Tips on Raising a Child with a Disability

January 4th 2008

Does your child have a disability? Many parents feel a loss of what to do when they discover their child is disabled. Where and what kind of help is available? One thing to keep in mind is you are not alone and there are tons of resources and support groups to help you along the way. Start by creating an environment of structured normalcy. By providing a normal environment, your child will become more independent.

Here is some advice on how to raise an independent disabled child:

1. Make it a point to communicate with your child.

By communicating with your kid, you can avoid help them avoid depression. Ask your child what is going on with his or her life. Let them know that they can turn to you with their problems or concerns. Disabled children tend to go through periods of depression and by communicating with your kid you can help them overcome their issues.

2. Provide discipline for your adolescent.

Often parents do not provide discipline because they believe that their child does not know any better because of their disability. This is not true. Let your kid learn from their mistakes and know that there are consequences to their actions.

3. Educate yourself about your child’s disability.

Meet other parents, get some books or videos, or take a class. You need to know as much as you can about your kid’s disability to understand what is happening to your child.

4. Once you become educated and your youngster is old enough, teach your child about their dis ability. They are the ones who are disabled so they need a clear understanding. Make your child proud of whom they are instead of being ashamed. Do not pretend the disability is a phase and will go away.

For more information on parents of children with disabilities visit: Exceptional Parent Magazine

Posted by Denise under General | No Comments »

Traveling with a Disability

December 26th 2007

A lot of time goes into planning your travels especially when accessibility is a concern. Interestingly enough, many folks spend a good amount of time searching for the best airfares and locating hotels that meet their access needs, very little thought is given to accessible ground transportation. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you sort out that very essential accessible vacation. Please feel free to pitch in some of your ideas to help make travel easier for others.

  • Find out if your hotel has a free airport shuttle. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, hotels that offer courtesy transportation must also provide free accessible transportation.
  • Many private airport shuttles also offer accessible service. For example, Super Shuttle can provide transfers in lift-equipped vans with advance reservations. Most airport websites list shuttle companies that serve them. Contact these companies to find out if they have wheelchair accessible vehicles.
  • Big cities are usually the best candidates for accessible public transportation systems. In fact, in many large cities like San Francisco and Boston, it’s easier to take public transportation than to drive.
  • Many cities like Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have lift-equipped taxis. Inquire with the local taxi authority about their availability. Once you find an accessible cab, get the driver’s card so you can contact him directly.
  • Don’t overlook buses, trains and light rail systems. Many airports, like Ronald Regan Airport in Washington DC, San Francisco International Airport, and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport offer light rail service from the terminals.
  • If you opt for subway or metro transportation, familiarize yourself with the routes and consider alternate stops. These systems are accessed by elevators, and they have a back-up plan in case the elevators are out of service. You might have to get off at an alternate stop and take a bus.
  • Many transit systems also have print/on-line access guides or maps of their accessible transit routes. If you can’t find this information on-line, call the local transit authority and ask about it.
  • Rental cars can be equipped with hand controls if they have 48-hours advance notice. Alternatively you can install your own portable hand controls. Be forewarned, though, that your insurance may not cover you if you go that route.
  • Ask about the availability of an accessible shuttle if the rental car desk is not located in the terminal. If none are available, ask if an employee can bring the car to you.
  • Lift-equipped rental vans are available in many cities through specialty rental firms. For the most part, these companies are not airport based, so you’ll need to find accessible transportation to their location.
  • Finally, no matter what type of transportation you choose, take a cell phone with you when you travel. It comes in handy when waiting for that long-delayed hotel shuttle.

Finding an accessible room

  • Never just ask for an “accessible room.” Instead, list the access features you need.
  • In the U.S., look for properties constructed after 1992, the date the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect.
  • Always call the property directly. On-site reservation agents often have first-hand knowledge about access features at their property.
  • Ask the reservation agent to describe the access features of the room. Don’t settle for the broad description of “ADA Compliant.” Ask for specific access details.
  • Even within the U.S., not all accessible rooms have roll-in showers. Ask a lot of questions about the bathrooms. If you just reserve an “accessible room,” you’ll probably end up with a bathroom that has a tub/shower combination.
  • Make sure and ask about the availability of elevators. Some properties have what they consider to be an accessible room, but it can only be accessed by a stairway.
  • Many properties have raised toilet seats that can be installed in any bathroom. Accessible toilets are 17-19 inches high, so if you need a higher one, ask about a raised toilet seat.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for measurements. If door width is a concern, ask for that measurement. Don’t forget about the door width of interior (bathroom) doors too.
  • If room size is an issue, ask the reservation agent to fax you a floor plan of the accessible room(s).
  • Bed height is not regulated under the ADA, so make sure to ask for bed measurements. Many properties are replacing their standard mattresses with high pillow-top models.

