damage to the covering (myelin sheaths) that surrounds nerve fibers. Other kinds of CMT directly damage the nerves fibers themselves. In both cases, the damaged nerve fibers result in neuropathy. The nerves in the legs and arms, which are the longest, are affected first. Nerve fibers that create movement (called motor fibers) and nerve fibers that transmit sensations (called sensory fibers) are both affected. Thus, CMT causes weakness and numbness, usually, starting in the feet.

In the most common kinds of CMT, symptoms usually begin before the age of 20 years. They may include:

  • Foot deformity (very high arched feet);
  • Foot drop (inability to hold foot horizontal);
  • “Slapping” gait (feet slap on the floor when walking because of foot drop);
  • Loss of muscle in the lower legs, leading to skinny calves;
  • Numbness in the feet;
  • Difficulty with balance;
  • Later, similar symptoms also may appear in the arms and hands.

CMT almost never affects brain function.

Diagnosis
A thorough neurological evaluation by an expert in neuropathy, including a complete family history, physical exam, and nerve conduction tests, with appropriate genetic testing is the way to establish the diagnosis of CMT.

A physical exam may show:

  • Difficulty lifting up the foot while walking;
  • Difficulty with dorsiflexion of the toes and ankles (upward movement, away from the ground) and other foot movements;
  • Reduced or absent deep tendon reflexes (like the knee-jerk reflex);
  • Loss of muscle control and atrophy (shrinking of the muscles) in the feet and lower legs (and later the hands).

Genetic testing can provide the exact cause for most people who have CMT.

Prognosis (Expectations)
CMT usually gets worse, slowly, with age; rapid progression is rare, and should motivate a prompt re-evaluation. The problems with weakness, numbness, difficulty with balance, and orthopedic problems can progress to the point of causing disability. Pain can be an issue, as a direct result of the neuropathy (neuropathic pain) and as consequence of orthopedic problems. Other potential complications include the following:

  • Progressive inability to walk from weakness, balance problems, and/or orthopedic problems;
  • Progressive inability to use hands effectively;
  • Injury to areas of the body that have decreased sensation.

Treatments
There are no known treatments that will stop or slow down the progression of CMT, but the CMTA is funding research to find these treatments.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physical activity may help maintain muscle strength and improve independent functioning.

Orthopedic equipment (such as braces, inserts, or orthopedic shoes) may make it easier to walk.

Orthopedic surgery on the feet can often maintain or even restore function to enable walking.

Cat Eye Syndrome / Schmid Fraccaro Syndrome

Cat Eye Syndrome is the more common name for a condition involving a partial trisomy or tetrasomy of part of chromosome 22. A small extra chromosome (humans normally have only 2) made up of the top half of chromosome 22 – the “p” arm, as well as the portion of the long arm of chromosome 22 down to the breakpoint q11.2, is found to be present either three times (trisomy) or four times (tetrasomy ).

Cat Eye Syndrome is also known in the literature as Schmid-Fraccaro Syndrome, Partial Tetrasomy 22, or Inv Dup(22)(q11) (Inverted Duplication).     It is often referred to as Cat Eye Syndrome as some of the people affected may have coloboma of the iris – which make their eyes appear to look like cat’s eyes. This feature however, is only reported in about half of the known cases. The earliest reports stem back over 100 years ago, but the first association

Clinically, this is one of the more variable syndromes. People who have Cat Eye Syndrome can be anywhere from normal to suffering from severe malformations. This has proven true of the people who have joined our group, who have this condition.

Some of the features seen in people with CES include coloboma of the iris, anal atresia, ear tags and/or ear pits, heart defects, and kidney malformations, but because of the variability, there have been reports of malformations affecting almost every organ.

Cognitively, people with CES can be considered either normal intelligence, or have varying degrees of mental delay, although it is rare to see severe mental impairment in this condition.

The condition usually arises spontaneously, but our group does have some members who have CES and have passed it on to their children.

Angelman syndrome

Understanding AS
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births. AS is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy, autism or Prader-Willi syndrome. Due to these similarities, misdiagnosis is a prevalent problem.

Late or misdiagnosis may cause individuals to lose opportunities for early intervention programs, resources, personalized support and life-saving treatments.

That’s why it’s important to increase awareness and understanding of Angelman syndrome, a disorder that occurs in roughly 1 in 15,000 live births.

Characteristics of the disorder include developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures, and walking and balance disorders. Individuals with Angelman syndrome will require life-long care.

The Angelman Syndrome Foundation website is the best place to keep abreast of current information regarding research, education, general information and therapies for Angelman syndrome. If you have any questions or would like additional information please email the ASF at info@angelman.org.

Diagnosis
50% of individuals with Angelman syndrome are originally misdiagnosed.

A blood test can detect up to 80-85% of individuals with Angelman syndrome by identifying whether the UBE3A gene is functioning properly.

For the remaining 15-20% of individuals, an experienced clinician who is familiar with Angelman syndrome can provide a clinical diagnosis.

Proper diagnosis is key to providing the best treatment to individuals with neurogenetic disorders – disorders that share similar symptoms including developmental delays, seizures, motor issues, and lack of cooing, babbling, or speech.

Symptoms of Angelman syndrome:

  • Developmental delays – vary from individual to individual
  • Seizures
  • A happy demeanor – frequent laughing, smiling and excitability
  • In infants 0-24 months:
    • Lack of cooing or babbling
    • Inability to support one’s head, pull oneself up to stand, and delayed motor skills
  • In young children:
    • Lack of speech, although some develop the ability to speak a few words
    • Delayed ability to walk, unstable gait or balance issues

 

Facts About Angelman Syndrome
Download the complete text and illustrations of Facts About Angelman Syndrome.
This document is also available in español.

Q&A’s About the 100% Disabled Veteran’s Homestead Exemption

If you qualify as a 100% Disabled Veteran, you will be interested in the answers to the most commonly asked questions below.

  • What are the qualifications for this exemption?
    • You qualify for this 100% homestead exemption if you meet these requirements:
      • You own a home and occupy it as your residence homestead.
      • You are receiving 100% disability compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs for a service-connected disability.
      • You have a disability rating of 100% disabled or of individual unemployability.

      To get this exemption, you must fill out Form 11.13, checking the box for 100% Disabled Veterans Exemption, as well as all boxes that apply to you. You must attach documentation as well. You may attach a copy of your award letter, a “VA tax letter,” or another document from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs showing 100% disability compensation due to a service-connected disability and a rating of 100% disability or of individual unemployability. The documents you attach must be current documents.

  • How much of my home’s value will it exempt?

    • If you qualify, your home will be totally exempt from property taxes in all jurisdictions, regardless of the home’s value. If you co-own the home with someone other than your spouse, your share of the home’s value will be exempted.
  • I already have a homestead exemption. Do I need to apply for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption?
    • Yes. This exemption is not given automatically.
  • I just qualified for the disabled veteran’s exemption. Why do I need to send you my documentation for this exemption?
    • Qualifications for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption differ from those for the prior disabled veteran’s exemption. In particular, you must show that you actually receive 100% disability compensation for a service-connected disability, and have a rating of 100% disability or individual unemployability.
  • When is the new homestead exemption effective?
    • If you apply and qualify for the current tax year as well as the prior tax year, you will be granted the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption for both years. Effective January 1, 2012, you may receive this exemption for the applicable portion of the year immediately upon qualification. (This applies to 2012 forward; not to prior years).
  • I bought my home after January 1, 2011. Will I get the new exemption for part of 2011?
    • No. The exemption will take effect for the 2012 year if you didn’t own your home on January 1, 2011.
  • My disability rating is actually 50%, but because I am over 65, I receive the maximum disability exemption. Do I qualify for the new homestead exemption?
    • No. You must be 100% disabled or have a rating of individual unemployability to qualify for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption. You must also be receiving 100% disability compensation from the VA. If the VA reduces or changes either of these ratings, it is your responsibility to notify the appraisal district in writing.
  • If something happens to me, will the new homestead exemption pass to my spouse or children?
    • Your surviving spouse, married to you and living at the same residence, may qualify to continue this exemption.
  • I owe delinquent taxes on my home for years before 2011. Will the new exemption affect those?
    • No. The exemption will apply for 2011 forward. It does not affect prior years.
  • I am in a hospital or nursing home. Can I still get the new exemption?
    • Yes, as long as you intend to return to the home when you are able.
  • My spouse and I own our home together. How is this homestead exemption calculated?
    • If the home is community property, it is calculated as if you owned 100% of the home. If the home is not community property, the exemption is prorated in proportion to the value of your interest.
  • I have a mortgage on the home. Can I still get the new homestead exemption?
    • Yes.
  • I don’t currently have a homestead exemption. Do I need to apply for the regular homestead exemption in addition to this one?
    • You should also apply for the regular homestead exemption. This will ensure that you receive the maximum benefits of the regular exemption should your qualification for the new exemption change.
  • I have recently turned 65. Should I apply for the over-65 homestead exemption in addition to the new exemption?
    • Yes, for the same reasons given above.
  • Q. How much of my home’s value will the new exemption exempt?
    • Your home will be totally exempt from property taxes.
  • I meet all of the qualifications for this exemption. I currently apply the $12,000 regular disabled veteran’s exemption to my home. When I get the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption, what happens to the other exemption?
    • This exemption will exempt all of the value of your home. Consequently, the $12,000 disabled veteran’s exemption will have no effect. If you own other taxable property (such as a vacation home or business), you should file a new application with the appraisal district and designate the $12,000 exemption as applying to the other property.
  • Will I have to reapply every year for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption?
    • No. Once your exemption is granted, you will not have to reapply unless the chief appraiser requires you to do so in writing.
  • I already have a disability homestead exemption on my home. What is the difference between that one and this one?
    • The existing disability homestead exemption has different requirements and benefits. For that exemption, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled, which is not necessarily the same as that used by the VA or your branch of the military. The benefits are also different. Only school districts are required to provide a disability homestead exemption, though many other taxing entities do. The 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption will apply to all taxing units and will exempt the total value of your home.
  • Can I apply this exemption to my main home and get the general homestead exemption on my vacation home?
    • No. Both exemptions apply only to the home that is your principal residence. You can, however, apply the prior disabled veteran’s exemption to your vacation home.
  • How do I get documentation of my status from the VA?
    • You can contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000. Their website is at www.va.gov.

Assistive Technology Act

As technology has come to play an increasingly important role in the lives of all persons in the United States, in the conduct of business, in the functioning of government, in the fostering of communication, in the conduct of commerce, and in the provision of education, its impact upon the lives of the more than 50,000,000 individuals with disabilities in the United States has been comparable to its impact upon the remainder of the citizens of the United States. Any development in mainstream technology would have profound implications for individuals with disabilities in the United States.

(Findings and Purposes, Assistive Technology Act of 1998, Finding 3)

The Assistive Technology Act was first passed by Congress and signed by the President as the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988. It’s often called the Tech Act for short and has been reauthorized in 1994, 1998, and 2004. The most current version of the Act is authorized through 2010.

Purpose of the Tech Act
The Tech Act is intended to promote people’s awareness of, and access to, assistive technology (AT) devices and services. The Act seeks to provide AT to persons with disabilities, so they can more fully participate in education, employment, and daily activities on a level playing field with other members of their communities. The Act covers people with disabilities of all ages, all disabilities, in all environments (early intervention, K-12, post-secondary, vocational rehabilitation, community living, aging services, etc.).


A Look at Key Definitions
The Assistive Technology Act of 2004 defines an assistive technology device in the following way:

…any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. (29 U.S.C. Sec 2202(2))

AT devices can be “low tech,” “medium tech,” or “high tech”–as the examples below show.

  • power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers, and standing devices
  • augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices), voice amplifiers,and speech recognition devices
  • durable medical equipment and medical supplies, such as patient lifts and incontinence supplies
  • orthotics and prosthetics, such as hearing aids and electric larynxes
  • accessibility adaptations to the home, workplace, schools, group homes, nursing facilities, ICF/MRs, and other places (e.g., ramps, stair glides, lifts, grab bars, flashing smoke detectors, lever doorknobs, and environmental controls)
  • special equipment to help people work, study, and engage in recreation, such as enlarged computer keyboards, reachers, amplified telephones, magnifiers, voice recognition software, and adaptive sports equipment
  • accessibility modifications in the community, such as audio systems on public transportation, talking ATMs, and voting machines for the blind (Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, 2008)

An assistive technology service is defined as:

…any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Examples of AT services–taken from the law itself–include:

An evaluation of the AT needs of an individual, including a functional evaluation of how AT would help the individual

Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing an AT device

Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, replacing, or donating an AT device

Coordinating and using therapies, such as occupational therapy or physical therapy, with AT devices under an educational plan or rehabilitative plan

Training or technical assistance for an individual with a disability, or his or her family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives

Training or technical assistance for educational or rehabilitation professionals, manufacturers of AT devices, employers, providers of training and employment services, and others who help individuals with disabilities

A service that expands access to technology, including email and Internet, to persons with disabilities.

State AT Projects
Under the law, each U.S. state and territory receives a grant to fund an Assistive Technology Act Project (ATAP). These projects provide services to persons with disabilities for their entire life span, as well as to their families or guardians, service providers, and agencies and other entities that are involved in providing services such as education and employment to persons with disabilities.

How do you find your state’s AT project? Visit the RESNA Catalyst Project, and select your state from the list, that’s how.
http://www.resnaprojects.org/allcontacts/statewidecontacts.htm

To Read the Statute of the Act
The statute of the Tech Act is the bill that was passed by Congress into law and signed by the President. As mentioned above, the most recent reauthorization took place in 2004 as Public Law 108-364. Officially, this last reauthorization of the Act is called The Improving Access to Assistive Technology for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004. You can find a copy of the statute online:

Summaries of the Law

Council for Exceptional Children. (2005). Public policy update: CEC’s summary and update of PL 108-364, the Assistive Technology Reauthorization Act of 2004. Available online, at:
http://www.cec.sped.org/~/media/Files/Policy/Archives/Assistive%20Technology/Summary%20of%20Assistive%20Technology%20Law.pdf

Global Legal Information Network. (n.d.). Summary record: Assistive Technology Act of 2004. Retrieved December 15, 2009, from: http://www.glin.gov/view.action?glinID=182969

Relton, J. (2005, January). Policy issues: The Assistive Technology Act of 2004. http://www.afb.org/AFBPress/pub.asp?DocID=aw060109

U.S. Department of Education. (2006). Assistive Technology Act: Annual report to Congress: Fiscal years 2004 and 2005. Available online at: http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/rsa/atsg/2004/index.html

Information about Assistive Technology
Listed in alphabetical order…

AbleData | Provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment | http://www.abledata.com/

AccessIT: The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education | http://www.washington.edu/accessit/

Alliance for Technology Access | http://www.ataccess.org/

Assistive Technology Industry Association | http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO) | Provides information on AT applications that help students with disabilities learn in elementary classrooms | http://atto.buffalo.edu/

Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) | http://www.fctd.info

NICHCY’s Pinterest board on AT | http://pinterest.com/elaineindc/assistive-technology/

National Public Website on Assistive Technology | http://www.assistivetech.net/

Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) Program | Provides protection and advocacy services to help individuals with disabilities of all ages acquire, utilize, and maintain AT services or devices | To identify your state’s program, visit: http://www.adap.net/palist/pas.html

RehabTool | http://www.rehabtool.com/at.html

References
Assistive technology for persons with disabilities: An overview. Retrieved December 15, 2009, from: http://drnpa.org/File/publications/assistive-technology-for-persons-with-disabilities—an-overview.pdf

Recreation Opportunities For People With Disabilities

All Out Adventures
All Out Adventures provides outdoor accessible recreational opportunities throughout Massachusetts for people of all abilities, their families and friends. Summer programs include accessible kayaking, canoeing, hiking and cycling. Winter programs include snowshoeing, x-country skiing & sit-skiing, ice skating, sled skating and snowmobile rides.

