Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Speaking on ADA Day

After my previous speaking engagement (please see the post "Transition for Children with Disabilities" dated February 20 for more details), I was invited to be the closing keynote speaker at the Brevard Public Schools symposium. The symposium took place yesterday and today (the 26th anniversary of the ADA) at Viera High School. I shared my life story with an emphasis on my experience as a student with special needs (a positive one overall). I'm honored I had the opportunity to speak publicly about dealing with my disabilities on ADA Day of all days.

I speaking at the symposium

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wheelchairs 4 Kids

Located at 5820 S. Highway U.S. 1 in Rockledge, the Viera Elks recently received a $10,000 community involvement grant. Part of the grant is funding "Wheelchair 4 Kids Day Out," which will be held from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, July 31, at the Viera Elks Lodge. This event will feature a face painter, balloon animal artist, and picnic food. The rest of the grant money will go toward providing wheelchair upgrades and offsetting deductibles not covered by insurance. Next spring, the Viera Elks will make it possible for children who use wheelchairs to go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of the dolphin Winter. Additionally, the Florida Elks Mobile Therapy Services provides physical and occupational therapy to children with wheelchairs at home free of charge. For more information about Wheelchair 4 Kids, go to http://wheelchairs4kids.org/.

Image result for wheelchair

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Being ABLE to Save

ABLE United was one of several vendors at the Family Cafe last month. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows people with disabilities to have tax-free savings accounts without stopping them from receiving government benefits. ABLE United helps people open these savings accounts, which are to be used for qualified disability expenses. The ABLE Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014. For more information, go to http://www.ableunited.com/.

Image result for savings account

Monday, July 18, 2016

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

Beginning July 1, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) began providing services to people with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. Also known as 22q13 Deletion Syndrome, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome is a genetic condition that results in varying degrees of intellectual disability, delayed or absent speech, symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, low muscle tone, motor delays, and epilepsy. The Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation International Family Conference will be held at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando July 20-23. For more information, go to http://22q13.org/j15/.

Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Museum of DisABILITY History

One point of interest in Buffalo, New York, is the Museum of disABILITY History. Established in 1998, the museum contains exhibits with historical tidbits and artifacts from more than 100 years ago. Educational programs are open to the public periodically. The museum is hosting Mubu's Summer Costume Party for children from 10:00 A.M. to noon on Saturday, July 16; Mubu is the main character in a book series about self-confidence. I was impressed with the displays at the museum during my visit there in December 2014. If you're ever in Buffalo, I recommend going to the Museum of disABILITY History. For more information, go to http://museumofdisability.org/.

 I by the Invacar at the museum

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Traveling with a Disability

During the Fourth of July weekend, my parents and I drove 1,200 miles in our handicapped accessible minivan from central Florida to Buffalo, New York, where many of our relatives live. On the way, we stayed in a handicapped accessible room at two hotels. While making travel plans, you should do research on the accessibility of hotels at your destination. When booking a room, you should speak directly with a staff member at the hotel where you're staying rather than central reservations; this ensures the accommodations will meet your special needs. Make sure you're guaranteed an accessible room; if you just request one, it may not be available by the time you arrive at the hotel. For more travel tips, go to http://www.disabled-world.com/travel/.