Ramps are made of an aircraft anodized aluminum which makes them lightweight yet very sturdy. The length can also be adjusted to meet your needs. Ramps are always portable and never permanent. Just roll it up and go!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NBC26 Cares: Playground Plan to Include All Kids - www.nbc26.com

NBC26 Cares: Playground Plan to Include All Kids - www.nbc26.com

CREATED OCT. 10, 2012
OSHKOSH, Wis.-A trip to the playground is supposed to be fun. But for children with disabilities, it's often frustrating. Now, there's an effort underway in Oshkosh to make all children welcome and able to play.
Colson Tabbert is full of energy. His mom, Jennifer, says her son is often forced to sit on the sidelines while other kids play at the park. "He has a physical disability. It's called arthrogryposis multiplex congenitaHe was born with it, and it means fixed or crooked joints," Jennifer explains.
But happier days are on the horizon. A new playground is in the works. Jessica Stieg and her team of volunteers are working tirelessly on the Oshkosh Inclusive Park Project. The city will turn Abe Rochlin Park into a wheelchair-friendly play area with rubberized mats, ramps and equipment people of all ages and abilities can access. "Our main goal in this project is just to really bring people together;" Jessica told us.
For the Tabbert family, it's a dream come true, a place where Colson can smile, play and just be a kid. "It's going to be so exciting to get him out of the house and be able to play, not go to the park and be stuck watching children play;" Jennifer says. "He'll be able to have fun too which he deserves, because he's had kind of a hard life."
The new, inclusive playground is expected to be built and open by next summer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Disabled still face discrimination | The Japan Times Online

Disabled still face discrimination | The Japan Times Online

Nearly 90 percent of the public believes that disabled people still face discrimination in society, according to a recent survey by the Cabinet Office. That was six points higher than those answering the same in the last survey in 2007. Clearly, the general public feels strongly that people with disabilities need equal access to transportation, employment and all facilities.
Government statistics show that Japan has at least 6 million individuals, though some independent groups put the number as high as 7.5 million, with physical, mental or other disabilities — approximately one in 20 Japanese.
The issue is not confined to Japan. The World Health Organization reported in 2011 that nearly 1 billion people worldwide have a disabling condition. Japan, though, now has the public support necessary to make changes to improve conditions for people with disabilities.
However, so far, although the government has taken some initiative, not much has been achieved. Although then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama set up a committee in December 2009 to address the issue, it has not done enough, as the survey reveals. The number of those surveyed who think there is no discrimination fell 5.4 points to 9.7 percent since the last poll in 2007. There are few other issues in Japan with such widespread consensus.
Removing barriers and shifting attitudes is not easy. Promoting social inclusion is even more difficult. However, with such vast public support, new steps are likely to succeed. The broadcasting of the Paralympics this summer was inspiring, and recently many TV dramas, books, magazine articles and news features have helped change public attitudes far better than anything the government has tried.
The government might focus on ensuring that the disabled have access to education from an early age alongside children who are not disabled. That would help to ensure that the latter learn respect and tolerance for differences in people.
A Cabinet office committee discussed a bill to ban discrimination against the disabled, but the committee report is in danger of suggesting "simple" changes that miss the overall picture. Needless to say, access ramps, Braille signs, and other practical improvements in barrier-filled facilities are greatly needed.
In addition, employers need to consider ways to increase employment opportunities for disabled people. The traditional view that the burden is on employees to adapt to their jobs needs updating so that workplaces also accommodate the disabled.
Japanese culture has long had a fixation on some imagined dream of cultural sameness, but now might be a good time to focus on the strength of diversity and reaffirm its commitment to equal treatment for all.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Handrails for Ramps

United Spinal Joins Disability Gas Coalition to Improve Gas Station Accessibility for People with Disabilities

United Spinal Joins Disability Gas Coalition to Improve Gas Station Accessibility for People with Disabilities Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/09/21/4281121/united-spinal-joins-disability.html#storylink=cpy