Accessible Swimming Pools
Accessible Swimming Pools outdoor swimming pool lifts are available at all of the State Parks and Recreation Department’s 20 swimming pools. The pools are free. Contact pool directly for information about other site factors affecting accessibility.

AccesSport America
AccesSport America is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery of higher function, fitness, and fun for children and adults with disabilities through high-challenge sports, which include kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.

Arcs.
Local Arcs provide a variety of social and recreational activities for children and teens with developmental disabilities.

Bostnet / Guide to Boston’s Before & After School Programs
Build the Out-of-School Time Network (BOSTnet) has built a network of out-of-school time (OST) resources and opportunities for all children and youth, including those from low-income families and youth with disabilities.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary offers nine miles of walking trails guiding through a variety of field, woodland, and wetland habitats. A quarter-mile, handicap accessible trail and boardwalk along the bank of Indian Brook. Universally accessible facilities: Nature Center, Restrooms, All Persons Trail.

BSC (Boston Sports Club) Adaptive Swim Program
On Monday and Wednesday evening, between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, BSC Waltham (840 Winter Street) offers an adaptive swim program for children, youth, adolescents and adults with disabilities in our 93 degree therapy pool. Volunteers between the ages of 16-20 from neighboring schools and organizations offer their time to pair with an individual seeking to increase range of motion, flexibility, and strength but most importantly to socialize with other individuals and families. Our adaptive swim program is offered during the school year (September thru May) in 8-week sessions at a cost of $200 per session. Our 120,000 square foot, state of the art facility can accommodate families in our men’s, women’s or family changing rooms, fully equipped with showers, lockers, restrooms, towels, and other amenities.

  • 781-522-2054
  • 781-522-2512

CAPEable Adventures
offers adaptive sports & therapeutic recreation activities to local residents and vacationers to the Cape.


Cape Cod Challenger Club

Cape Cod Challenger Club offers noncompetitive sports and recreation opportunities for children with disabilities.

Challenger Sport League
Some towns have challenger teams. The goal of the challenger team is to play with no pressure and to educate typical peers and their parents about sportsmanship. The program is available for boys and girls, ages 3 – 19 with all types of physical and developmental disabilities. Call your local town recreation department to find out if they offer challenger sports.

Children’s Physical Developmental Clinic at Bridgewater State University
BSC students from all majors have opportunities to volunteer as clinicians and work with children and youth with disabilities, ages 18 months to 18 years. Clinic dates are to the right on website’s homepage.

Choral / Community Voices
Open to individuals 16 years of age and older. Must be willing to be committed for 12 weeks. Provides a choral opportunity for adults and young adults with developmental delays. Singing in an ensemble, individuals will have the opportunity to develop and refine vocal technique, listening skills, and team-work. Repertoire will include songs from the masters, traditional and folk favorites, as well as pop and Broadway tunes. Performances are scheduled in December and June. Fee $156/fall, $243/spring.

Compelling Fitness
Compelling Fitness in Hanover provides group and / or individual physical fitness training for children and adults with special needs.

Fitness Program / Special Needs Training
Call your local YMCA.

Horseback Riding – PATH International Centers in Massachusetts
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, PATH International was formally known as North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Though PATH Intl. began with a focus on horseback riding as a form of physical and mental therapy, the organization and its dedicated members have since developed a multitude of different equine-related activities for therapeutic purposes, collectively known as equine-assisted activities and therapies (or EAAT).

JF&CS Sunday Respite Program
JF&CS Sunday Respite Program for Children with Developmental Disabilities including those on the Autism Spectrum. Program includes swimming, music and art therapy. The program meets at the Striar JCC in Stoughton from 1:00 -4:00. This program is run by JF&CS with additional funding from Eastern Bank.


Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S)

  • Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S) Thirteen specialized athletic programs are available. K.I.D.S. hosts dances, sports banquets, social activities and recreational events throughout the year. Serves individuals and families throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Participants range in age 5-40 and have varying disabilities. http://www.kidsinc.us/
  • info@kidsinc.us
  • 1-866-712-7799

LIAM Nation Athletics (formerly known as FOSEK, Friends of Special Education Kidz)
sports leagues for special needs children in Tewksbury and surrounding communities in Merrimack Valley. Accomodates athletes of all abilities. Bombers Baseball, Striker Soccer, Little Reds Basketball.

Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program
Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Accessibility to Massachusetts State Parks is achieved through site improvements, specialized adaptive recreation equipment, and accessible recreation programs.

Massachusetts Hospital School Wheelchair Recreation & Sports Program
Wheelchair sports and recreation program for children ages 9 to 21. Horseback riding, swimming and , Wheelchair Athletes Program.

Miracle League of Massachusetts
Miracle League of Massachusetts provides baseball for special needs children. Free to participate (includes uniform). Located at Blanchard Memorial Elementary School Ball Field in Boxborough.

New England Wheelchair Athletic Association (NEWAA)
Volunteer organization that helps individuals with physcial disabilities participate in recreational
and sports activities. The NEWAA provides opportunities for athletic competition by sponsoring
regional and local meets.

Partners for Youth With Disabilities Provides mentoring programs that assist young people reach their full potential. Partners provides several types of mentoring programs including one-to-one, group mentoring and e-mentoring.

Piers Park Sailing
Piers Park Sailing provides programs for disabled youth and adults aboard 23-foot sonar sailboats on a no charge basis. Serves those with amputations, paralysis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, hearing impaired, sight impaired and other disabilities. Successfully integrates youth with disabilities into summer youth sailing programs. Scholarships are available for all Adaptive sailing programs. “Yes You Can Sail” program Friday eves for $35.

  • (617) 561-6677

Senseability Gym
Senseability Gym serves special needs children in greater Hopedale area. Our mission is to provide a parent-led sensory gym, giving children with special needs a safe, fun, indoor area where they can play and accommodate their sensory needs.

Spaulding Adaptive Sports
Spaulding Adaptive Sports offers adaptive sports and recreation activities in Boston, Cape Cod and the North Shore. Includes wheelchair tennis, hand cycling, adaptive rowing, waterskiing or windsurfing.

Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA)
Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) provides year round sports training and athletic competition for all persons with intellectual disabilities. Minimum age requirement is eight years of age. There is no maximum age requirement. SOMA summer games offers aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, sailing, tennis and volleyball. Go to above link to search SOMA region that covers your town.

Sudbury Adaptive Sports & Recreation
Programs for all ages and abilities.

Super Soccer Stars Shine
Our unique program uses soccer as a vehicle to teach life skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. Our innovative curriculum, designed by licensed educators and therapists, promotes the complete growth and development of each player. Our low player-to-coach ratios encourage and empower players to increase social potential with teammates, build self-awareness and confidence and advance gross and fine motor skills — all while each individual improves at his or her own pace! Located at 1 Thompson Square, Suite 301 in Charlestown. Call for information. Low pricing options and scholarship applications available.

Therapy and the Performing Arts – Cape Cod
Provides children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to enjoy various arts and recreational programs in addition to receiving therapeutic benefits from their participation. Children gain new and rewarding experiences from which they develop self-confidence, increase motor function, and have fun. Offers age appropriate programming on Cape Cod for children and young adults diagnosed with down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalies, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders and othe cognitive and physical disabilities. Classes are taught by certified instructors/ therapists with expertise in various disciplines. Programs are offered on a sliding scale fee based on the family’s ability to pay.


TILL Autism Support Center

TILL Autism Support Center has social programs for those with autism spectrum disorders. Programs include exciting Family Fun Days that include apple picking, rock climing, sledding, in-door gym time, zoo trips, holiday parties and much more.

Town Recreation Departments
Most programs are open to participants from neighboring towns. Call area town recreation department to find out if it has special programming for children with disabilities.

Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn.
Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn. offers information about beach wheelchairs, biking, boating and more!

TopSoccer Program / Outreach Program for Soccer
is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with a mental or physical disability. For additional information or would like to start a TOPSoccer Program in your community contact:

YMCAs
YMCAs are accessible and offer a range of classes. Call your local YMCA to find out what programs are available.

The Lowell YMCA “Adaptive Aquatics Program” accommodates children with mild to moderate neurological, physical, or social challenges.

  • (978) 454-7825.

Oak Square YMCA of Greater Boston at 615 Washington St, Brighton has a new adaptive fitness room & offers Adapted Adult Speciality Fitness Partnership Program on Wednesday and Saturday 11AM – 12:30PM on the Fitness Floor.

Hopkinton YMCA offers seasonal specialized programs. “Aim High” archery program and “Rock On!” is an outdoor ropes course and rock climbing for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or related social communication disorders.

  • 45 East Street in Hopkinton.

WaterFire Access Program
A water-taxi program at Dyer Street Dock in Providence Rhode Island which provides an unforgettable experience of the art work for children and adults with disabilities to assure that they can join in the most popular arts event in the state and share the experience with their families and friends. Reservations are required. Each Water Fire Access passenger can bring along one companion.

Waypoint Adventures
Adventures for people of all ages and abilities

Whole Children offers movement, art, recreation and music programs for infants, children and teens of all abilities. Located in Hadley.

Dodge/ Chrysler’s Mobility Rebate

Chrysler’s Automobility Program

Overview
Designed to help customers with permanent disabilities enter, exit and/or operate a new vehicle, Chrysler’s Automobility Program can help you do the things you love to do in life. And, we’ll help you hit the road in the style that suits you best. Our goal is to assist in lessening the burden of the financial cost of modifying your vehicle.

How the Program Works
When you buy or lease any new 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT® vehicle from a participating dealership or FIAT studio, Chrysler will give you a cash reimbursement to help reduce the cost of installing the adaptive driver or passenger equipment on your vehicle. Leased vehicles must be leased for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible.

Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.

Please consult a dealership or call Automobility Program Headquarters for eligibility requirements and program expiration dates.

A program application must be used to submit a claim for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the Chrysler Automobility Program. Through this program, Chrysler will provide a reimbursement to each eligible customer who installs qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle (unless discontinued or excluded earlier at the discretion of Chrysler Group LLC).

A medical doctor’s prescription or note may also be required for certain types of modifications. Consult a dealership for more information on which modifications require notes.

Reimbursement
Conversions to Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicles qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $1,000. Running boards qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $400. Alerting devices qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $200. These reimbursements will not be reduced or affected by any additional outside funding. Consult your dealer for complete eligibility requirements.

Eligible Vehicles
Vehicles eligible for reimbursement include 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT vehicles. Dodge Viper, Dodge Dart SE and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT® models are ineligible.

Financing
If you require assistance with financing an adapted vehicle purchase / lease, we can help you finance the cost of your new vehicle, as well as any modifications you make to it. Conventional financing is available through Ally Financial to all qualified new vehicle buyers.

Click HERE for the Application

Honda Mobility Rebate Information

Honda’s Mobility Assistance Program
The Honda Customer Mobility Assistance Program is proud to support the mobility needs of drivers and passengers with physical disabilities. Honda will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer for expenses incurred to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Honda vehicle.

Adapting Your Vehicle
Honda suggests that you request a copy of the Department of Transportation brochure “Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities.”  

The process includes these steps:

  • Determine your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • Evaluate your needs – Contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) for further information.
  • Select the right vehicle – Consult with your evaluator, an adaptive installer and your local Honda dealer to determine the best Honda model to meet your needs.
  • Choose a qualified mobility equipment installer – Shop around and ask about qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty coverage and service. Confirm that they are members of NMEDA.
  • Obtain training on the use of the new equipment – When this process is complete, follow the guidelines and complete and submit an application for assistance to recover up to $1,000 of the cost of your adaptive equipment and/or conversion.

Program Requirements
General

  • Only the original vehicle owner is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Modifications must be completed for the original owner or his/her immediate family.
  • Only new Honda vehicles retailed or leased in the United States from an authorized Honda dealership.
  • Only one reimbursement request per vehicle.
  • Lease-vehicle modifications may be subject to written lessor approval. The customer is responsible for determining and satisfying lease-contract requirements.
  • Honda will consider reimbursement for modifications made to vehicle after February 1, 2004.
  • The written reimbursement request must be received within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.

Adaptations, Modifications or Equipment Installation

  • Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as: alterations or adaptive-equipment installation that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Adaptive equipment installation must have taken place within the time and mileage limits of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • Alterations or adaptive equipment installation requires a prescription or medical documentation to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement requests (invoices) will be compared against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site to verify that the alterer or repair business (individual, partnership or corporation) is registered with NHTSA and that the modification(s) are on the list of NHTSA exemptions.
  • If all conditions are met, Honda will provide up to a $1,000 cash reimbursement. Honda will be the secondary coverage in the case of two or more reimbursement sources.

Exceptions

  • Wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps do not require a prescription, medical documentation or NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • Modifications that DO NOT make inoperative any part of a device or element of design that has been installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard will not require NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • *A reimbursement made by another source, such as medical insurance, will be subtracted from the customer’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance reimbursement $4,000, Customer expense, $1,000. The customer expense of $1,000 will be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Important Customer Information

  • The selection of an equipment manufacturer and installer is solely the customer’s responsibility (Honda does not endorse any company or supplier involved in adaptive equipment. Mobility warranty, installation warranty and related liabilities are not the responsibility of Honda).
  • The reimbursement application form must be completed in its entirety and signed by the customer. It should be mailed along with a copy of all required supporting documentation. (See checklist on application).

Click HERE For the Honda Mobility Assistance Brochure

Toyota Mobility Rebate Information

Toyota Mobility Assistance Program
This program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle.

