Tag Archives: rear entry wheelchair van

What is A New/Used Wheelchair van?

When shopping for a new or pre-owned wheelchair van at a mobility dealership, you may hear or read the term “New/Used”. Sounds confusing, right? The term New/Used describes an accessible vehicle for sale that has a new conversion added to a pre-owned used minivan. These vehicles tend to have less than 40,000 miles and are only 2-3 years old. The reason they tend to be newer and with very few miles is that conversion manufacturers want quality vans that are going to provide reliable transportation for many years to come. New/Used van conversions can be side entry or rear entry, with most having a fold-out ramp (vs. an in-floor ramp). A VMI Summit on a Dodge Grand Caravan is just one example of a fold-out ramp conversion. Folding wheelchair ramps on a minivan can be powered or manual. Powered ramps are operated with a push-button inside the vehicle, a key fob or both.

Deciding whether to buy a new or used wheelchair van can be a difficult decision. Your choice may depend on how often or how far you plan to travel every year, whether you are the driver (with the use of hand controls) or passenger, and your preferences for a specific conversion, make or color. A lot of people want all of the latest electronic accessories and gadgets that can only be found in a new vehicle — but they also want something in a used vehicle’s price range. New/Used vehicles provide an “almost new” vehicle at significant cost savings – and may have all of the amenities that you’re are looking for.

How to Afford a Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle New England

Among people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, one of the most talked about subjects is the price of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. A shiny new van can be out of range for many consumers on fixed incomes. But a used wheelchair van could be a possibility.

Let’s take a look at some concerns people may have:

Used vehicles have too much mileage on them.

Many used vehicles don’t have much mileage and the mobility equipment may be hardly used.

How much does a used accessible van with a ramp or lift cost?

A wheelchair accessible van less than 3 years old could start at $30,000—or thousands more. A gently used, older wheelchair van can be converted to save even more.

An older vehicle won’t last much longer.

A vehicle properly taken care of can last for decades. For added peace of mind, contact a mobility dealer who sells used wheelchair accessible vehicles and has decades of experience.

A used vehicle probably won’t have the equipment I want.

You want an in-floor ramp but you can only find fold-outs. If the price is right, you may be able to have the desired equipment installed after the sale. Do your research up front.

How can I qualify for a vehicle loan?

  • Talk to your VMi New England mobility dealer—they know the organizations, non-profits, state and federal agencies and charities that will help in financing in your area.
  • If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible for a credit towards a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For more information go to VMi New England
  • Start saving! If you get an income tax refund, put it in a special savings account.
  • Ask your family and friends to forgo gifts and donate towards your vehicle fund.

Above all, contact a mobility expert like the ones at VMi New England. They will work hand-in-hand with you on areas like what is right for you, financing options, rates, terms, manufacturer offers, incentives and benefits.

VMi New England is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our adapted wheelchair vans.

Rear-entry wheelchair van ramp conversions

Rear-entry wheelchair vans and handicap accessible vans have a lowered floor that extends from the rear of the vehicle to the front seats.  These conversions feature a wheelchair ramp at the rear hatch.  Rear-entry wheelchair vans can be configured to transport up to 2 wheelchairs, depending on the conversion chosen and the size of the wheelchairs.  Available with a  power or manual wheelchair ramp, rear-entryhandicap accessible vans are  generally more economical that side-entry wheelchair vans.  Rear-entry wheelchair vans have excellent ground clearance, making them perfect for our tough New England winters.  While thay aren’t a good choice for those who want to drive from their wheelchairs or ride in their wheelchairs in the front passenger area, rear entry handicap vans work well for those who need to transport individuals with very long wheelchairs or children in wheelchairs.  Because of the location of the wheelchair ramp, these vehicles can fit in any parking space and still make loading and unloading of wheelchair passengers a cinch.  Rear-entry handicap vans are ideal when handicap accessible parking is not available.

Greater Accessibility and Ease of Use
The benefits that come from a rear entry van are pretty big when it comes to both usability and accessibility. First and foremost, accessing the van from the rear actually allows for a wider ramp and a wider opening for access to the van, which is perfect for bulkier power chair models. In addition, rear access means that the actual access ramp itself can be longer, allowing an easier climb into the vehicle. And, because no side clearance is required, customers can park anywhere–even outside of the typical handicap parking space–without encountering maneuverability or space issues.

Accessible Vehicles And Adaptive Mobility Equipment Q&A

Rear entry vs. side entry. Buying online. Buying used. What do you need to know to get maximum benefit for minimum expense?

Good information is the key to saving money and getting the most value for the dollar when making a big-ticket purchase like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

With that in mind, Seek out and find experts who truly care for answers to some common questions about adaptive mobility equipment.

Q: Can I just go to a car dealer down the street or do I need a certified mobility dealer?

A: Certified mobility dealers help consumers buy the right vehicle and adaptive mobility equipment to meet their mobility needs now and in the future. Future planning is especially important for people with muscle diseases that get progressively worse over time.

“There are so many different products out there, and technology has improved so much. We just want to help people make the right decision,” says Jim Sanders, president of Automotive Innovations based in Bridgewater, MA for over 25 years.

“Many times, consumers will go to a car dealer and buy [a vehicle] that can’t be modified or one that doesn’t fit their needs. And once you buy a vehicle, normally it’s very difficult to return it.”

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit organization that provides consumer guidance and ensures quality and professionalism in the manufacturing and installation of mobility equipment. Members include mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals.

NMEDA member-dealers must follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in addition to NMEDA’s own stringent guidelines.

Some dealers choose to enroll in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), which requires them to adhere to national motor vehicle safety standards, and use proven quality control practices to yield the highest level of performance and safety. Automotive Innovations was the First Mobility Dealer in Massachusetts to enroll and exceed the safety standards.

“The QAP dealer is audited by an outside engineering firm to verify that technicians have been trained, make sure the dealer has insurance and make sure the facility is ADA-compliant,”

So it means the QAP dealer is going above and beyond.”

Other reasons to seek out a certified mobility equipment dealer include:

They provide a link to qualified service and repair, that it’s crucial to have done on a adapted vehicle serviced.

Some manufacturers of adapted vehicles sell directly to consumers, cutting costs by cutting out the middle man, says Jim Sanders, of VMi New England, based in Bridgewater, MA.

But expert assessment and “try before you buy” remain essentials for prospective buyers, with or without a dealer in the middle.

For example, We, a NMEDA QAP-certified member, send representatives to customers’ homes for assessment and test drives before they buy, and also offer unmatched service/maintenance to just about any modified vehicle including Rollx vans.

Q: Can I get a better price if I buy online rather than from a dealer?

A: As with any online shopping, the warning “buyer beware” rings true. Buying online without trying out different vehicles with different conversions can be a costly mistake. Furthermore there are many grey market converted vans being offered as quality conversions.

Online, clients are mostly shopping blind. Typically they have no idea how the vehicle they need will even work fro them, even if they have specific recommendations from a driver evaluator or occupational therapist.

“You definitely shouldn’t buy it online,” “There not trying to assess your needs by e-mail or over the phone. There just trying to sell you something.

Some online dealers even have a questionnaire on its Web site to try and give you the idea your getting what you need. But, it will never replace being able to go to a local mobility dealership and try the vans out first hand.

A mobility vehicle is probably the second-largest purchase after a house. You should see it, try it out, and make sure it’s something that will work for you. It’s horrible when people get something that they’re disappointed in.

Every vehicle is a little bit different — such as in the dimensions, electrical and fuel systems, or suspension modifications. “If you go online and buy [based] on price, you’re not really looking at the total package.”

While buying online maybe able to save money up front, it wont over the long term.

In addition to consumers missing out on the important local service contact that a mobility equipment dealer provides, these online deals or grey market vans are worth much less when it comes time to trade it in.

Where do you want to sit? If you plan to drive from your wheelchair, then a side-entry conversion is what you’ll need, unless you can transfer to the driver’s seat (rear entry). With a rear-entry conversion, the wheelchair user typically is positioned in the back or between two mid-row captain’s seats, while a side entry offers a wheelchair user multiple seating options in the driver, front passenger and middle sections.

Q: What are some common mistakes people make when buying a modified vehicle?

A: Manufacturers and mobility dealers agree that one of the most common — and costly — mistakes is buying the vehicle first and then shopping for the conversion or adaptive mobility equipment. Not all vehicles can be converted.

For example, If you purchase a minivan from a traditional car dealership you can hit a roadblock if it doesn’t meet specific requirements to have the floor lowered for a rear- or side-entry conversion.

Q: What are some good questions to ask a dealer or manufacturer?

A: Although buying a modified vehicle can be “a daunting experience,” says VMI’s Monique McGivney, it also can be “exciting and fun when you walk in armed with good questions and information.”

Prior to getting an assessment from a mobility dealer, evaluate your needs and try answering the following questions:

  • What vehicle will fit in my garage?
  • What kind of parking issues will I encounter where I live?
  • What is the size and weight of my wheelchair?
  • What is my seated height in the wheelchair?
  • How many people will ride in the vehicle?
  • In what part of the vehicle do I want to sit?
  • Will I be able to drive with hand controls?
  • Do I want a full-size van, minivan or alternative vehicle?
  • Do I want manual or power equipment?
  • Will an in-floor ramp or fold-out ramp meet my needs?
  • What is my budget, and do I have access to supplemental funding?

The first question mobility dealers usually ask a client is: “What is your seated height in the wheelchair?” From there, the dealer can advise whether a full-size or minivan is appropriate, and what kind of conversion is needed.

Be sure to ask the dealer about the warranty and how the vehicle can be serviced.

Q: Which is better: rear entry or side entry?

A: The most important difference between a rear- and side-entry conversion is that with a rear entry, wheelchair users can’t drive from their wheelchairs nor can they ride in the front passenger seat. From there, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

In recent years, because of quality, convenience and cost, there’s been a shift toward side entry vehicles. Rear entry is more of a frugal modification, involves a less of conversion process and is typically a little less expensive than a side-entry conversion.

Many people prefer side entry with a in-floor conversion for many safety reasons additionally because they can park almost anywhere and not worry deploying the ramp out into traffic. Also, side entry allows the consumer to ride in the passengers front position along with maintain the rear seats in a minivan because the conversion doesn’t affect that area.

Rear entry is harder to get out of compared to a side-entry.

Anyway you look at it side-entry vehicles are more versatile. For example, side entry allows someone with a progressively worsening condition to use the vehicle for a longer period of time. A wheelchair user can start out driving from his or her chair, and then move to several other positions in the vehicle when no longer able to drive.

Side-entry conversions typically are a little more expensive than rear-entry because they’re more intrusive and labor intensive. For example, with a minivan, the entire floor and frame must be removed and replaced with a lowered floor and new frame.

Q: What’s the difference between a fold-out ramp and in-floor ramp?

A: This decision comes down to safety, aesthetics, convenience and cost.

A fold-out ramp folds up into the vehicle, takes up valuable space in the passengers front area and must be deployed whenever the door is opened.

The in-floor ramp slides under the floor, so it safer for anyone seated in the passengers front position, mid-ship position, there’s no obstruction to the door, and other passengers can enter and exit without deploying the ramp. In-floor ramps only are currently only available for side-entry minivan conversions, and there is even a manual (unpowered) option.

In-floor ramps in addition to being safer will generally provide more room in the vehicle because there’s nothing blocking the doorway. The ramp is “out of sight, out of mind and may last longer because it doesn’t have to be deployed each time the side passenger door opens.

