How to Find or Create a Wheelchair-Accessible Home

Blog: How to Find or Create

When someone needs a wheelchair, they and their family may need to make some tough decisions. Should they move to a ranch where everything is on one floor? Should they find a home that’s already been designed for a wheelchair user? Or would it make sense to renovate their current residence?

For this week’s blogpost, we researched each of these options. Here’s what we learned:

Option 1: Moving to a ranch home

Finding a ranch home, especially in the southern and western regions of the United States, is relatively easy. Keep in mind, however, that most one-story homes will still need remodeling to make them fully accessible. For example, some ranch homes have steps to their entryways so homeowners may need to add wheelchair ramps or lifts. Doorways and hallways in ranch homes may need widening to accommodate wheelchairs; bathrooms probably need expansion; and shower entrances must be renovated so that they are flush with the bathroom floor. While such renovations can be costly, some states offer programs that can offset the costs. Medicaid may also provide some financial assistance.

Option 2: Finding a home that’s already accessible.

Unfortunately, homes that are truly accessible for wheelchair users are hard to come by. “I see people who think they’re going to find that perfect accessible house, and I have to tell them that it’s just not out there,” says Johnson, a C5 quad and realtor who was interviewed by New Mobility magazine.

James Lee, another wheelchair user and realtor interviewed by New Mobility, pointed out that many homes that are advertised as wheelchair accessible are far from it. Both realtors recommended that homebuyers seeking accessible homes find realtors who are wheelchair users since they are more likely to see through misleading home listings and understand what wheelchair users need.

Option 3: Renovating the current residence

If you would prefer to remain in your home, start with a comprehensive home assessment by a professional who understands ADA compliance and pays attention to your particular wants and needs. Make sure that you feel confident in the assessor’s judgment and comfortable with the solutions they propose. According to the UDS Foundation, accessibility renovations may include the following:

  • The addition of ramps
  • Widening of doorways and hallways
  • Accessible bathrooms and bedrooms
  • Automatic door openers
  • New (smooth) flooring and/or low-pile carpeting
  • Stair and porch lifts
  • Accessible lighting
  • Emergency exits

Proposed Rule Could Make Travel Better for Wheelchair Users

Blog: Proposed Rule Could Make Travel Better for Wheelchair Users

After years of neglecting the needs of disabled travelers, the tourism industry has finally wised up to the fact that individuals with disabilities are as interested in travel as everyone else. Furthermore, the industry now recognizes that its past failure to accommodate the needs of the 25% of the public that lives with disability, has left a whole lot of money on the table. As Easterseals recently reported, “consumers with disabilities and their families activate more than $22 billion in buying power and have $490 billion in disposable income.”

Hence, the tourism industry is evolving. Nowadays, there are travel agencies that specialize in finding disability-friendly tours and accommodations; websites and apps that help disabled tourists find the most accessible routes to their destinations;  resorts with specially designed programs for children with disabilities; and even airports with sensory rooms.

Despite these advances, most wheelchair users still dread the thought of air travel. That’s because their wheelchairs are frequently damaged when they fly. Indeed, statistics show that 31 wheelchairs are damaged by airline personnel every single day. According to Easterseals, 11,000 wheelchairs were damaged in 2022. 

But there is good news on the horizon.

On Feb. 29, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a new proposed rule that “would require that airlines meet rigorous standards for accommodating passengers with disabilities safely and with dignity.” If approved, the proposed rule would be largest expansion of rights for wheelchair users since 2008. The public has 60 days (since Feb. 29) to comment on the proposed rule.

Among other things, the proposed rule would “mandate enhanced training for airline employees and contractors who physically assist passengers with disabilities and handle passengers’ wheelchairs and specify actions that airlines must take to protect passengers when a wheelchair is damaged during transport.”

The rule would also give the Department of Transportation more leverage “to hold airlines accountable when they damage or delay the return of a wheelchair by making it an automatic violation of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) to mishandle wheelchairs.”