 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association has joined with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to create the Disability Gas Coalition, a national and state level disability rights organization, dedicated to restore refueling assistance at the pump for people living with disabilities.
15 million drivers with disabilities in the United States are unable to easily access gas at 159,000 stations nationwide and Disability Gas Coalition was founded to give voice to this issue.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over 20 years ago, requiring refueling assistance at the pumps when there is more than one employee on duty, yet for people who use wheelchairs, disabled veterans and other people with disabilities service remains elusive. 
"For many drivers with disabilities traveling away from home, when it comes time to refuel, they are not sure what they will encounter––whether they will find a station with attendants that will assist them or whether they will have to drive around on fumes in frustration," said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.
The problem according to the Coalition is that while gas stations are scrupulous about meeting EPA requirements for fuel storage tanks, or about meeting brand requirements for signage and logos, they are often uninformed and not meeting the legal requirement to provide refueling assistance for drivers with disabilities at the pump. 
The solutions proposed by Disability Gas Coalition include:
  • A well-identified pump designated for drivers with disabilities.
  • Clear signage at the pump posting hours when there is more than one employee on duty. 
  • An oversized touch pad easily reached from the driver's seat to ask for assistance.
  • A nationally accessible database showing where and when these services are available
The Coalition is asking for the support of the disability community to help spread the word on the lack of gas station access by enlisting state or national organizations to join Disability Gas Coalition.
Individuals can also tweet gas station accessibility issues and include @disabilitygasco or share photos of ineffective signage or videos that document the struggle to get gas on Facebook.
About United Spinal Association United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
Available Topic Expert: For information on the listed expert, click appropriate link. Paul Tobinhttp://www.profnetconnect.com/paul_tobin
SOURCE United Spinal Association

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/09/21/4281121/united-spinal-joins-disability.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 11, 2001: A Day to Remember

New Mobility: The magazine for active wheelchair users
September 11, 2001: A Day to Remember
By Josie Byzek and Tim Gilmer

Here are the stories of two men, Ed Beyea and John Abruzzo--both wheelchair users--who were working on separate floors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. True to the human drama of that day, one lived and one died, but their stories stand as a tribute to the friends and coworkers who risked their lives to help them.

John Abruzzo photo
John Abruzzo with the EVAC+CHAIR he rode to to safety from the 69th floor of the World Trade Center.
Ed Beyea, 42, had just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his diving accident. Many of us do it--look back and celebrate how far we've come. Beyea, a C3 quad, had logged 14 years at Blue Cross/Blue Shield since his injury and was now a high-level program analyst working on the 27th floor of One World Trade Center.

Abe Zelmanowitz, 55, also a programmer, had joined the office two years after Beyea was hired. He was the kind of person who always sought a common bond with people. The two became fast friends. "They were very, very close, sharing their love of music and books, trading back and forth," says Abe's sister-in-law, Evelyn. Abe, a single man, lived in the basement of his brother Jack and Evelyn's home. On the Sabbath he would walk from one end of Brooklyn to the other to check on his elderly father. After his father died at 94, his mother moved in with the rest of the family.
Beyea had found his niche in society and enjoyed the company of close friends. Following his accident, he had attended a computer skills program for people with disabilities in Manhattan. Big corporations like Blue Cross/Blue Shield were interested in hiring graduates of the program.
Often, after work, the two would hang out at Beyea's apartment. Irma, 68, Beyea's daytime aide, would be with them. Beyea, says Irma, loved a good Cuban cigar. "He knew how to enjoy life. He was in pain every day, but he never took more than one Tylenol. He didn't dwell on the pain." Zelmanowitz rigged up a custom cigar holder for his friend. "Ed would reach down to the holder and pick up the cigar in his mouth very gently," Irma says. "He was a happy man, smiling and telling jokes."

Sometimes the two would meet after work with Manny, another friend, and go get a beer. Every three months the four of them--Ed, Abe, Manny and Irma--would go out to dinner. The men would take turns picking up the tab, never skimping. On these special occasions, says Irma, "they ate only the best, always at a kosher restaurant. Whatever they wanted, they got."
* * *
Ed Beyea photoAbe Zelmanowitz photo
Ed Beyea, left, never made it out of the World Trade Center, but he didn't die alone. His best friend, Abe Zelmanowitz, right, stayed with him until the end.
John Abruzzo, a staff accountant for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was working at his computer on the 69th floor of One World Trade Center when the first hijacked jet sliced into the tower. "It felt like the building was punched," he says. "My desk faces north ... the side the airplane hit. Paper was just coming down." Worse, the building swayed--and only in one direction.