  • Under this program, the cash reimbursement will be provided for the exact cost you paid to purchase and install qualifying adaptive driving or passenger equipment for transporting persons with physical disabilities
  • This offer applies to all purchased or leased new Toyota vehicles

The program also applies to purchasers of the Toyota Factory Installed Auto Access Seat, where the full $1,000 cash reimbursement will be paid directly to you.
Expect to receive payment within 6-8 weeks after all the paperwork is submitted. Incomplete paperwork will delay the payment.

Leased vehicles require advance written lessor approval of adaptive equipment installations.

Only vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. dealer are eligible under this program.

The adaptive equipment must be installed within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

A Reimbursement Application Form must be submitted to the Toyota Mobility Assistance Center within 90 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment

Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as any aftermarket alteration or equipment installation on an eligible Toyota vehicle that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.

Audi Mobility Rebate Information

2013 Audi Mobility Rebate Program
Will Offer $1,500 in assistance for approved adaptive equipment.

Audi is pleased to announce that they are continuing the 2013 Mobility Assistance program for handicap hand controls that are installed on any qualifying Audi model. They will also consider other types of handicap assists (such as hydraulic lifts for scooters, etc.) on a case-by-case basis. All exception requests should be made directly to mobilityassistance@audi.com.

Audi will offer $1,500 in assistance for hand controls (or other approved handicap assistance devices) to anyone who purchases or leases a new Audi or CPO Audi vehicle (Dealer demonstrator vehicles are also included). The client should contact an adaptive equipment retailer of their choice for information concerning the purchase and installation of such equipment.

Required documentation
To qualify for payment, the client must submit the following documentation:

  • Name, address, home and secondary phone numbers.
  • A photocopy of a signed Purchase (Bill of Sale) or Lease Agreement for a new Audi or Audi CPO vehicle.
  • A photocopy of a paid invoice for hand control installation (or other approved assistance devices) on the Audi model purchased or leased.

All payments will be made directly to the Audi owner approximately four weeks after submission to Audi. Documentation should be submitted, faxed or emailed to:
Audi of America, Inc.

ATTN: Audi Mobility Assistance Program
3800 Hamlin Road
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Phone: +1-800-822-AUDI (2834)
Fax: +1-248-754-6513
Email: mobilityassistance@audi.com

Fiat Mobility Rebate Information

Fiat 500 equipped with hand control devices for individuals with physical disabilities save $200

Save $200 on the installation of any new hand controls in your new or used Fiat for the month of July in 2013

Do you have a Fiat 500 and are in need of it being equipped with a set of hand controls or other mobility devices for individuals with physical disabilities.

We offer a lifetime guaranty on our installation. If you ever feel there is something wrong with your hand controls (even if we didn’t install them) please come in to our Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center for a free inspection by a certified mobility craftsman.

If you looking to have mobility equipment expertly installed by master craftsman call 508-697-6006 Automotive Innovations Bridgewater, MA

We will alter your automobile to suit your mobility needs, help you find the perfect hand controls or mobility equipment for your vehicle and install it expertly for you.

Mercedes-Benz Mobility Rebate Information

If you have special transportation needs and require mobility equipment installed in your new Mercedes-Benz you could be eligible for the Mobility Program.

If you are eligible for this program, MBUSA will defray part of the cost for adaptive equipment installed by an NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) certified mobility installer on a purchased or leased new Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Click and download the PDF below for the program application and to learn more about program details, eligibility and available reimbursement amounts.

PROGRAM GUIDELINES
Through this program, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC will provide a reimbursement to eligible customers who install qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Mercedes-Benz vehicle during the program period which may be discontinued by MBUSA at it’s discretion.

  • This program applies to vehicles sold or leased and delivered through an authorized U.S. MB dealer on which adaptive equipment has been installed by an NMEDA certified mobility installer.
  • The adaptive equipment must be installed within six months of new vehicle purchase or lease. An application form with all required supporting documentation must be submitted to the Customer Assistance Center within 60 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment. Note that all adaptations must have medical documentation.
  • Adaptive equipment is defined as equipment that is required by persons with a permanent disability to drive, enter, exit and/or be transported safely in a Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle. Factory-optional equipment is not reimbursable under this program. A prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead with a specific diagnosis is required for reimbursement.
  • Conversions to M-Class, G-Class, GL-Class, GLK-Class and R-Class models may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $1,000. Conversions to all other eligible Mercedes-Benz models qualify for reimbursement up to a maximum of $750. Side steps or running boards qualify for reimbursement up to $400 out of the maximum reimbursement available.
  • The application form must be completed in its entirety along with all required documentation and signed by the customer and dealership.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC will be the final judge as to the eligibility, interpretation and fulfillment of all elements of this program. Any payment or benefits received are subject to the Program Guidelines. Payments made by Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC hereafter constitute good will reimbursements to assist new Mercedes-Benz purchasers with the installation of special need mobility equipment and such payment does not represent any approval of the equipment or installation method or otherwise constitute a representation or warranty regarding the fitness, quality, appropriateness, effectiveness or suitability for use with Mercedes-Benz products or any other warranty of any type with respect to the equipment or its installation.
  • A copy of the application form, a copy of the adaptive equipment company’s itemized paid invoice, vehicle registration and a prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead stating the specific diagnosis (when required) must be mailed to the following address:

CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE CENTER
3 MERCEDES DR.
MONTVALE, NJ 07645

Customer is responsible for submitting this application. Payment to the individual customer will be mailed within six weeks after receipt of an approved claim form and all required documentation.

Please call Customer Assistance Center with Any Questions:
1-800-FOR-MERCedes

Click HERE for the application form along with the guidelines

Kia Mobility Rebate Information

Military Offers

Special Offers for members of the United States Armed Forces that are active, reservists, retirees, have received and honorable discharge or military members that are on disability from the United States Armed Forces, including spouses.

For More Information:

  • Click this link: Military Offers
  • Enter your zip code
  • Click on the offers to see details

Jaguar Mobility Rebate Information

Jaguar Mobility Program
The Jaguar Mobility Headquarters can assist in locating assessment centers, equipment dealers and installers, and potential resources for financial assistance.

For further information on the Jaguar Mobility Program call 1-800-207-5517 or TTY 1-800-833-0312 .

Nissan Mobility Rebate Information

MOBILIZE AND GET
REIMBURSED UP TO $1000

The Nissan Mobility Assist Program is committed to making every Nissan vehicle accessible. To help make this happen, we’re offering up to a $1,000 reimbursement on your purchase and installation of qualified adaptive equipment. It’s a simple process that you can manage directly through the Nissan Mobility website.

Mobility Information
Please contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for additional information on equipment and registered installers

Overview
Purchase or lease a new Nissan through a participating Nissan dealer  Within 6 months, have qualifying adaptive equipment installed by a NHTSA-registered  installer

Complete “Nissan Mobility Form” online and submit all applicable documentation through fax or email within 90 days of installation.

Documentation includes: vehicle sale or purchase agreement, copy of invoice from NHTSA-registered installer, proof of customer payment (receipt) for equipment/installation, medical documentation as described in the program rules, lessor written letter of approval (if applicable), medical insurance statement (if applicable)  Receive reimbursement of up to $1,000 from Nissan

Program Rules
Retailed vehicles only; vehicle must be purchased or leased from a participating Nissan dealer after 4/2/2013  Used sales and Fleet sales are not eligible under this program Nissan Mobility Assist reimbursement cannot be applied toward the purchase or lease of the vehicle

Only one reimbursement per vehicle may be made  All leased vehicle modifications should be approved by lessor For existing leases through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (NMAC), the following types of adaptive equipment have been pre-approved: Hand Controls, Wheelchair/Scooter Lift, Left Foot Accelerator, Turning Automotive Seating Adaptive equipment must be installed after vehicle has been retailed and within 6 months of purchase or lease from an authorized Nissan dealer.

Requests for reimbursement must be made within 90 days after the equipment is installed Adaptive equipment must be medically necessary in order to operate the Nissan vehicle or transport passengers with a documented physical disability To receive reimbursement for vehicle modifications, medical documentation must be submitted to Nissan clearly stating the disability or impairment for which the equipment is intended.

The documentation must be prepared on official letterhead of and signed by a licensed, certified medical professional Installer must be registered with NHTSA and customer must provide Nissan with a receipt from the installer Nissan Accessories are not eligible for reimbursement     Exceptions
Nissan will not provide reimbursement for the purchase and/or installation of equipment that has already been fully claimed and fulfilled by medical insurance  A reimbursement made by another source, such as medical insurance, will be subtracted from the customer’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance  reimbursement $4,000, Customer expense, $1,000. The customer expense of $1,000 will  be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Warranty Information
Adaptations are not warranted by Nissan, please consult with your installer and/or equipment provider for warranty information  Contact Information  The vehicle modifications must fall within those permitted under the NHTSA exemption as set out in 49 CFR §595.7  Expect to receive reimbursement within 6-10 weeks after all required paperwork has been received by Nissan
Any damage to the vehicle due to adaptive equipment or its installation may void or not be covered under the Nissan New Vehicle Limited Warranty Nissan assumes no responsibility for death, injuries, or damage related to the installation of adaptive equipment

Requests for assistance may be submitted via email Applicable claim documentation may be submitted via fax at 888-912-2409

Ford Mobility Rebate Information

Program Details
The Ford Mobility Motoring adaptive equipment reimbursement of up to $1,000, or up to $200 for alert hearing devices, lumbar support or running boards, is available on any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period. Maximum reimbursement per vehicle is $1,000. Your Ford or Lincoln dealer has complete program details.

For example: If the cost of adding adaptive equipment is less than $1,000, your cash reimbursement will be for the exact amount of the adaptive equipment. Your Ford or Lincoln dealer has complete program details.

New Program Guidelines

Major structural vehicle modifications to accommodate the installation of wheelchair lift or ramp MUST be completed by a Ford Authorized Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to be eligible for reimbursement. This change will be effective for any units modified after March 31,2011.

Raised roof and lowered floor conversions alone do not meet the eligibility requirements. 

Documentation must show that mobility adaptive equipment (such as a wheelchair lift, ramp or adaptive controls) was installed on the vehicle.

Adaptive equipment is defined as devices that make it easier for persons with permanent physical disabilities to drive or be transported in a vehicle. For more information about adaptive equipment please click on the “Adaptive Equipment Eligibility” page in the navigation bar.

Eligible Vehicles

All new model Ford or Lincoln Cars, Vans, CUVs ,SUVs and Trucks sold or leased during the program period. Eligible vehicles must have installation of the qualifying adaptive equipment within one year of reported purchase/lease date to the ultimate consumer.

New vehicles acquired from a U.S. Ford Authorized Pool Converter are eligible for the program.

Used units, including those previously in rental service, lease service or repurchased vehicles by Ford Motor Company that are available for resale, are not eligible.

Eligible Customers
Customer must be the end-user of the vehicle that requires installation of qualifying adaptive driving or assistance equipment, or passenger aid equipment. The end-user may also be defined as an organization, church, assisted living facility, nursing home, municipality, city, state or federal government.

Claims may be made for adaptive equipment required by a family member of the owner/lessee of an eligible vehicle, providing the equipment be permanently fitted to the vehicle.

*Includes all new Ford and Lincoln vehicles when purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period.

Modification Eligibility
To be eligible for the Ford Mobility Motoring reimbursement, any/all structural modifications must in their entirety make the vehicle viably useful for the individual(s) for whom the modification is being made. Claims for modifications that may, in part, be commonly recognized as consistent with mobility modifications, but by themselves do not create a completed vehicle for use by the intended individual(s) are not eligible.

Major structural vehicle modifications to accommodate the installation of wheelchair lift or ramp MUST be completed by a Ford Authorized Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to be eligible for reimbursement. This change is in effect for any units modified after March 31, 2011.

Examples of major structural vehicle modifications include, but are not limited to, raised roofs or door openings and lowered floors. Non-structural vehicle adaptations (adaptive equipment) such as bolt on items or driving aids do not require the work to be completed by a Ford Quality Vehicle Modifier.

Raised roof and lowered floor conversions alone do not meet the eligibility requirements. Documentation must show that mobility adaptive equipment (such as a wheelchair lift, ramp or adaptive controls) was installed on the vehicle.

Adaptive Equipment Eligibility
Finding the Right Mobility Dealer
Choosing a company to provide your adaptive equipment is an important decision. Be sure to ask about credentials, experience, warranty coverage and service after the sale.

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
NMEDA is a non-profit organization composed of dealers, automotive manufacturers, rehabilitation professionals and mobility equipment providers that encourages professionalism and works to establish national guidelines and standards for the mobility best practices. To view a list of current members, go to www.nmeda.org. NMEDA Quality Assurance Program, QAP, is a nationally recognized accreditation program for the adaptive mobility equipment industry. As such, the companies involved have been certified to comply with NMEDA quality control processes, have the proper insurance and have obtained the applicable training from the adaptive equipment manufacturers they represent.

Carriers

Price Range : $500 – $4,000

Bumper-Mounted Carrier – allows manual wheelchairs to be mounted on bumper. Most of the bumper-mounted carriers can be removed to allow access to the trunk.

Car Top Carrier – an electric motor-driven hoist operates by switches. A steel pin lowers to pick up a manual wheelchair, which folds as it rises to the carrier.

Hitch-Mounted Carrier – tilts down when loading the wheelchair and then easily tilts up and locks into place.

Pickup Truck Carrier – stores the wheelchair in the bed of the truck after the wheelchair has been folded and picked up by an electric-driven motor. Certain manufacturers’ carriers will pick up the rigid chair, power wheelchair or a scooter not folded.


Parking Brake Extensions
Price Range : $50 – $900

Electric Parking Brake – motorized and can be set and released by a switch located within easy reach of the driver. Ideal for those with limited foot and leg strength.

Manual Parking Brake – for those with limited foot and leg strength. It is a handle attached to the parking brake and is long enough to operate by hand.

Hand Controls
Price Range : $360 – $2,000

Electrical
Electronic Hand Controls – this technology comes in two segments: Primary and Secondary Controls. Primary controls operate the gas, brake and steering functions. Products are usually combinations of joysticks and levers. Secondary controls operate all other vehicle functions. Products include voice activated controls, touch pads and power headrests. Please note: electronic controls do not fit in the price range above as each modification is unique to the individual. Please see your installer for an estimate.

Push Pull Control – brakes the vehicle when pushed toward the floor and accelerates the vehicle when pulled upward.

Push Right Angle Pull Hand Control – push the handle upward toward the instrument panel to brake and pull it downward at a right angle to accelerate.

Push Twist Control – similar to accelerating on a motorcycle. The handle is twisted to accelerate and pushed toward the floor to brake.

Quad Hand Controls – consists of an extra L–shaped bracket attached to the hand controls.

Mechanical
Push/Rotary Control – operates by pushing forward to apply the brakes and rotating backward to apply the gas.