While most disability activists are pleased that this issue is getting attention, some wish the rule went further and provided more detail in terms of what would be expected of the airlines. Ideally, activists would like to be able to remain in their own wheelchairs during flights.  While we may not see that anytime soon, DOT reports that the agency has “begun preliminary groundwork” on a rule that would move us closer to that goal.

Simulated Apartment Teaches Skills of Daily Living

Blog: Simulated Apartment

How will my child take care of herself when I’m not around? Will my child ever be able to live independently? How will he learn the skills he needs to manage a household?

If you are the parent of a child with disabilities, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions at one time or other.

One high school in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is providing answers that are reassuring to parents and empowering to youngsters with disabilities.

Recently, Nazareth Area High School created a “simulated apartment” where students with disabilities can practice skills of daily living. According to Kurt Bresswein at The Express-Times/TNS and Disability Scoop, the “apartment,” which was previously an ordinary classroom, is the brainchild of AJ Kise, the school’s director of special education.

“Imagine a world where every student, regardless of their abilities, walks through the doors of opportunity—a world where barriers crumble, differences are celebrated and education empowers all to reach their full potential. Today we stand at the threshold of making that dream a reality,” said Kise at the apartment’s dedication and ribbon cutting.

Director Kise first conceived of the simulated apartment in fall 2022. After consulting with life skills teacher Chrissy Glasgow, he developed a proposal which he presented to the Nazareth Area Schools Superintendent Richard Kaskey and Assistant Superintendent Isabel Resende. Once the proposal was approved, the project took about two years to get off the ground. Local foundations, businesses, Nazareth Area Schools maintenance, operations and facilities staff, school families and Nazareth community members all contributed to making the simulated apartment a reality.

This year, 25 special education students at Nazareth Area High School will have use of the apartment to learn skills such as “food and kitchen safety, laundry, budgeting, planning and organization, social skills, and independent living skills such as personal hygiene, home maintenance and safety procedures.”

Superintendent Kaskey said the apartment will provide students with “a safe environment in which to make errors and experience repercussions, while they gain confidence in growing the skills they’ll need to thrive as adults.”

Said Assistant Superintendent Resende: “This simulated apartment is not just a space, it’s a springboard. It will be a training ground where our students with special needs can develop essential skills for living independently, but more importantly they’ll gain confidence, self-reliance and the belief that they are capable of achieving anything they set their mind to.”

And the Grammy Goes to… Annie Ray!

Blog: Annie Ray

Even if you didn’t watch the 66th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony held on Sunday, Feb. 4, you probably heard a lot about it. Taylor Swift, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman were all over the news, and rightly so.

But you may not have known about another Grammy Award winner who deserves serious accolades. Annie Ray, an orchestra director and performing arts department chair at Virginia’s Annandale High School took home the Grammy’s 2024 Music Educator Award. The award “recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution and demonstrate a commitment to music education.”

Ray was chosen from among 10 finalists because of her advocacy work on behalf of students with disabilities and their parents. One example of Ray’s work is her creation of a Parent Orchestra, wherein nearly 200 caregivers of children with disabilities are taught to play their children’s instruments. She is also the creator of the Crescendo Orchestra program, which teaches students with severe developmental and intellectual disabilities to play music and provides opportunities for them to perform together.

Though Ray didn’t appear on the televised Grammy Awards show, she was invited to the ceremony in Los Angeles and received her own award at the Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards Ceremony on Sat, Feb. 3.

In an interview with NPR, Ray said that the award really belonged to her students. “I’m just lucky enough to have been a part of their journey and their process and to have been taught by them…They completely changed my educational philosophy and approach of what it truly means to meet a student where they’re at and apply that elsewhere,” she added. “I believe they have a truly powerful message to share with everyone, and especially with how we look at approaching music education and what that looks like.”

In addition to the award itself, Ray received a $10,000 prize and a $10,000 matching grant for her school’s music program. She plans to use some of the grant money to buy new instruments – especially cellos and double basses. Ray also plans to start a scholarship for aspiring musicians and music educators.