Fold-out ramps generally cost a little less than in-floor, and consumers can select from manual and power versions; a power fold-out ramp still costs less than an in-floor ramp.

If an in-floor ramp system breaks down or the vehicle loses power, VMI’s in-floor ramp systems have a backup system (sure-deploy) that bypasses the vehicle’s battery.

A lot of people just feel more secure knowing there isn’t a fold-out ramp next to them in the event of a accident.

Q: I use a wheelchair, but a van or minivan just isn’t “me.” Are they my only options?

A: You have some choices.

Lowered-floor conversions with fold-out ramps can be done on the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Toyota Scion. The conversions are small and don’t fit as many people.

Due to them being built on a much smaller scale, the ones we have seen have not been built with the same level of quality of mini van conversion. Parts availability and repairs have been a problem, some of the companies that converted them are out of business and or have no support for “something they used to build”

For those who prefer to keep their standard car rather than purchasing a modified vehicle — and who can make the transfer from a wheelchair to a car seat — the answer may be as simple as a set of hand controls or a left foot gas pedal

Turning seats can be used in a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to SUVs and pickup trucks. A way to transport the wheelchair (like a rear lift) also is needed.

The rate at which your disease symptoms are worsening is one thing to consider when looking at turning seats — is it likely you’ll be able to transfer and ride in a car seat for many more years? Also, be sure to check with a mobility dealer to determine if your vehicle can accommodate a turning seat and a wheelchair lift.

Q: Why are modified vehicles so darned expensive?

A: A vehicle conversion can cost consumers upwards of $27,000 — and that’s just the cost for the conversion, not the vehicle. The total package can run between $45,000 and $80,000 — or more.

Besides the cost of the components, the reason it’s so pricey is that basically there is a lot of work involved to build a quality vehicle.

Modified vehicles from certified manufacturers and dealers must meet NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That means all modified vehicles must be properly crash tested. (To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.)

It’s quite a labor-intensive process because of the customization. When you make structural modifications to a vehicle, you have to go through all of the crash testing, and you have to show that the vehicle is compliant again, and those tests are very expensive.

Most of the time lowering the floor in a minivan requires replacing or moving the fuel tank. Once the conversion is finished, the vehicle still has to meet the original requirements for evaporative emissions, in addition to NHTSA requirements.

Q: How can I pay less?

A: Consumers have some options.

Many consumers cut costs by purchasing pre-owned vehicles with new conversions, typically saving around $10,000 to $12,000.

The previous van owner already has absorbed the depreciation hit on a new van, which essentially occurs right after you’ve driven off the dealer’s lot.

Buying used can be beneficial for first-time buyers who want to try out a vehicle for a few years before buying new.

But if you plan to buy used, do some research and make sure the vehicle is structurally sound including the conversion. Ask for a vehicle history (CARFAX) report, and get the vehicle inspected by a mobility dealer to ensure it’s in good shape and was well taken care of.

Q: How do people manage to pay for it?

A: Many consumers used home equity loans to purchase a vehicle and adaptive equipment. But with home values decreasing.

Many dealers and manufacturers work with lending institutions that offer extended-term financing, including 10-year loans, allowing consumers to make lower, more affordable monthly payments. The downside is that consumers are locked into the vehicle for 10 years, and end up paying more in interest.

If you finance for 10 years, and you’re not going to keep the vehicle for that amount of time, you’re going to lose money when you try to sell or trade it because you haven’t paid off much of the balance.

When you buy a new vehicle, many car manufacturers offer mobility reimbursement programs (up to $1,000) to help offset the cost for the purchase and installation of adaptive equipment.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between a side-entry wheelchair van and a rear-entry wheelchair accessible van.

Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry Wheelchair Vans
One of the most important choices you’ll make in selecting a handicap accessible wheelchair van is side entry versus rear entry. Your choice will impact such things as the wheelchair seating positions, your ability to accommodate other passengers, and parking options. Side-entry wheelchair vans represent the majority of the market—over 75% for most personal use vehicles. However, rear-entry wheelchair vans are also gaining in popularity as more products become available. Here is a look at some key points you’ll want to be aware of.

Style Side-entry wheelchair minivans Rear-entry wheelchair minivans
Advantages
  • Enter and exit safely onto curbside away from traffic
  • Drive from a wheelchair or sit in the front passenger position in a wheelchair or driver position
  • More choices available
  • More storage space
  • Park in any parking space—no extra room required for ramp (excluding parallel parking)
  • Side passenger doors aren’t blocked by a ramp
  • Mid-passenger seats can be mounted next to the wheelchair position
  • Great for long wheelchairs/leg rests
  • Less expensive conversion
  • More ground clearance
Important options
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • In-floor ramp or fold-up ramp (some ramps are manual)
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • Driver swivel seats available
  • Manual conversion available
Limitations
  • Requires handicap parking space/extra room for ramp deployment
  • Some driveways aren’t wide enough to accommodate a van
  • Must exit and enter from traffic area
  • It is not possible to drive from the wheelchair and/or having the wheelchair in the front passenger position
  • Less storage space available
Conversion price $19,000-$25,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).
$17,000-$22,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles: Manual Ramp Vs. Automatic Ramp

Manual Infloor Ramp

Side Entry VMI Northstar E Manual Wheelchair Accessible Ramp Van

Manual Wheelchair Accessible Ramp

Pros:

  • Conversion costs less
  • Option of in-floor side access ramp or fold out rear access ramp

Cons:

  • Not impossible to access the ramp, but hard to manually operate while seated in a wheelchair
  • No kneeling system

 

Automatic Infloor Ramp

Side Entry VMI Northstar Automatic Wheelchair Accessible Ramp Van

Automatic Wheelchair Accessible Ramp

Pros:

  • Easy access whether in a wheelchair or not
  • Option of using a kneeling system
  • The key-fob (remote) can operate the ramp with the press of a button
  • Option of in floor or fold out ramp
  • Option of side entry or rear entry

Cons:

  • Conversion costs more
  • If the vehicle experiences a power or an equipment failure you have to manually operate the ramp which can be difficult when in a wheelchair

 

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between a side-entry wheelchair van and a rear-entry wheelchair accessible van.

Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry Wheelchair Vans
One of the most important choices you’ll make in selecting a handicap accessible wheelchair van is side entry versus rear entry. Your choice will impact such things as the wheelchair seating positions, your ability to accommodate other passengers, and parking options. Side-entry wheelchair vans represent the majority of the market—over 75% for most personal use vehicles. However, rear-entry wheelchair vans are also gaining in popularity as more products become available. Here is a look at some key points you’ll want to be aware of.

Style Side-entry wheelchair minivans Rear-entry wheelchair minivans
Advantages
  • Enter and exit safely onto curbside away from traffic
  • Drive from a wheelchair or sit in the front passenger position in a wheelchair or driver position
  • More choices available
  • More storage space
  • Park in any parking space—no extra room required for ramp (excluding parallel parking)
  • Side passenger doors aren’t blocked by a ramp
  • Mid-passenger seats can be mounted next to the wheelchair position
  • Great for long wheelchairs/leg rests
  • Less expensive conversion
  • More ground clearance
Important options
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • In-floor ramp or fold-up ramp (some ramps are manual)
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • Driver swivel seats available
  • Manual conversion available
Limitations
  • Requires handicap parking space/extra room for ramp deployment
  • Some driveways aren’t wide enough to accommodate a van
  • Must exit and enter from traffic area
  • It is not possible to drive from the wheelchair and/or having the wheelchair in the front passenger position
  • Less storage space available
Conversion price $19,000-$25,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).
$17,000-$22,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).

What is A New/Used Wheelchair van?

VMi New England Wheelchair vans & ramp:Lift options
When shopping for a new or pre-owned wheelchair van at a mobility dealership, you may hear or read the term “New/Used”. Sounds confusing, right? The term New/Used describes an accessible vehicle for sale that has a new conversion added to a pre-owned used minivan. These vehicles tend to have less than 40,000 miles and are only 2-3 years old. The reason they tend to be newer and with very few miles is that conversion manufacturers want quality vans that are going to provide reliable transportation for many years to come. New/Used van conversions can be side entry or rear entry, with most having a fold-out ramp (vs. an in-floor ramp). A VMI Summit on a Dodge Grand Caravan is just one example of a fold-out ramp conversion. Folding wheelchair ramps on a minivan can be powered or manual. Powered ramps are operated with a push-button inside the vehicle, a key fob or both.

Deciding whether to buy a new or used wheelchair van can be a difficult decision. Your choice may depend on how often or how far you plan to travel every year, whether you are the driver (with the use of hand controls) or passenger, and your preferences for a specific conversion, make or color. A lot of people want all of the latest electronic accessories and gadgets that can only be found in a new vehicle — but they also want something in a used vehicle’s price range. New/Used vehicles provide an “almost new” vehicle at significant cost savings – and may have all of the amenities that you’re are looking for.

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.

 

Able Flight Brings Wheelchair user to the Sky

able flight brings wheelchair user to the sky boston newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Humanity has always seen flight as one of the most sublime images of freedom in motion. It seems almost unfair that our feathered friends get to move about so quickly to wherever they may please. It seems to be nothing short of magical. Piloting an aircraft was a pipedream for wheelchair users for many a year; that is, until 2006.

Charles Stites founded the non-profit group, Able Flight, for the sole purpose of giving those accustomed to wheels a new pair of wings. Able Flight works to give scholarships to people who have physical disabilities for the purpose of obtaining a Sport Pilot license. Some of the group’s funding goes to purchasing special modified aircraft for people with differing needs to have a plane to fly.

Nothing says it better than the mission statement used by foundation: Able Flight’s mission is to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance.

The program received a special boon in 2010 when a partnership with the premiere Purdue University Department of Aviation Technology took place. Able Flight offers a range of scholarships for students to go learn from the world-class flight instructors at Purdue.

Most flight instruction takes place during the months of May and June, for a total of 5 to 6 weeks. This time covers ground-based classwork and in-flight training, all leading up to the check ride tests. Most flight training is now conducted with Able Flight’s joint training program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Career training can take place at a number of locations.

The scholarship types range from a full-ride scholarship for those looking to obtain a Sport Pilot license, to those seeking training for a career working on and with Light Sport Aircraft in either maintenance or dispatching. Another scholarship is made available for those who had a pilot’s license and are seeking to get back in the air after an injury.

To see pictures of students in training, and in flight, click here.

The requirements are basic as well. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen seventeen years or older with a disability. Recipients have had disabilities ranging from lost limbs and SCI to congenital birth disorders.

Leonardo Da Vinci captured a strong sentiment for those who admire the sky, Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

Thanks to Purdue University and Able Flight, being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean just looking into the sky any longer.

The Ralph Braun Foundation enters new Grant Cycle

The Ralph Braun Foundation will be opening a new funding cycle on August 1, 2013.  The two month time period will be operated similarly to the past cycles with the application process closing on September 30th. The grants are awarded to those who have most of their funding secured and just need a little additional help to meet their goal.

The Ralph Braun Foundation has been awarding grants for three years with 12-15 grants being awarded annually.

Ralph Braun

The  entire application process must be completed online. The application must be filled out completely and all attachments sent electronically with the application. We will be funding mobility transportation equipment such as new or used accessible vehicles, wheelchair lifts, car-top wheelchair carriers, scooter lifts, access seats, etc. Eligible products may be funded at 25% of the cost with a grant cap of $5000.