Tips for Navigating Airport Security

  • Allow plenty of extra time to get through security, especially if you wear a prosthesis or use any type of assistive device.
  • Slow walkers should request a wheelchair at check-in. Even if you can walk, it will cut down on the fatigue and standing time.
  • You are not required to transfer from your wheelchair or scooter for any portion of the screening process.
  • If you can’t walk or go through the metal detector, tell the TSA agent. You will be hand-wanded and given a pat-down search. If you need help walking through the metal detector or assistance with your carry-on items, ask the screener.
  • Inform the screener if you cannot raise your arms or stand for a pat-down search.
  • If you need assistance, but are traveling by yourself, ask your airline for a gate pass for a non-ticked companion to accompany you through the security checkpoint.
  • Canes and walkers are allowed through security checkpoints. If they can fit through the x-ray machine they will be x-rayed, otherwise they will be manually inspected.
  • Prosthetic devices do not have to be removed for screening; however they will be manually inspected and swabbed for explosive residue. Tools needed to adjust prosthetic devices are allowed through security upon inspection.

Posted by Andon under General & Travel | No Comments »

Employment for Disabled

December 17th 2007

Are you disabled and seeking employment? Being a job seeker is hard enough, but if you have a disability it can be even more difficult and frustrating. Employers sometimes refuse to hire people with disabilities which angers the job seeker and often discourages them from continuing their job search. This is why it is very important to provide your future employer with a reason why you should be hired instead of someone else. Here is some information that will assist you in your employment search.


How to Search For a Job If You Have a Disability:


1. Determine your unique abilities. What tasks can you accomplish based on your skills? You need to explain the following: what are your talents, why you are the best candidate based on your knowledge, what your past experiences are and why your disability will not get in the way of this.


2. When completing the employment application, indicate your disability only if it asks the question. If you enter the interview without disclosing your disability, inform your future employer about your impairments before you begin your employment. When discussing your unique situation, indicate the necessary accommodations to be made, if needed.


3. When conducting your job search, look for the 'Positive about disabled people' icon on job advertisements.


4. Locate a government agency, such as the Jobcentre that will assist people with disabilities. Often, a state employment office or vocational rehabilitation center can help with job hunting, placement and advise with your job search.

Posted by Denise under Advice & General | 1 Comment »

Great Britain Abortion Reform

December 7th 2007

Today I am going to be writing about a controversial subject that affects every woman. This is a very touchy subject and if I offend anyone I apologize in advance.

Each year there are millions of women in the world who choose to end their pregnancy with abortion. On November 29, 2007 Baroness Masham of Ilton, Great Britain introduced an amendment in Parliament making it illegal for women to have an abortion if the fetus is found to be disabled. Currently, it is legal for women to undergo an abortion if during testing it is discovered the fetus will be disabled. Baroness Marsham claims it is wrong to kill an unborn disabled fetus if they can endure medical treatments for their illness.

Many people believe it is immortal to have an abortion if you discover your child has a disability. Women are devastated when they loose their child, whether they experience an abortion or a miscarriage. When women have an abortion, it becomes very emotional for them because pregnancies are usually planned and often it is the only child a woman will conceive after many months or years of trying to conceive. It is difficult for a woman to move forward with her life after having to abort her unborn child because the woman felt the fetus move, visualized what the infant would look like through an ultrasound, and in some cases had selected a name for the baby based on sex.

Learning there is a possibility that the fetus could be disabled, women want to terminate the existence of their own child, not wanting to keep their baby because it is not considered “healthy or perfect”. When we discover that we have conceived, women plan their future knowing they will have a perfect baby girl or boy. Aborting a fetus is considered helping the child because they are “better off dead” than living in a world where they will be subject to stereotypes because of their disability.

Personally I do not believe in abortions unless it is medically necessary, such as the child will only have a short amount of time to live or if the woman was raped. I would rather give the baby the opportunity to live whatever time they have on this earth, than not know the child, watching them grow and learn. Children should be given the opportunity to live their lifespan, whether that is 5 months, 5 years, or 50+ years.

Would you rather live your life and know your own child for five years, or would you rather live your life, without knowing them? Knowing your baby is disabled should not affect your decision to keep the fetus. What are your thoughts? Do you think it is moral to terminate a pregnancy if you are told your child will be disabled?

Denise Naspinski

* The opinions expressed in the above entry are those of the individual and are not necessarily shared by the Home Access Program or its Sponsor.