“Carl the Collector” to Premiere This Fall

Blog: Carl the Collector 2024

PBS Kids has long been a trailblazer for making children’s television and online content inclusive of people with disabilities.

From Julia on “Sesame Street” to Macks on “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” to AJ on “Hero Elementary,” the media company has made a point of including characters with disabilities in its programming, and depicting disabled characters in positive, not stereotypical ways.

In November, the media company announced plans to debut “Carl the Collector” its first show to feature a leading character who lives with autism.

Created by New York Times best-selling illustrator and author Zachariah OHora, “Carl the Collector” chronicles the experiences of Carl–a raccoon with a passion for collecting things–and his neurodiverse and neurotypical group of friends. The show is recommended for children ages 4-8.

In a press release, Sarah Dewitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager of PBS Kids, said the series, “values inclusion and empathy, while modeling relationship building and social skills development, wrapped up in humor, heart, and incredible visual design… We’re excited for children to get to know Carl and his group of friends, who believe that the best experiences occur when we honor the things that make each of us unique.”

In order to ensure accurate portrayals of its neurodiverse characters, PBS Kids consulted with an advisory team that includes psychologist Geraldine Oades-Sese, Ph.D., educator Deborah Farmer Kris, MA, and Professor Dr. Stephen Shore, who has autism.

Dr. Shore told PBS Kids he was “amazed at the level of detail and effort the team expends to assure that Carl [and another character called Lotta] are authentic to the autistic experience. In addition to being an interesting series, ‘Carl the Collector’ will become a great tool for both autistic and non-autistic people to gain insight on autism. Although designed for young kids, I plan on using relevant excerpts to supplement my university teaching and presentations around the world.”

In addition to receiving advice from Dr. Shore, the show will also include the contributions of neurodiverse writers, and voice actors.

Said advisor Dr. Oades-Sesi: “It’s about time for a children’s show like ‘Carl the Collector,’ which embraces the diversity of children’s experiences, and showcases an inclusive and relatable world. The show doesn’t shy away from having its main characters experience common mental health, challenges, such as anxiety, fear, sadness, and the need for acceptance and belonging. Carl and his Fuzzytown friends take viewers on fun and humorous adventures that will help them understand and empathize with the characters, and ultimately extend that understanding and compassion for others.”

Illustration via Fuzzytown Productions

Training Wheelchairs are a Game Changer

Blog: Training Wheelchairs

You’ve no doubt heard of training wheels – the small wheels attached to the back of children’s bicycles when they’re first learning to ride.

But you may not have heard of training wheelchairs, a.k.a. mobility trainers. These tiny, hand-constructed wooden chairs “help children build independence and strength as they prepare for the real thing,” writes Barry Bronston, Assistant Director of Public Relations at New Orleans- based Tulane University.

This year, biomedical engineering students at Tulane partnered with local nonprofit MakeGood and Israeli nonprofit TOM Global to create the first 15 mobility trainers. MakeGood founder, Noam Platt, a health architect living in New Orleans, is committed to making devices that aren’t available in commercial marketplaces and/or are too expensive for most people to afford. Platt first came across instructions for designing the chairs on an Israeli website called Tikkun Olam Makers. Tikkum olam means “repair the world” in Hebrew.

Upon the chairs’ completion, many of the trainers were donated to a local health system for use in its physical and occupational therapy practices. Others were given to children who needed them. Prior to receiving the trainers, many of these children spent the majority of their lives on their backs. Now, they are able to sit upright, move around, explore their environments, play and socialize–all essential activities for cognitive and physical development!

Wheelchairs for children do exist but Platt explains that most insurance companies won’t cover them for kids too young to operate them efficiently. Whereas a typical child’s wheelchair can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000, mobility chairs cost less than $200 to make. That said, Tulane’s BME department is continuing to raise money for the project through its David A. Rice Design Endowed Fund in Biomedical Engineering.