All applicants must be working with a NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) certified mobility dealer to determine and quote the proper product to meet their needs.

The grant applications will be reviewed after the process closes on September 30, 2013, and grant award letters will be sent on October 15, 2013.  All purchases must be completed and checks sent to dealers by December 15, 2013.  Please read all application rules and fill out applications completely and submit your completed application along with all requested attachments together. We are looking forward to receiving many good applications again this cycle and assisting several people with their purchases.

The Ralph Braun Foundation was created in honor of what Ralph stood for, ability for all. The Ralph Braun Foundation exists as an entity outside of BraunAbility. Funds from the grant can be used towards any mobility need from any manufacturer.

Copies of Ralph’s autobiography, “Rise Above” can be purchased from the foundation. The foundation graciously accepts donations on their site as well.

The application can be found here.

are you looking to trade or sell your wheelchair van?

Used Conversion Vans and

Non-Adaptive Autos Can be Used Toward a Down Payment

are-you-looking-to-trade-or-sell-your-wheelchair-van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

We often get phone calls or e-mails asking if we take trade-ins — or if we’re interested in purchasing a used accessible van. In some cases, the trade-in vehicle is a non-adaptive regular automobile, van, SUV  or truck. The answer in all cases is yes. For trade-ins, we can give you a fair market value for your adaptive and non-adaptive vehicle. The trade-in vehicle can be used toward a down payment on any new or used wheelchair van for sale. We do all the paperwork on your trade-in as part of the financing process. All you need is the title.

If you’re looking to trade in your current wheelchair van or looking to sell one that is no longer being used, contact us online here. We can often have a representative in your area respond within 24 hours. Live on-site inspections and a test drive by one of our technicians may be required before a final assessment and offer can be made.

What If I don’t Live Near One of Your Locations?

If you live outside of our service area and have a converted van for sale, we have national buying specialists who handles all of our out-of-area used vehicle purchases.

vmi to deliver honda odyssey with northstar to local heroes contest winner, steve herbst

vmi-to-deliver-honda-odyssey-with-northstar-to-local-heroes-contest-winner-steve-herbst newenglandwheelchairvan.com

PHOENIX, Ariz. – August 6, 2013 – Vantage Mobility International (VMI), a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of wheelchair accessible, full-size and minivan conversions, will deliver a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion on August 7, 2013, at MobilityWorks in Villa Park, Ill., to Steve Herbst, a winner of the 2013 Local Heroes Contest.

The Local Heroes Contest, which provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to win a wheelchair accessible vehicle, attracted over two million people who submitted and voted for their Local Hero. The contest is a part of National Mobility Awareness Month and championed by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA).  Herbst, a Palatine, Ill., resident was identified as one of three winners in May.

“Being a part of the Local Heroes Contest is a special way for VMI to help raise awareness of the amazing people in our communities who live with disabilities,” said Monique McGivney, director of corporate communication at VMI. “It also gives us the opportunity to help deserving families, like the Herbsts, enjoy greater independence with a wheelchair accessible van that meets their specific needs.  I’m confident the 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion, which has been customized specifically for Steve, will make a positive difference in his life.”

The black 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with VMI Northstar conversion includes the following standard features:

  • Maximum interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • SURE DEPLOY backup system allows users to stow or deploy the mobility ramp van conversion even in the event of complete power failure
  • Wider, usable accessible ramp surface with an ultra-low, 8.0 degree accessible ramp angle with 800lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
  • Easily accessible interior buttons, handles and switches
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers

“The Local Heroes Contest couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Herbst.  “I lost the ability to drive my previous vehicle shortly before we heard about the contest. Throughout the contest we had tremendous support from friends, family and co-workers.  We received almost 38,000 votes, which is very humbling to think about.  We’re especially grateful to VMI for being a part of this contest and providing us with their Honda Odyssey with their in-floor ramp, which was customized with the hand controls that will allow me to drive again.   VMI’s generosity will help me regain my independence and stay involved in the community, which are very important to me and my family.”

enhancing the client experience wheelchair vans in new england

enhancing-the-client-experience-wheelchair-vans-in-new-england newenglandwheelchairvan.com

VMi New England Mobility Center is always looking for ways to make the client experience more enjoyable – whether it’s coming in for service, purchasing a van or stopping buy to see which van fit the best. Below are some of things we’ve been working on to keep our clients satisfied and coming back. Getting your stamp of approval to recommend us to family and friends is a key ingredient to our success. We hope that your experience with us is always a good one.

Online

Our new website makes it easier for people to find a mobility solution that fits their needs and budget. We’ve added dozens of detailed pages on a variety of adaptive equipment options, such as scooter lifts and hand controls. We’ve recently updated our online van showroom to help visitors find the perfect handicap vans for there needs. We also have a large number of Face Book fans who follow our weekly blogs and postings. “Like Us” and see why more people are visiting every day already have!

In the Showroom

VMi New England Mobility Center has built one of the best showrooms and reception areas in the north east this past year to make our visitors feel more at home. Others are in process or being planned for. Large flatscreen televisions have been put in place.

Fresh brewed coffee is always available for our morning arrivals and comfortable seating areas let people relax while reading a book or magazine. Wireless connectivity allow for working on a laptop or wireless device. When you come to our facility, you will meet friendly people who want to help. Our clients are like family.

Consulting

We’ve added more certified mobility consultants too our staff and continue to train others who want to work in this very fulfilling industry. Consultations to discuss and demonstrate all of our mobility products are always free of charge. For those clients who want to drive with the use of mobility equipment or driving aids, we can bring in a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) to talk about evaluations and training – or put you in contact with one nearby. Selecting the right vehicle and other optional mobility equipment, such as a turning seat, is key to be happy customer.

“Getting good advice from a consultant early in the process is critical to making the right decision. We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction – and that’s where the most important part of being happy with us and the vehicle begins.” Jim Sanders

Wheelchair Vans & Lift Options

We have one of the largest network of mobility manufacturing partners in the industry. We represent nearly every major brand of wheelchair van conversions, specialty seating, securement, scooter lifts and wheelchair lifts available. Our goal is to inform you of every choice available and to consult on which ones meet your physical needs and chair or scooter requirements. We want to enhance your life with a solution that you’re going to be comfortable with for many years to come. Solutions that make it easier for you and your family to enjoy an active life. Additionally the company is run by one of the most experienced people in the country at building High-Tech driving equipment and vans for passengers and individuals who drive from a wheelchair. He offers unmatched practical and theoretical foundation in the application of vehicle modifications for individuals with disabilities. With over 27 years experience, he continues to spearhead new and exciting technological advancements in this growing and emerging market.

In the Community

Our local staff at the VMi New England mobility center is active in various organizations and events around the country. Every week, there is an event going on where we want to participate: Fund raisers; tradeshows; bike rides, motorcycle runs; walks; expos; in-service training; socials; and many other community events. Our blog is full of stories sharing event information and photos of clients and friends. If we can’t participate, we’ll help in other ways, like posting information on our sites including our Linkedin, Face Book page and Twitter pages. If you would like us to come and speak or participate at an event near you, please let us know.

Service

We have put into place new scheduling procedures that allow for the Service Managers to get our clients in and out as quickly as possible. This allows for having the right service bays, parts and technicians ready to work on your vehicle (or lift) at the scheduled date and time you are to arrive. We’ve increased our training requirements and manufacturer communications to make sure the work is done properly with the latest instructions and components. If your van is under its original adaptive equipment warranty, or registered in our extended warranty program, we’ll identify and apply the appropriate coverage so that all costs are minimized.

Client Satisfaction

We utilize an independent survey that follows up with each of our clients – applying satisfaction scores to numerous categories. These surveys are then reviewed by our senior management and store General Managers on a weekly basis. Whether you came in for service, purchased new or used wheelchair vans, or had new hand controls installed, we take your feedback seriously and immediately correct any issues that need attention. We are proud to say our satisfaction scores are very high compared to most industry studies. We will continue working hard to keep your business.

IS A REAR-ENTRY WHEELCHAIR VAN RIGHT FOR YOU?

IS A REAR-ENTRY WHEELCHAIR VAN RIGHT FOR YOU?

rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Rear-entry wheelchair vans allow easy access to the ramp even when parked in a regular parking space or a single-car garage.  Also, the rear-entry lowered-floor area providesplenty of room for even the longest wheelchairs.  BraunAbility Vision’s Toyota rear-entry wheelchair vans are versatile for passengers or drivers with a disability.  Rear-entry wheelchair vans are popular with families, transport services, and care facilities.

Other major features:

  • Fold-out ramp is 32 inches wide to accommodate the largest power chairs.
  • Available with powered door and ramp, kneeling system.
  • Available with manual door and ramp, which costs less and needs less maintenance.
  • Optional transfer seat base for driver or front passenger.
  • Other flexible seating options include mid-row flip and fold seats, installation of available mid-row Vision seats, and fold-down rear bench seat.
  • Wireless remote for operating powered conversion.
  • 4-point wheelchair tie-down system.

 

where to buy wheelchair van in boston

where-to-buy-wheelchair-van-in-boston newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Wheelchair Conversion Vans from VMi New England and Automotive Innovations

The Honda Odyssey is known for its reliability and comfort, and it’s one of the most popular minivans on the market today. Because of this, VMI has taken the Odyssey and added its VMI Northstar conversion to create one of the most exciting new lowered floor minivans around. This wheelchair conversion van comes with lots of extra touches for your convenience and comfort, and it drives smoothly. Come test drive the converted Honda Odyssey at our Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center today!

We are your New England source for secondhand handicap accessible vans of all sorts. We offer both used VMI Northstars and Summits as well as many secondhand full size accessible vans. Every used handicap vehicle that we offer comes with the safety essentials like wheelchair tie downs, and you can also upgrade any of our vehicles with optional equipment such as an EZ Lock or handicap vehicle controls.

Rear-entry wheelchair van ramp conversions

rear-entry-wheelchair-van-ramp-conversions newenglandwheelchairvan.com

rear-entry-wheelchair-van-ramp-conversions

Rear-entry wheelchair vans and handicap accessible vans have a lowered floor that extends from the rear of the vehicle to the front seats.  These conversions feature a wheelchair ramp at the rear hatch.  Rear-entry wheelchair vans can be configured to transport up to 2 wheelchairs, depending on the conversion chosen and the size of the wheelchairs.  Available with a  power or manual wheelchair ramp, rear-entryhandicap accessible vans are  generally more economical that side-entry wheelchair vans.  Rear-entrywheelchair vans have excellent ground clearance, making them perfect for our tough New England winters.  While thay aren’t a good choice for those who want to drive from their wheelchairs or ride in their wheelchairs in the front passenger area, rear entry handicap vans work well for those who need to transport individuals with very long wheelchairs or children in wheelchairs.  Because of the location of the wheelchair ramp, these vehicles can fit in any parking space and still make loading and unloading of wheelchair passengers a cinch.  Rear-entry handicap vans are ideal when handicap accessible parking is not available.

dodge rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

A look inside:
Typically, the two center bucket seats can be left in the vehicle. An aftermarket rear bench seat, which folds up out of the way when needed, can be installed in the rear of the van for additional seating. The driver and passenger seats are not modified.

rear entry dodge wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Greater Accessibility and Ease of Use

The benefits that come from a rear entry van are pretty big when it comes to both usability and accessibility. First and foremost, accessing the van from the rear actually allows for a wider ramp and a wider opening for access to the van, which is perfect for bulkier power chair models. In addition, rear access means that the actual access ramp itself can be longer, allowing an easier climb into the vehicle. And, because no side clearance is required, customers can park anywhere–even outside of the typical handicap parking space–without encountering maneuverability or space issues.