By the time Abruzzo, a C5-6 quad, had maneuvered his power chair into the hallway, he saw only 10 of his coworkers--everyone else had already evacuated. Someone found the office EVAC+ CHAIR and transferred Abruzzo out of his new, customized Arrow into the rescue device, which resembles a large, folding baby stroller with rear wheels that pop up and a sled-like component that takes their place when going down stairs.

Nine of his 10 coworkers worked in shifts of three to four, carefully lowering Abruzzo down each flight of stairs. One of them couldn't help physically, so he scouted ahead. When he returned, he warned of heavy smoke around the 40th floor, so the group, with Abruzzo in tow, cut across to a stairwell on the other side of the building.
* * *
Irma was in the bathroom by the cafeteria on the 43rd floor when she heard a boom and felt the building shaking. She thought it was an earthquake. By the time she and others had made their way out of the bathroom, water and debris covered the floor. "People just dropped their food on the floor and took off," she says. Smoke had already made its way to the cafeteria. She went down the north stairwell to the 27th floor and crossed over to the south side to find Beyea.
Zelmanowitz had just arrived at Beyea's side when a man approached and asked, "Can I help? Can I take you down the stairs?"

Beyea said no, he would wait. He was a big man--nearly 300 pounds, very difficult to lift. Irma knew he wanted to be carried properly so he wouldn't break any bones, which had happened before. "He needed more than one man to carry him," she says. "He needed at least two or three firemen. And knowing him, he wanted others to go first. He didn't want to be in the way. None of us were thinking then that the building might collapse."

Zelmanowitz volunteered to stay with Beyea, suggesting Irma leave because she was coughing. When she reached the lobby she found a fireman and told him where Beyea was. "Please take care of him," she pleaded. "He needs oxygen." Usually he required oxygen only when sleeping at night, but conditions were severe. The fireman said he would find him. A chain of men directed people outside. Irma got caught up in the crowd of people evacuating the building.
Back on the 27th floor, Zelmanowitz was talking on his cell phone, telling his family he was OK. His elderly mother pleaded with him to get out, but he was determined to stay by Beyea's side. He would wait with his best friend of more than 12 years.
* * *

Somewhere near the 30th floor, the crew of coworkers carrying Abruzzo had to move aside as firefighters rushed up the stairwell. "We saw them carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment--axes, hoses--and they were trying to catch their breath, they were exhausted," Abruzzo says.
At the 20th floor they heard a rumble that seemed to come from the other tower--steel and concrete collapsing. At the 10th floor they heard another rumble but kept going. "Nothing was going to stop us." Finally they made it to the lobby, where Abruzzo had to be carried over chunks of fallen concrete. Damage and debris had made the exit impassable. Firefighters directed Abruzzo's helpers to lift him--still in the EVAC+CHAIR--through a knocked-out window and out onto the sidewalk.
They looked up and saw fire engulfing the top of the tower. "We thought we were fine now, we were out, but a fireman said, 'Get out, GET OUT!'" They squeezed into the mob streaming up the streets away from Lower Manhattan, taking turns pushing Abruzzo, still in the rescue device. At one point the group stopped to look back. "It was like Christmas, everything covered in white. Except we saw debris coming down," says Abruzzo, "and bodies falling."
They didn't look back again until they reached the corner of Vesey and West. "We couldn't see the tower I was in, but that's when it came down. There was a cloud of debris chasing the firemen and policemen. One of the firemen grabbed my chair, carried me into Stuyvesant High School, and then everything just went black."
Once the blackness lifted, an ambulance took Abruzzo to a hospital for smoke inhalation. Gone was his new power wheelchair, left on the 69th floor. His van, parked three blocks away, was never found.
* * *

In his address on the national day of prayer and remembrance, President Bush recognized the sacrificial devotion of Abe Zelmanowitz, saying, "One man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend." Soon the story spread around the world and returned to the Zelmanowitz family. "To find such goodness in the midst of evil," offered a man calling from Australia, "is like a ray of hope for humanity."
"His actions of that day were his actions of every day," says Esther Zelmanowitz, the wife of Abe's nephew. "He was an Orthodox Jew who read his Bible, attended synagogue regularly and treated his friends the same regardless of religious or other differences." Beyea was a Christian.
* * *