As part of their preparation to build the chairs, students consulted with experts to understand the needs of the children who will be using them. As Tulane biomedical engineering instructor Katherine Raymond Ph.D. said in a press release, “designers need to understand the needs deeply in order to solve them. BME students do a great deal of researching, shadowing and interviewing before they even begin to ideate their solutions for medical problems.”

Recent Tulane graduate and former team design member Elana Kraversky echoed her former instructor in the same press release. “Lots of our coursework in BME encourages us to prioritize the mental states of patients just as much as their physical states. Knowing that we can make these kids happier, regardless of what they are going through, makes all the difference.”

Disability Victory to Train Future Leaders

Blog: Disability Victory to Train Future Leaders 2024

Depending on whom you ask, the phrase, “Nothing About Us Without Us” was coined by leaders in the South African anti-apartheid movement in the 1990s, by author James Charlton, who wrote a book by that name in 2000, or by movement leaders in 14th century Poland.

Regardless of where the phrase originated, it has become a mantra and a call to action for the American disability community whose members believe, rightly, that they should have a say regarding any issue concerning them.

One of the very best ways to have a seat at the table is by holding political office.

“One in four adults in the United States has a disability,” says disabled activist Sarah Blahovec. “However, whenever it comes to running for office, working on campaigns, and serving an elected office, disabled people are underrepresented because they experience a number of barriers to the political arena that come from long-standing access barriers.”

Blahovec, formerly the voting rights and civic engagement director for the National Council on Independent Living, and Neal Carter, who has been “spearheading political outreach operations in campaigns since 2002,” cofounded Disability Victory, a nonprofit that “seeks to empower people with disabilities to actively participate in the civic process by running for office, joining campaign staffs, and more,” in 2024.

In the near future, Disability Victory will begin training an inaugural cohort of people with disabilities on the most effective ways to run for office. Blahovec and Carter plan to model their organization after other successful political entities such as the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and She Should Run and EMILY’S List. Previously, the duo formed “Elevate, the first-ever campaign training program for candidates with disabilities.”

Despite the urgent need for increased political representation for people with disabilities, Blahovec and Carter aren’t rushing into commencement of the training program.

“We don’t want to launch something where it’s only available to some people and not others,” says Blahovec in an interview with The 19th. The organization plans to hire sign language interpreters, offer professional captioning and provide written materials accessible by screen reading software.

The cofounders also want to be sure that cohort members and future candidates are committed to the issues of greatest concern to most disabled people – “affordable health care, accessible transportation and the preservation and expansion of programs like Medicaid and Social Security.”

Adds Blahovec: “It’s important to understand policy and be running based on ideas you have about how to improve that policy, not to be the first disabled person in this position or running based on that alone. There needs to be a groundedness in community and understanding the needs of the community and bringing in your experience to support that.”

Disabled Journalist Advocates for Fair and Equitable Coverage for Her Community

Blog: Disabled Journalist Advocates

Have you ever felt that issues affecting people with disabilities don’t get enough attention? The Washington Post’s inaugural disability reporter Amanda Morris is trying to change that reality.

Prior to becoming the Post’s first disability reporter in 2022, Morris, who is hearing impaired and the child of two deaf parents, served as the first New York Times reporting fellow to focus on disability issues. In an essay for the Times, Morris explained her role as follows:

“I aim to shift the way that the news media reports on and writes about disabled people. Some of my work dismantles long-held stigmas and negative attitudes that many people have toward disability — such as the flawed idea that having a disability is inherently bad or is limiting. I’ve never felt that my disability has made me “less”; instead, my disability is an important part of my identity and has given me a different perspective to offer the world.”

In August 2023, Morris won a $1,000 “Own Your Work” microgrant from Study Hall, a Brooklyn-based media newsletter and online support network for those working in the media space.

Morris says she will use the grant to create a website for the Society for Disabled Journalists, an entity that she and fellow disabled journalists Emyle Watkins, Shruti Rajkumar, Kate Guarino, Eric Garcia, Hannah Wise and Sara Luterman founded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She told Study Hall that the journalists plan “to create a place where disabled journalists can come together to share experiences and improve the way the industry treats disabled professionals.”