Lifts
Price Range :$600 – $18,000

An Automatic lift will fold, unfold, lower and rise by operating a switch on either side of the lift, on the dash or outside the van. The Semi-Automatic lift operates similar to the automatic lift, but requires manual folding and unfolding of the platform.

Electrical Mechanical Lift – operates by chain or screw rod and depends upon the power provided by the battery.

Hydraulic Lift – uses a pump and cylinder to raise and lower the lift in conjunction with the van’s battery.

Outside Lift – requires installing a trailer hitch as the scooter is carried on the outside of the vehicle.

Pickup Truck Lift – picks up the scooter and stores it in the bed of the truck. It can lift a rigid chair (manual), an electric scooter or a power wheelchair.

Platform Lift – (as shown above) requires either two side doors or one sliding door on a van and is stored either on the side, the rear or under the floor of the van.

Rotary (Swing) Lift – beneficial because of the parking conveniences, due to less room needed to enter and exit the van. This device swings into the van and the lift platform sits on the floor in the middle of the van.

Trunk Lift – puts the scooter into the trunk, provided the scooter measures less than the trunk.

Under-the-Floor Lift – only pump and motor are located inside.Door Openers
Price Range : $800 – $2,000

Chain Door Opener – slide door that travels in a track, located at the top of the van.

Pivot Arm and Push/Pull Gear Door Opener – opens double–out doors outward.

Power Assist Seats
Price Range : $1,800 – $6,800

Rotating Seat – This system for lower vehicles provides easy access to an automotive seat. The seat rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. Once you’re on, the seat rotates back into the vehicle. Both manual and power versions are available.

Rotating and Lift Seat – This system for higher vehicles provides easy access to an automotive seat. The seat rotates, comes out of the vehicle, and lowers toward the ground, eliminating the climbing and twisting normally required to enter a higher vehicle. Units are powered out and down; however, some models are equipped with manual rotation, while others have powered rotation.

Steering Devices
Price Range : $50 – $350

Amputee Ring – designed best for those with prosthesis. The hook of the prosthesis will fit into the ring and remain in place while driving.

“Para” Spinner Knob – consists of a base, which is adjustable, and a detachable knob that can be comfortably gripped with one hand.

Palm Grip – ideal for someone who has control of the wrist but is limited in grip strength. The hand is always held flat to the steering wheel while driving.

Quad Grip with Pin – a 3/8″ steel shaft from a stiff leather cuff that inserts into the spinner base. A stable wrist is required. The pin may be attached on a horizontal or a vertical position.

Quad Steering Cuff or Splint – a wrist cock up splint with a post attached in a
vertical or horizontal position. It is ideal for persons either lacking hand and wrist function or those unable to use the above steering devices.

Spinner Cuff – operates as the hand is held in place by a cuff and fastened with Velcro. A lockable short rod is placed in the base of the steering wheel near the palm of the hand to allow the person to steer.

Tri-Post or Tri-Pin Spinner Knob – stabilizes & secures the hand & wrist while driving.

V-Grip or U-Grip – hand controls keep the hand in an upright position and in place while driving. It is used primarily by persons who have adequate use of wrist movements.

Deep Dish Steering Wheel – used for those who have limited reach to be able to turn the wheel safely due to its smaller size.

Foot Steering Controls – for drivers who need to maneuver the vehicle by their feet.

Horizontal Steering – the steering column is easily adjusted by motorization for those drivers with limited reach.

Steering Column Extension – the steering column is extended by 2-6 inches allowing room to steer for individuals driving from their wheelchairs.

Joystick – very similar to the joystick on a wheelchair, this larger scaled version allows the driver to maneuver the vehicle.

Low Effort Steering – reduces the effort needed to steer by approximately 40 percent.

Reduced Effort Steering – for drivers who have limited use of their upper extremities.

Servo Controls – unlike the other hand controls, these operate by an auxiliary motor, rather than the pressure of an individual’s hand. It reduces the amount of strength needed by the driver.

Zero Effort Steering – reduces the effort needed to steer by approximately 70 percent.

Wheelchair Restraints
Price Range : $50 – $2,000

Electric Restraint System – consists of a device on the bottom of the chair and another device on the floor of the van. When the two devices are properly aligned, a lock will sound and the wheelchair will not move.

Manual Restraints or Tie-Downs System – requires an attendant because it cannot be operated from the wheelchair. Four straps are snugly placed around the four wheelchair wheels to help prevent rolling during vehicle movement.

Upper Torso Restraint – used in addition to the wheelchair restraints for those with weak muscles in the upper torso area and poor balance.Adaptive equipment describes an installed device, in addition to a structural modification, that is necessary for a person with a permanent physical disability to drive or be transported in a vehicle.

Some equipment not thought of as typical adaptive equipment, or equipment which is not available from the factory, that serves a need to operate or ride in a vehicle for persons with disabilities such as but not limited to: assist handles, keyless entry, keyless ignition switch, lumbar support, headrest adjustment, pedal extensions power seats, remote liftgate opener, running boards, seat belt extenders, seat modifications, and special mirrors may be eligible for reimbursement and require additional documentation. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed such as a letter or prescription clearly describing the permanent physical disability requiring this equipment, prepared by a licensed or certified medical professional.

Factory installed options such as air conditioning, running boards, lumbar seats and power windows are not considered eligible under the terms of the program.

Reimbursement Assistance
The reimbursement process is quick and easy. Once your vehicle has been purchased and adaptive equipment installation is completed, your dealer will assist you in submitting your claim. Your dealer will need the following documentation:

  • Vehicle Bill of Sale – must have the VIN included
  • Paid Adaptive Equipment Invoice – should be dated and marked paid

Your reimbursement check will then arrive directly from Ford Motor Company, usually within two to four weeks.

Frequently asked Questions

How do I apply for reimbursement?
Contact the Customer Care Center at (800) 952–2248 and a representative will assist with contacting your dealer.

What is the time period of the Ford Mobility Motoring Program and which vehicles are eligible?
Please visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for complete program details including program effective dates and eligible vehicles.

How soon after I purchase or lease my new vehicle do I have to complete the adaptive equipment installation?
Claim must be submitted within 12 months of the reported sale date.

How do I receive my Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement?
When the adaptive equipment installation has been completed on your new vehicle, either you or the adaptive equipment dealer will take the paid adaptive equipment invoice to the Ford or Lincoln dealer where you purchased or leased your new vehicle. You will receive a check mailed to you directly from Ford for up to $1,000 toward the cost of your adaptive equipment or up to $200 on after-market alert hearing devices, lumbar seats and running boards. Total reimbursement is not to exceed $1,000.

How long does it take to receive my check?
It usually takes 7-10 business days after the dealer submits the authorized claim and the claim is approved by Ford.

What adaptive equipment qualifies for the financial reimbursement?
Adaptive equipment is defined as any installed device that makes it easier for persons with disabilities to drive or be transported in a vehicle. Equipment that can be factory installed, or is considered a factory option by Ford, is not eligible. Equipment which is not clearly related to a specific medical need, such as after–market alert hearing devices, swivel seats, pedal extensions and running boards, will require original medical documentation clearly detailing the physical disability or permanent impairment for which the equipment is intended. This documentation must be prepared by a licensed, certified medical or medical–related professional.

May I go to any adaptive equipment installer or must I go to someone on your State Resource Guide listing?
You may take your vehicle to the adaptive equipment installer of your choice. The list provided for reference only and no endorsement is intended. You should verify information, check with adaptive equipment manufacturers and obtain complete references before any services are rendered.

Is it necessary for me to visit an assessment center before I qualify for Ford Mobility Motoring reimbursement?
No. If you already have equipment you’re going to transfer, or you know what equipment you need, it is not necessary for you to have an evaluation at an assessment center. However, it could be beneficial to have an evaluation every four years.

May I use the financial reimbursement toward the purchase or lease of my vehicle?
No. The Mobility reimbursement can only happen after you have supplied your Ford or Lincoln dealer with the paid invoice for your adaptive equipment installation.

Does newly purchased used adaptive equipment qualify?
Yes. As long as you have a paid receipt, newly purchased used equipment acquired for your installation will qualify for reimbursement.

Can the Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement be used in combination with other incentives or rebates?
Yes. The Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement may be combined with all other public and private offers, including the “Commercial Connection Program”, in effect at the time of purchase or lease.

Are Ford Mobility Motoring benefits available if I purchase or lease a new vehicle under the Ford A, X or Z Plans?
Yes. A, X and Z Plan vehicles are eligible as long as they otherwise meet plan provisions.

Are used vehicles, or vehicles which have previously been in rental or lease service, eligible?
No. Only new models purchased or leased from a Ford or Lincoln dealer are eligible.

Will Ford Mobility Motoring cover the cost of transferring my equipment from my old vehicle to a new vehicle?
Yes. The cost of the transfer installation to your new vehicle is covered with a paid receipt.

If I have a family member who requires adaptive equipment assistance to enter or ride in my new vehicle, will Ford Mobility Motoring cover the cost of the equipment for that person?
Yes. Adaptive equipment required to transport a person with a physical disability is covered up to the maximum of $1,000 and up to $200 on after–market alert hearing devices, lumbar seats and running boards. Total reimbursement is not to exceed $1,000.

Volkswagen Mobility Rebate

Volkswagen provides up to $1,000 towards the purchase and installation of mobility-access equipment in a new VW Routan. If modifications are less than $1,000, that amount is reimbursed.

Acura Mobility Rebate Information

Mobility Overview
Enhancing mobility for drivers with disabilities.

The Acura Mobility Program is proud to support the mobility needs of drivers and passengers with physical disabilities. When you purchase or lease an Acura vehicle, you will be provided with a cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of aftermarket adaptive equipment that is installed on any eligible vehicle.
To download an application form, click here

Program Elements

Acura suggests that you request a copy of the Department of Transportation’s brochure, “Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities.” Copies are available by visiting www.NHTSA.DOT.GOV . Search using key words “Adapting Motor Vehicles”. The process of adapting your vehicle includes the following steps:

  • Know your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • You may wish to contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) to help identify the adaptive equipment that best meets your needs.
  • Select the right vehicle by collaborating with your evaluator, as well as a vehicle modification installer and your local Acura dealer before deciding on the best Acura model for you
  • Choose a qualified equipment installer to modify your vehicle. Take the time to find out about credentials, experience, references, warranty coverage and the services they provide. Make sure they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has established vehicle conversion standards.
  • Obtain training on the use of the new equipment. Your equipment dealer and evaluator should provide information and off-road instruction. You will also need to practice driving under the instruction of a qualified driving instructor until you both feel comfortable with your skills.


Program Guidelines
Acura will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail client for the expenses incurred to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Acura vehicle.

Requirements

  • Only the original vehicle owner is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Modifications must be completed for the original owner or his/her immediate family.
  • Only new Acura vehicles retailed or leased in the United States from an authorized Acura dealership are eligible.
  • Only one reimbursement request per vehicle.
  • Lease vehicle modifications may be subject to written lessor approval. The client is responsible for determining and satisfying lease contract requirements.
  • Acura will consider reimbursement for modifications made to vehicles after February 1, 2004.
  • The written reimbursement request must be received within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.
  • Fleet and commercial vehicles are not eligible.
  • Any alteration or adaptive equipment that Acura has identified that alters the safety of the vehicle (i.e. seat belt extenders) is not eligible.

Adaptions, Modifications and Equipment Installation

  • Qualifying adaptive-equipment or conversion is defined as alterations or adaptive equipment installation that provide to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Alterations or adaptive-equipment installation require a prescription or medical documentation to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement requests (invoices) will be compared against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to verify that the alterer or repair business (individual, partnership or corporation) is registered with NHTSA and that the modifications are on the list of NHTSA exemptions.
  • EXCEPTION: Wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps do not require a prescription, medical documentation or NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • EXCEPTION: Modifications that “DO NOT” make inoperative any part of a device or element of design that has been installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard will not require NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • The installation of adaptive equipment must have taken place within the time and mileage limits of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • If all conditions are met, Acura will provide up to a $1,000 cash reimbursement. Acura will be the secondary coverage in the case of two or more reimbursement sources.* * A reimbursement made by another source such as medical insurance will be subtracted from the client’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance reimbursement $4,000, Client expense $1,000. The client expense of $1,000 will be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Important Client Information

  • The selection of an equipment manufacturer and installer is solely the client’s responsibility. (Acura does not evaluate or endorse any company or supplier involved in adaptive equipment. Mobility equipment warranty, installation warranty and related liabilities are not the responsibility of Acura.)
  • Clients can pick up an application at their local Acura dealer, via this website, or through Acura Client Relations.



Reimbursement Documentation and Proccess
Documentation required for reimbursement consideration:

  • Completed and signed Reimbursement Application
  • Proof of Vehicle Sales or Lease Agreement
  • Copy of invoice for adaptive-equipment installation and/or vehicle modification and proof of payment
  • Copy of state driver’s license to verify that the person is eligible to operate a modified vehicle
  • Copy of the prescription or medical documentation
  • Name of contributing medical insurance carrier/entity that provides primary support, and policy number


Reimbursements will be processed and mailed within 4 weeks of receipt of all required documentation. Reimbursement requests should be mailed to:
Acura Client Relations
P.O. Box 2964
Torrance, CA 90509-2964

CLIENT RESOURCES
Please call Acura Client Relations with any questions.

Acura
800-382-2238
www.acura.com

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
(NMEDA) 
800-833-0427
www.nmeda.org

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
www.nhtsa.dot.gov
To download an application form, click here

Acura reserves the right to modify or terminate this program without notice.

Acura does not assume responsibility for the quality, safety or efficiency of adaptive equipment or installation and cannot guarantee that such modifications comply with applicable government safety standards.




Frequently Asked Questions


Do reimbursements apply to used or fleet vehicles?
No. This program applies to only new Acura vehicles that are retailed or leased in the U.S.

How long will it take me to receive my reimbursement?
Payments will be mailed within 4 weeks of receipt of all required documentation.

What types of adaptive equipment can I obtain reimbursement for?
Acura will consider reimbursement for those modifications that have been approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can find more information on the NHTSA website.

What is the time limit to apply for a reimbursement?
The reimbursement request must be made within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.

Where can I get information on adaptive equipment?
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) provides a directory of dealers in your area.

Where do I get a reimbursement application?
In addition to the printable .PDF (Acrobat) format version of the form on this website, forms are also available at your local Acura dealer or upon request at Acura Client Relations at 1-800-382-2238.

Are used vehicles included in the Acura mobility assistance program?
Acura has limited the program to original vehicle owners/lessees whose vehicles are within the Manufacturer’s warranty period and who request reimbursement for NHTSA-approved and compliant modifications to their vehicles.

