Friday, April 29, 2016

Spotlight: Chris Douglas

Having spina bifida doesn't stop Chris Douglas from being active. Douglas of St. Cloud, Florida, helped the U.S. sled hockey team win the Pan-Pacific championship in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month. He regularly surfs with a waveski in Cocoa Beach and skates at Space Coast IcePlex in Rockledge, home of the Hurricanes sled hockey team. For more information about Douglas, go to

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Helping Hands

Last Sunday, a regular customer at the Cinco de Mayo Mexican Grill in Douglasville, Georgia, witnessed a 22-year-old waiter named Alex Ruiz helping a customer without hands eat. Ruiz then took the customer's money to the cashier and brought back his change before waiting tables again. This is what I call service! For more details about this story and to see a video, go to

Monday, April 25, 2016

Better Crutches

Mobility Designed is a Kansas City, Missouri-based company that offers an improved version of crutches called the M+D Crutch. Users lean on these crutches with their forearms supported instead of their armpits. Max Younger, co-founder of Mobility Designed, created the M+D Crutch because his father (an above-the-knee amputee) has had to use crutches for years. For more information and to get on the waiting list, go to

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Also in April: Parkinson's Disease Awareness

We've been hearing a lot about autism this month, but April is also Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive brain disorder caused by a decrease in the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading a person to have less control over his or her movements, body, and emotions. Complications from PD is the 14th top cause of death in the United States, but people can live with it for years. For more information, go to

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax Breaks

The deadline for income tax returns is usually April 15, but this year, it is April 18. There are ways people with disabilities can save money on their taxes. First of all, they should be aware of how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other benefits are taxed. The tax credits for which some people are eligible are the earned income tax credit (EITC), credit for the disabled, and dependent care credit. They may also be entitled to an increased standard tax deduction, medical deductions, and the deduction of costs of seeking SSDI. For more information on these tax breaks, go to

Friday, April 8, 2016

People with Disabilities ADAPT

ADAPT is an organization of activists who peacefully advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. These advocates are in favor of the Disability Integration Act, which was introduced last December to ensure people with disabilities can live in the community instead of institutions. ADAPT's Fun Run fundraiser will take place in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. For more information, go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reflections on My 30th Birthday

On this day 30 years ago, I was born with a rare genetic disorder. I wasn't expected to live beyond my first birthday. Despite my disabilities, I'm very grateful to still be alive. I'd like to thank my parents, extended family, friends, doctors, teachers, and God for helping me get to this point in my life. Also, thank you, readers, for your support. I look forward to what this coming year will bring!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Making Squid Lips Accessible

The riverfront deck at Squid Lips in Cocoa Beach was closed last Wednesday because the deck exits were not handicapped accessible. The restaurant's owner is in the process of having renovations made to the deck. For more details on this story, go to

Friday, April 1, 2016

Autism Awareness in April

April is Autism Awareness Month, and tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a group of brain development disorders; symptoms, which appear at age two, include impaired social interaction and repetitive behaviors. Approximately 1 in 68 American children has autism, which can be treated with behavioral therapy and medication. For more information, go to

Update: Temple Grandin, a renowned animal science professor and consultant with autism, was the guest speaker at the Brevard Zoo's Safari Under the Stars fundraiser. The proceeds will go toward building a venue where children with autism and other special needs can explore and connect with nature. Grandin is an example of an inspirational individual who leads a productive life despite having autism.