Category Archives: disabled

How to Determine Career-Fit: A Guide for People with Disabilities

This is a guest post by, Patricia Sarmiento Who blogs at Publichealthcorps.org.

career clock

Photo by Flazingo Photos via Flickr

What kind of career would be ideal for you? If you’re living with a disability, the answer to this question may seem incredibly difficult to answer. Not only must you weigh your interests, passions, background, and skills, but also your abilities — and in such a way that many other job seekers don’t have to consider.

Doing research about different careers is an excellent way to see what they can offer you and how compatible the job requirements are with your specific abilities and limitations. While looking into these jobs you can learn what the general requirements are, including what kind of education is needed and if work experience is necessary. Below are some suggestions for conducting career research to determine if your top career choices are a good fit for you.

Are You Qualified?

It’s always a good idea to flex your research muscles when searching for a job. Check out the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, where you can find out all kinds of information on different careers, such as employment projections, which indicate the outlook for different professions in the coming years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also includes data on median salaries, how many people are employed in a specific career, and 10-year projections on those individual data points. Other helpful information to be found here includes how much experience is needed, what kind of education is needed, and if on-the-job training is commonly offered for certain jobs, which is helpful for planning your educational goals if you have a specific career in mind.

Job boards are another way to examine different careers and what kinds of jobs are available. These Internet sites allow you access to job descriptions and required qualifications such as education and work experience. Sometimes employers also list salaries or salary ranges for certain jobs, which can give you an idea of what to expect if you enter that field.

Is Telecommuting an Option?

A very helpful way to find out about a company is to go to their website, where you can uncover a plethora of information in many cases, such as the company’s vision, what the company does in detail, services offered, contact information, and press the company has received. Then there are the “jobs” or “careers” links, which can usually be found at either the bottom of the page or somewhere near the top of the page, underneath the name and logo of the company. These listings are an excellent way to find jobs as companies sometimes list openings on their own sites without making use of job boards at all. On a company website, you can see specific jobs available all over the country (for national organizations), and the listings will usually disclose if telecommuting is an option. There are more telecommuting job opportunities than ever, which is convenient for most people but can be particularly useful for people with disabilities who may not be able to travel readily to an office every day.

Is The Company Disability Friendly?

There are ways you can research how disability-friendly companies are. One way is to check the Disability Equality Index (DEI), a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The DEI is “a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices, and identify opportunities for continued improvement.” The DEI breaks down the survey into 4 categories (with subcategories) including:

● Culture & Leadership
● Enterprise-Wide Access
● Employment Practices
● Community Engagement & Support Services

What Are You Passionate About?

Have you always loved writing? Do you have a knack for computers and technology? Do you enjoy working with your hands or spending time with the public? When you’re choosing a career path, don’t forget to consider what makes you happy. The great news is that today’s sharing economy offers many ways to do what you love from your home while creating your own schedule. For example, if you love writing or graphic design, there are many platforms, e.g. UpWork, that allow you to find clients and opportunities easily. Or if you think working with animals would make you happy, consider pet sitting or dog walking. You can find clients in your area online and grow your own specialized business. Think carefully about what you love doing and figure out a way to incorporate it into your profession…then, as the saying goes, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

Put these ideas to use to research potential job opportunities and determine whether your skills and abilities are a fit for the career you have in mind, and you’re sure to find the perfect career for you.

For a list of current job posting at Superior Van & Mobility, click here. Equal opportunity employer.

 

Patricia Sarmiento loves swimming and running. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.

New Hands-Free Wearable Device Support For Wheelchair Users

If you are one of many who have limited mobility and have every ever wished there was an easier way to manage your tablet, mobile phone, or other device, you’re in luck! A new, innovative device will soon be on the market that has been exclusively designed for this purpose, and it has wheelchair users excited.

Sospendo-500x277

 

The product is called Sospendo, and it is being advertised as, “Hands-free wearable support for all kinds of devices.” The Sospendo was the result of a recent Kickstarter campaign where the developers homed in on the disability market as one of their target audiences.

The device is constructed of a lightweight, flexible aluminum which is used to adjust the holder into a comfortable, usable position around the user neck, waist, or it can be made into a stand and placed on a table, etc. allowing for easy device usage. Its hands-free design allows for ease of watching videos, taking photos/videos, and using applications. This close device proximity to the user, even allows for those who require the use of a mouth-stick to manipulate their devices on their own. It is a device that will surely help many regain independence.

To learn more about this innovative new device, or to pre-order one of your own, visit www.sospendo.com.