Though Morris brings her personal experience of disability to her work, she doesn’t pretend to know everything about the disabled people she interviews. She views each person as an individual and emphasizes that disability is just one aspect of a person’s identity.

“One of the hardest parts about reporting on disabled people is that there are so many different types of disabilities and their experiences vary widely,” writes Morris in the Times. “I’m not an expert on every disability, but the key to being a disability reporter is to acknowledge that — and listen to those who are.”

While the Society for Disabled Journalists may be the newest organization to support the work of journalists with disabilities, it isn’t the only one. Other similar organizations include the Disabled Journalist Association and Disabled Writers. These organizations are also dedicated to creating support and resources for reporters and writers working in other genres who happen to be disabled.

Additionally, The National Center on Disability Journalism, located at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, offers “support and guidance for journalists as they cover people with disabilities.” NCDJ is committed to ensuring that reporting about people with disabilities is fair and accurate, and that issues of importance to the disabled is not overlooked or under-covered.

Be Prepared if Disaster Strikes

Blog: Prevent Disaster by Being Prepared

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a natural disaster. But if we’ve learned anything from this past summer’s climate emergencies—extreme heat, fire, floods, earthquakes—we know that natural disasters are a reality that can’t be ignored. If you or a family member lives with a disability, disaster preparedness is especially critical. Disabled individuals are two to four times more likely as non-disabled individuals to die or be injured during a climate emergency.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month – the perfect time to create a plan to keep you and your family safe in an emergency. Here are some steps you can take in the event of a natural disaster to protect your loved ones.

1. Stay informed
Don’t let an impending disaster catch you by surprise. Keep on top of weather-related emergencies by downloading public safety apps such as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) or FEMA’s mobile app, or staying tuned to NOAA Weather Radio. Heed evacuation warnings and don’t wait until it’s too late to create an evacuation plan.

2. Create a disaster plan
Plan for a disaster before it happens and make sure that your plan is filed in a secure place where you can find it when needed. The plan should include a list of contacts that can be reached in case of an emergency. Consider giving a key to someone you trust. Think carefully about your daily needs: food, medication and supplies, and devise a system for getting these important items beforehand in the event of an upcoming emergency. Ensure that home fire alarm systems are working. Make sure you know how to access hospitals, urgent care centers and that emergency phone numbers are close by. If you drive, be certain that your car has a full tank of gas and is in working order and that it is outfitted with jumper cables, a spare tire, ice scraper and shovel. In the event that you must evacuate, have a plan for who will help you to leave your home and where you will go.

3. Compile an emergency kit
Your kit should include a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for humans and pets; three-day supply of medications; three-day supply of clothing; batteries and flashlight; a first aid kit; toiletries; toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers, baby formula and hand sanitizer; blankets; extra phone charger and battery; local maps, and copies of ID documents, health insurance cards, a list of all medications and doses, doctors’ phone numbers, and credit cards. If you have a medical alert bracelet or tag, make sure to wear it so you can get the help you need quickly. If your medicine needs refrigeration, have a cooler with chemical ice packs ready to go. Be sure to keep your kit in an easily accessed location and update supplies as needed.

4. Prepare for power outages
If you use medical devices or assistive technology devices that require electricity, investigate ways that you can keep your devices charged in the event of a power outage. According to, disabled individuals may be placed on a priority list with their energy provider. If it’s within your budget, consider investing in a generator.

5. Have back-up mobility aides
If you use a power wheelchair, keep a lightweight manual chair on hand in case you can’t take your power chair with you. Likewise, cane and walker users may want to have back-ups of these mobility aides as well.

6. Make your voice heard
One reason why people with disabilities are at greater risk for death or injury during disasters is because the people creating disaster plans may not be aware of their needs. Organizations such as the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network are working to ensure that disabled people have a seat at the table when it comes to creating disaster preparedness practice and protocols.

