Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seven Tips for An Accessible and Happy Halloween

It’s the rare child who doesn’t look forward to celebrating Halloween. Children with disabilities are no exception. Depending on the issues presented by your child’s disability you may need to come up with some creative ideas to make the most of the holiday. We’ve surfed the web to find the best advice for making your Halloween fun and accessible.

1. Be creative!
Now six years old, Elena Walke, daughter of Easter Seal’s blogger, Bernhard Walke, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. As a very little girl, Elena was unable to sit up on her own. That didn’t prevent her father and mother from making sure Elena celebrated Halloween in style. Since Elena needed to be held, her parents dressed up as chefs, and carried Elena, who was wearing a bright red lobster costume, around the neighborhood in a giant pot!

2. Incorporate the wheelchair
If your child uses a wheelchair, make it an important part of his costume. Cinderellas can ride door to door in beautifully decorated coaches, and Batmans’ wheelchairs can be transformed into bat-mobiles! For more great ideas on wheelchair decorating, visit Magic Wheelchair.com a nonprofit started by Ryan and Lana Weimer, parents of five children, three of whom have spinal muscular atrophy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Happy Apps: Seven new apps for people with disabilities

Remember when there were no apps? When everything we wanted to know and do wasn’t literally at your fingertips? In today’s world, there’s an app for everything and new ones are being developed all the time. Apps have transformed life for everyone, but perhaps they have improved quality of life for people with disabilities the most. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the newest, most innovative and most useful apps for people with disabilities. Our findings are below. Happy apping!

Created by Matt McCann, an Irishman with cerebral palsy, Access Earth is an app and web platform that uses crowd sourcing to gather information from users on accessible hotels, restaurants, stores and attractions. McCann, a software engineer, decided to start his business after having one too many experiences with sites that called themselves “accessible” though they really were far from it. Though Access Earth is just getting off the ground, McCann hopes that in time, the app will become a “Trip Advisor” for people with disabilities.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Raising Awareness of Rett Syndrome

In last week’s post, we recognized Down Syndrome Awarenness Month by celebrating the accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Since October is also Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, this week’s post will highlight this relatively unknown neurological disorder that affects approximately one in 10,000-15,000 female births.  

One of the few neurological disorders that is found almost exclusively in girls, until recently, Rett syndrome was considered a form of autism. Like children with autism, girls with Rett appear to grow and develop normally in the early months of life. But between their sixth and eighteenth months, baby girls with Rett syndrome, typically exhibit signs of stagnation or regression.

As described by Rett Syndrome.org, after affected girls reach 6-18 months, “a period of regression then follows when she loses communication skills and purposeful use of her hands. Soon, stereotypical hand movements such as hand washing, gait disturbances, and slowing of the normal rate of head growth become apparent. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns while she is awake, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine (scoliosis), and sleep disturbances. In the early years, there may be a period of isolation or withdrawal when she is irritable and cries inconsolably. Over time, motor problems may increase, but in general, irritability lessens and eye contact and communication improve.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sky’s the Limit for People With Down Syndrome!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a time to celebrate people with Down Syndrome and their significant accomplishments and contributions. It’s also the perfect time to advocate for the acceptance, inclusion, and inherent value of people with the condition.

In recognition of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and the impressive abilities of people with the condition, Enabling Devices has put together this list of awe-inspiring people with Down Syndrome. Read on and be amazed!

Yizhou Hu, orchestral conductor
The son of a professional cellist, Yizhou Hu (ZhouZhou), who was born with Down Syndrome, inherited his father’s musical talent. Despite the fact that he can’t read music, ZhouZhou, has become a successful orchestral conductor.