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Friends having coffee

The Lonely World of Special Needs Parenting

Only Human

The ad in the paper reads “Girls Night Out”. Special promotions, door prizes, dinner specials for you and all your gal pals. Sounds like fun! If I only had some pals.

I used to have friends. High school, college, even through my years as a teacher I had numerous comrades. Yet, as it goes for most, you relocate, gain different interests, or change in the time of life. Eventually some friendships fade.

I have friends I keep in touch with via Facebook, occasional phone calls, and annual Christmas cards. A couple times a year, I am invited to a birthday party, a dinner outing, or an “I’ll-host; you-buy-so-I-can-get-free-stuff” party. That is the extent of my friendships right now. Period. Read more

Sara Tabor

Podcast: Sara Tabor – Ms. Sled Hockey & New NYC Resident

In podcast #93, I am joined by Sara Tabor, a 30 something woman paralyzed 4 years ago in a bizarre accident, who went on to discover a new sport post-injury (where females are still the minority) – sled hockey.

We talk about her injury to the very last section of the spinal cord (a section of the cord a lot of people don’t know about) and how the incomplete nature of it (being able to walk short distances) has affected her life. Read more

Airport Wheelchair Travel

Travelling Blues

A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Germany for a distributor meeting and an exhibition, and ran into some problems at the Dusseldorf airport. I have been lobbying (thanks Marty Ball) ever since to get them to change their ways before RehaCare next week. It is the only airport, that I know of, that still automatically sends a wheelchair down to the baggage claim (regardless of how you have it tagged) and forces you to get into an airport wheelchair when departing the plane. As a fairly independent person and wheelchair user, I find it a bit demoralizing to have to be pushed down to the baggage claim. To top off the incident, our wheelchairs took 45 minutes to arrive at baggage. There were three of us waiting.
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Challenges of Life After Spinal Cord Injury

Trying Hard Not to Ask “Why Me?”

I think that anyone who acquires a disability after a number of years of living a fully functioning, able-bodied life ends up wanting to ask “why me?” at some point. In my case, my fate was changed instantly at the age of 17 in a traumatic and catastrophic paralyzing diving accident. But I’ve never really asked “why me?” even though my spinal cord injury felt unfair and undeserving.

When I was immediately diagnosed a quadriplegic and was plunged into a very long and difficult four and a half month rehab period – two months of which were spent in Denver away from my family – I didn’t ask “why me?” Instead, I prayed for a full recovery and focused on the next step in rehab to improve my situation the best that I could.

Hand in hand with that, when I was forced into living a difficult, limiting, and inaccessible disability lifestyle I didn’t ask “why me?” I just tried – and still try – to soldier through every day the best I can. Read more

Close Relationship

Kids and I are Like This

Not too long ago I thought I was an “old person” person and not a “kid person” (they say we’re either one or the other). I still have those moments where I’m still not very comfortable being someone with a disability, and old people rarely stare or think it’s too out of the ordinary to see someone in a wheelchair.

Old people simply don’t have enough energy to get on my nerves (usually). And plus – they’re calmer, less messy and they have a lot of cool stories. But that all changed five years ago when my first niece was born. Read more

Disability Dating

Happy Valentine’s Day

Oh Valentine’s Day the holiday of love, when we all splurge on flowers, cards, candies and other gifts for our loved ones, friends and the other important people in our lives. Whether you are a fan of this holiday or not, there are a few things that I would like to share with you. The first is a heartwarming photo of Jeff Roulston and his wife sharing a hug in his standing frame. Many of our customer stories, including Jeff’s, have wonderful photos of wheelchair users and their loved ones! Read more

High School Students With Special Needs

Awkward: Growing Up & Away From A Parent PCA

For high school students with Special Education services, team meetings should address plans for post-secondary education, employment, and living options, as well as the type of support required for success in these areas. During Tina’s meeting, there was something about her non-verbals that made me think she was excited about the prospect of all the things we were discussing, with the exception of one significant detail. I suspected it was about who would be cast in the role of “Personal Care Attendant” in the future she imagined. Her mother currently provides the bulk or Tina’s PCA services. Mom is an energetic, attentive, kind, and funny woman, but that does not mean that Tina necessarily wants that much of Mom’s attention in her bedroom, in the bathroom, using transportation, at a job, or on a college campus. Read more