AccessABLE Travel And Doing Your Homework

download (60)A recent vacation taught me some valuable lessons about accessible travel I would like to share with you. My own temporary disability lasting only a few months presented me with valuable first hand experiences that will benefit our readers.

My several decade career, specializing as a Disability Insurance Advisor, gave me a unique perspective being actively involved with employees of client companies filing long term disability (LTD) claims. We essentially “counseled” disabled employees that were filing LTD claims who didn’t understand the claims process.

“Hitting the Wall”… At the point of becoming disabled, there’s the “shock” of we “cross the line” in a single moment. One minute we’re healthy, the next we’re disabled. It happens in the time it took you to read this paragraph.

The most obvious impact on their “psyche” began with the psychological impact of no longer being in excellent health without any limitations. When added to the instantaneous negative impact on their medical condition, its’ been likened to “walking into a wall”. In addition to the physical and emotional trauma of becoming disabled, then added impact of an immediate change in lifestyle

Treating Children’s Limb and Spine Deformities Through Pediatric Orthopedics

download (59)We are fortunate to have so many kinds of doctors who specialize in different areas, such as cardiologists, who specialize in the study and treatment of the heart, and neurologists, who work with the brain and determine treatments for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. The field of pediatric orthopedics is specifically important because it treats disorders related to growth and development of the skeleton, muscles, and joints in children. Because their bodies are still growing, children have different reactions to injuries, infections, and disorders. Here are a few of the limb and spine deformities that doctors in the field of pediatric orthopedics treat.


Clubfoot is a deformity in which a baby’s foot is turned inward, sideways, or upward. Although clubfoot is not painful during infancy, if it is not treated, the child will not be able to walk normally as he or she ages. Most cases of clubfoot can be corrected successfully with a nonsurgical treatment in which specialists use gentle stretching and casting to gradually correct the deformity. In some severe cases, however, surgery may be necessary to adjust the ligaments, tendons, and joints

Handicapped Is Not A Disability

images (20)Anything that impairs the success of an effort by a person is called as ‘a Handicap.’ In other words, it’s a condition that affects the performance of a person. The handicap might be of mental or physical nature or both. Many people think that having some problem in the body is the disability. The handicapped mind is the biggest defect one should worry, and not the physical disabilities like blindness, dumb, deaf, etc.

Many healthy and educated people tend to display the disability of different kinds. What else will you call the following misbehavior? Throwing the empty cola cans, cigar butts, and other wastes on the road, driving the car to the gym that is hardly 100 meters from the house, spitting in the public place, an unemployed person looking for a job to suit his educational level, terrorists killing the innocent people, politicians squandering the public money, and the restaurants throwing the unused food in the dustbins. Actually, these are the manifestations of the disabled and unsound minds. They actually symbolise the inabilities only.

In contrast to the above, the attitudes to convert even

Exercising In Your Wheelchair

download (58)If you are in a wheelchair you may think it is just too hard to exercise, as things you may be used to doing just won’t work now, but that just isn’t the case. In fact, you can do many things to exercise your body and reap the rewards that exercise brings to your life.

We have all head the benefits of exercise: it can reduce stress, it increases flexibility and mobility, it increases your body awareness and muscle strength and it helps to maintain a good fitness level. It is also great for circulation, can stop blood clots from forming and helps with spine stability and posture, and let’s face it, exercising just feels good and makes you feel good about yourself, mentally and physically.

Resistance training is used by athletes of the professional and not so professional levels alike and can be modified just a bit to work for those in a wheelchair as well. The best thing is that resistance bands come in a variety of strengths so you can start small and build up to the resistance you want. Simply tie

A Housing Challenge for Young Adults With Special Needs

download (57)14% of American children are born with a developmental disability. 8% are born with a learning disability. 7% are diagnosed with ADHD. 2% are born with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. And while some of those numbers overlap to a degree, the end result is that roughly 1 in 5 American children require some form of extraordinary support. Of those, roughly 1 in 15 will continue to need extraordinary support well into what is traditionally considered ‘adulthood.’ But what about those young adults with special needs (YASNs) who are trying to keep up with what society expects by moving out on their own and enjoying the thrills of independence?