Posted by Denise under General | 2 Comments »

Questions to Ask When Purchasing an Accessible Home

November 27th 2007

Are you in the market to purchase a home? Buying an accessible home can be not only stressful but terrifying if you don’t know what to look for when purchasing your new home. Since purchasing a home is such an overwhelming experience, many people seek the assistance of a licensed REALTOR®

to help them find their home. While working with your Real Estate Agent, you will need to determine what level of accessibility you require for your new home. Just because a property is listed as an accessible home, it doesn’t mean that it will meet your needs. After evaluating the house, you can then decide if it meets your accessibility needs.


While you are evaluating a dwelling, there are many factors you need to consider. You will need to evaluate each home separately to see if they meet your accessibility needs.


Here are some questions to ask your REALTOR® when purchasing an accessible home. Use these questions as a guide in deciding if a residence will fit your needs. They are also helpful in deciding what type of modifications are needed before you move.


1. Where is the home located? You will want to consider if it is located in a safe area, and if it is going to be convenient for you. After evaluating the home for accessibility, you should ask yourself if you are going to be comfortable living in the home.


2. Are there stairs at all the entrances? How many? Will you be able to get through the front/back door? Can you enter the home safely? Can you enter the home by yourself or will you need assistance getting through the entrances? Can you reach the lock and the door handles? What kind of locks does the home have? If you use a wheelchair, is there a ramp at the front entrance? Do you have acceptable lighting at the front and back entrances? Do you have access to the peep hole on your door?


3. In the rooms of the home, do you have access to the light switches, blinds, and windows? Is the flooring adequate? Can you operate the thermostat, smoke detectors and security alarms? Are the hallways wide enough? If you have a wheelchair, do you have room to turn around in the hallway?


4. Are the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms accessible? Will they require modifications such as grab bars? Are the sinks and counters lowered?


5. Will you have difficulty moving from your vehicle to inside the home such as uneven pavement, stairs, or an alley?


If you have any comments or resources relating to Questions to Ask When Purchasing an Accessible Home, please submit them.


Thanks and Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Denise Naspinski

Posted by Denise under Advice & General | No Comments »

November Newsletter

November 20th 2007

Hey Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that our latest issue of the Home Access Program newsletter, The Chronicle, is now available. Click here to read about this month’s news, events, products and member bio.

Home Access Program November Newsletter

Posted by Andon under News | No Comments »

Accessibility Made Easy

November 14th 2007

It is unfortunate but many of us will experience at least a temporary disability in our lifetimes. Accidents can happen at anytime; you could find yourself using crutches, a walker or even a wheelchair. As we get older you notice that getting around the home becomes increasingly difficult. You might find yourself saying “How am I going to get up those steps or through the narrow door?” This is one of the reasons we started this blog, so we could all voice our opinions, concerns, and ideas to help each other with situations we might not necessarily prefer to be in but, we have to take what we were given and make the most of it. I encourage you to respond with whatever is on your mind.

I have personally noticed while working with the Home Access Program how difficult it is trying to find homes for people with accessibility needs. It can be very frustrating at times, and I find myself asking, why have home builders never really considered the needs of those who are disabled and elderly. It can make life really hard to deal with at times!

Have you ever contemplated moving because of a disability? I know I would rather stay at home than go to an assisted living or a nursing home. Believe it or not, there are many companies out there that focus on remodeling your home with a few minor modifications rather than packing up and moving. Here is a list of a few modifications I came up with that might aid you in your quest for accessible housing.

Accessible Home Modifications:

Each year that passes there is a greater demand for wheelchair accessible homes. Accessible housing allows for a more independent living and gives us the ability to care for ourselves and remain active. A few simple modifications to your home such as swing away hinges, can improve your lifestyle and the ability to live at home.
Continue Reading »

Posted by Kit under General | 3 Comments »

Hello world!

November 6th 2007

Welcome to the Home Access Program Blog, my name is Kit Houser, and will be writing every week for the blog. We will be discussing many different issues from entry to entry. Please feel free to participate in the blog. Share your ideas, concerns, or anything on your mind pertaining to accessibility.

Topics we will be discussing are:


    Rights and Laws

  • Rights under Americans with Disability Act
  • What are rights under family and medical leave?
  • What are rights of pregnant employees?
  • What are rights under workers compensation?
  • What are rights of a safe work environment?
  • What are rights to a stress free workplace?
  • What are rights to PTO and sick day?

  • Social Security Disability Claims
  • Accessibility Lawsuits
  • Disability Harassment

Continue Reading »

Posted by Kit under General | No Comments »

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