For additional guidance, visit

Employment Rate for Disabled is Highest on Record

Blog. Employment Rate for Disabled

New numbers from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employment rate for people with disabilities is the highest it has been since the BLS began keeping records in 2008.

This month, BLS announced that “the employment-to-population ratio for disabled individuals… now stands at a record high of 22.4%.”

While 22.4% is still woefully low compared to employment numbers for those who don’t identify as disabled, employment rates for people with disabilities have been climbing steadily since August 2021.

According to human resources experts, the reasons for the upswing are related to the tight labor market and even more significantly, the fact that remote work has been normalized since the pandemic.

In a recent interview with NBC, Allison Chase, president and CEO of the disability-focused organization The Able Trust, said the employment rate for people with disabilities is “continuing to grow—and moving up every month it seems like. It’s unprecedented, and we’re really excited about it.”

Chase told NBC that disabled employees and job seekers have long sought opportunities to work from home due to transportation challenges and the lack of accommodations in some workplaces. Yet, it’s only since the pandemic that employers have recognized the benefits of remote work. In fact, studies show that people who work from home are 5%-9% more productive than those who work in an office. Likewise, “remote work leads to improved work–life balance, preventing burnout and increasing productivity and retention,” according to Psychology Today.

In the past, some employers were reluctant to hire disabled individuals because they believed wrongly that disabled workers would require costly accommodations. Remote work has shown these employers that disabled employees who work from their homes require little to no special accommodations.

These realities plus the fact that most remote workers—disabled and non-disabled—don’t want to return to their offices means that remote work and higher employment rates for disabled workers might be here to stay! That’s fortunate, since a February 2023 report by the BLS stressed that disabled people are still far less likely to be employed than non-disabled people; that unemployment rates for disabled people are twice as high as for non-disabled people; and that 30% of disabled workers with jobs worked part-time while just 16% of non-disabled workers are part-time employees.

Pay disparity is another obstacle for disabled workers.  Disability Scoop reported today that “hundreds of organizations nationwide are still paying [disabled] workers as little as pennies per hour.”

How can this be legal? According to Disability Scoop, “under a law dating back to the 1930s, employers can obtain special certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor permitting them to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.”

Though changes in federal laws and new subminimum wage bans in some parts of the U.S. have improved salaries for disabled workers, they still face enormous obstacles in achieving employment equity. Here’s hoping that progress continues at a rapid pace.

Get to Know Textile Artist Judith Scott

Blog: Get to Know Textile Artist Judith Scott

A new exhibition at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) will celebrate the work of internationally known disabled fiber artist Judith Scott. Scott’s story, her prolific artmaking and her relationship with her fraternal twin sister Joyce are nothing short of remarkable.

Judith Scott and her fraternal twin sister Joyce were born on May 1, 1943, in Columbus, Ohio. At birth, Judith was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Soon after, a bout with scarlet fever caused Judith to lose her hearing, but her deafness was undiagnosed until age 30. She remained non-speaking throughout her life. Judith’s twin Joyce developed typically but the sisters were inseparable and they shared an idyllic early childhood with secret languages, games and nature exploration.

The twins’ happiness ended abruptly when the girls were seven years old and their parents institutionalized Judith. Judith was given scant information about why her sister was taken away and for the next 35+ years, she only saw Judith when accompanying her parents on visits to the institution. The separation was devastating for both twins and the conditions in the state institution where Judith was placed were horrific.

While her sister was captive and isolated, Joyce tried to distract herself. She moved to California, married, had children and pursued a career as a developmental specialist working with mothers and babies with disabilities, many of whom had Down syndrome like Judith.

When the twins were 43 years old, Joyce had a revelation that inspired her to become her sister’s legal guardian. After a tough legal fight, Joyce brought Judith home to live in her Berkeley, California, residence. There, Joyce did her best to help her traumatized sister recover and worked to rebuild their relationship.