Fortunately, there are several options. Unfortunately, it can be all but impossible to know which one is ‘right,’ if that word even has real meaning in this context. The first big decision is between:

• A group home, where several-to-hundreds of similar individuals are all making the same journey together;
• Living with one or more roommates, each supporting the other in learning the necessary skills for independence; or
• A backyard apartment or second suite built

When Children With Special Needs Become Adults: Housing Pains

download (56)The celebration of independence that occurs when a child moves out of the house for the first time is a uniquely American phenomenon; our emphasis on independence and self-reliance makes living on one’s own a noble goal. We even poke fun and those who have trouble making the big step — anyone remember Failure to Launch? And yet, for some families — in particular those who have children with special needs — ‘launching’ can be a genuine ordeal.

If your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), for example, the struggle to coordinate the hunt for a suitable home with the support services necessary to allow them to live without your constant presence is complicated and stressful on many levels. Before we get into the current story, however, let’s take a look at how housing services and support has changed over the past half-century.

A Brief Timeline of Residential Support and Services

• Pre-1970s: While adults with developmental disabilities have been around presumably as long as the rest of the human race, their status before the Civil Rights movement was essentially ‘ignored.’ Local groups existed in

Making The Disabled Economically-Abled

download (55)Sustained policy interventions can ensure a level-playing field

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 15% of the global population, or an estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities, and 80% of this PwD (Persons with Disabilities) population resides in developing nations. It is also estimated that 6% of India’s population (roughly 72 million) suffers from some form of disability or the other, and notably only around 3-4 million of these are educated.

Without doubt, the disabled represent the world’s largest minority. However, there is a key geographical difference here – 90% of children with disabilities in developing countries like India do not attend schools and are grossly under-represented in higher education, whereas in the developed nations of Europe and the US, the disabled are mainstreamed in education. For example, in the UK, PwDs undergoing higher education are eligible to receive a generous Disabled Students’ Allowance, irrespective of their financial status. In undergraduate courses too, PwDs are provided a number of other monetary benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Tax Credits and Universal Credit.


The 3 Things to Look for in a Disabled Transportation Service

download (54)It has been more than 25 years since President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. Over that span of time businesses, public spaces, and transportation services have become more accessible for the disabled. While the progress thus far is encouraging, the job is far from complete.

Recently, great strides have been made when it comes to travel – especially within major metropolitan cities. There are many options that exist; you can even ride in style thanks to VIP disabled transportation services! However, there are a few things to look for when deciding which of these is right for you or your loved ones.

Accessibility isn’t just about having ramps; it’s about being able to live a normal, fulfilling life!

1. Choose a Disabled Transportation Service with a Strong Customer Service Record

While many cities have made valiant efforts to make their public transportation options more accessible, the truth is many bus drivers, subway operators, and taxi drivers aren’t properly trained on how to interact with and assist disabled persons.

Any private service worth its salt will ensure their drivers are not only certified,

Young Adults With Special Needs Living With Roommates

images (19)When it comes time for a young adult with special needs (YASN) to leave the nest, one of the most reasonable options for many is to move into a place with one or more other people who can help them balance the responsibilities and freedoms of independence with their unique situations. The first question is, do you want to live with someone who has special needs akin to yours? Or would it be better to live with a friend? Either way, there are a few options for a mostly-independent life with one or more roommates.

Types of Residence with Roommates

• Private Residence: One of the best options when it’s affordable is for 2-3 families that all have young adults with special needs to put their funds together and purchase a single-family residence, and move all of them in together. (Obviously, this works best if the three are acquaintances or friends beforehand.) The families can guide their YASNs from afar, helping them learn to responsibly deal with bills, holding down a job, and keeping a house.

• Apartment Community: In most larger towns across the country,

Young Adults With Special Needs in Group Living Situations

images (18)A few decades ago, it was expected that young adults with special needs (YASNs) would move directly from their parents care into a group home that would care for their special needs. While that option is much less normal today, it is still very much an option. There are few different kinds of group living that are appropriate for YASNs just leaving the nest.

Types of Group Living for Young Adults with Special Needs

• Boarding Home / ‘Supervised Living’: A large home owned by an agency that houses 5-20 people. The folks living there get regular but infrequent (often weekly) visits from a supervisor, and have on-call staff handy for urgent issues during the day and early evening, but are on their own overnight. Most such homes offer room and board for a flat fee, though there are many exceptions.

• Intermediate Care / ‘Group Homes’: Similar to a boarding home, but with 24-hour non-medical support available for the residents. Most often geared toward people with minor intellectual or developmental disabilities, and most often a single home will have aides trained to deal with a

Young Adults With Special Needs Living Alone

download (53)Americans put a lot of cultural emphasis on independence, and as such, it is perfectly normal for a young adult who is at a certain age to expect to stop living with their parents and start their own life. Young adults with special needs (YASNs) that are relatively minor or are well under control may expect to live alone — and there’s no good reason they shouldn’t. But there are some things that need to be considered along the way.

