Tag Archives: restaurants

Tips For Including People With Disabilities At A Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accessible Valentine’s Day Ideas

For some, Valentine’s Day is a special day spent with a significant other, but loved family members and friends also make for a great reason to spend time with people you care about. With a mobility vehicle, there are endless possibilities when it comes to planning the perfect day with those closest to you. The following are a few date night ideas your wheelchair van can get you to and that are handicap accessible.

See a Show
Many local theatres and movie theaters run special shows or engagements on Valentine’s Day. Specially designed ramps are common and make for a great evening supporting local arts programs or just having an enjoyable time. Make sure to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early for preparation.

Plan a Romantic Dinner
Restaurants are booming on February 14 and, with a little planning, you can relish in an evening on the town. By using Google and/or Yelp! (which offers wheelchair accessible information), you can easily book a reservation for a handicap accessible table.

Leisurely Stroll in a Park
You can research ahead of time for events at local parks for a special evening with the whole family or a significant other. Festivals with crafts, food and music while walking under the stars would make a magical night on easy terrain. Your wheelchair accessible car can find a spot in the lot while you find one in a field or arena using available ramps.

Try Something New: Find a Drive-In Theater
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you can find a drive-in movie theater in your area. Take your wheelchair accessible vehicle and pile the whole family in for an affordable movie and distinct adventure. Enjoy the comfort of your mobility vehicle while you watch movies on the outdoor silver screen.

In all, with enough preparation, your wheelchair van can go anywhere you want with ease for a successful Valentine’s Day date.

2014 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts

Veterans Day is soon approaching and there are many restaurants and companies who want to thank our veterans by providing them with discounts or a free meal. To those companies offering veterans a free meal or discount, we thank you!

Please Note:

  • Most companies require some form of Proof of Military Service. These include: a Military ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Drivers License with Veterans Designation, Photograph in uniform, be wearing uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification. Other restaurants and companies may go by the honor system.
  • Second, always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies.
  • Visit WWW.TheMilitaryWallet.com for more information and updates. They do their best to keep their page up to date.

2014 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts

Applebee’s – free meal, Nov. 11, 2014:
Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active service-members. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. There will be 7 entrées to choose from, beverage and gratuity not included. Military ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information.

BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Complimentary lunch entree, up to $9.95 value. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. Click Here For Locations.

Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free All you can eat hotcakes. For active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Click here for Locations.

California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2014:
Choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu. Dine-in only. Please come in uniform or bring your military I.D. or other proof of service. Click here for Locations.

Carraba’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free appetizer of your choice for active duty service-members and veterans. Military ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Cattlemens Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free 8 oz Sirloin Steak Dinner and beverage on Veterans Day. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

CentraArchy Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal with proof of service at participating restaurants, including Burrito Loco, California Dreaming, Carolina Roadhouse, ChopHouse New Orleans, ChopHouse ’47, Gulfstream Café, Joey D’s Oak Room, and New York Prime. Click here for Locations.

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for active and former military members with ID or other valid proof of service. Click here for Locations.

Chili’s – free meal, Tuesday, Nov. 11 2014:
Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 7 meals during the dinner hour, or any lunch combo during lunch. Offer only available at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Click here for Locations.

Cotton Patch Café, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military members. Choices include full-size chicken fried steak, or chicken fried chicken. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Country Cookin, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

East Coast Wings, Nov. 11, 2014
Free Appetizer or Desert. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Einstein Bros Bagels, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free coffee at participating locations. Available to all active duty members and veterans with ID or proof of service. Click here for Locations.

Fatz Eatz & Drinkz, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military members, up to $13.00 value. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Fire & Ice Grill & Bar, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for military and veterans. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Breakfast offering is free a Big Two Do breakfast, which includes a coffee and the choice between French toast, buttermilk pancakes, or regular toast along with bacon or sausage links, and some eggs. Lunch or dinner includes an All-American Burger served with fries and a beverage. Offer available for active military and veterans with ID or discharge papers. Participating locations only. Click here for Locations.

Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 17, 2014 (5pm – 9pm):
The 14th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday dinner will is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. Click here for more information.

Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 4 million free meals and contributed over $8.7 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization. Amazing!

Hooters, Nov. 11, 2014:
Tuesday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country. Click here for Locations.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal form the American Values Menu, Nov. 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Includes soup, salad, desert, and beverage. Dine-in only, valid ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee, Nov. 11, 2014:
Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees, & veterans. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating. Click here for Locations.

Lone Star Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
All veterans and active duty military will be eligible for a free Starter. ID or proof of service required. Please call ahead for verification. Click here for Locations.

LongHorn Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Complimentary Texas Tonion and non-alcoholic beverage. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required. Visit their site to Click here for Locations.

