http://bcove.me/5sgpbtov

http://bcove.me/5sgpbtov

This is very important.  Don’t ever post your address on any unsecured website or social media site.  Because you could have something like this happen to you.  Or don’t even post when your on vacation, always post after your back from vacation because people can find out where you live.   As you know already I hate gangs, and I don’t like everything they do let alone when they do it to a student just like themselves.  I haven’t ever been bullied, but I have felt like I have.  Feeling like you have been bullied or downgraded hurts more than being bullied yourself.  So that is why I am showing you this video.  Not because I like violence.  It’s really quiet the opposite, I hate violence.  I think everybody that does an act of violence should be dealt with,  or talked to, and maybe even seek treatment.  The first time I think they don’t deserve depending on how bad it is, I don’t think they deserve jail time.  But I think they should be put in classes for anger management, and learn how to deal with their anger.  And if it was part of a gang, I don’t think the gang should be allowed to associate with one another until they have been through treatment.  We need to stop violence any way we can.  But putting people in jail is not always the way to do things.  So we need to take more creative ways to deal with these types of issues, other than jail time.  

To Adopt and Foster Disabled Children

If you are thinking about adopting.  Think a little bit harder and think about adopting a child with special needs.  They need a home just as well a non handicapped child.  I know they may take a little more work, but it’s well worth your time and effort.  

 Children with disabilities are mostly raised in the homes of one or both biological parents, others grow up in adoptive and foster care homes or institutions. Historically children with disabilities were not considered adoptable, in the twenty first century that preconception has changed.

A greater recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities combined with a decreased adoption availability of healthy infants has lead to more favorable public attitudes toward adoption of special-needs children; those who are older, of minority race or ethnicity, members of sibling groups of three or more, wheelchair users including spinal cord injury, and those with profound intellectual disabilities.

Spinal cord injury wheelchair child

These more favorable attitudes were ratified in federal law in the United States under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 and the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. This legislation expedited the adoption process by establishing adoption exchanges, training adoption workers, and offering financial subsidies for adoptive families, all of which promoted the adoption of children with special needs and disabilities.

 

The term “special needs” describes several categories; disabilities, race, age, sibling status, and at-risk. When a child is determined to be a member of a “special needs” group, he or she may qualify for adoption assistance payments, the amount of which is dependent on the type and severity of the need. Special needs children waiting to be adopted are referred to as “waiting” or “adoptable” children and have usually spent some amount of time in foster care.

Special needs children

Special needs children

Children with many types of disabilities have been adopted. Some disabilities are mild and correctable, whereas others are severe and life threatening. Although severity of disability and prognosis for a very limited lifespan are deterrents for some potential adopters, at least one-third of women currently seeking to adopt consider adopting a child with a severe physical or mental disability, and approximately 5 percent actually prefer to adopt this kind of special-needs-child.

As an example, in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States, the AIDS pandemic began to orphan children, some of whom were HIV-positive and therefore at high risk for both disability and early death. Many of these children were placed with foster families, became available for adoption, and were adopted. Although the number of pediatric AIDS cases in the United States is declining, worldwide it is increasing rapidly, and U.S. families who adopt internationally are at some risk for unknowingly adopting an HIV-infected child.

 

To quote a leading adoption agency in the United Kingdom — adoption.org.uk

Adopters of disabled children need understanding and commitment but they do not have to be “very special people”. We hear from those who adopt disabled children just how “ordinary” they are.”We don’t have any special powers or abilities. We just love children and our adopted youngster just gives us so much more love in return.” — adoption.org.uk

The criteria for adopting disabled children with spinal cord injury and other disabilities are much aligned with those for non-disabled children and these criteria vary little from one western country to another. Some factors that may cause an application to adopt children with a disability to be accepted or rejected include the following.