Types of Solo Residence

Barring a family that owns a second home, there are basically only two options for a YASN living alone for the first time:

• A Rental will give you the most independence. Several apartments offer supportive groups by and for parents and other YASNs who can help you keep everything moving forward as you adapt to life on your own. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from discrimination in the application process, and most apartment complexes will be happy to make a few accommodations for you such as ramps or handles in the bathrooms. Agencies that offer services to YASNs are

Housing for Young Adults With Special Needs: Skills Assessment

download (51)For a young adult with special needs (YASN), making the first big move out of the home takes on several dimensions unimaginable to a typical teenager. Whatever your housing arrangement, it must include support for the specific special needs that you bring with you, and it should also take your family’s circumstances into account as well. The major options include living alone, living in a community of similar neighbors, or living in a group home. Which one is best for you will depend on your masters of certain life skills as well as your financial situation and your personal comfort level.

Note that these assessments don’t distinguish between mental, physical, and emotional special needs — the only question is “can consistently you handle these tasks without assistance, even under potentially stressful circumstances?

Basic ADLs

The first ‘rank’ of skills to assess is how easily you can get through the least-challenging day without help. In order to accomplish that goal, you need to be able to take care of what the government calls “ADLs” — Activities of Daily Living:

• Mobility and Transference (i.e. from wheelchair to bed),

The Importance of Refurbishing and Reusing Used Stairlifts

download (50)One of the most useful inventions for the modern home is the stairlift, which helps thousands of individuals around the world today get around their properties, even if they are suffering from an injury or have permanently reduced mobility. These items are available in various models and shapes, each one catering to different needs and preferences.

Furthermore, there is now the choice between buying a brand new device, investing in a second hand one, or even simply taking advantage of stairlift rental, which is possibly the most cost effective option out of the three on a short term basis. With that said, many people like to own their own stairlift, especially if they intend to get years of use from it.

Both brand new lifts and used ones are popular in their own ways, and for often very different reasons. Brand new items often feature the latest functions and designs, and are less worn than second hand models. Used lifts, on the other hand, can be far more economical and are ideal for the individual on a tighter budget.

Yet the importance of used stairlifts does

The Challenges of Special Needs Housing Finding the Money

download (49)In the last post, we mentioned the ‘aging out’ problem — wherein, at 21 years of age, the Federal funding that supported a child with special needs suddenly stops cold. That’s not the only money problem that crops up around a young adult with special needs (YASN). There’s also the problem of trying to pay for their first opportunity to live away from their parents. There are three broad categories of funding sources, and we’ll take a look at each in detail.

Self-Funding: The Default

If no other funding can be found, the family of a YASN will have to choose between keeping their now-adult with special needs at home, or finding the funds within their own lives. That might seem impossible for some, but there are many potential places to look, including:

• Donations,
• Income,
• Grants,
• Foundations,
• Banks,
• Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI),
• Credit unions,
• Private insurance,
• Special Needs Trusts,
• Individual Development Accounts (IDAs),
• Pooled trusts, and
• Tax Credits, among others.

There also exists a commonplace ‘hybrid’ funding technique in many places: cooperative funding. When

The Challenges of Special Needs Housing Waiting List Hell

download (48)Rather than talk about broad strokes and generics, we’re doing something different here. We’re drilling down to a personal level, to convey one of the greatest challenges of finding first-time housing for a young adult with special needs. We’re going to talk about what is happening in one of the states on the East Coast: Connecticut.

In Connecticut right now, there are more than two thousand adults with intellectual disabilities. Most of them live with their families, despite desperately wanting to be independent and live their own lives. Some have been waiting for so long that they are in legitimate danger of losing their primary caretakers — their parents — to old age.

The state laws of Connecticut promise to find housing for these people based on which of three priorities their situation qualifies them for — housing within a year for the top priority, and within five years for the bottom rank. But there’s a problem: the waiting list is broken. The priority system doesn’t work. No one gets housing, and they all just keep waiting.

The first problem is that state law prevents any

Alternative Housing for Young Adults With Special Needs

download (47)There are a few unusual but mention-worthy alternative housing concepts for young adults with special needs (YASNs). These don’t fall into the traditional categories, but we would be remiss to let them go without bringing them up.