They’re Handicap Parking Violators Too!

We’ve all seen them, the handicap parking violators that seem to take up all the handicap parking spaces just when someone who really needs one drives about. We’ll today, I saw something that took this problem a step further, and quite frankly made me even angrier than seeing some regular-Joe park in a space illegally.

It was the other morning, when I stopped off at a local gas station to get my morning (Kickstart), I happened to notice a vehicle as I walked to the front door. First, because it was a handicap accessible vehicle, a medical transport vehicle in fact, so I took a glance. Second, it was actually parked in the designated handicap parking space instead of some other “Yahoo” taking up the spot. So, my Initial thought, it looked like a win/win! Until I happened to take a closer look… Yep, to my surprise, there was no specialized license plate, no rear-view mirror placard, and no disabled passenger. Only the driver, sitting there consuming her breakfast.

It was to my disbelief that this person, whose job is to assist the physically disabled, had in-fact purposely parked in the only handicap accessible parking space, even when they didn’t have any passengers. To me, a person of industry, this was a blatant slap in the face! It’s not like this isn’t a hot topic that anyone in the industry isn’t aware of. In fact, being a driver of medical transport, I’m sure more than once, they have gotten angry themselves that someone was parked in a handicap space illegally while they were trying to drop off one of their passengers. Yet, here is this person abusing the system and right.

I couldn’t help, but to keep thinking about this as I made my beverage. “What should I do? Should I confront them? Should I make my point and cause a scene, or should I remain calm and expose this issue on a much bigger platform?” I chose the latter… Mainly because they were leaving at the time I exited the building, but I also figured polite confrontation would not get me anywhere except more upset and who knows how they would react; best to take the high road.

So, here I am, sharing my story to further expose the problem of handicap parking violators, and the abuse that obviously exists by some of those in the industry. Note: I said SOME of them, not all of them. I want to go on record that the majority of those in the industry do respect this area and are not part of the problem. In fact, they are champions of the issue. Also, keep in mind there isn’t any one single gender, socioeconomic status, age, or ethnicity that can be used to profile a violator. They might be your neighbor, sibling, or spouse. Only through continued exposure of the problem and tougher penalties, can we can make a difference. Do the right thing… help the cause where you can, but DO NOT take matters into your own hands, and while hard to do, turn the other way and report it appropriately if able.  Confrontation is not worth it…

May is National Mobility Awareness Month

MOBILITY_AWARENESS_LOGOGet your Video Submissions Ready!

Superior Van & Mobility is once again excited to announce that it is time for, National Mobility Awareness Month (NMAM), presented by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). This is your chance to win a brand new wheelchair van!

This year, NMEDA will be giving away three brand new wheelchair accessible minivans to three deserving individuals based on their stories and acquired votes (no purchase necessary). One van will be given away in each of the following three categories: Senior, Caregiver, and General.

The video entry submission period begins, April 12, 2016, so the sooner you enter the better the chance you have to rack up the votes. Voting period is May 3rd – 31st, and the winners will be announced June 17, 2016.

This is your chance to present your inspirational stories of perseverance, overcoming challenges, accomplishment, community involvement, or how you go above and beyond to take care of others with disabilities. If you are one of these exceptional, “Local Hero’s”, or know of someone who is, NMEDA wants to hear from you!

Who Can Submit Entries

The contest is open to everyone; the medical community; business professionals; caregivers; family members; friends; and those individuals themselves with physical challenges. Anyone can recommend a, “Local Hero” by submitting a video entry that not only tells their story, but demonstrates why they feel they deserve to win one of the three mobility vans.

How to get Votes

Voting is the most important aspect of this contest, and it is imperative to win. There are numerous ways to gain votes, and I’ve outlined a few of them below to help get you started.

Best Practices for Self-Promotion

1. Post your plea for support/votes with a direct link to your voting page on all of your social media accounts. Be sure you don’t forget to ask your friends and family to also share your post on their accounts as well. This will quickly get your story out to the masses for huge voter turnout. Try to also remember to use the hashtag #NMAM16 in your posts.

2. Contact your local new media outlets (TV stations, newspapers, radio stations, etc.) with the contest information and your personal story. The goal is to get your community behind you to further increase the probably of votes.