Soon after the sisters were united, Joyce enrolled Judith in the Creative Growth Art Center, a studio for artists with disabilities. At first, Judith showed little interest in artistic pursuits. But when a visiting textile artist demonstrated how to use yarn and textiles to create art, Judith was enthralled.

“From then on, she was unstoppable,” recalls Joyce in her memoir “Entwined: Sisters and Secrets in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott.”  “All day, five days a week, she created mysterious sculptures, building each from a core of discarded, rejected or misplaced objects that she tied together, bound, then wrapped and wove with threads. Each yarn was selected with an extraordinary sense of color, texture and design.”

It didn’t take long for Judith’s teachers and members of the art community to recognize her talent. Judith’s work has been shown in museums including the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Folk Art Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum. Her upcoming exhibition “The Secret Within: The Art of Judith Scott” will be on display at AVAM from July 2, 2023 through June 30, 2024. According to the museum’s website. The show will include “14 to 18 of Judith’s works spanning her lifetime as an artist at Creative Growth Center. These works consist of both her 3-D fiber art sculptures and earlier examples of her 2-D drawings and paintings. More than a retrospective, this exhibition offers insight into Scott’s process, the materials she used, and how her story is a shining example of the art of embracing life.”

In addition to Judith’s artwork, “The Secret Within” includes anecdotes from Joyce, and Tom di Maria, director of the Creative Growth Art Center. Additionally, the exhibition will examine issues of accessibility in the arts and provide resources that serve artists with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities.

For more information, visit

A Day at the Beach

Blog: A Day at the Beach

Now that Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start of summer — has come and gone, most of us look forward to the many joys of the upcoming season.

A trip to the beach is one of the greatest pleasures that summer has to offer. Yet, beach trips can be stressful for individuals living with disabilities and their families. Fortunately, a variety of new products can minimize many of these stressors. We’ve searched the internet to find beach gear that makes a visit to the ocean great fun for everyone in the family!

1. Beach wheelchairs
Pushing a wheelchair through the sand is not easy. Likewise, using an electric wheelchair that isn’t designed for beach use may damage your chair. Fortunately, specially designed beach wheelchairs make navigating sandy terrain easy. Purchasing a chair is a big investment – the most basic chairs start at around $1,000 — so unless you plan to spend large amounts of time at the beach, renting or borrowing may be better options.  These days, more and more beaches loan or rent beach wheelchairs and some of them can even be used in the water! For a list of beaches in the United States that lend beach wheelchairs at no charge, visit Mobility Deck.

2. Adaptive Kayaks
Kayaking is within reach for individuals with mobility challenges with an adaptive kayak. Freedom Kayaks sells adaptive kayaks for about $3,000 a pop, but you may also find organizations that offer adaptive kayaks for rent or loan. Check out the Disabled Kayaking Enthusiasts Facebook group for info about all things disabled kayaking.

3. Switch Adapted Fan
It gets plenty hot on the beach, so you’ll want to take along Enabling Devices’ switch activated Harbor Breeze or Adapted Misting Fan to cool off. In addition, they provide sensory stimulation.

4. Beach bubbles
A day at the beach is even more fun with bubbles. Pack your beach bag with Enabling Devices’ Fubbles Fun-Finiti Bubble Machine.

5. Tent
Heat, glare, sunburn and overstimulation can all spoil a day at the beach. Bring along the Sensory Exploration Tent from Enabling Devices for shady time-outs.

6. Wheelchair/Scooter Umbrella
Another great antidote to sunburn and blazing temperatures is the wheelchair/scooter umbrella from Yobee and sold by Amazon. You can attach the umbrella to your wheelchair and adjust its height and position.

7. Adaptive Sandals
Zappos has a wide variety of adaptive shoes including adaptive sandals that will serve you well at the beach. Check out these sandals from Ugg.

8. Adaptive Swimwear
Young beachgoers with sensory integration challenges or other special needs will appreciate a tagless, seamless swimsuit with abdominal access openings, and hook and loop back closure such as this one from Kohl’s.

P.S. Water safety is paramount! Check out this blog post to learn more about staying safe near water.