Celebrating 23 Years of the ADA A Message from the Acting Assistant Attorney General

celebrating-23-years-of-the-ada-a-message-from-the-acting-assistant-attorney-general newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Celebrating 23 Years of the ADA:
A Message from the Acting Assistant Attorney General

Twenty-three years ago this week, our nation committed to a comprehensive mandate to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. In honor of the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, each day this week we have celebrated Department of Justice enforcement efforts that have opened gateways to full participation and opportunity for people with disabilities. Visit our ADA Anniversary Week webpage to learn more: http://www.ada.gov/ada-23-anni.htm.

In April 2013, the Civil Rights Division issued a report detailing recent accomplishments in enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination and uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all who live in America. As described in the Report, the Division achieved results for people with disabilities in over 1,600 actions under the ADA, including lawsuits, settlement agreements, and successful mediations from 2009-2012. The Report also describes the Division’s extensive ADA technical assistance and outreach program. In the past four years, Division staff helped more than 200,000 people who called our ADA Information Line to learn how the ADA applies to them. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Division answered more than 60,000 calls. Click here for links to the Accomplishments Report pages detailing disability rights enforcement efforts http://www.ada.gov/disability-rights-accomplishments.htm (html) andhttp://www.ada.gov/disability-rights-accomplishments.pdf (pdf).

Equal opportunity for those with disabilities is a vision that the Division hopes will soon extend beyond our nation’s borders. There are over 50 million Americans with disabilities, including 5.5 million veterans living abroad who frequently face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, live or retire overseas. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities improves protections for persons with disabilities overseas, and allows the full range of U.S. accessibility rights and benefits to spread throughout the world. The Division continues to play an active role in the quest for U.S. ratification of the Convention to ensure additional gateways open for people with disabilities across the globe.

Here at home, we have come a long way in the journey for equal justice under the law for people with disabilities. We are frequently reminded, however, that — in the words of the late Senator Edward Kennedy — “the business of civil rights remains the unfinished business of America.” The Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in helping the nation realize the promise of its founding principles. Over the past 23 years, the Division has continued our nation’s journey toward equal justice. But we have more work to do. Today, on the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, I am happy to reaffirm the Division’s commitment to the promise of equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the months and years to come.

Jocelyn Samuels


ADA Home Page

The Advantages of a Rear Entry Wheelchair Van Over a Side Entry Model

The Advantages of a Rear Entry Van Over a Side Entry Model

rear entry wheelchair van advantages newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Rear Entry Wheelchair Vans

One of the biggest decisions that any van conversion customer will make is whether to place the vehicle’s ramp in the rear or on the side of the vehicle. This decision has some pretty big implications, including how easy it is to maneuver inside the cabin, overall cost and consideration for additional passengers. When choosing between these two popular options for handicap accessible vans, consumers should keep in mind the unique and distinct benefits of choosing a rear entry van over one of our side-access models.

Greater Accessibility and Ease of Userear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com51

The benefits that come from a rear entry van are pretty big when it comes to both usability and accessibility. First and foremost, accessing the van from the rear actually allows for a wider ramp and a wider opening for access to the van, which is perfect for bulkier power chair models. In addition, rear access means that the actual access ramp itself can be longer, allowing an easier climb into the vehicle. And, because no side clearance is required, customers can park anywhere–even outside of the typical handicap parking space–without encountering maneuverability or space issues.

New and Used Handicap Vans with Rear Entry:

Less Conversion, Lower Cost

rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

A rear entry van actually requires a less complex conversion process and is therefore much more affordable for customers to purchase. Unlike a side conversion, the process of installing a longer access ramp in the rear of the vehicle is relatively simple and straightforward, and the greater amount of space in the rear of the vehicle allows for a quicker and simpler conversion process overall. It’s the kind of common-sense conversion process that saves customers money up-front, and ample amounts of time every time they use the vehicle on their own. It also means that the vehicle itself is closer to the original look and feel of its non-converted counterpart, which is a nice touch.

Increased Clearance with a Rear Entry Van

2013 dodge rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com

While side-entry used handicap vans only grant about three or four inches of ground clearance, purchasing a rear entry van conversion actually gives the vehicle seven to eight inches of clearance. That promotes enhanced usability and the vehicle’s long-lasting integrity, which is key when buying a conversion in the first place. Making sure that the conversion is usable, and the vehicle is optimally designed, are the two most important things to consider when choosing a conversion overall.

 Call us at 508-697-6006 with your rear entry wheelchair van questions

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Maine

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in ME

maine wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in Maine after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

Vermont Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the 2005 American Community Study by the Center for Personal Assistance Services, approximately 95,000 individuals living in Vermont are considered to be disabled in some manner. Specifically, about 2.4% of the population of Vermont have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

vermont-disability vermont-commercial-wheelchair-vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the state of Vermont including the Burlington area and Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

If your business needs a new or used accessible van, bus, shuttle or other commercial vehicle in Vermont, look through our online inventory to find the vehicle that’s right for you. View our commercial accessible vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and accessories or visit our commercial wheelchair van and bus inventory.

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, Vermont state regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to Vermont, to your business. We often make deliveries to Burlington, South Burlington, as well as Franklin, Grand Isle and Chittenden counties, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs, so contact us today.

Learn more about delivery information for Vermont wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the great state of Vermont.

Accessible Parking Spaces ADA Design Guide

ADA Design Guide 1 – Restriping Parking Lots

accessible-parking-spaces-ada-design-guide newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Accessible Parking Spaces

When a business, State or local government agency, or other covered entity restripes a parking lot, it must provide accessible parking spaces as required by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Failure to do so would violate the ADA.

In addition, businesses or privately owned facilities that provide goods or services to the public have a continuing ADA obligation to remove barriers to access in existing parking lots when it is readily achievable to do so. Because restriping is relatively inexpensive, it is readily achievable in most cases.

This ADA Design Guide provides key information about how to create accessible car and van spaces and how many spaces to provide when parking lots are restriped.

(illustration showing a woman getting out of the driver’s side of a car into a manual wheelchair)

 

Accessible Parking Spaces for Cars

Accessible parking spaces for cars have at least a 60-inch-wide access aisle located adjacent to the designated parking space. The access aisle is just wide enough to permit a person using a wheelchair to enter or exit the car. These parking spaces are identified with a sign and located on level ground.

 

Van-Accessible Parking Spaces

Van-accessible parking spaces are the same as accessible parking spaces for cars except for three features needed for vans:

a wider access aisle (96″) to accommodate a wheelchair lift;

vertical clearance to accommodate van height at the van parking space, the adjacent access aisle, and on the vehicular route to and from the van-accessible space, and

an additional sign that identifies the parking spaces as “van accessible.”

One of eight accessible parking spaces, but always at least one, must be van-accessible.

 

(illustration showing a van with a side-mounted wheelchair lift lowered onto a marked access aisle at a van-accessible parking space. A person using a wheelchair is getting out of the van. A dashed line shows the route from the lift to the sidewalk.)

Features of Accessible Parking Spaces for Cars

(plan drawing showing an accessible parking space for cars with a 96 inch wide designated parking space, a 60 inch wide min. marked access aisle and the following notes)

Sign with the international symbol of accessibility mounted high enough so it can be seen while a vehicle is parked in the space.

If the accessible route is located in front of the space, install wheelstops to keep vehicles from reducing width below 36 inches.

Access aisle of at least 60-inch width must be level (1:50 maximum slope in all directions), be the same length as the adjacent parking space(s) it serves and must connect to an accessible route to the building. Ramps must not extend into the access aisle.

Boundary of the access aisle must be marked. The end may be a squared or curved shape.

Two parking spaces may share an access aisle.

 

Three Additional Features for Van-Accessible Parking Spaces

(plan drawing showing a van-accessible parking space with a 96 inch wide designated parking space, a 96 inch wide min. marked access aisle and the following notes)

Sign with “van accessible” and the international symbol of accessibility mounted high enough so the sign can be seen when a vehicle is parked in the space

96″ min. width access aisle, level (max. slope 1:50 in all directions), located beside the van parking space

Min. 98-inch-high clearance at van parking space, access aisle, and on vehicular route to and from van space

Minimum Number of Accessible Parking Spaces

(text of following table)

Table showing the minimum number of accessible parking spaces. Text following contains contents of the table.

Total Parking decorative blank spaceTotal Minimum decorative blank spaceVan Accessible decorative blank spaceAccessible Parking

Spaces Provided decorative blank spaceNumber of Accessibledecorative blank space Parking Spacesdecorative blank space Spaces with

(per lot) decorative blank spaceParking Spaces decorative blank spacewith min. 96″ min. decorative blank space60″ wide

decorative blank space(60″ & 96″ aisles)decorative blank spacewide access decorative blank spaceaisle access aisle

 

1 to 25 1 1 0

26 to 50 2 1 1

51 to 75 3 1 2

76 to 100 4 1 3

101 to 150 5 1 4

151 to 200 6 1 5

201 to 300 7 1 6

301 to 400 8 1 7

401 to 500 9 2 7

501 to 1000 2% of total

parking provided 1/8 of Column A* 7/8 of Column A**

in each lot

1001 and over 20 plus 1 for

each 100 1/8 of Column A* 7/8 of Column A**

over 1000

one out of every 8 accessible spaces ** 7 out of every 8 accessible parking spaces

 

Location

Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible facility entrance. Where buildings have multiple accessible entrances with adjacent parking, the accessible parking spaces must be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances.

When accessible parking spaces are added in an existing parking lot, locate the spaces on the most level ground close to the accessible entrance. An accessible route must always be provided from the accessible parking to the accessible entrance. An accessible route never has curbs or stairs, must be at least 3- feet wide, and has a firm, stable, slip-resistant surface. The slope along the accessible route should not be greater than 1:12 in the direction of travel.

Accessible parking spaces may be clustered in one or more lots if equivalent or greater accessibility is provided in terms of distance from the accessible entrance, parking fees, and convenience. Van-accessible parking spaces located in parking garages may be clustered on one floor (to accommodate the 98-inch minimum vertical height requirement).

 

Free Technical Assistance

Answers to technical and general questions about restriping parking lots or other ADA requirements are available by telephone on weekdays. You may also order the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and other ADA publications, including regulations for private businesses or State and local governments, at any time day or night. Information about ADA-related IRS tax credits and deductions is also available from the ADA Information Line.

Department of Justice

ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (voice)

800-514-0383 (tty)

 

Internet

You may also review or download information on the Department’s ADA Internet site at any time. The site provides access to ADA regulations, technical assistance materials, and general ADA information. It also provides links to other Federal agencies, and updates on new ADA requirements and enforcement efforts. Internet address:

www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/index.html

 

Reference:

ADA Standards for Accessible Design (28 CFR Part 36):

§ 4.1.6 Alterations;

§ 4.1.2 Accessible Sites and Exterior Facilities: New Construction, and

§ 4.1.6 Parking and Passenger Loading Zones.