Does the Acura New Vehicle Limited Warranty cover modified vehicles and/or adaptive equipment?
No. The Acura New Vehicle Limited Warranty applies only to the Acura vehicle. It does not include the adaptive equipment, its installation or any other non-original equipment.

Does the installation of adaptive equipment void my warranty?
No, adaptive equipment and modifications unto themselves do not void the New Vehicle Limited Warranty that applies to the Acura product. However, if your vehicle experiences a problem/failure and that problem/failure is determined by Acura to be the direct result of the adaptive equipment and/or its installation, your warranty coverage may be voided for that particular repair. All warranty issues are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Volvo Mobility Rebate Information

Mobility by Volvo is an extension of the Volvo philosophy that travels with you from your retailer to your driveway. Our goal is to assist you, providing you with transportation solutions found within the extraordinary comfort and safety of a specially adapted Volvo.

Mobility by Volvo Program Reimbursemeny

  • Up to $1,000 toward the cost of adaptive equipment added to an eligible new Volvo
  • Up to $200 on alert hearing devices
  • Maximum reimbursement is $1,000.

You may contact Volvo to request an Information Kit or click to download the following resources:



Start the Reimbursement Process
To receive your reimbursement, you or your retailer must obtain a Mobility by Volvo Claim Form. You may contact the Mobility by Volvo Center at (800) 803-5222 or complete the Contact Us Form , to receive the Claim Form.

Eligible Adaptive Equipment
“Adaptive equipment” includes all permanently installed mobility devices, necessary for a person with a physical disability to drive, or be transported in, a vehicle. Options available from the factory or the retailer for installation, such as running boards and power-assisted seats, are not considered eligible for reimbursement.

Although a Driver Assessment Center is likely your best authority on what is right for you or a family member, here are examples of adaptive equipment installations available for Volvo vehicles, approved by Mobility by Volvo:

  • Carriers
  • Lifts/Hoists
  • Driving Aids/Hand Controls

Mobility by Volvo TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • Offer is limited to $1,000 toward the cost of adding adaptive equipment, and $200 on an alert hearing device, per vehicle. Maximum reimbursement is $1,000. Offer only available to legal U.S. residents. Offer is not transferable.
  • Offer only available for purchases of 2012 or 2013 model year new vehicles, properly retired courtesy cars, and retired demonstrators. Offer cannot be applied to the purchase of any other model year Volvo or Volvo courtesy car, models sold directly or indirectly outside of the United States, and/or VCIC (overseas delivery) program sales. Vehicles purchased as used are not eligible.
  • Claims must be submitted within 180 days of vehicle purchase.
  • Factory or retailer installation options, such as running boards and power-assisted seats, are not considered eligible for reimbursement.
  • Offer cannot be used toward the cost of the purchase or installation of Volvo options or accessories, and the payment of sales tax. This offer is subject to federal, state and local taxes.
  • Consumers should verify modification information and obtain complete modifier references before having the vehicle modified.

Contact your local Volvo retailer for complete details.



Volvo New Car Warranty
Damage caused by unapproved or improperly installed adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices and accessories will not be covered under the Volvo New Car Warranty. Owners should refer to the Volvo Warranty and Service Records Information booklet for additional warranty information. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, assumes no responsibility for death, injury or expenses that my result from the installation of adaptive equipment, alert hearing device and non-genuine Volvo Accessories.


Note: The adaptive equipment listed above is subject to change and should be used for reference purposes only. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, is providing this information for assistance and reference purposes only—no endorsement is intended. The quality of services and/or equipment provided by others can only be assured by the supplying organization. Consumers should verify information and obtain complete references before beginning any vehicle adaptation.

Subaru Mobility Rebate Information

The Subaru Mobile-It-Ease™ Program provides reimbursement of up to $500 on new Subaru vehicles from authorized Subaru dealers in the United States to help qualifying owners get necessary vehicle modification due to medically recognized physical disabilities.

Subaru Legacy, Outback, Impreza, Forester and Tribeca models can be modified to provide added features, including but not limited to:

  • Left-hand gear shifter
  • Hand and foot controls
  • Servo-assisted controls
  • Steering devices
  • Pedal extensions
  • Turn-signal modification

Subaru is proud to bring the active safety and reliability to as many drivers as possible.
See brochure for complete details.

Enroll in the Program

Get the Form

Download, print, complete and sign the Claim Form

Gather Documents

  1. Original Claim Form, completed and signed
  2. Purchase order from a Subaru dealership
  3. Doctor’s letter or prescription describing the condition and modification necessary
  4. Receipt from the installation facility that clearly shows payment was made in full


Mail the four documents to:
Submit Claim
Subaru of America, Inc. Customer Dealer Services Department
P.O. Box 6000
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Please allow at least four to six weeks for processing.

Qualifications

  • Applies only to the purchase of new Subaru vehicles from authorized Subaru dealers in the United States.
  • The Mobile-It-Ease™ program covers only necessary equipment to adapt an eligible Subaru vehicle for persons with disabilities. The adaptations require a prescription or letter from a medical doctor. (Subaru factory optional equipment is not reimbursable under this program.)
  • Subaru will reimburse up to $500 of vehicle modifications
  • Vehicle modifications must be made within six months of vehicle purchase. A properly completed Claim Form for reimbursement along with all necessary supporting documentation (listed above) must be submitted to Subaru of America, Inc.’s CDS Department within 180 days of installation (refer to address on claim form).
  • Subaru of America, Inc.’s decision on eligibility is final.

Adaptations
The following items are considered obvious adaptations that would qualify for this program, though they may not apply to your vehicle. If your adaptation is not on this list, or if you have any questions, please call 1-800-SUBARU-3 for approval.

  • Reduced Effort Brakes
  • Driving Consoles
  • Elbow Switches
  • Emergency Back-Up Brake System
  • Foot Control Steering
  • Gear Selector Lever for Left Hand
  • Hand Controls
  • Left Foot Accelerator
  • Parking Brake – Electric
  • Parking Brake – Extension Lever
  • Quad Key Holder/Turner
  • Servo Assisted Controls
  • Siren Detectors
  • Steering System – Emergency Back-Up
  • Steering System – Reduced and Zero Effort
  • Turn Signal Lever for Right Hand
  • Wheelchair and/or Scooter Lifts or Ramps
  • Wheelchair Carrier on Top of Vehicle
  • Steering Devices


(Factory Option Power Seats NOT ELIGIBLE for reimbursement.)

Hyundai Mobility Rebate Information

Get up to $1,000.00
Toward the cost of installing
Adaptive Equipment in your new Hyundai.

Overview

We believe in the freedom that goes along with driving your own car. But we also know that buying and modifying a new vehicle can be expensive. To help out, Hyundai is offering $1,000 toward the cost of adaptive equipment. Everything you need to get started is right here, including links to informative guides, fact sheets, and specialists who can help you determine the equipment and training you need.


The process is simple:

  1. Review the eligibility requirements and program details below
  2. Download and complete the one-page mobility form
  3. Mail vehicle purchase documents and completed mobility form to Hyundai Motor America

Eligibility Requirements and Program Details

What vehicles are eligible?

  • New, unused 2012, and 2013 model year Hyundai vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Hyundai Dealership in the U.S.A. are eligible for reimbursement under this program.
  • Fleet sales and vehicles purchased from a source other than an authorized dealer of Hyundai Motor America are not eligible.


What equipment is eligible?

  • Any aftermarket alterations or equipment installation on an eligible Hyundai vehicle that provides to the user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Equipment which is not clearly related to a specific medical need, such as altering devices, swivel seats, pedal extensions, and running boards, will require original medical documentation clearly detailing the physical disability or permanent impairment for which the equipment is intended. This documentation must be prepared on a letterhead by a licensed, certified medical or medical-related professional.
  • Damage caused by unapproved or improperly installed adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices, and accessories will not be covered under the Hyundai new-car warranty. Owners should refer to the Hyundai Warranty and Service booklet for additional warranty information.
  • Labor for equipment transferred from the old vehicle into the new Hyundai vehicle is only eligible when the cost of the labor is clearly stated in the invoice from the adaptive equipment company.
  • Hyundai accessories are NOT eligible for reimbursement.

Program details:

  • Maximum Mobility reimbursement is up to $1,000 of the total equipment and labor costs.
  • Only one reimbursement per customer.
  • Reimbursements will be made to the customer only—not to the dealership or any adaptive equipment company.
  • The mobility equipment must be installed within six months of the vehicle purchase or lease.
  • The Hyundai Mobility Form and required documentation must be submitted to Hyundai Motor America within 60 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment.
  • Hyundai Mobility financial assistance cannot be applied toward the purchase or lease of a new Hyundai vehicle.
  • Hyundai Motor America assumes no responsibility for death, injury, or expenses that may result from the installation of adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices, and non-genuine Hyundai Accessories.
  • The offer is good from January 3, 2013 through January 2, 2014.

Download and Complete the Claim Form
Once you’ve purchased a vehicle and your adaptive equipment has been installed, complete the one-page Hyundai Mobility Form. Next, collect copies of the following documents:

  • The Purchase Agreement or Sales Contract
  • Itemized and paid invoice(s) from the adaptive equipment company. The invoice must clearly state the customer’s full name, the eligible Hyundai vehicle, and the Hyundai Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Your vehicle’s registration
  • If the equipment is not clearly related to a specific medical need, you’ll also need documentation from a medical professional that states the purpose of the equipment (Please see “What equipment is eligible” above)

download the form

Mail Hyundai Your Claim
Finally, mail the completed form and the documents you’ve collected to one of the addresses below.
Be sure to make a copy of your paperwork for your records.

Hyundai Motor America
Incentives Department
P.O. Box 20850
Fountain Valley, CA 92728
(Regular Mail)

OR

Hyundai Motor America
Incentives Department
3200 Park Center Drive
Mail Center Floor #2
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(Overnight Mail)

General Motors Mobility Rebate Information

Through the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, new vehicle purchasers/lessees who install eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for the cost of the equipment.

PLUS
Two extra years of standard OnStar® service, at no additional cost on all 2011–2013 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles equipped with OnStar. The Directions & Connections® Plan is standard for six months on most 2012-2014 GM vehicles.

Taking advantage of both offers is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Buy or lease an eligible, new 2012–2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle equipped with OnStar.
Vehicles that are not eligible: All Cadillacs. 2013 Chevrolet Caprice, Captiva Sport, Spark, Volt, Buick Encore and Verano are not eligible.
  2. Purchase and install (or reinstall) your eligible adaptive mobility equipment.
  3. Apply for GM Mobility Reimbursement:
    • Download an Application Form
    • Request an Application by Mail

The purchaser and the GM dealer representative will need to complete and sign the reimbursement application, than submit the application with a paid receipt for the mobility equipment and installation.

If you’re uncertain of the eligibility of the adaptive equipment or vehicle you’re considering purchasing or leasing, call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935.

The GM Mobility Reimbursement Program offer with OnStar is valid through 9/30/13. To qualify for the reimbursement offer, vehicles must be adapted and a claim must be submitted within 6 months from the date of purchase/lease. To take advantage of the OnStar® offer, vehicle must be equipped with OnStar. The OnStar offer has no redeemable cash value and is nontransferable. Other program rules apply. For offer details, visit your local dealer/retailer or call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935.

OnStar Offer
OnStar®1 is more than a button you push – it’s a connection you make with the outside world. Every day. It’s powerfully simple services take care of you and take you places.

Services like Automatic Crash Response that alerts OnStar for help even if you can’t ask for it. And Turn-by-Turn Navigation that can keep you on course, whether you’re traveling around the block or across the country. And so much more.

Customers who receive GM Mobility reimbursement on an eligible vehicle get two extra years of standard OnStar service. This OnStar mobility offer is at no additional cost and is on top of the standard OnStar service included on new OnStar equipped GM vehicles. Directions & Connections® Plan is standard for six months on most 2012-2014 GM vehicles.

OnStar. Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible. Live on.

Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for GM Mobility reimbursement?
Either download a printable application form or submit an online request. We’ll mail you a complete brochure including an application form.

How can I make sure my vehicle is eligible?
For the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, in effect until September 30, 2013, you must purchase or lease1 a new and unused (not previously titled) 2012, 2013 or 2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle. To qualify for two extra years of standard OnStar® service, vehicle must be a 2012–2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle equipped with OnStar. To confirm eligibility of your vehicle, call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935. You will need your vehicle identification number (VIN). Confirmation of vehicle eligibility does not imply claim approval.

What adaptive equipment qualifies for reimbursement?
See complete list of eligible adaptive equipment. Except for OnStar TTY equipment and safety belt extenders, GM regular production options and GM Accessories are not eligible for GM Mobility reimbursement. This includes, but is not limited to, assist steps and running boards. Repairs and adjustments to equipment are also not eligible for reimbursement. Safety belt extenders are not eligible for the OnStar offer.

Is used adaptive equipment eligible?
Yes, provided it is on the list of eligible adaptive equipment and purchased from and installed by a licensed equipment installer. The cost to transfer equipment installed in your previous vehicle to your new eligible vehicle is also reimbursable.

Are assist steps/running boards eligible for reimbursement?
Assist steps/running boards are reimbursable if they are not available as a regular GM production option or dealer-/retailer-installed accessory, regardless of whether the vehicle is bought out of dealer stock or ordered. A maximum $200 GM Mobility Reimbursement is allowed. A physician’s signature and description of your disability/limitation are required. Call the GM Mobility Assistance Center if you have questions.

Can I incorporate reimbursement into the terms of my vehicle sales contract?
It may be possible. Contact your Chevrolet, Buick or GMC dealer for details.

Can I use the reimbursement with other factory rebates and incentives?
Yes. The GM Mobility Reimbursement incentive may be combined with other publicly offered incentive programs that are in effect at the time of purchase or lease, including most fleet and commercial incentives.

How soon after I purchase/lease my new vehicle do I have to complete the equipment installation and apply for reimbursement?
To take advantage of the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, you must have the vehicle adapted and submit a claim within 6 months of the date of purchase/lease. Other program rules apply.

Are there any other ways I can offset the cost of purchasing adaptive equipment?
The cost of durable automotive adaptive equipment for use by persons with disabilities may be offset with federal income tax credits and deductions, state sales and use tax deductions, funding through state rehabilitation vocational agencies, and medical insurance providers. Consult with your tax advisor/preparer, appropriate state social service agency, and/or insurance provider to see what benefits you might be eligible for. Your savings could be substantial.

Mobility Financial Assistance

Ally Financing
Qualified customers can finance qualified aftermarket mobility equipment with their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle through Ally mobility vehicle financing programs available at local GM dealers/retailers. Ally extended-term financing or the Ally Smart Lease program may be able to make your vehicle purchase even easier.1 Visit ally.com/auto or your local GM dealer for more details.