John Abruzzo still has the EVAC+CHAIR. "That chair and those 10 people saved my life," he says.
Abruzzo's heroic coworkers all survived: Michael Ambrosio, Peter Bitwinski, Philip Caffrey, Richard Capriotti, Michael Curci, Michael Fabiano, Wilson Pacheco, Anthony Pecora, Gerald Simpkins, and Peggy Zoch. "I've been working at the Port Authority for 19 years and I've known most of them for that entire time," Abruzzo says. He knows their spouses, watched their children grow up. "They had an awful lot to lose. I don't know what to say. Thanks? That's not enough for what they did. It's unbelievable."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 1798: Marine Corps Becomes Independent Branch of U.S. Military


On this day in Marine Corps history, 1798, President John Adams signed into law a bill that would make the Marine Corps an independent branch of the U.S. military. 

Nov. 10, 1775, may be the commonly celebrated birthday of the Marine Corps, but it wasn't actually established as its own branch until about 23 years later.
On July 11, 1798, U.S. President John Adams signed "An Act for Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps," effectively creating a new branch of the military.
"The act further stipulated that when at sea the Marines would be under the command of the Navy, and on shore, the Army," wrote military historian Chester Hearn in an email to Camp Pendleton Patch. "This peculiar compromise plagued the Corps for years to come."
Hearn has written some 37 military and government history books, almost half of them about the Navy or Marine Corps. 
The end of the American Revolution was marked by the signing of the Treaty of Paris on April 11, 1783. With that, the Continental Congress dissolved the Marines and Continental Navy.
"The government auctioned off warships, and the Continental Marines ceased to exist," Hearn wrote. "Major Samuel Nicholas, the first Marine officer, returned to his former occupation as owner of Tun Tavern in Philadelphia."
In 1794, the first Continental Congress began to address the issue of pirate attacks on American merchant ships sailing near the North African coast. With no Navy or Marines to protect them, and a Congress unable to pay pirate ransoms, the merchants were at the mercy of the pirates.
"Congress reactivated the navy and authorized the construction of five ships, each to carry a compliment of Marines," Hearn wrote. "For four years a legislative battle ensued over the organization of the Marines Corps."

Friday, July 6, 2012

WorldStage News | NGOs say disability is not witchcraft

WorldStage News | NGOs say disability is not witchcraft

Stepping Stones Nigeria

The Child Rights Non-Governmental-Organisations - Stepping Stones Nigeria and Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation - have called upon the Nigerian government to take action to demystify the common ailments that are associated with witchcraft and prevent the labelling of children with disabilities as ‘witches’.
In a statement released in Lagos and signed by Stepping Stones Nigeria’s Advocacy Officer, Dr Emilie Secker, the groups said there was an urgent need for the Nigerian Federal and State governments to raise awareness about the nature of physical and mental disabilities and to combat the belief that these are evidence of witchcraft in children.

Utibe Ikot, Acting Director of Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation said “Around the world, thousands of people are celebrating the Day of the African Child on 16th June. This year, the theme of the Day is the rights of children with disabilities. I am very sad to report that we have seen many cases where a child with a disability, for example autism, epilepsy, or Down’s syndrome is automatically considered to be a witch due to their condition. The behaviour traits that children with disabilities may have, such as stubbornness and poor school performance, or simply looking different to other children, mean that people looking for an explanation often label them as witches. Instead of the child getting the support and care they so richly deserve, they are often hidden from view, prevented from attending school, or in the worst cases beaten, tortured and abandoned to survive on the streets. It is vital that the belief that physical or mental disability is a sign of witchcraft is challenged now so that no more children suffer these abuses”.

Dr Secker further explained that “in many countries around the world there is a huge lack of understanding of disability and as a result disabled children do not get the understanding and support that they need. It is vital that the Nigerian government acts now to educate the public about the nature of disability and to make sure that people understand it properly. The government should set up public awareness campaigns across the country and should also train police and social welfare teams to look out for cases of abuse involving disabled children who have been accused of witchcraft. As a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Nigeria has a legal and moral responsibility to uphold the rights of children with disabilities and to protect them from harm”.