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations New Hampshire

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in NH

New Hampshire  wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in New Hampshire after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

ADA’s Impact on Everyday Lives

ADA’s Impact on Everyday Lives

ada-impact-on-everyday-lives newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Overview

Since its passage in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is slowly but surely changing the landscape and the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families every single day. Instead of repeatedly having to argue for their right to equal access and equal opportunity to participate in the programs, goods and services available to individuals without disabilities, children and adults with disabilities are discovering that—while the landscape is still not fully barrier free—they can usually go about their business without encountering barriers or interruption.

The articles below illustrate the ways in which the ADA impacts the lives of community members, employees, college students and families living the Southeast Region of the United States. These stories—and others—are repeated every day in communities, businesses and on campuses throughout the United States.

Index of Contents

Accessible Cities: People with Disabilities Survey Public Facilities

Over a three year period, small teams of people, with and without disabilities, visited city halls, libraries, civic centers, and parks in 14 cities in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. Their goal was to check the accessibility of these civic places and to see how well these public sites met the access needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities.

The intention was not to ‘catch their cities napping’ or to report them for not being in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Instead, the goal was to examine and report on how easily—or not—people with visual, hearing, and mobility disabilities could enter a public facility and use the services available to people without disabilities.

One of the goals of the ADA is to remove access barriers and promote full and equal participation in civic life for individuals with disabilities. The cross-disability teams of people looking at access to public facilities in seven Southeast states were part of the Community Participation Research Project, conducted jointly by the Southeast ADA Center, its State Affiliates and the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. This research project was unique because it used Participatory Action Research (PAR). PAR research is developed and implemented in full collaboration between people with disabilities and researchers, focusing on their concerns and interests while still maintaining research protocols and validity.

In this study, seven teams of 5-6 researchers surveyed sites in a total of 14 cities, two cities in each state. The cities were matched in terms of demographics. The only difference was that one city had previously reached a Settlement Agreement with the Department of Justice to correct access barriers identified in one or more of its city facilities. Georgia was used as a pilot site to test the survey instruments and the way in which the local researchers were trained. Cities in the other six states were surveyed over the next two years, with state teams visiting both of their two cities within a few days of each other.

One of the things they found was that many of the public entities did not fully understand what good access means. As one local researcher explained,

“It is unfortunate that some public venues think they are providing adequate access to services, but the consumer’s experience may be quite different.”

They also found that public entities often did not realize that people with different disabilities had different access needs. For example, two local researchers—one who uses a wheelchair and one who is blind—had very different experiences when they visited the same library. Both were able to enter the library easily. However, the person using a wheelchair was able to use the library’s computer independently to locate the book he wanted while the woman who was blind discovered that she could not use the library computers with a screen reader and that the staff didn’t know how to open the software that would let her search the files by herself.

In fact, one of the study findings was that people who were blind or who had low vision found the city sites less accessible overall than did people who used wheelchairs or who were deaf.

For example, because the public restrooms in a city park were not identified in Braille and raised lettering, one man who was blind started to enter the women’s restroom by mistake. Another, more frustrating, situation took place in a public library. One researcher asked about library materials for individuals with vision-related disabilities and received little helpful information. However, in talking to another researcher later, she discovered that the library had a good collection of audiobooks.

Researchers who used wheelchairs or who were hard-of-hearing also discovered some problems. Individuals who use wheelchairs identified barriers related to parking enforcement, steep ramps, counter heights, thresholds, and door handles. Another researcher contacted a civic center prior to arriving and asked if they had an assistive listening system (ALS). He was told that they did not have an ALS but on the day of the performance when he asked again, he was given headphones without comment or delay.

As a researcher pointed out:

“Most of the places I went, there was more assistance available than I turned up beforehand [on the website or by contacting the site directly]. Perhaps people didn’t know what was available or had not been trained to answer questions about providing assistance. All public places should have a brochure or flyer printed to show what accommodations or assistance they have.”

Researchers using a TTY (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf) found many public agencies either did not have one or did not know how to use it. And, in some cases, researchers noted that absent or hard to find and see signage, for accessible entrances, emergency exits, or identifying restrooms, was frustrating and challenging. More seriously, one researcher reported that when emergency exit information was reviewed for the audience at a civic center, there was no mention of accessible emergency exits.

Despite these access issues, the researchers reported delight at the many examples of accessibility that they encountered, including some new discoveries such as accessible park benches and picnic tables. One researcher noted “this was the most accessible website I have ever seen. I could completely access the entire website and library into my screen reader.” They also noted many staff contributed to positive experiences, including demonstrating a willingness to put together a needed accommodation. One researcher reported receiving a “very prompt and helpful response” and another added “excellent facility for accessibility. Staff is knowledgeable and sensitive to persons with disability.” In fact, almost two-thirds of the time researchers found that entities had a staff member who coordinated services for people with disabilities. Even when access barriers were encountered, the willingness of staff to try to resolve the issue went a long way toward easing the researchers’ frustration.

Finally, the PAR project provided opportunities for increased understanding and appreciation of all the issues involved in providing good access. Because people with disabilities were integral to the research from start to finish, they were aware of subtle access needs that others without disabilities would likely overlook. Their participation in the project also increased their own awareness of the areas where more education and guidance were needed.

“It’s always eye opening to realize how few people take issues of accessibility truly into consideration when running public places. Clearly, much more information is needed and ways to implement them developed.”

Another commented:

“I know how to get around my own city. Know the accessible entrances and how to ask for the accommodations I need. But when I visited the other city, I was clueless. Sometimes I had to circle the building several times before I found the accessible entrance or figured out where the elevator was. How would someone visiting my city figure out how to get places? I never thought about that before.”

As a result of their involvement with the PAR project, many researchers expressed positive feelings from having engaged in the site visits, learned a good deal, and for some, left feeling a greater desire to engage in local change efforts to remove access barriers.

The researchers also noted a growing awareness on the part of city staff:

“The last person who visited the city hall was one of the research team members without a disability. As she entered the hallway near the offices, she heard a couple of individuals talking. A gentleman said, “What I want to know is, are we prepared?” A woman responded, “We have spaces for wheelchairs….” The gentleman then said, “I’m not just talking about people in chairs, I mean all types – do we have alternative formats?””

The rest of the conversation was not clear. However, the team members clearly had increased staff awareness of the full range of disability access needs.

For free, confidential information, technical assistance and answers to all questions regarding the ADA, please contact your regional ADA Center by calling 1-800-949-4232 (voice/tty).

Accessible Businesses Welcome Everyone

For most people, their major concern when running errands and shopping is whether they can fit it all they need to do into the time available. For people with disabilities, however, particularly for those with physical disabilities, their major concern is whether they can get into the stores or buildings in the first place and, once in, whether they have access to the goods and services they need.

Stores, theaters and other buildings were not intended to shut out people with disabilities—but the built environment has been highly effective in denying access to people who have limited use of hands or legs. A single step, a one-inch threshold, a heavy door, or a round doorknob can make entry into a building difficult, if not impassible. And once someone with a mobility impairment has struggled to get inside, cluttered aisles or objects blocking call buttons on elevators can significantly impede their ability to do what it is that they came inside to do, whether that is to buy a new shirt or visit a physician’s office.

“For the most part, the bigger retail stores—like Walmart, Kohls, TJ Maxx—have plenty of room for me to get around,” says Dylan Brown of Nashville, TN. “But I still run into problems with the amount of items they try to put into the very small stores in malls and strip malls. Overstocking in the small stores means that I can’t get through the aisles, so I just don’t go in.”

Dylan has quadriplegia as the result of an automobile accident in 2002 and uses a powered chair. He drives an adapted van and can usually get around Nashville and do what he wants to do except when it comes to some places that are unclear on the concept of accessibility:

“There’s a newly renovated, posh bar in town. It has access into the bar and the restrooms are accessible. But there is not one seat in the place where I would be eye-level with my peers. Even the booths have a step up. I went out to the smoking patio but that was built up also, with wood high-rise seating all around the edge. There was no way I could have a drink and be at eye level with my friends. I couldn’t even put my drink down without reaching up to the table. It’s like they went out of their way to make it inaccessible.

“I felt so uncomfortable. I know I’m in a chair but I’m always around active people, and you get going and you just forget. Then, when you get to a place that is so blatantly inaccessible, the term crippled comes back in.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed nearly unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, mandates that places that offer their goods and services to the public must be accessible to people with a variety of disabilities. Effective January 26, 1992, all places of business have been required to make their goods and services available to and useable by people with disabilities to the extent that it is readily achievable (e.g., that changes can be accomplished without much difficulty or expense). Furthermore, all new construction and renovations to existing buildings must be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities to the fullest extent possible.

Lack of access is more than an inconvenience for people with disabilities; for many, accessible stores, professional offices, theaters, libraries, state and local government offices and medical facilities can mean the difference between a life of independence and full immersion in the community and one of dependence and restrictive living situations.

Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE) of Mississippi, the statewide Center for Independence (CIL) in Mississippi, believes so strongly in promoting independence for people with disabilities that the CIL uses Americorps volunteers to do community access surveys to ensure that people leaving nursing homes or other congregate facilities will be able to move about effectively within the community. The Americorps members in Project LINC focus on those places that individuals with disabilities were most likely to want to use. When doing a Project LINC site survey, the Americorps volunteers introduce themselves to the places they want to survey, provide information about the ADA and explain that their purpose is to make places more accessible for people with disabilities, not to report anyone for failure to comply with the ADA. They then ask permission to conduct the survey and to return at a later date for a follow-up visit.

Desmeon Thomas, of Jackson, Mississippi, was both an Americorps volunteer doing the surveys and a beneficiary of increased access in his immediate community. Desmeon sustained a spinal cord injury in 2002 when he was 19 years old. He approached the LIFE Center for assistance in learning how to live with a disability. When he learned about Americorps and Project LINC, he signed up as an Americorps volunteer, receiving a stipend for his work on the project and becoming eligible for $4000 year for his two years of service to put toward his education.

As Desmeon explains, “we would survey places that are just around the corner from where someone moving into a community would be living. That means places like corner stores, dollar stores—we surveyed a lot of dollar stores; that’s where we can afford to shop!—fast food restaurants and grocery stores.

“I’m quadriplegic, so I need a lot of help with everything. I use a power chair so I can get around on my own, but I’m not the lightest person in the world, and my parents are getting older. I didn’t want to have to go into a nursing home but I knew I couldn’t stay with my parents much longer either. So I looked for a way to live on my own. LIFE hooked me up with the Medicaid Waiver* program that pays for personal attendants to help me 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. I use them for four hours in the morning to get me up and dressed and ready for the day, for four hours at night to get me ready for bed.

“Now I rent my own house, drive a Dodge Caravan and can do most of my own shopping. Grocery stores have been great! I can get around easily, and they always send someone to help me if I ask. My power chair helps raise me up so I can usually reach things on the shelves. If not, the grocery store clerks help me.

“And the other places I need to go are also pretty accessible, thanks to the survey work we did. Well, sometimes I need to go into a side or back entrance to some places…and the movie theater near me only has accessible seats right in the very front row, which is too close to the screen and makes it hard to watch without getting a stiff neck. But for the most part I can get where I need and want to go.”

*The Medicaid Waiver: Section 1915 (c) of the Social Security Act enables states to request a waiver of applicable federal Medicaid requirements to provide enhanced community support services to those Medicaid beneficiaries who would otherwise require institutional care.