SmartLease Eligibility (new and used vehicles)

  • Eligible adaptive conversions are limited to those that can be removed from the vehicle at lease termination without affecting the original configuration or condition of the vehicle. Examples include wheelchair storage devices and hand-brake devices.
  • If the physical structure of the vehicle must be modified to accommodate the adaptive conversion, the vehicle remains eligible for conventional retail financing but not for SmartLease. Examples include raising or lowering all or part of the floor of a van, altering the size of any of a vehicle’s door openings, cutting or reshaping any part of the body or frame of a vehicle to accommodate lifting mechanisms, etc.
  • Qualified adaptive conversions and/or their installation may be capitalized but not residualized.
  • The Addendum must be signed by the customer, stipulating that the equipment will be removed at lease termination/contract end and the vehicle returned to its original condition, subject to normal wear and tear. The addendum states that the customer will bear the costs for removal of adaptive conversions.

SmartLease Addendum

GM Mobility Reimbursement Program (new vehicles)
Financial mobility financing for eligible adaptive equipment is available through the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program. New vehicle purchasers/lessees who install or reinstall eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive a combination of financial assistance and the protection and convenience of OnStar®:

Up to $1,000 reimbursement for eligible adaptive equipment.
PLUS two additional years of standard OnStar service on qualified Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles.

Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. military veterans may be eligible for financial assistance through their VA benefits when equipping a vehicle with adaptive equipment. Call 1-800-827-1000 or visit www.va.gov for more information.

Are there any other ways I can offset the cost of purchasing automotive adaptive equipment?
The cost of durable automotive adaptive equipment for use by persons with disabilities may be offset with federal income tax credits and deductions, state sales and use tax deductions, funding through state rehabilitation vocational agencies, and medical insurance providers. Consult with your tax advisor/preparer, appropriate state social service agency and/or insurance provider to see what benefits you might be eligible for. Your savings could be substantial.

Mobility Resources

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
When selecting mobility equipment installers, shop around and inquire about their qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty and service practices. Ask for references. Ask if they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and if they are QAP-certified. NMEDA is committed to providing automotive adaptive equipment solutions for people with disabilities. In this effort, NMEDA has implemented the Quality Assurance Program (QAP), a nationally recognized accreditation program for mobility equipment dealers.

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
ADED is devoted to helping individuals with disabilities locate driver evaluators and trainers who can conduct an assessment of a person’s abilities (cognitive, perceptual and physical) and adaptive equipment needs, an important step in the selection process. Call 1-866-672-9466 or visit www.driver-ed.org for more information.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
There are many variables to consider when obtaining adaptive equipment for your vehicle. We suggest you request a copy of the Department of Transportation brochure “Adapting Motor Vehicles For People With Disabilities” by calling 1-888-327-4236 or visiting www.nhtsa.gov. Following a proven process can help you avoid costly mistakes when purchasing and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

Other Resources

  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder Resource
  • Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Eastern Michigan Deaf & Hard of Hearing Information Site
  • Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America guide to accessible gasoline stations
  • Mobility Corner
  •  National Organization on Disability

Lexus Mobility Rebate Information

 Reimburses the vehicle owner up to $1,000 cash for after-market adaptive equipment for drivers and/or passengers when installed on any eligible Lexus vehicle purchased or leased new. This applies to model years 2001 and later. For details, refer to the Assistance Guidelines and Reimbursement Application Form. Forms are also available from your local Lexus dealer or from most adaptive-equipment installers.

Lexus Financial Services Mobility Financing
Available upon credit approval through Lexus Financial Services and participating Lexus dealers. Provides flexible, extended-term financing when persons with physical disabilities or their families purchase a new Lexus vehicle with the installed adaptive equipment (including installation costs). Please contact your local participating Lexus dealer for details.

Assistance Guidelines
Lexus will reimburse the cost up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer for purchasing and installation of qualifying adaptive driving or passenger equipment for transporting persons with physical disabilities. This offer applies to all Lexus vehicles purchased or leased new in 2001 or later. Leased vehicles require advance written lessor approval of adaptive-equipment installations.

  1. Only new vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Lexus dealer are eligible for reimbursement. Fleet incentive recipients are not eligible.
  2. The adaptive equipment must be installed within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease. A Reimbursement Application Form must be submitted to Lexus Customer Satisfaction within 90 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment.
  3. Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as any after-market alteration or equipment installation on an eligible Lexus vehicle that provides the disabled user with convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle. Lexus factory options and Lexus accessories are NOT eligible for reimbursement.
  4. A prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead is required for reimbursement, except as noted below. For a limited number of adaptations, such as hand controls and wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps, no medical note or prescription is required. Running boards, alerting devices, pedal extenders and similar adaptations must have medical documentation. Running boards, trailer hitches and pedal extenders are not reimbursable if they are available as a factory option or dealer-installed accessory. For pedal-extender reimbursement, the customer must be medically diagnosed with a dwarfism condition. Questions about other adaptations should be directed to Lexus Customer Satisfaction at (800) 255-3987.
  5. The Reimbursement Application Form must be completed in its entirety and signed by the customer and the selling dealership. It should be mailed along with a copy of the vehicle sales or lease agreement, the adaptive-equipment company’s paid invoice showing payment by the vehicle’s owner, a Lessor Letter of Authorization (for leased vehicles), and a prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead (when required) to the following address:LEXUS CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    19001 SOUTH WESTERN AVENUE
    MAIL DROP L201
    TORRANCE, CA 90509-2991

Payment to the individual Mobility Assistance Program customer will be sent within 3-4 weeks after receipt of an approved claim form and all required documentation.

Please call Lexus Customer Satisfaction with any questions:
(800) 255-3987 or (800) 443-4999 – TDD

Steps To Mobility
Lexus supports the steps detailed in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s brochure, Adapting Motor Vehicles for People With Disabilities. Copies are available by calling (888) 327-4236 or visiting www.nhtsa.dot.gov. The process includes these five steps:

  1. Determine your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  2. Evaluate your needs.
Use the Mobility Resources below to contact your local driver-assessment specialist to help identify the adaptive equipment most suited to your needs.
  3. Select the right vehicle.
Consult with your evaluator, an adaptive-equipment installer and your local Lexus dealer to determine the Lexus model that’s best for you.
  4. Choose a qualified mobility equipment installer.
Always ask about qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty coverage and service. Confirm they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has established vehicle conversion standards.
  5. Obtain training on the use of the new equipment.
When this process is complete, follow the Assistance Guidelines above, complete and submit the Reimbursement Application Form within 90 days of adaptive-equipment installation. You can recover up to $1,000 of the cost of your adaptive equipment and/or conversion. In addition to the printable version on this Web site, forms are also available from your local Lexus dealer, from an adaptive-equipment installer or upon request by calling Lexus Customer Satisfaction at (800) 255-3987.

Mobility Resources

Driver Assessment Specialists:
Contact a mobility equipment dealer in your area for advice on a driver assessment specialist to evaluate your vehicle

The Fiorella F500 Wheelchair Van Lift

fiorella-wheelchair lift at automitive Inoovations www.bridgewatermobility.comfiorella-wheelchair-lift at automitive Inoovations www.bridgewatermobility.com

The Fiorella F500 handicap lift is the newest mobility platform lift in the VMI line of mobility transportation solutions. Fiorella has manufactured wheelchair lifts for over 15 years and distributes in 47 different countries.

The Fiorella F500 has several unique advantages. The sleek Italian design integrates seamlessly with vehicle interiors and exteriors. Cutting edge materials and design mean a compact size and less weight on the vehicle suspension.

The F500 works great in a wide variety of vans. Some of the van models that are compatible for installation are the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, GMC Savana, Ford E-Series, and Chevrolet Express.

VMI mobility dealers can install a Fiorella F500 wheelchair platform lift in less than 3 hours for most installations. And visual and audible maintenance reminders let users know when their platform handicap lift needs service, parts replacement, or repairs. The F500 from Fiorella carries a 3 year warranty on parts and a 1 year warranty on labor.

Specifications

  • Weight Capacity – 500 Pounds
  • Usable Platform Width – 30″
  • Usable Platform Length – 42″
  • Unit Weight
  • Semi-Automatic – 285 Pounds
  • Fully Automatic – 309 Pounds
  • Mobility Lift Travel – 29.1″
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Installed Height – 40.9″
  • Installed Width – 48.03″
  • Installed Depth – 15.6″

Specifications for Ford Transit Connect Vans (Specs Vary for Other Models)

  • Length form Folded Second Seat to Back of Van – 59.2″
  • Maximum Interior Height – 59.1″
  • Rear Cargo Door Opening Width – 50.2″
  • Rear Cargo Door Opening Height – 52.1″

Optional Features

  • Platform Covers are Color Customizable
  • Automatic and Semi-Automatic Versions
  • Models Available for Caregivers and Independent Drivers
  • Right or Left Arm Configurations
  • Integrated or Seperate Pump

Standard Features

  • Sleek, Innovative Design to Blend with Vehicle Interiors
  • Multi-Language LCD Interface
  • Remote Control
  • Warranty
  • Fully FMVSS Compliant
  • Built-in Manual Backup System
  • Signal LED’s on Both Sides of Platform Lift

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For most of us, an automobile is a necessity rather than a luxury.

Hand Controls putting amputees back in the drivers seat

Hand Controls putting amputees back in the drivers seat

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls

Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?

The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist

Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull

Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull

Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider

When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation

No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Save Big When Purchasing a Dodge Wheelchair Van

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT VMI Northstar DR552571 front right side
You’ve found the ideal Dodge wheelchair van to meet your needs and now it’s time to determine exactly how you’re going to pay for the vehicle. Here are some things you can do to improve the buying experience.

Are You Purchasing from a Dodge mobility dealer?

If you’re buying a new Dodge wheelchair van, you’ll want to consider these pointers before you even think about opening your wallet.

Time is everything.
You can get the best possible prices on a vehicle in the last two weeks of December and between July and October. If you can hold off on a purchase until one of these date ranges, you’ll pay less.

Do your research.
You can pay less for a new vehicle if you do your homework. Know what other dealers are doing and seek out the best possible deals. Knowing what’s happening in the market can give you real negotiating leverage.

Don’t limit your choices.
You don’t need to restrict your choices to the vehicles on the lot. You can have a mobility dealer order the wheelchair van you want and those vehicles that come from the factory shouldn’t cost you a penny more than the ones that are already at the dealership.

Are You Purchasing from an individual?

Paying for a used Caravan, Grand Caravan sold by an disabled individual or caregiver can pose a few unique challenges. Keep the following advice in mind:

Be careful with cash.
Unless you personally know the seller, you should be cautious about showing up anywhere with a large quantity of cash on your person.

Be prepared to pay with a cashier’s check or money order. Many individual sellers will be wary about accepting a personal check from a buyer.

Stay away from wiring money.
Don’t utilize services like Western Union or Moneygram to buy a used wheelchair van. These outlets are often used in fraudulent activity and may not provide you with adequate protection.

Exercise caution.
If you’re considering using an escrow or shipping service when paying for your Dodge wheelchair van. Many people have lost their money due to criminal behavior on the part of those claiming to offer a legitimate service.

Are You Paying for Dodge Wheelchair Van Conversion?

Buying the underlying vehicle may only be part of your plans. If you’ll be paying for modifications, as well, consider the following:

Look for assistance.
Your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or development services offices may have a program to provide financial assistance for wheelchair van conversions. The Veteran’s Administration may be able to help vets qualify for funding.

Check with your insurance.
Depending upon your personal situation, you health or worker’s compensation insurance may provide benefits that will pay for part, or all, of the necessary modifications. Thoroughly investigate the opportunity.

Talk with your Dodge dealer.
Some dealers can actually wrap the financing of your mobility package up with your vehicle loan. You’ll end up with a single payment and you may save money on the interest rate in the process.

Get a prescription.
If you can get a doctor’s prescription for your planned modifications, you may be able to exempt the expense from sales tax. If you’re not responsible for those taxes, you’ll be spending less money.

Buying a Dodge wheelchair van requires a little bit of planning, thinking and investigation. If you follow these recommendations, paying for a Caravan, Grand Caravan or Sprinter should be more enjoyable and less expensive.

Paying for Toyota Wheelchair Vans

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England35
Toyota Wheelchair Van Payment Considerations
You’ve found the perfect Sienna. Now you need to think about how you’re going to pay for your Toyota wheelchair van. Different situations call for different actions. Here are some tips that can help you make the payment process easier whether you’re working with a dealer, an individual seller or need to pay for additional wheelchair van modifications.

When purchasing from a Toyota mobility dealer, you want to take smart actions that will protect you against paying too much for your wheelchair van. Here are a few ideas:

Buy at the right time.
Did you know that you can get the best deals during the last few weeks of the year and during the months of July through September? Prices tend to be lower during those periods.

Resist the extras.

Your Toyota dealer will undoubtedly offer you extra features and protections. Some may be great investments. Others may be unnecessary. Be smart and resist sales pitches for the extras you don’t need.

Know the market.
Investigate what other dealers are doing and what is happening overall in the marketplace. Knowledge is power. That information will protect you from paying too much and can help you negotiate the best possible deal.

When purchasing your Toyota wheelchair van from a private seller, you’ll want to use a cashier’s check from your bank or a money order. This protects both parties and avoids risks associated with the three most common alternatives.

Sellers don’t want your personal check. You’re not the only person who will want to make paying for your Toyota wheelchair van safe and convenient. The seller will be interested in protecting himself or herself, too. A personal check requires a leap of faith on the part of the seller. He or she probably won’t take it.

Cash is too risky.
You don’t want to pay for your vehicle in cash. It doesn’t create a paper trail and it’s simply unsafe to visit someone you don’t really know with a large quantity of cash on your person.

Moneygrams and Western Union are not a good idea. These services exist so that people who know one another can send money in a pinch. They’re poorly designed for transactions like this. Additionally, these services are frequently used by those who are less interested in getting you a nice Sienna and more interested in robbing you!

Paying for your Toyota wheelchair van may be only part of a bigger picture. You may also need to pay for conversions to the vehicle in order to make it a perfect wheelchair van for you. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when paying for conversions.

Look for “free” money.
Before you spend your own money on conversions, find out if you’re eligible for any government assistance. You should also check with your health insurance or worker’s compensation insurance to find out if your situation will compel them to pick up part of the overall modification bill.

Work with the dealer.
In many cases, your Toyota dealer can include the costs associated with wheelchair van modifications into your auto loan. That leaves you with only one monthly payment and may allow you to finance equipment and conversion services at a lower interest rate.

Visit your doctor. See your doctor and find out if you can get a written prescription for your wheelchair adaptations. If you have a prescription, you may be exempt from paying sales tax on your conversion.

Following recommendations like these can make paying for your Toyota less expensive and more convenient.

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.