3. Think outside the box! Interact with the community. Maybe make a sign, and attend large community events to promote not only your need for votes, but the contest itself. Idea: Have small cards that you can hand out with brief bio/contest summary and the link to your story and voting page. Think like a politician! Go out and ask for votes! Shake hands, and interact. This is the perfect time of the year to ride off the coat tails of the election atmosphere. Just an idea…

4. Last tip… Contact your local mobility dealer in your area. If unsure who that might be, visit NMEDA.com, and use their dealer locator. You can also view a list of our nine locations, to see if we are your local dealer, by visiting our location page at superiorvan.com.

Once you get your local dealer contact, call them and ask for their exclusive dealer code for your entry into the NMEDA contest. Then ask them for a, “Quality Needs Assessment”. By having them perform one, you get an extra 1000 BONUS VOTES. This is a simple form that the dealer fills out, based off your information and mobility needs. Once complete, this form is then faxed to NMEDA, and the points will be added to your account within a few days. Pretty easy huh?!

Well that’s enough for now… I better stop giving up all this valuable information so others will have a chance to win too, or before I tell you that one last thing it takes to win. Ha! Kidding… You are already way ahead of most if you read this entire blog. I highly doubt there are many other sites out there that have provided their readers with as much information and promotional ideas that I provided. See… I’m just a nice guy!

Soooo… go forth and promote! Get creative, and get out there! It will be hard to win if you and others don’t promote your story to everyone you know, and even don’t know. As you can see, there are many creative ideas to be had to self-promote. Just make sure HOW, and WHAT you do to get your votes is safe and legal.  Wink!

For More Information

If you still would like more information, which I’m sure you do… be sure to click on the following links:

NMEDA.com

mobilityawarenessmonth.com

Good Luck!

 

New Superior logo with tag line

Purchasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle? What You Need to Know…

Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to the types

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

of vehicles being converted into wheelchair accessible transportation. Because of this, buyers now more than ever are able to fulfill their personal desires through vast amenities, size options, and vehicle functionality. The days where minivans were all one could choose have past; buyers can now select from various pickup trucks and SUVs. However, it’s also because of this new opportunity things can get a little overwhelming and cause many buyers to lose sight of their basic, situational needs.

This is where it becomes important to make sure you work with a mobility consultant; someone well versed in various vehicle types, to ensure your personal needs are not overlooked, or sacrificed for a personal want. A mobility consultant will help you stay focused by assessing your exact needs, budget, and personal desires. Together they will use this information to ultimately recommend the type of vehicle to best suit your CURRENT and FUTURE situation.

So, where should you start ?

First, start with the most important step, and that is to get in touch with a mobility consultant for an assessment. Here is where you will not only be addressing your wants, but your needs. You will be measured, if necessary, to help in assessing your current situation. Future needs will also be assessed. I cannot stress enough the importance of this step!

After your assessment, you and your mobility consultant will have discussed your best options. These recommendations will be based, first and foremost, on your personal needs and necessary fit. You may receive a recommendation involving several vehicle types, or you may get only one. Keep in mind, your functionality, comfort and safety should always come first. Be sure you look past any wants that may struggle to accommodate your personal needs. With mobility vehicles, it’s a bad idea to shop for a vehicle based solely on looks and wants. It is important that you DO NOT struggle to fit, or operate a vehicle, no matter how your think you look driving!

Next, do your research –

Your mobility consultant will be able to provide to you information to evaluate any vehicles recommended. You may also find additional information on the company’s website, manufacturer’s website, or Internet (be careful that you utilize reliable sources). As you can imagine, there is a lot of bad, or incorrect information out there as well. Also, be wary of any company who tends to only sell their products over the internet. There have been many stories that didn’t end well. Most of which resulting from a buyer unable to try the vehicle before they buy, or a vehicle requiring service with no service facility nearby. Which takes me to my next point…

Review a dealer’s total offering and look, or request testimonials –

Be sure when you are ready to purchase, you do so from a reputable dealer, and one that is a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) and is part of their QAP (Quality Assurance Program). Learn more about QAP and NMEDA here.

Look for a dealer that provides great service, both before and after the sale. Remember, a good dealer will be sure they address your immediate and future needs with your purchase, and provide a compassionate, understanding and caring environment.

Check out their service department and ask questions. How long have their technicians worked on mobility vans? Do they use factory parts? Do they offer 24/7 emergency service in their service area? (Nothing could be worse than getting stranded with a mechanical failure at 2 AM on the side of the road with no one to help, or the knowledge to assess and repair your problem).

These are all great questions to ask, and ask as many as you can think of until you feel comfortable, and by all means, review any company testimonials. If you cannot find any online, ask your dealer for some. Most, if not all, should have plenty of customer testimonials to provide and they will help you evaluate the past experience of other buyers.