Reasonable Accommodations Mean Getting the Job Done

Employees with disabilities may do a job differently—they may use adapted computers, screen reading software, large print materials or raised desks that can accommodate a wheelchair—but they get the job done like any other employee in their position. They are not asking for special treatment or to be excused from performing the essential functions of their jobs. But they do ask that they be given the tools or supports they need to perform these tasks competently.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed almost unanimously by both the House and the Senate in July 1990. It provides civil rights protections to individuals with disability and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Title I of the ADA requires that employers make reasonable accommodations unless making those accommodations creates significant difficulty or expense. Reasonable accommodations are changes to the workplace or the way things are customarily done; they are intended to allow qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs.

Why is the Americans with Disabilities Act Needed?

Cheri Hofmann, who has a significant hearing loss, had worked as a paralegal position for 13 years, collecting awards and superior performance reviews throughout her career. Until her job duties changed in her 14th year, she never needed any changes to her workplace or different equipment to perform her job well. When her job duties in changed, however, she asked for a few, modest changes to her workplace.

“In my 14th year, my job had additional duties that required me to be able to assist clients while others were on break and to answer phones. I asked for a mirror to be placed where I could see the door opening when clients came in, a head set for the telephone with amplification, and to re-position my desk to also have a better view of the front door. They refused the mirror, saying it would be a distraction to the other paralegals; they said to reposition my desk would cause the entire area to have to be changed; and they said they ordered a head set, but it never came. Instead they gave me a phone with a volume control but it was not effective.”

None of these changes cost more than $30, but without them, Cheri was unable to do her job and was eventually forced to leave.

Cheri’s difficulties with her employer took place before the ADA too effect. Under Title I of the ADA now, however, employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities unless to do so would result in an undue burden. Reasonable accommodations are changes to the workplace, modifications in workplace policies, or provision of assistive technology that allow a qualified employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

A reasonable accommodation is any change to the work environment or to the way that things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Rene Cummins, Executive Director of a Center for Independent Living in North Carolina, has low vision who relies on assistive technology every day. She uses a screen reader to read computer text and a scanner to scan print materials into the computer where they can be read back to her. Christinne Rudd has cerebral palsy and walks with a cane. Her employer in Florida provided a printer in her office so that she doesn’t have to go to the main printer to retrieve letters and other documents. Her employer has also offered to provide a scooter, if necessary, when there are employee outings and reimburses her for cab fare for her local travel on company business.

Patricia Valladares is an outreach worker for a social services agency in Tennessee. Patricia is blind and uses JAWS software that reads computer text, and the Open Book program that scans in printed material and reads it back so she can read read and save printed documents. She also asks that handouts for conferences and trainings be given to her on CDs.

John Hobgood is a social worker in Texas who recived a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident. As the result of his head injury, John has difficulty paying attention, so he uses a daytimer to keep his schedule and relies on the Outlook calendar computer software to remind him of appointments. Reading is difficult, so John uses free screen reader software from Readplease.com. Individuals with traumatic head injury often have difficulty concentrating at the end of the day. When his agency moved to a 4-day week of 10 hour days, John and another co-worker asked for a modified schedule in which they would remain on the 5-day week. Their requests were granted, and the two come into work on the 5th day, lock the door, answer phones, and catch up with their paperwork.

John Duplessis, a social worker in Alabama who became legally blind as an adult, relies on a tape recorder that is “glued to my side for dictating notes and recording conversations that I need to remember.” He uses Zoom Text software to enlarge text on his computer screen and uses its speech function to read aloud what is on the screen. John also has talking Caller I.D. on his landline and cell phones to announce the name and number of incoming calls. In addition, he uses glasses with magnification to read printed documents and to write. Even so, he notes wryly, “I don’t write quickly and my penmanship is not very good.”

Not all effective accommodations need to be provided by the employer. Many people with disabilities can use “off the shelf” assistive technology to meet their personal needs. For example, Eric Dupre who has a learning disability thrives in his fast-paced, unpredictable job as a news photojournalist. To keep himself on track, Eric carries “a small pad with me each day to write down my schedule and use an electronic pocket reminder for assignments that may be projected in the future. I use a GPS to assist me to find locations where I have to be. I purchased my own accommodations for under $100.”

Although many people with disabilities can perform all their job duties without an accommodation of any sort, others encounter workplace barriers that hinder or prevent them from performing competently on the job. By mandating reasonable accommodations and changes to the work environment as long as they do not create an undue burden, Title I of the ADA make it possible for qualified employees with disabilities to demonstrate their competence and ability to perform on the job.

Inclusion from the Start: Campus Collaboration Avoids Access Pitfalls

When changes are made to a college or university campus, planning ahead for access avoids costly errors. It also avoids the inadvertent creation of access barriers that make it difficult or impossible for students, visitors, and staff with disabilities to enjoy full use of all that the institution has to offer. One university—Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee—has taken steps to ensure that neither of these problems occur on their campus.

FSU’s fully collaborative process ensures that access is included from the very start when any new construction or renovation is planned. This entails coordination and collaboration among nearly 80 individuals, including the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance, the Facilities Vice President, Facilities Designer, Facilities Planners, and Project Manager as well as representatives from 20 or more other campus departments. It also requires some creative thinking and planning to assure maximum access throughout all phases of what can be a lengthy period of construction.

As Amy Wagner, Assistant Director of the University’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance explains,

“We try to proactively address construction issues prior to the initiation of any new construction efforts. However, there are times in which we have had to make adjustments during a construction build due to the length of time a project would take to complete. For instance, during a 10-month construction project, a sidewalk was opened and closed at various points and required a phasing in/out of the project. The road under construction was a half mile long and the construction was done in four phases. We discussed the impact of a phased project on students with and without disabilities. In addition, we examined the options for maintaining access during the construction period. Breaking the project into four phases allowed for access at all times during the construction process. As one section was completed, it was then re-opened to provide access while another section was closed according to the phased project schedule.”

In addition, collaboration and cooperation among all offices and departments has nurtured an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Key players are routinely invited to participate in meetings in addition to the quarterly meetings of the entire planning team to ensure that accessibility concerns are addressed early on. For example, the campus is currently undergoing new construction activity in which Ms. Wagner has been called upon by project managers to address concerns involving ADA-related access issues such as installation of sidewalks, doorways, hood vents in school laboratories, detectable warnings, signage, and accessible routes/pathways around construction zones.

Ms. Wagner prefers not to refer to a project as challenging but as one that is “unknown territory” requiring innovative thinking and creativity on the university’s part to ensure that it is ADA compliant in all of its activities.

Florida State University entered into “unknown territory” in 2011 when the FSU Flying High Circus, one of only two collegiate circuses in the United States, wanted to purchase a new tent, seating, and flooring. The Circus wanted to purchase an interlocking floor but was aware that it might present access concerns. FSU wanted to ensure that the flooring was accessible to people with disabilities and did not present the possibility of a trip-hazard or an accessibility barrier for wheelchair users in the event the interlocking pads became disengaged. Ms. Wagner spent time researching precedence and best-practices governing this type of situation. As a result, the new tent, seating areas, and paths of travel throughout the tent not only meet but exceed the ADA standards for accessible seating and paths of travel.

FSU’s intentional effort to include Ms. Wagner in all planning efforts related to new construction projects is an example of a university that is committed to ensuring full inclusion and ensuring that full access is at the forefront of any and all ventures to enhance and/or improve the campus infrastructure. Ms. Wagner reiterates the importance of her office’s collaboration with facilities and maintenance staff, construction managers, and others involved in the planning of new construction from the very start to ensure that access and full inclusion are primary considerations throughout the life of any project.

The ADA: It’s a Family Affair

In our family, if I couldn’t go, none of us could go.

Most people think of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as legislation that promotes access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities. What they often don’t realize is that the ADA also creates access and equal opportunity for families and friends as well.

Why the ADA? Just ask Sara Ezell.

“In the past 40 years, I have seen things change hugely. It’s been an exciting time because of the ADA. If not for the ADA, where would I be today?”

Sara grew up in a close-knit family. Because she was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a bone disorder often called “brittle bone disease,” Sara used a wheelchair most of the time. When she was a child, “accessibility was an issue everywhere. Disability was not an issue in our family, but access was. When I could not get into a restaurant or a store with my brothers and parents, it was an insult to our whole family—and we didn’t go in. In our family, if I couldn’t go, none of us could go.”

When Sara became a teenager, things got to be embarrassing, especially when she went out on a blind date. Faced with the prospect of getting into an inaccessible entrance, Sara’s date would offer to lift her and her chair up the two stairs at the entrance, making an awkward situation even more uncomfortable.

When Sara entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, pre-ADA in 1989, no freshman dorm rooms were accessible. Vanderbilt was determined to have Sara on campus, so they turned an administration office into a dorm room. As Sara explains, “we made do with it. All of my neighbors were Deans, and I got to know them pretty well. But after 5:00 PM, no one was there. It was not too bad, but it was not a natural dorm experience, and I missed the experience of living in a dorm with other students.”

Vanderbilt continued in its efforts to provide campus-wide access, including dorm rooms, for its students with disabilities. Although the ADA had recently been passed and would be going into effect within two years, “nobody knew what to do yet. There was a two-inch thick book of scoping requirements from the US Access Board that the University used but it wasn’t clear who would pay for the changes.

“It took a lot of doing, but by the time I graduated, I was living in a hall with other students—and I had a choice of rooms to pick from! And with every dorm renovation, the University would add more rooms. After I graduated, I went to work for the ADA office at Vanderbilt. And it was fun to see the faces of incoming freshmen with disabilities when I told them you can live here or here and here…”

As Sara reflects on her experiences pre- and post-ADA, she notes that “now so many places are completely accessible. It’s amazing to see.”

It’s still a family affair

Sara’s disability has had a rippling effect across generations. Both of her brothers worked at an Easter Seals camp in East Tennessee one summer and loved it. Her oldest brother, Chase, got a degree in Recreational Therapy. Chase was interested in physical accessibility of Tennessee State Parks, so he wrote his Master’s Thesis on the topic—using Sara as a guinea pig to “try out” the steepness of ramps and the smoothness of trails. “It was not always fun,” she recalls.

As for the next generation, Sara says, “Kids get it at a level that adults just don’t.”

“My two nieces and my nephew are my pride and joy, and they are not afraid to ask questions about disability. My niece Evelyn has befriended a little girl in her classroom who has cerebral palsy. And she had a lot of questions for me, like ‘why does she have a lady with her all the time?’ My niece just wanted to understand so she could figure out how she could help her and sit with her at lunch.

“It’s been fun to teach them about accessibility. My little nephew is just now starting to discover about accessibility. When we are together and there’s some place that his Aunt Sissy cannot go, he’s annoyed to death and just doesn’t understand. There’s a generation of militant little people who are going to be just great!”

Rhode Island Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the Center for Personal Assistance Services, about 155,000 individuals living in Rhode Island were considered to have a disability in 2005. Specifically, about 2.6% of the population of Rhode Island have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

rhode-island-disability rhode-island-commercial-wheelchair-vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the state of Rhode Island including Providence and Newport, as well as Briston, Kent and Washington counties.

If your business needs a new or used accessible van, bus, shuttle or other commercial vehicle in Rhode Island, look through our online inventory to find the vehicle that’s right for you. View our commercial accessible vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and accessories or visit our commercial wheelchair van and bus inventory.

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, Rhode Island state regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to New Hampshire, to your business. We often make deliveries to Providence and Newport, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs, so contact us today.

Learn more about delivery information for Rhode Island wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the great state of Rhode Island.