Max & Erma’s, November 11, 2014:
Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo, which includes tortilla soup or side Caesar salad, seasoned fries, and chocolate chip cookies. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information. Click here for Locations.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 9, 2014: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 16th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 9th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. Click here for more information.

Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
All veterans and current service-members will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Veterans Day. Click here for Locations.

Noah’s Bagles, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free coffee for active duty and veterans. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Orange Leaf, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free frozen yogurt (up to 11 0z.). Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Outback Steakhouse – Nov. 11, 2014:
Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also receive 15% off your purchase from Nov. 12-Dec 31, 2014. Click here for Locations.

Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery, Nov. 11, 2014:
Participating restaurants are offering current service-members and veterans a free Magnificent Seven meal which includes two eggs, three buttermilk pancakes, and a choice of two bacon strips or two sausage links. Beverage not included. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Pinnacle Entertainment (Casino Chain), Nov. 11, 2014:
Select locations are offering a free buffet meal for current military members and veterans. ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information and locations.

Red Hot & Blue, Nov. 10-12, 2014:
Free Entrée with purchase of another entrée of equal or greater value. Coupon. Proof of Service required. Click here for more information.

Red Lobster – Monday, Nov. 10 – Thursday Nov. 13, 2014:
Free Appetizer on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers. Click here for locations.

Rib City (St. Louis, Missouri), Nov. 11, 2014:
50% Military Appreciation Meal Discount everyday to all Veterans and Active Duty Military. Eat in or carry out. (Des Peres and Cottleville, MO) Click here for more information.

Shoney’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, Proof of Service required. Click here for more information. Click here for Locations.

Sizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free lunch served until 4pm. Choice of 3 entrees, and a free coffee, tea, or fountain drink. Valid with proof of military service. Dine-in only, not valid for salad bar or gratuity. Click here for Locations.

StarBucks, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free tall brewed coffee for active duty, veterans, and their spouses. Participating stores only. Please call ahead.

Tap House Grill, Nov. 11, 2014. Free meal for service-members and veterans with proof of service. Dine-in only. Click here for Locations.

Texas De Brazil Churrascaria, Nov. 11, 2014:
50% off for all current and former service-members at participating locations (please call ahead). Click here for Locations.

Texas Land and Cattle Steak House, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free appetizer or shared plate for current service-members and veterans. ID or proof of service is required. Click here for Locations.

Tim Hortons, Nov. 11, 2014:
All US locations are offering a free donut to all active duty servicemembers and veterans. No purchase necessary. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.

Travel Centers of America, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for CDL holders who are also veterans. Participating locations only; proof of service required. Click here for more information.

Twin Peaks, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former service-members with proof of service or valid ID. Click here for Locations.

Uno Chicago Grill, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free individual pizza or entrée with the purchase of a pizza or entrée of equal or greater value. Available for all active duty and veterans. No coupon necessary; proof of service required. Don’t forget to tell the staff you are there that day to support Fisher House, and a portion of your party’s check will go to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, an awesome military charity. Click here for Locations.

54th Street Grill, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal, up to $12 value, valid for current and former service members, proof of service required Click here for more information. Click here for Locations.

**** For updates and new information visit WWW.TheMilitaryWallet.com. ****

New York Updates the Handicap Symbol

You see them in parking lots, bathrooms, license plates and public transportation. It’s easily recognizable, yet most don’t think about them too much. It’s the handicap symbol, and in New York it’s getting a fresh look after 45 years.

What started as an illegal art project in Rhode Island by Sara Hendren and Brian Glenney soon transformed into a movement for change recognized by the government. Their original idea was to liven up the “stiff, robotic” look into a more active and human looking symbol. The message is to get away from presenting the look as a disAbility, and rather show that it is still a person in the chair who is still moving forward.

Inspiration for Mobility
An attempt to change the symbol in 1994 was proposed but failed. However, it did succeed as the inspiration for the new design, which was built on a grass-root platform spreading awareness through the right routes to reach real change. The biggest adopter so far is the state of New York, which signed the change into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. In addition, NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, the Boys and Girls Club in South Boston, and the Museum of Modern Art had all also updated their handicap logos to the new look.

The language of the symbol is also making a change. Using the word accessible now rather than handicap presents a more positive light on the symbol and thought process alike. The specific look of the logo now has the person leaning forward with arms back and wheel accented to appear spinning so that the overall appearance shows motion.

Handicap Symbol Represents Movement
No movement comes without concerns however, and the main issue presented with the Accessibility Icon Project is that it resembles an athlete and doesn’t represent the disabled as a whole. Though true from this perspective, the designer Sara Hendren pushes to move the focus away from a literal interpretation to its symbolism. The movement is not solely about a new look, but brings attention for us to take action and rethink disAbility in society.

Only time will tell if the project will gain national or even worldwide change. What is known though is that it starts conversations and gives people a new way to look at those different around them.