The ‘Group Co-op’

An unusual option, but worth mentioning — in dozens of communities across the country, several families have united their funds to create a group home that isn’t a formal care agency, but a co-op. That is to say, they purchase, own, and maintain a home for a large group of YASNs, and they offer family support to the degree that they are able. Oftentimes, the co-op will hire caretakers, or occasionally will contract with an agency to provide caretakers.

The downside of a co-op is straightforward: once the families that have come together to form the co-op no longer have any children living in the home (which, depending on the specific special needs, may be anywhere from a couple of years to ‘the rest of their lives’), the co-op tends to disintegrate. Also, as family priorities change over decades, even co-ops with lifetime members can find

Facts About Down Syndrome

download (46)Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes intellectual and developmental delays. The cases of Down syndrome are as rare as 1 million per year. Though, it cannot be cured, treatment is of some help. The genetic condition arises after an abnormal cell division leads to extra genetic material resulting from chromosome 21. The symptoms are visible in the form of an intellectual disability, a different facial appearance, developmental delays and are sometimes caused due to heart or thyroid ailments.

Intervention Through Occupational Therapy

What is helpful are the early intervention programmes to treat every child in a specific situation through occupational therapy for Down syndrome. A group of special educators and therapists are engaged in offering intervention to every single individual affected from it. Those suffering from such a genetic condition may experience developmental delays like short stature, speech delay or learning disability.

Developmental Delays and Cognitive Issues

They can also go through cognitive issues like difficulty in understanding or thinking and intellectual disability. They can have an abnormally large tongue or it may be displaced or have spots or a lazy eye. Other symptoms including

Nyle DiMarco

download (45)Imagine dancing in front of millions of television viewers when you can’t hear the music. How would you know when to move, when to stop, when to do the lift? For some viewers of Dancing With the Stars it seems incredible that anyone can do the required dances with such grace, but thrown in being deaf and it’s a whole new ball game.

Nyle DiMarco was born on May 8th 1989 and has a twin brother. He is a model, an actor and also a deaf activist who grew up in Maryland and attended Maryland School for the Deaf. Later he would earn a degree in mathematics from Galloudet University before he turned his attention to acting.

He appeared in several programs before earning a spot on America’s Next Top Model. He was only the second male contestant and the first deaf contestant on the reality show, and he of course won the crown back in 2015. Shortly after his win he signed with a top modelling agency in New York and then came the call from Dancing With the Stars.

For those fans of Dancing

The Challenges of Special Needs Housing: Support Services

download (44)The final major hurdle for getting a young adult with special needs (YASN) into his/her own home when they come of age (or are otherwise prepared) is getting the necessary support services arranged. Simply put, very few families can provide the support that a YASN needs, either personally or by paying an agency to provide it. Almost all of them will have to turn to financial assistance to support their YASNs. Fortunately, that part is easier today than it has been in previous decades. Unfortunately, it is still not without its challenges.


The primary source of support service funding for most YASNs is Medicaid. In years past, Medicaid only paid for certain specific types of disability, but recently, a variety of ‘waivers’ (because they waive the usual rules of what Medicare will pay for) have come into existence. The Home and Community-Based Waiver has given states leave to create programs that pay for in-home or community-based services of all kinds.

Of course, that doesn’t mean every state did — Medicaid provides the money, but the states themselves must create and fund the programs. There’s no

Rehabilitation for Disabled to Improve Lives

download (43)Every special school that vouches for the needs of the differently-abled kids has the single most important motive. It offers early intervention to the infants and young children who go through a hearing impairment or are mentally challenged, visually impaired, cerebral palsy affected, have autism or multiple disabilities. For early intervention, these schools facilitate diagnosis beforehand and enable treatment accordingly.

Special Education and Intervention

The main objective behind establishing early intervention centres is to provide medical help and rehabilitation for disabled. Here, training is also offered to the parents and relatives of the children with special needs for their development and social adjustment. Thereafter, special education is focused upon. Many government-aided, government-run and unaided special schools for differently-abled are running to provide special education and relative assistance to the affected children.

Offering Useful Medical Aids

In addition, they are also offered aids and equipment like tricycles, folding wheel chairs, artificial limbs, crutches, retrofitted scooters, hearing aids, calipers, folding sticks, Braille watches and solar rechargeable batteries. Early intervention for hearing impaired kids is necessary for developing age appropriate speech, learning and language skills.

For Rehabilitation and Adaptation

As far as