Lastly, protect your vehicle against costly repairs –

While this is an option and 100% voluntary, be sure you assess your needs and options with your mobility consultant in protecting your vehicle mechanically from any costly, future complications and expenses that may arise.

With wheelchair accessible vehicles, buyers generally keep them longer than most, and it is inherently more important that the vehicle performs properly every time it is needed. However, mechanical failures can arise, and some can be costly due to the nature of the mechanics involved in design. Before you sign and take delivery of your vehicle, be sure you fully understand any service plans your dealer may offer to protect your vehicle against costly mechanical failures that may arise outside the manufactures warranty period (if any). To help in determining if a protection plan is for you, a dealer should be able to provide to you a list of various repair types and the costs incurred without protection.

The ‘smart’ wheelchair of the Future?

Coming soon… the smart wheelchair, as recently demonstrated at this year’s CTIA wireless industry conference in Las Vegas, NV. Built by Permobil, this wheelchair has cellular connectivity for an endless array of use. It demonstrates the concept while embracing the notion that one day virtually every product will be online or communicate with us in one way or fashion.

While it’s just the beginning, one day this chair may have the ability to send diagnostics, alerts in-case of an accident, and even track the chairs whereabouts, but the endless function doesn’t just stop there. Permobil expects big things to come, as the potential for this advanced technology is staggering. Permobil expects a version of their wheelchair, integrating this technology, will be available in 2016.

permobil1

ADA Celebrates 25 Years – Still a Long Way to Go…

July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a law that paved the way for equal rights and treatment for millions of Americans with disabilities.

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

It’s now 25 years later, and yes, a lot has improved; curbs have been reduced and ramps have been built. You’ll even find Braille on  signage and wheelchair lifts on city buses among the thousands of other improvements that have taken place as a result of the ADA. However, as many of the 38 million Americans with a disability can tell you, there is still a long way to go. Not only among the governing bodies of the United States, but among the public and private sector.

Many of the complaints still coming in from disabled Americans continue to revolve around lack of amenities, or amenities that just don’t function. Take for example a hotel chain with accessible rooms. Many of these rooms have what they call a roll-in shower and if you are lucky bars next to the toilet, but what many are still lacking are beds that sit lower to the floor. It’s still to this day far to common to see a business try to be compliant, but fail to wholly deliver, and airlines are not any better.

Don’t even get me started on all the stories circulating around the Internet regarding the experiences disabled travelers have experienced; from blatant disregard of their well-being to  downright humiliation. There are far too many…

As we look forward to celebrating this monumental occasion, we still have come a long way none-the-less.  An American with a disability is far better-off today than prior to the ADA, and things are only to improve as more and more advocates get involved to bring to light the shortcomings of the public and private sector.

If you would like to learn more about the ADA, please visit: http://www.ada.gov/ada_25th_anniversary/

 

Get Involved, Make a Difference – 3rd Annual KCSCI Conference is Coming

KCSCI Logo

SAVE THE DATE

The 3rd annual Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury (KCSCI) is taking place June 18, 2015 from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Marriot Griffin Gate Hotel in Lexington, KY.

A Few of the Featured Invited Speakers and Preliminary Agenda for the 3nd Annual KCSCI (June 2015):

• Heidi Johnson-Wright and Steve Wright are experts in Universal Design, ADA in built environment, advocacy for Inclusive Design – as it relates to rural communities. Johnson-Wright is an ADA compliance professional and attorney with over 30 years of public speaking experience. Steve Wright has expertise in universal design, master plans, zoning codes, walk-ability, sustainability, architecture, transportation and public policy.
• Lindsey Mullis will present on fitness for people with mobility impairments. Mullis is the Health & Wellness coordinator for the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky.

This is a great opportunity for those in the surrounding area to be part of an organization dedicated to legislation and advocacy of the SCI community of Kentucky.

To learn more, or to register for this FREE event visit

http://tinyurl.com/qdzn8vv

Why This is Important

Just like anything else, focus of organized effort usually congregates around large metropolitan areas, leaving the smaller, urban areas exposed to unlawful practices, lack of quality assistance, organized care and support programs, but this is where KCSCI comes in.