Winter-Maintenance Tips for Your Wheelchair Van

Winter Driving
Maintain Your Mobility Equipment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day

Today, America celebrates Columbus Day in honor of Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered…(kind of) America. Here are ten Columbus Day facts to help you celebrate this year’s Columbus Day.

1. Christopher Columbus never set foot on North American soil. Despite what you may have learned in school, Columbus never actually reached North America. He landed on an island in the Bahamas.

2. Columbus is often celebrated as a hero, but many people do not think of him that way. There are many people who oppose Columbus Day. Many people attribute the colonization of America, which included the death of millions, slavery, and the spread of disease to Columbus.

The History Channel says that some places in the world have changed Columbus Day to a variation of “Day of Indigenous Resistance,” to celebrate the indigenous people who were killed by Columbus and his men. In Hawaii, Columbus Day is called Discovery Day.

3. Only one of Columbus’ famous ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, is known by its real name. The Pinta was actually called the Pinta. According to the Long Island Press, the Santa Maria was named the Gallega, and the Nina was a nickname for the Santa Clara.

4. Columbus is believed to have been an opium addict. Opium is used to create modern day heroin.

5. Columbus and his men are said to have brought the diseases syphilis back to Europe.

6. Another popular theory is that no one actually knows what Columbus looks like. Experts believe that the portraits of Columbus were not actually drawn of him.

7. Columbus Day has been a National Holiday in the United States since 1937. It was first celebrated in the United States in New York on October 12th, 1792.

8. Christopher Columbus discovered the new world on October 12, 1492.

9. Christopher Columbus was not the explorer’s real name. Experts believe that it was closer to Crisstofa Corumbo.

10. Columbus wasn’t afraid of falling off the edge of the world. Explorers in Columbus’s day did not believe that the world was flat. The big question wasn’t about the earth’s shape, but it’s size.

Columbus Day

banner_columbus
Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Before it became a legal federal holiday in 1971, many states celebrated Columbus Day on October 12.

It marks Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America. He landed on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.

Columbus, and a crew of 90 people, set sail about ten weeks earlier aboard their ships – Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Timeline:
1792 – The first Columbus Day celebration is organized by The Society of St. Tammany and held in New York City, (300th anniversary of Columbus’ landing).

1892 – President Benjamin Harrison issues a proclamation establishing a celebration of Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing.

April 7, 1907 – Colorado becomes the first state to declare Columbus Day a legal holiday.

1920 – Columbus Day begins being celebrated annually.

1971 – Columbus Day becomes a legal federal holiday in the United States.

Presidential Proclamation (PL90-363) states that the observance of Columbus Day is always on the second Monday in October.

Freedom Fest 2014

Freedon Fest 2014Freedom Fest 2014 is an outdoor concert on August 09, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine to raise funds to build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine.  A joint project of Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 and the Fort Kent Historical Society, more information is available at www.IamtheAmericanFlag.com

Contact Information
Duane Belanger – Martin-Klein American Legion
Email: commander@americanlegionpost133.org
Chad Pelletier – President of Fort Kent Historical Society
Email: fkhistory1@yahoo.com


Headliner
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Thosmas Ian Nicholas - Freedom FestActor, Singer and Songwriter: Most famous for Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year
and Kevin Myers in the American Pie film series


Their Vision
To build a Veterans Museum & community center in Northern Maine to showcase and appreciate the sacrifices provided on our behalf so that our children and future generations will understand the true cost of freedom.  The Center shall be a living, breathing kiosk of history providing a dynamic educational opportunity for all those in the community!

FREEDOM-FEST 2014
Make a Donation — http://www.iamtheamericanflag.com/donate/

Pass on the Ribbon & Help Spread Rett Syndrome Awareness

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Rett syndrome is a rare, severe, “girls only” form of autism. It’s usually discovered in the first two years of life, and a child’s diagnosis with Rett syndrome can feel overwhelming. Although there’s no cure, early identification and treatment may help girls and families who are affected by Rett syndrome.

Who Gets Rett Syndrome?
Rett syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. It’s rare — only about one in 10,000 to 15,000 girls will develop the condition.

In most cases of Rett syndrome, a child develops normally in early life. Between 6 and 18 months of age, though, changes in the normal patterns of mental and social development begin.


What Are the Symptoms of Rett Syndrome?
Although it’s not always detected, a slowing of head growth is one of the first events in Rett syndrome. Loss of muscle tone is also an initial symptom. Soon, the child loses any purposeful use of her hands. Instead, she habitually wrings or rubs her hands together.

Around 1 to 4 years of age, social and language skills deteriorate in a girl with Rett syndrome. She stops talking and develops extreme social anxiety and withdrawal or disinterest in other people.

Rett syndrome also causes problems with muscles and coordination. Walking becomes awkward as girls develop a jerky, stiff-legged gait. A girl with Rett syndrome may also have uncoordinated breathing and seizures.


What Causes Rett Syndrome?
Most children with Rett syndrome have a mutation in a particular gene on the X chromosome. Exactly what this gene does, or how its mutation leads to Rett syndrome, isn’t clear. It’s believed that the single gene may influence many other genes involved in development.

Although Rett syndrome seems to be genetic, the faulty gene is almost never inherited from the parents. Rather, it’s a chance mutation that happens in the girl’s own DNA. No Rett syndrome risk factors have been identified, other than being female. There is no known method for preventing Rett syndrome.

When boys develop the Rett syndrome mutation, they die shortly after birth. Because boys have only one X chromosome (instead of the two girls have), the disease is more serious, and quickly fatal.


How Is Rett Syndrome Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of Rett syndrome is based on a girl’s pattern of symptoms and behavior. The diagnosis can be made on these observations alone. Discussions between a doctor and a girl’s parents will help determine important details, such as when symptoms started.
Genetic testing can help confirm the diagnosis in 80% of girls with suspected Rett syndrome. It’s possible that genetic testing can help predict severity.


Treatments for Rett Syndrome
There are treatments available for Rett syndrome that focus on helping a girl live the best life she can with the condition. Physical therapy can help improve mobility; speech therapy may help somewhat with language problems; and occupational therapy helps girls perform daily activities — like bathing and dressing — independently.

Experts believe that therapy can help girls with Rett syndrome and their parents. Although a “normal” life may not be possible, some improvement can be expected with therapy. Participating in activities — including school — and improved social interaction are sometimes possible.

Medicines can treat some of the problems with movement in Rett syndrome. Medication can also help control seizures. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Rett syndrome.


What to Expect With Rett Syndrome
Many girls with Rett syndrome can be expected to live at least into middle age. Researchers are still following women with the disease, which was only widely recognized in the past 20 years.

Symptoms of Rett syndrome don’t usually improve over time. It is a lifelong condition. Often, there is a very slow worsening of symptoms, or symptoms remain stable. Girls and women with Rett syndrome will rarely be able to live independently.

National Disability Employment Awareness Timeline

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

Presidential Proclamation – NDEAM 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BARACK OBAMA

Keep Calm It’s Only An Extra Chromosome

keep calm its only extra chromosome - Down Syndrome Awareness Month

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

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

Facts about Down syndrome:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Facts & Figures

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

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013

Because We Are EQUAL to the Task

2013 NDEAM Poster

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

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

October is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Rett Syndrome Aweareness month

What is Rett Syndrome?
Rett syndrome is a postnatal neurological disorder seen almost always in girls, but can be rarely seen in boys. It is not a degenerative disorder.

Rett syndrome is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. There are more than 200 different mutations found on the MECP2 gene. Most of these mutations are found in eight different “hot spots.”

Rett syndrome strikes all racial and ethnic groups, and occurs worldwide in 1 of every 10,000 to 23,000 female births.

Rett syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

Rett syndrome symptoms appear after an early period of apparently normal or near normal development until six to eighteen months of life, when there is a slowing down or stagnation of skills. A period of regression then follows when she loses communication skills and purposeful use of her hands. Soon, stereotyped hand movements such as handwashing, gait disturbances, and slowing of the normal rate of head growth become apparent. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns while she is awake. In the early years, there may be a period of isolation or withdrawal when she is irritable and cries inconsolably. Over time, motor problems may increase, but in general, irritability lessens and eye contact and communication improve.

Rett syndrome can present with a wide range of disability ranging from mild to severe. The course and severity of Rett syndrome is determined by the location, type and severity of her mutation and X-inactivation. Therefore, two girls of the same age with the same mutation can appear quite different.


Testing and Diagnosis
Rett syndrome is most often misdiagnosed as autism, cerebral palsy, or non-specific developmental delay. In the past, making the correct diagnosis called not only for a long list of diagnostic tests and procedures to rule out other disorders, but it also took from months to years waiting to confirm the diagnosis as new symptoms appeared over time. Today, we have a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis. However, since we know that the MECP2 mutation is also seen in other disorders, the presence of the MECP2 mutation in itself is not enough for the diagnosis of Rett syndrome. Diagnosis requires either the presence of the mutation (a molecular diagnosis) or fulfillment of the diagnostic criteria (a clinical diagnosis, based on signs and symptoms that you can observe) or both. Below is a list of labs to share with your ordering physician that can do the MECP2 sequencing + deletion analysis, and the list of diagnostic criteria.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness month VMi New England

Down Syndrome Awareness Month is chance to spread awareness, advocacy and inclusion throughout the community.  During the month of October, we celebrate individuals with Down syndrome and make people aware of their abilities and accomplishments.

It’s not about celebrating disabilities; it’s about celebrating abilities.

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What Is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome (or Down’s syndrome) is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. The condition leads to impairments in both cognitive ability and physical growth that range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities. Through a series of screenings and tests, Down syndrome can be detected before and after a baby is born.

The only factor known to affect the probability of having a baby with Down syndrome is maternal age. That is, less than one in 1,000 pregnancies for mothers less than 30 years of age results in a baby with Down syndrome. For mothers who are 44 years of age, about 1 in 35 pregnancies results in a baby with Down syndrome. Because younger women generally have more children, about 75 – 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to younger women.

What causes Down syndrome?
Down syndrome occurs because of an abnormality characterized by an extra copy of genetic material on all or part of the 21st chromosome. Every cell in the body contains genes that are grouped along chromosomes in the cell’s nucleus or center. There are normally 46 chromosomes in each cell, 23 inherited from your mother and 23 from your father. When some or all of a person’s cells have an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21, the result is Down syndrome.

The most common form of Down syndrome is known as Trisomy 21, a condition where individuals have 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of 46. This is caused by an error in cell division called nondisjunction, which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra copy of chromosome 21 before or at conception. Trisomy 21 accounts for 95% of Down syndrome cases, with 88% originating from nondisjunction of the mother’s egg cell.

The remaining 5% of Down syndrome cases are due to conditions called mosaicism and translocation. Mosaic Down syndrome results when some cells in the body are normal while others have Trisomy 21. Robertsonian translocation occurs when part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and attaches to another chromosome (usually chromosome 14). The presence of this extra part of chromosome 21 causes Down some syndrome characteristics. Although a person with a translocation may appear physically normal, he or she has a greater risk of producing a child with an extra 21st chromosome.

Spinal Cord Injury Information – Will You Stand For Those Who Can’t?

Spinal Cord Injury Facts & Statistics

Who Do Spinal Cord Injuries Affect in the United States?
  • 250,000 Americans are spinal cord injured.
  • 52% of spinal cord injured individuals are considered paraplegic and 47% quadriplegic.
  • Approximately 11,000 new injuries occur each year.
  • 82% are male.
  • 56% of injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30.
  • The average age of spinal cord injured person is 31.
  • SCI injuries are most commonly caused by:
    • Vehicular accidents 37%
    • Violence 28%
    • Falls 21%
    • Sports-related 6%
    • Other 8%
  • The most rapidly increasing cause of injuries is due to violence; vehicular accident injuries are decreasing in number.
  • 89% of all SCI individuals are discharged from hospitals to a private home, 4.3% are discharged to nursing homes.
  • Only 52% of SCI individuals are covered by private health insurance at time of injury.

What Do Spinal Cord Injuries Really Cost?
  • Length of initial hospitalization following injury in acute care units: 15 days
  • Average stay in rehabilitation unit: 44 days
  • Initial hospitalization costs following injury: $140,000
  • Average first year expenses for a SCI injury (all groups): $198,000
  • First year expenses for paraplegics: $152,000
  • First year expenses for quadriplegics: $417,000
  • Average lifetime costs for paraplegics, age of injury 25: $428,000
  • Average lifetime costs for quadriplegics, age of injury 25: $1.35 million
  • Percentage of SCI individuals who are covered by private health insurance at time of injury 52%
  • Percentage of SCI individuals unemployed eight years after injury 63%. (Note: unemployment rate when this article was written was 4.7%)
 Source: The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center – March 2002

Number of New Injuries Per Year
32 injuries per million population or 7800 injuries in the US each year

Most researchers feel that these numbers represent significant under- reporting. Injuries not recorded include cases where the patient instantaneously or soon after the injury, cases with little or no remaining neurological deficit, and people who have neurologic problems secondary to trauma, but are not classified as SCI. Researchers estimate that an additional 20 cases per million (4860 per year) die before reaching the hospital.

Total Number of People with SCI
  • 82% male, 18% female
  • Highest per capita rate of injury occurs between ages 16-30
  • Average age at injury – 33.4
  • Median age at injury – 26
  • Mode (most frequent) age at injury 19
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of SCI (44%), followed by acts of violence (24%),falls (22%) and sports (8%), other (2%)
  • 2/3 of sports injuries are from diving
  • Falls overtake motor vehicles as leading cause after age 45
  • Acts of violence and sports cause less injuries as age increases
  • Acts of violence have overtaken falls as the second most common source of spinal cord injury
  • Marital status at injury:
    • Single 53%
    • Married 31%
    • Divorced 9%
    • Other 7%
  • 5 years post-injury:
    • 88% of single people with SCI were still single vs. 65% of the non-SCI population
    • 81% of married people with SCI were still married vs. 89% of the non-SCI population
  • Employment status among persons between 16 and 59 years of age at injury:
    • Employed 58.8%
    • Unemployed 41.2%
      (includes: students, retired, and homemakers)
  • Employed 8 years post-injury:
    • Paraplegic 34.4%
    • Quadriplegic 24.3%

People who return to work in the first year post-injury usually return to the same job for the same employer. People who return to work after the first year post-injury either worked for different employers or were students who found work.

How are spinal injuries caused?
Until the most recent figures were released by NSCIA in August, 1995, these were considered as the major causes of spinal cord injuries. See Answer to # 4 and Dr. Wise Youngís statistics in Section 2 for all the most recent demographics. One of the most surprising findings is that acts of violence have now overtaken falls as the second most common source of spinal cord injury,  as of the 1995 findings.