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Vermont

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in VT

vermont wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in Vermont after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

Maine Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the 2005 American Community Study by the Center for Personal Assistance Services, approximately 228,000 individuals living in Maine are considered to be disabled in some manner. Specifically, about 2.7% of the population of Maine have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

maine-disability maine-commercial-wheelchair-vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the state of Maine including the Portland area and Cumberland, Sagadahac and York counties.

If your business needs a new or used accessible van, bus, shuttle or other commercial vehicle in Maine, look through our online inventory to find the vehicle that’s right for you. View our commercial accessible vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and accessories or visit our commercial wheelchair van and bus inventory.

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, Maine state regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to Maine, to your business. We often make deliveries to Cumberland County, Sagadahoc County and York County, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs, so contact us today.

Learn more about delivery information for Maine wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the great state of Maine.

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Connecticut

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in CT

connecticut wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

New York Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the Center for Personal Assistance Services, about 2,537,000 individuals living in New York were considered to have a disability in 2005. Specifically, about 2.8% of the population of New York have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

 new-york-disability new-york-commercial-wheelchair-vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the country of New York; the Metropolitan New York and Hudson Valley areas, including Suffolk, Nassau, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties.

If your business needs a new or used accessible van, bus, shuttle or other commercial vehicle in New York, look through our online inventory to find the vehicle that’s right for you. View our commercial accessible vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and accessories or visit our commercial wheelchair van and bus inventory.

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, New York state regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to New York, to your business. We often make deliveries to Kingston, Poughkeepsie, as well as Suffolk County, Nassau County, and New York City, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs, so contact us today.

Learn more about delivery information for New York wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the country of New York City, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs.

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Rhode Island

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in Rhode Island

Rhode Island wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in Rhode Island after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service for you in RI offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

New Hampshire Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the Center for Personal Assistance Services, about 174,000 individuals living in New Hampshire were considered to have a disability in 2005. Specifically, about 2.5% of the population of New Hampshire have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

new-hampshire-disability new-hampshire-commercial-wheelchair-vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

 

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the state of New Hampshire including Manchester, and Merrimack, Belknap, Rockingham and Strafford counties.

If your business needs a new or used accessible van, bus, shuttle or other commercial vehicle in New Hampshire, look through our online inventory to find the vehicle that’s right for you. View our commercial accessible vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and accessories or visit our commercial wheelchair van and bus inventory.

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, New Hampshire state regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories in New Hampshire.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to New Hampshire, to your business. We often make deliveries to Hillsborough County, Strafford County, Rockingham County, Belknap County and Merrimack County, so contact us today.

Learn more about delivery information for New Hampshire wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the great state of New Hampshire.

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations Massachusetts

Wheelchair Van Service Considerations in Massachusetts

boston wheelchair-van-service-considerations newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At VMi New England Mobility Center, we believe that the service you receive in Massachusetts after you purchase a wheelchair van is just as important as the service you received during your purchasing process. Our main goal is to keep you and the other passengers in the vehicle as safe as possible, which is why our wheelchair van service offerings are unlike any others in the vehicle modification industry.

Trained Service Technicians in MA

All VMi New England Mobility Center Technicians are certified in the mobility equipment that is sold, installed, and serviced.  We are held to the highest standards in the adaptive vehicle industry.

Some of Longest Warranties in the Vehicle Modification Industry

We want to protect our customers and make sure that we offer the best options for them.

Operational Maintenance Program

For more than 27 years we have implemented and evolved a multi-faceted operational maintenance schedule unavailable at any other facility in the country to assist you in maintaining optimum driving performance while also assessing critical component deterioration before it occurs. Our Service Technicians will provide you with list of all work performed on your wheelchair accessible vehicle and a list of any items that may require future attention. Also, we will inform you of any upcoming maintenance and service you may need done to your wheelchair accessible vehicle in order to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in top condition.

Other dealers want your old vans to rust and fall apart so they can sell you a new one.

Wheelchair van rust not at newenglandwheelchairvan.com if you bring it to us for service
a local mobility dealers idea of taking care of your wheelchair van

Operational Maintenance of Adaptive Mobility Equipment on:

  • Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van (New & Used)
  • Full-Size Wheelchair Vans (New & Used)
  • Primary and Secondary Driving Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Wheelchair Securement Systems (automatic and manual)
  • Power Seat Bases
  • Power Door Operators

Special service work or repairs to your Adaptive Equipment

Installation of new Adaptive Equipment on new and used wheelchair vans such as:

  • Hand Controls
  • Wheelchair Lifts and Scooter Lifts
  • Raised Doors
  • Lowered Floors
  • Specialized gas, brake, and steering systems
  • Turning Automotive Seats

Connecticut Commercial Wheelchair Vans

According to the 2005 American Community Study by the Center for Personal Assistance Services, approximately 408,000 individuals living in Connecticut are considered to be disabled in some manner. Specifically, about 2.3% of the population of Connecticut have difficulty with every day tasks such as taking a bath, getting dressed, moving about the house, and driving.

connecticut commercial and personal wheelchair vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

At the VMi New England Mobility Center, we offer specialized transportation products and services for private and commercial use. For more than 25 years we have been servicing the commercial and personal wheelchair vehicle needs of the state of Connecticut including the Greater Hartford, Greater Bridgeport, Greater New Haven, Torrington, and surrounding counties.

If your business needs a new or used van, bus, shuttle or other commercial accessible vehicle in Connecticut, give us a call to find the vehicle that suits your requirements. Contact us for any of your commercial wheelchair vehicles, used vans and buses, modifications and upfit needs

We can help you evaluate how many passengers you need to carry, Connecticut State regulatory requirements and other commercial considerations when buying a wheelchair van, replacement parts or accessories in Connecticut.

After VMi New England Mobility Center helps you locate the perfect commercial wheelchair van, bus, shuttle, or ambulette, we deliver! We can deliver it right to your door. We will drive, tow or trailer your wheelchair accessible vehicle to Connecticut, right to your business. We often make deliveries to Fairfield County, New Haven County, Hartford County, Tolland County, Middlesex County, and Litchfield County, so contact us today for your commercial mobility needs.

Learn more about delivery information for Connecticut wheelchair vans and parts and our commercial warranty.

We look forward to helping your business provide exceptional service to your wheelchair users, school students, group homes, and rehab centers in the great state of Connecticut.

toyota sienna rampvan wheelchair & scooter accessible van

The Toyota Sienna wheelchair and scooter accessible van offers accessibility and convenience in a sporty, streamlined package. The bold, new attitude of this popular vehicle is a refreshing take on the traditional van.

boston toyota wheelchair vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

The one touch power entry and exit system includes a power sliding side door, a power ramp, and a power auto-kneel system to reduce ramp angle and make the van easier to enter and exit for wheelchair or scooter users. The Toyota Sienna wheelchair van also features easily removable front seats to allow a wheelchair user to drive the vehicle (when properly equipped with hand controls) or to ride in the front passenger position.

The lightweight aluminum ramp extends to allow easy access to the interior for wheelchairs and scooters. A durable, non-skid powder-coated finish ensures superior traction. In the event of power failure, the ramp can be operated manually.

To make boarding even easier, most of our vans feature an integrated “kneeling” system. An actuator lowers the rear suspension while the door opens, which reduces the slope of the auto ramp.

Ramp van Standard Features

Auto Door The original door operator opens the sliding door at the touch of a button. The door can be operated with the standard remote control, or with one of the several interior control switches.

Auto Kneel The Rampvan features a “kneeling” system to make entering and exiting your vehicle even easier. An actuator lowers the rear suspension while the door opens, which reduces the slope of the automatic ramp.

Auto Ramp The lightweight ramp is offered in both In floor and Foldout versions, and offers unparalleled ease of access for wheelchair and scooter users. In the event of power failure, both the door and ramp can easily be operated manually.

Lowered Floor Up to 14.75″ lower than conventional minivans, the Ramp van’s floor is lowered from the firewall to the rear axle. With a choice of three securement positions, wheelchair users can enjoy the ride — and the view — from their chair

Removable Seating Both the driver and passenger seat can easily be removed for those who wish to ride up front or drive. By simply unlocking the seat base from the vehicle, the entire assembly can be rolled out of the vehicle via the ramp and reinstalled just as easily when needed.

The Ramp van combines sophisticated engineering with a combination of style, class, interior space and superior quality. At the heart of the Ramp van is the Toyota Sienna minivan chassis. Each Ramp van features a lowered floor to provide generous head room for wheelchair or scooter users. An integrated power sliding door and ramp enable full access to the vehicle. By offering conversions with both fold-out or in-floor ramps, we ensure that each customer gets the right conversion for his or her needs.

mobility van markets new england and beyond

VMi New England Mobility Center customers have come to us from all over the United States, from New England to Tennessee, Michigan to the District of Columbia. Our Bridgewater facility offers a unmatched capability to sell, service allow us to supply accessible commercial vehicles and personal-use wheelchair vans to clients throughout the area.

us census disability by state

Personal Conversion Wheelchair Vans

Our Bridgewater Mobility Center offers full service and sales to individuals throughout all of New England

Commercial Accessible Vans, Buses and Shuttles

We often sell, service, and deliver vehicles to the following areas:

States

Are you outside of any of these locations and still interested in a VMi New England Mobility Center conversion van or mobility product? Contact our expert sales staff, as we may still be able to assist you in finding the perfect commercial wheelchair van or accessible personal-use modification.

Rear Entry wheelchair mini vans and transfer seats.

 
One thing our customers have always asked for was an easy way to get wheelchair passengers into the front seats. So our engineers went to the people at B&D Independence, Inc. and they came up with a very attractive and functional solution. With the second row sliding door open, the custom rear entry mini van transfer seat has a full 36″ of movement forward and back, and a full 100 degrees of rotation. The OEM seat also retains 100% functionality of the recline and sliding track features. The VMi New England Mobility Center transfer seat offers wheelchair passengers the ability to get in the drivers seat, or front passenger seat safely and easily.The transfer seat is controlled by two switches on the inboard side of the seat, for passenger and driver respectively. B&D Independence, Inc. also offers a handheld pendant to control the seat, which gives customers a choice when choosing their controls.

One of our core values at VMi New England Mobility Center is that quality mobility equipment shouldn’t be expensive. By providing accessible front row seating without lowering the front floor of the vehicle, we are able to not only save costs, but also maintain the strength of the front OEM vehicle frame. By intruding less on the vehicle frame, we are also able to offer a reliable mobility solution that will provide years of uninterrupted service.

Full specs on the Leadership L75 transfer seat by B&D Independence, Inc. can be found by clicking here .

How to Afford a Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle New England

how to afford a used wheelchair accessible vehicle new england

Among people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, one of the most talked about subjects is the price of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. A shiny new van can be out of range for many consumers on fixed incomes. But a used wheelchair van could be a possibility.

Let’s take a look at some concerns people may have:

Used vehicles have too much mileage on them.

Many used vehicles don’t have much mileage and the mobility equipment may be hardly used.

How much does a used accessible van with a ramp or lift cost?

A wheelchair accessible van less than 3 years old could start at $30,000—or thousands more. A gently used, older wheelchair van can be converted to save even more.

An older vehicle won’t last much longer.

A vehicle properly taken care of can last for decades. For added peace of mind, contact a mobility dealer who sells used wheelchair accessible vehicles and has decades of experience.

A used vehicle probably won’t have the equipment I want.

You want an in-floor ramp but you can only find fold-outs. If the price is right, you may be able to have the desired equipment installed after the sale. Do your research up front.