KCSCI released the following statement:

“Organizations, outreach programs and specialized medical care providers for individuals living with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) in the Commonwealth of Kentucky have traditionally been unorganized and without a common mission. Importantly, while current outreach efforts appear to have some impact for SCI individuals in urban areas, we wish to build cohesion among this community of individuals throughout the commonwealth by expansion into the more rural areas. We envision congress participants, sponsors, healthcare providers and care givers all exchanging information about programs available to those in need throughout the commonwealth. The community of individuals with SCI and their support systems can be a strong advocacy group given the right organizational structure.”

THEIR MISSION

The mission of the Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury (KCSCI) is to gather individuals with SCI from around the commonwealth to join in the discussion of critical issues that are important to them and to help draft agendas to be used to legislate changes in our commonwealth for people with SCI. The members of the KCSCI should be strong advocates for the rights of all people with disabilities and be willing to provide peer mentoring for newly injured folks who may need additional support.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF KCSCI

•    We have formed an Advisory Board Committee Meeting whose charge it is to identify the top principal concerns of the SCI community that the KCSCI can help (for more information, visit www.karrn.org)
•    Based upon expert advice and careful thought, we have chosen not to file for nonprofit 501c3 status.
•    Our recognition is expanding as we continue to increase our network of people with SCI in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have an interactive Face Book page and we’re developing a website.
•    After the recent snow storms, we collectively contacted local councilmen and businesses to bring to their attention that the inadequate/improper snow removal from handicapped parking spaces was in violation of laws, in particular for vehicles with ramps requiring room. Fellow member David Allgood also helped us advance this legislation in the Capitol.

For more information you can contact KCSCI President, Jason Jones at jpjones@twc.com or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KCSCI

Would You Like to Win a NEW Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

Of course you would, and here’s your chance! May is National Mobility Awareness Month sponsored by, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). It’s the 4th year for their campaign that is designed to raise awareness of the many life-changing vehicle solutions available to those 18 million Americans with mobility issues. This year NMEDA will be giving away four wheelchair accessible vehicles to well deserved local heroes in the following categories: one to a caregiver, one to a senior (60+), one battery powered for in-town driving only, and one general use. (no purchase necessary)

So, you may ask, “How Do I Enter?”

Here are the particulars…

LOCAL HEROES: A Local Hero can be defined as anyone in your community, whether a caregiver, or a person with a disability who has persevered through the obstacles of living with a disability and strives to lead an active, mobile lifestyle. We are looking for
inspirational stories of how they overcome challenges and are triumphing, whether it be through volunteering, advocating, educating, persevering or achieving.

ENTRIES: People must send NMEDA their stories online at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com.  Local Heroes, caregivers, and loved ones may submit a video OR an online story with photo.

• Video entries must not exceed two minutes and be no larger than 50 MB.
• Written entries must not exceed 400 words and must be accompanied by a photo of the Local Hero, preferably in a wheelchair, that is no larger than 5 MB.

VOTING: Spread the word! People may log in with their Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or directly through  MobilityAwarenessMonth.com to vote daily from May 1–May 31, 2015.  You will need a dealer code to enter. You can contact any one of Superior Van & Mobility’s nine locations for the code. One vote will be accepted every 24-hours per email address. At the time of voting, visitors will be asked a different question regarding mobility options and the promotion. If the question is answered correctly, the Local Hero will receive two votes. If the question is answered incorrectly, the Local Hero will receive one vote and the correct answer will be displayed.

Earn 1000 Bonus Votes!

Want to earn 1000 bonus votes? It’s easy, just visit any one of our nine locations during the voting period for a FREE needs assessment and the bonus votes will be posted to your entry within a few days.

Winners will be announced June 18, 2015, and wheelchair accessible vehicles will be delivered between July and Sept.2015.

Good luck!

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Wheelchair Accessible SUV Has Arrived

If you haven’t seen the news just yet, Mobility SVM has developed another alternative to the traditional wheelchair accessible minivan.

Recently unveiled was their all new SUV conversion that utilizes the same technology as their pickup truck conversion. You know… Their head-turning slide-out cab design!!

Mobility SVM is presently converting two models; the 2015 Chevy Suburban and 2015 GMC Yukon XL, and in both the 4×2 and 4×4 drive-train.

Features Include:

* Driver or Passenger side conversions available
* Fully automatic, slide-out cab design and wheelchair lifting mechanism
* Vehicle seats up to eight passengers
* Models available in both two and four wheel drive
* Factory ground clearance is retained
* 750 lb. lift capacity
* Seats up to 8 passengers
* Redesigned wheelchair lifting mechanism is lighter & faster
* New, enhanced safety features & emergency egress

 

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Wheelchair Accessible SUV