Previous To 1995:

  • Motor vehicles 48%
  • Falls 21%
  • Sports 14% (66% of which are caused in diving accidents)
  • Violence 15%
  • Other 2%

The Injury

Since 1988, 45% of all injuries have been complete, 55% incomplete. Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and function below the injury level. Incomplete injuries result in partial loss. “Complete” does not necessarily mean the cord has been severed. Each of the above categories can occur in paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Except for the incomplete-Preserved motor (functional), no more than 0.9% fully recover, although all can improve from the initial diagnosis.

Overall, slightly more than 1/2 of all injuries result in quadriplegia. However, the proportion of quadriplegics increase markedly after age 45, comprising 2/3 of all injuries after age 60 and 87% of all injuries after age 75.

92% of all sports injuries result in quadriplegia.

Most people with neurologically complete lesions above C-3 die before receiving medical treatment. Those who survive are usually dependent on mechanical respirators to breathe.

50% of all cases have other injuries associated with the spinal cord injury.

Most Frequent Neurological Category
Quadriplegia, incomplete 31.2%
Paraplegia, complete 28.2%
Paraplegia, incomplete 23.1%
Quadriplegia, complete 17.5%

 

Hospitalization
(Important: This section applies only to individuals who were admitted to one of the hospitals designated as “Model” SCI centers by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research.)

Over 37% of all cases admitted to the Spinal Cord Injury System sponsored by the NIDRR arrive within 24 hours of injury. The mean time between injury and admission is 6 days.

Only 10-15% of all people with injuries are admitted to the NIDRR SCI system. The remainder go to CARF facilities or to general hospitals in their local community.

It is now known that the length of stay and hospital charges for acute care and initial rehabilitation are higher for cases where admission to the SCI system is delayed beyond 24 hours. Average length of stay (1992):
Quadriplegics 95 days
Paraplegics 67 days
All 79 days

Average charges (1990 dollars) Note: Specific cases are considerably higher.
Quadriplegics $118,900
Paraplegics $ 85,100
All $ 99,553

Source of payment acute care:
Private Insurance 53%
Medicaid 25%
Self-pay 1%
Vocational Rehab 14%
Worker’s Comp 12%
Medicare 5%
Other 2%

Ongoing medical care: (Many people have more than one source of payment.)
Private Insurance 43%
Medicare 25%
Self-pay 2%
Medicaid 31%
Worker’s Compensation 11%
Vocational Rehab 16%

After the Hospital
Residence at discharge
Private Residence 92%
Nursing Home 4%
Other Hospital 2%
Group Home 2%

There is no apparent relationship between severity of injury and nursing home admission, indicating that admission is caused by other factors (i.e. family can’t take care of person, medical complications, etc.) Nursing home admission is more common among elderly persons.

Each year 1/3 to 1/2 of all people with SCI are re-admitted to the hospital. There is no difference in the rate of re-admissions between persons with paraplegia and quadriplegia, but there is a difference between the rate for those with complete and incomplete injuries.


Survival
Overall, 85% of SCI patients who survive the first 24 hours are still alive 10 years later, compared with 98% of the non-SCI population given similar age and sex.

Causes of Death
The most common cause of death is respiratory ailment, whereas, in the past it was renal failure. An increasing number of people with SCI are dying of unrelated causes such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, similar to that of the general population. Mortality rates are significantly higher during the first year after injury than during subsequent years.

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Every 48 minutes someone in the U.S. is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury.  Millions worldwide are living with paralysis as a result and living with the knowledge that there is currently no cure for their injury.

In an effort to raise awareness about the critical need for better treatments and preventive measures, September has been designated National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month by the U.S. Senate, the result of a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).  To bolster the resolution’s message, we are launching an awareness campaign lasting the entire month of September.

The goal of the campaign is to ask “Will You Stand Up For Those Who Can’t?”  The intent is to create a national conversation about the devastation of paralysis, and to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness.

“Paralysis does not discriminate.  People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time,” said Nick Buoniconti.  “But the reality of today’s statistics can’t be disputed.  Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference.  I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can’t and do one or more of the following?”

We are asking our friends and supporters to:

Make a donation in honor of a loved one, caregiver, scientist or organization who is working to improve the life of those injured.  If you would like to host a small fundraising party at your house, please email bfinfo@med.miami.edu and we will send you more information.

“The inspiring work of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has touched the lives of millions of young athletes, accident victims and troops in harm’s way and I commend them for it,” said Sen. Rubio. “By designating September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, I hope we can further educate the public about how crippling accidents can be prevented while promoting the important work being done to help victims walk again.”

September has been designated by Congress as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

september has been designated by congress as national spinal cord injury awareness month newenglandwheelchairvan.com

September has been designated by Congress as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. Sponsored by Sen. Mark Rubio of Florida, the resolution notes:

  • the estimated 1,275,000 individuals in the United States who live with a spinal cord injury (SCI) cost society billions of dollars in health-care costs and lost wages;
  • an estimated 100,000 of those individuals are veterans who suffered the spinal cord injury while serving as members of the United States Armed Forces;
  • every 48 minutes a person will become paralyzed, underscoring the urgent need to develop new neuroprotection, pharmacological, and regeneration treatments to reduce, prevent, and reverse paralysis; and
  • increased education and investment in research are key factors in improving outcomes for victims of spinal cord injuries, improving the quality of life of victims, and ultimately curing paralysis.

“Paralyzed Veterans of America is passionate about its commitment to increasing awareness, supporting research to find a cure and advocating for exceptional quality of care for patients with spinal cord injury/disorders

Research into treating or finding a way to reverse paralysis from spinal cord injury is often expensive and hard to come by, involving specialized equipment and staff that many hospitals and research centers cannot afford. Government funding and support, as well as that of the private sector, will be crucial in the search for a treatment for paralysis.

Paralyzed Veterans of America has since its inception supported research in spinal cord science as well as educational initiatives to improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury—more than $100 million into research that promises new therapies, treatments and potential cures for paralysis. Top researchers supported by Paralyzed Veterans now confidently speak of a cure.

Abilities Expo Boston September 20-22

Abilities Expo  Boston September 20-22

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

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

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

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22 2013

Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22

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

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

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

Exhibitor Profile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

WILL YOU STAND UP FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T?

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

september is national spinal cord injury awareness month newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Every 48 minutes someone in the U.S. is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury.  Millions worldwide are living with paralysis as a result and living with the knowledge that there is currently no cure for their injury.

In an effort to raise awareness about the critical need for better treatments and preventive measures, September has been designated National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month by the U.S. Senate, the result of a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).  To bolster the resolution’s message, we are launching an awareness campaign lasting the entire month of September.

The goal of the campaign is to ask “Will You Stand Up For Those Who Can’t?”  The intent is to create a national conversation about the devastation of paralysis, and to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness.

“Paralysis does not discriminate.  People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time,” said Nick Buoniconti.  “But the reality of today’s statistics can’t be disputed.  Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference.  I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can’t and do one or more of the following?”

We are asking our friends and supporters to:

Make a donation in honor of a loved one, caregiver, scientist or organization who is working to improve the life of those injured.  If you would like to host a small fundraising party at your house, please email bfinfo@med.miami.edu and we will send you more information.

“The inspiring work of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has touched the lives of millions of young athletes, accident victims and troops in harm’s way and I commend them for it,” said Sen. Rubio. “By designating September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, I hope we can further educate the public about how crippling accidents can be prevented while promoting the important work being done to help victims walk again.”

Trade In a Vehicle Towards a Wheelchair Van

boston trade in a vehicle towards a wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com/

cash paid for your wheelchair van

VMi New England Mobility Center accepts trade-in vehicles toward the purchase of an wheelchair accessible van. Get a trade-in quote with some of the best rates in the mobility industry. Update your current  wheelchair van, or trade in a car, truck, minivan, full-size van, sports car, or accessible vehicle towards a new or used handicap accessible ramp van. We use a variety of modern up to date appraisal tools, including Kelley Blue Book, NADA, and the Manheim Market Report. We will assess your vehicle’s trade-in value and provide you with a great offer towards the purchase of new wheelchair van or a used handicap van with new or used conversion.

Trade In Vehicle Requirements

We will accept virtually all non-modified vehicles that are preferably under 10 years old with odometers at 100,000 miles or less. You can also trade in a converted mobility vehicle from Braun, VMI, Rollx, and, even a AMS converted handicap vans.

Submit Your Vehicle’s Information
The first step is to call or email us about your trade. The basic information you provide helps our mobility consultants create the best trade-in deal possible for you. Be sure you include the correct VIN and mileage, and submit photos of your vehicle.

Trade-in Inspection
A mobility consultant will typically give a trade-in quote as soon as your vehicle is brought in for inspection. After a price is agreed upon, we will write you a check. For nationwide customers, we will pick up your trade-in at the time that we deliver your new or used handicap van.

All trade-in offers are based on a first hand inspection, and if a vehicle isn’t represented accurately, we reserve the right to withdraw the offer once the vehicle is personally inspected by our evaluator.

 

United Spinal Establishes Advisory Committee of Spinal Cord Injury Experts

united-spinal-establishes-advisory-committee-of-spinal-cord-injury-experts newenglandwheelchairvan.com

United Spinal Association has appointed a new Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC) to offer guidance and expertise in assisting people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) locate the very best resources to maximize their quality of life.

The MSAC is comprised of representatives of the multidisciplinary SCI/D health care community including clinicians, scientists, researchers and other professionals.

Committee chairman, Dr. Christine Sang, states, “Our mission is to maximize the quality of life of all people living with SCI/D. We envision a world in which all people living with SCI/D have access to every opportunity that improves health and quality of life.”

The committee will work directly with United Spinal’s membership division, NSCIA and its national resource center.

The goal of the MSAC is threefold:
• Provide information and guidance in medical/other health care-related topics
• Identify and address health care policy issues that impact the SCI/D community
• Inform the SCI/D community of the latest advancements in research relevant to their health and independence

“The MSAC is reflective of United Spinal’s ongoing commitment to actively supporting the highest possible quality of life for persons living with SCI/D,” said Pat Maher, MSAC and United Spinal board member, speaking on behalf of all members of the advisory committee.

“Whether you’re managing a newly acquired injury or diagnosis, or addressing the challenges around aging and SCI, the MSAC is committed to supporting our members and the entire SCI/D community to remain informed on critical health care matters,” he added.

“In the wake of any devastating diagnosis, people and their family members need to know that the information they’re receiving is accurate. We are incredibly fortunate to have the MSAC as a resource for the SCI/D community,” said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.

United Spinal’s NSCIA national resource center, Spinal Cord Central, provides information and resources to meet the needs of over one million individuals with SCI/D and:

• Their families and friends
• The medical and scientific community
• Service and business professionals
• The media; students; government; elected officials; and the public.

United Spinal and The Buoniconti Fund Team Up to Improve Peer Support for People Living With SCI/D

United Spinal Association and The Buoniconti Fund today announced their plans to create a coordinated national network of peer support groups called the “Spinal Network” that will set higher standards in assisting people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D).

The goal of the Spinal Network is to ensure more peer support groups in cities and towns across the United States are connected to the very best resources to help people with SCI/D maintain independent and active lifestyles.

united-spinal-and-the-buoniconti-fund-team-up-to-improve-peer-support-for-people-living-with-scid

“There are a variety of SCI/D support groups out there, both new and old. Unfortunately, there is very little coordination between them and their standards can be drastically different,” said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.

“In many cases, a person with SCI/D who has had great peer support may move to a new community with minimal support. Even worse, someone may leave a rehab facility with no support whatsoever and no clear picture of how to overcome new challenges,” added Tobin.

To date, over thirty support groups in 20 states have received funding through grants from The Spinal Network for their commitment to improve the lives of people with SCI/D.

“We believe there is a strong need for greater support for individuals and families that are affected by spinal cord injuries and disorders. The Spinal Network will help bridge that gap between people living with SCI/D and their community so they are able to not only return home, but gain a new understanding and outlook on life,” said Marc A. Buoniconti, president of The Buoniconti Fund and one of the founding members of the Spinal Network.

The Spinal Network will address this issue by establishing a strong national peer-to-peer support base, backed by United Spinal’s membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), and its 70-plus national chapters and extensive resource center.  Guidance will be provided on all facets of living with SCI/D, including employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Extensive tools and training will also be provided to leaders of each peer support group that joins the Spinal Network to help group participants adjust to SCI/D––from tips to improving social interactions and overcoming day-to-day challenges, to developing new self-management skills.

The Spinal Network is established through a partnership between The Buoniconti Fund; United Spinal Association and its membership program NSCIA; and tremendous support from Founding Corporate Sponsor Hollister, Inc.––a world leader in urological products.

The Spinal Network will offer grant opportunities, which are available to all support groups in the SCI/D community in the United States. Grants will be awarded bi-annually to groups who meet specific criteria.

Additional micro-grants will be awarded bi-annually based upon available funding and will encourage program innovation and outreach efforts to people newly affected by SCI/D.  Finally, the Spinal Network will work to ensure that peers can find out what they need and when they need it, as they move from one area to another.  As every person with SCI/D learns in rehab, one of the most reliable sources of information about living with SCI/D is another person who has been there.  The Spinal Network will help make those connections.

To learn more about the Spinal Network peer mentoring program, go online to: www.spinalnetwork.org or contact the NSCIA’s Resource Center at: peers@spinalcord.org or by phone:  800-962-9629.

cinemAbility disAbility, film, and changing society

If art is a reflection of life, than we should look to film to examine the progress we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned about inclusion.

CinemAbility   Disability, Film, and Changing Society newenglandwheelchairvan.com

 

That’s exactly what a new documentary titled CinemAbility, which premiered in Los Angeles last week, seeks to do. The film, sponsored by BraunAbility and produced and directed by Jenni Gold, a longtime friend and customer, takes a detailed look at the evolution of disability in entertainment. As a wheelchair user who lives with muscular dystrophy, she was the perfect catalyst to set the project in motion.

She brought a few well-known friends along for help, including celebrities like Jamie Foxx, William H. Macy, Ben Affleck and Beau Bridges. All shared their experiences with disability in film or television and any pre-conceived notions they had about playing such a character.

Unbeknownst to each, the actors and actresses were asked the same question: What is the first portrayal of a disability that you remember in entertainment? Answers ranged from a blind Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark to Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot to Tom Cruise in Born on the 4th of July.

CinemAbility   Disability, Film, and Changing Society newenglandwheelchairvan.com

The common theme among each interview: we need more. We’ve come a long way from the days of black and white Charlie Chaplin films when people with physical disabilities were portrayed as carnival freak show entertainment. Hollywood doesn’t always get it right, however, and many of the industry’s notable actors, actresses and directors are intentionally seeking to change that.

CinemAbility premiered Friday, July 26th, which was, appropriately, the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For a list of cities that will show the film on its national tour, visit www.cinemability.com or follow CinemAbility on Facebook.