How can I qualify for a vehicle loan?

  • Talk to your VMi New England mobility dealer—they know the organizations, non-profits, state and federal agencies and charities that will help in financing in your area.
  • If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible for a credit towards a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For more information go to VMi New England
  • Start saving! If you get an income tax refund, put it in a special savings account.
  • Ask your family and friends to forgo gifts and donate towards your vehicle fund.

Above all, contact a mobility expert like the ones at VMi New England. They will work hand-in-hand with you on areas like what is right for you, financing options, rates, terms, manufacturer offers, incentives and benefits.

VMi New England is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our adapted wheelchair vans.

Accessible Vehicles And Adaptive Mobility Equipment Q&A

Accessible Vehicles and Adaptive Mobility Equipment Q&A

Rear entry vs. side entry. Buying online. Buying used. What do you need to know to get maximum benefit for minimum expense?

Good information is the key to saving money and getting the most value for the dollar when making a big-ticket purchase like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

With that in mind, Seek out and find experts who truly care for answers to some common questions about adaptive mobility equipment.

Q: Can I just go to a car dealer down the street or do I need a certified mobility dealer?

A: Certified mobility dealers help consumers buy the right vehicle and adaptive mobility equipment to meet their mobility needs now and in the future. Future planning is especially important for people with muscle diseases that get progressively worse over time.

“There are so many different products out there, and technology has improved so much. We just want to help people make the right decision,” says Jim Sanders, president of Automotive Innovations based in Bridgewater, MA for over 25 years.

“Many times, consumers will go to a car dealer and buy [a vehicle] that can’t be modified or one that doesn’t fit their needs. And once you buy a vehicle, normally it’s very difficult to return it.”

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit organization that provides consumer guidance and ensures quality and professionalism in the manufacturing and installation of mobility equipment. Members include mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals.

NMEDA member-dealers must follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in addition to NMEDA’s own stringent guidelines.

Some dealers choose to enroll in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), which requires them to adhere to national motor vehicle safety standards, and use proven quality control practices to yield the highest level of performance and safety. Automotive Innovations was the First Mobility Dealer in Massachusetts to enroll and exceed the safety standards.

“The QAP dealer is audited by an outside engineering firm to verify that technicians have been trained, make sure the dealer has insurance and make sure the facility is ADA-compliant,”

So it means the QAP dealer is going above and beyond.”

Other reasons to seek out a certified mobility equipment dealer include:

They provide a link to qualified service and repair, that it’s crucial to have done on a adapted vehicle serviced.

Some manufacturers of adapted vehicles sell directly to consumers, cutting costs by cutting out the middle man, says Jim Sanders, of VMi New England, based in Bridgewater, MA.

But expert assessment and “try before you buy” remain essentials for prospective buyers, with or without a dealer in the middle.

For example, We, a NMEDA QAP-certified member, send representatives to customers’ homes for assessment and test drives before they buy, and also offer unmatched service/maintenance to just about any modified vehicle including Rollx vans.

Q: Can I get a better price if I buy online rather than from a dealer?

A: As with any online shopping, the warning “buyer beware” rings true. Buying online without trying out different vehicles with different conversions can be a costly mistake. Furthermore there are many grey market converted vans being offered as quality conversions.

Online, clients are mostly shopping blind. Typically they have no idea how the vehicle they need will even work fro them, even if they have specific recommendations from a driver evaluator or occupational therapist.

“You definitely shouldn’t buy it online,” “There not trying to assess your needs by e-mail or over the phone. There just trying to sell you something.

Some online dealers even have a questionnaire on its Web site to try and give you the idea your getting what you need. But, it will never replace being able to go to a local mobility dealership and try the vans out first hand.

A mobility vehicle is probably the second-largest purchase after a house. You should see it, try it out, and make sure it’s something that will work for you. It’s horrible when people get something that they’re disappointed in.

Every vehicle is a little bit different — such as in the dimensions, electrical and fuel systems, or suspension modifications. “If you go online and buy [based] on price, you’re not really looking at the total package.”

While buying online maybe able to save money up front, it wont over the long term.

In addition to consumers missing out on the important local service contact that a mobility equipment dealer provides, these online deals or grey market vans are worth much less when it comes time to trade it in.

Where do you want to sit? If you plan to drive from your wheelchair, then a side-entry conversion is what you’ll need, unless you can transfer to the driver’s seat (rear entry). With a rear-entry conversion, the wheelchair user typically is positioned in the back or between two mid-row captain’s seats, while a side entry offers a wheelchair user multiple seating options in the driver, front passenger and middle sections.

Q: What are some common mistakes people make when buying a modified vehicle?

A: Manufacturers and mobility dealers agree that one of the most common — and costly — mistakes is buying the vehicle first and then shopping for the conversion or adaptive mobility equipment. Not all vehicles can be converted.

For example, If you purchase a minivan from a traditional car dealership you can hit a roadblock if it doesn’t meet specific requirements to have the floor lowered for a rear- or side-entry conversion.

Q: What are some good questions to ask a dealer or manufacturer?

A: Although buying a modified vehicle can be “a daunting experience,” says VMI’s Monique McGivney, it also can be “exciting and fun when you walk in armed with good questions and information.”

Prior to getting an assessment from a mobility dealer, evaluate your needs and try answering the following questions:

  • What vehicle will fit in my garage?
  • What kind of parking issues will I encounter where I live?
  • What is the size and weight of my wheelchair?
  • What is my seated height in the wheelchair?
  • How many people will ride in the vehicle?
  • In what part of the vehicle do I want to sit?
  • Will I be able to drive with hand controls?
  • Do I want a full-size van, minivan or alternative vehicle?
  • Do I want manual or power equipment?
  • Will an in-floor ramp or fold-out ramp meet my needs?
  • What is my budget, and do I have access to supplemental funding?

The first question mobility dealers usually ask a client is: “What is your seated height in the wheelchair?” From there, the dealer can advise whether a full-size or minivan is appropriate, and what kind of conversion is needed.

Be sure to ask the dealer about the warranty and how the vehicle can be serviced.

Q: Which is better: rear entry or side entry?

A: The most important difference between a rear- and side-entry conversion is that with a rear entry, wheelchair users can’t drive from their wheelchairs nor can they ride in the front passenger seat. From there, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

In recent years, because of quality, convenience and cost, there’s been a shift toward side entry vehicles. Rear entry is more of a frugal modification, involves a less of conversion process and is typically a little less expensive than a side-entry conversion.

Many people prefer side entry with a in-floor conversion for many safety reasons additionally because they can park almost anywhere and not worry deploying the ramp out into traffic. Also, side entry allows the consumer to ride in the passengers front position along with maintain the rear seats in a minivan because the conversion doesn’t affect that area.

Rear entry is harder to get out of compared to a side-entry.

Anyway you look at it side-entry vehicles are more versatile. For example, side entry allows someone with a progressively worsening condition to use the vehicle for a longer period of time. A wheelchair user can start out driving from his or her chair, and then move to several other positions in the vehicle when no longer able to drive.

Side-entry conversions typically are a little more expensive than rear-entry because they’re more intrusive and labor intensive. For example, with a minivan, the entire floor and frame must be removed and replaced with a lowered floor and new frame.

Q: What’s the difference between a fold-out ramp and in-floor ramp?

A: This decision comes down to safety, aesthetics, convenience and cost.

A fold-out ramp folds up into the vehicle, takes up valuable space in the passengers front area and must be deployed whenever the door is opened.

The in-floor ramp slides under the floor, so it safer for anyone seated in the passengers front position, mid-ship position, there’s no obstruction to the door, and other passengers can enter and exit without deploying the ramp. In-floor ramps only are currently only available for side-entry minivan conversions, and there is even a manual (unpowered) option.

In-floor ramps in addition to being safer will generally provide more room in the vehicle because there’s nothing blocking the doorway. The ramp is “out of sight, out of mind and may last longer because it doesn’t have to be deployed each time the side passenger door opens.

Fold-out ramps generally cost a little less than in-floor, and consumers can select from manual and power versions; a power fold-out ramp still costs less than an in-floor ramp.

If an in-floor ramp system breaks down or the vehicle loses power, VMI’s in-floor ramp systems have a backup system (sure-deploy) that bypasses the vehicle’s battery.

A lot of people just feel more secure knowing there isn’t a fold-out ramp next to them in the event of a accident.

Q: I use a wheelchair, but a van or minivan just isn’t “me.” Are they my only options?

A: You have some choices.

Lowered-floor conversions with fold-out ramps can be done on the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Toyota Scion. The conversions are small and don’t fit as many people.

Due to them being built on a much smaller scale, the ones we have seen have not been built with the same level of quality of mini van conversion. Parts availability and repairs have been a problem, some of the companies that converted them are out of business and or have no support for “something they used to build”

For those who prefer to keep their standard car rather than purchasing a modified vehicle — and who can make the transfer from a wheelchair to a car seat — the answer may be as simple as a set of hand controls or a left foot gas pedal

Turning seats can be used in a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to SUVs and pickup trucks. A way to transport the wheelchair (like a rear lift) also is needed.

The rate at which your disease symptoms are worsening is one thing to consider when looking at turning seats — is it likely you’ll be able to transfer and ride in a car seat for many more years? Also, be sure to check with a mobility dealer to determine if your vehicle can accommodate a turning seat and a wheelchair lift.

Q: Why are modified vehicles so darned expensive?

A: A vehicle conversion can cost consumers upwards of $27,000 — and that’s just the cost for the conversion, not the vehicle. The total package can run between $45,000 and $80,000 — or more.

Besides the cost of the components, the reason it’s so pricey is that basically there is a lot of work involved to build a quality vehicle.

Modified vehicles from certified manufacturers and dealers must meet NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That means all modified vehicles must be properly crash tested. (To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.)

It’s quite a labor-intensive process because of the customization. When you make structural modifications to a vehicle, you have to go through all of the crash testing, and you have to show that the vehicle is compliant again, and those tests are very expensive.

Most of the time lowering the floor in a minivan requires replacing or moving the fuel tank. Once the conversion is finished, the vehicle still has to meet the original requirements for evaporative emissions, in addition to NHTSA requirements.

Q: How can I pay less?

A: Consumers have some options.

Many consumers cut costs by purchasing pre-owned vehicles with new conversions, typically saving around $10,000 to $12,000.

The previous van owner already has absorbed the depreciation hit on a new van, which essentially occurs right after you’ve driven off the dealer’s lot.

Buying used can be beneficial for first-time buyers who want to try out a vehicle for a few years before buying new.

But if you plan to buy used, do some research and make sure the vehicle is structurally sound including the conversion. Ask for a vehicle history (CARFAX) report, and get the vehicle inspected by a mobility dealer to ensure it’s in good shape and was well taken care of.

Q: How do people manage to pay for it?

A: Many consumers used home equity loans to purchase a vehicle and adaptive equipment. But with home values decreasing.

Many dealers and manufacturers work with lending institutions that offer extended-term financing, including 10-year loans, allowing consumers to make lower, more affordable monthly payments. The downside is that consumers are locked into the vehicle for 10 years, and end up paying more in interest.

If you finance for 10 years, and you’re not going to keep the vehicle for that amount of time, you’re going to lose money when you try to sell or trade it because you haven’t paid off much of the balance.

When you buy a new vehicle, many car manufacturers offer mobility reimbursement programs (up to $1,000) to help offset the cost for the purchase and installation of adaptive equipment.