 

  • Employment Status; employed, self employed or unemployed
  • Housing Arrangement; renting or home owner
  • Income Level; irrelevant as long as you are financially secure
  • Marital Status; married or defacto
  • Religious Beliefs; any faith or none
  • Sexual Orientation; heterosexual lesbian or homosexual

 

  • Age; most countries require both adopters to be at least 21 years of age
  • Deceased Children; if you are the parent/s of a child that has died recently or been removed
  • Existing Children; the adopted child should be at least two years younger than any existing children
  • Fertlity Treatment; if you currently or have recently undergone fertility treatment
  • Health; you must be of sound mental health and adequate physical health
  • Housing Type; ability to provide settled safe spacious accommodation for the child
  • Offenders; if you have a recent criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge
  • Residency; most agencies require you to be a resident of the country you apply in
  • Single; singles and new couples are generally denied adoption

 

We agree with the general consensus that two methods — using an attorney and adopting from a country outside your own – while perfectly legal and fine for some are not always ideal. Placement through these methods can result in the loss of adoption assistance benefits for the child, cause language and cultural barriers, and discovery of genetic disease and other illness information not disclosed at the time of adoption.

The two means of adopting special needs children that are recommended are through public and private licensed adoption agencies. Children adopted through private licensed agencies are entitled to the same adoption assistance benefits as children who come through public adoption agencies. In the United States where private agency, parents should check if the agency is licensed and non-profit. Some states will refuse to write adoption assistance contracts for children placed through for-profit agencies.

Many report their GP as the best starting point to adopt a special needs child. Alternatively others suggest contacting a local adoption agency experienced in disability and/or inquiring online. No matter where you begin ask questions, follow up, and seek to learn as much as possible from a variety of reputable sources. Arming yourself with information before locking into legally binding contracts can avoid disappointment.

 

Disabled child in a wheelchair

Disabled child in a wheelchair

Many are surprised to learn the adoption process for children with a spinal cord injury is more rigorous than for regular children. Somewhat unfortunately the additional financial cost of medicinal care, safe environment, and specialized equipment compounded by additional bureaucratic requirements deter some from adopting disabled special needs children.

It’s important to realize the gravity of the term “special-needs.” Just as young children outgrow their shoes, paraplegic and tetraplegic children with spinal cord injury outgrow their wheelchairs. Largely recognized, many countries offer financial assistance to help cushion these costs.

It is essential for parents wanting to foster or adopt any child with a disability to realize the additional requirements are not meant to deter the adoption of disabled children, it is to protect them.

 

Children with disabilities who become available for adoption are generally relinquished voluntarily by their birth parents with the disability as a contributing factor, or are removed involuntarily because of abuse or neglect.

Approximately 20 percent of children with Down syndrome are voluntarily relinquished for adoption by their birth parents, almost always immediately after diagnosis. This relatively high percentage results in a large number of children with Down syndrome becoming available for adoption, and so children with Down syndrome are much in demand. Agencies frequently report that potential adoptive families need to wait for several years before such a child becomes available.

Many children with disabilities are adopted by their foster families, especially since 1997 in the United States when Public Law 105–89, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, was enacted. This complex legislation in conjunction with state regulations and policies has enacted a number of improvements in children’s welfare reform.

The amount of time children spend in foster care waiting to be reunited with birth parents has decreased. The number of disability related adoptions from foster care has increased, by as much as 50 percent in one year in the United States. Foster care adoptions in the United States grew from approximately 31,000 children in 1997 to 50,000 in 2001. A good proportion of these children have disabilities. An overall increase in adoptions from foster care also means an increase in the number of adoptions of children with disabilities.

 

From the adoptive parent perspective, the rewards of adopting children with disabilities seem to far outweigh the difficulties. Many parents speak of the life changing experiences of their adoptions and report positive changes in their marriages, their other children, and their understanding of life meaning.

Like most parents, those with children in wheelchairs from spinal cord injury are proud of their child’s achievements. They delight in their child’s positive characteristics such as an affectionate nature, contagious sense of humor, and optimistic outlook on life, their ingenuity in overcoming obstacles and insightful acceptance of others. One indication of the success of adoptions is that many families choose to do it again. Often families will adopt more than one child with a disability, as research studies have identified, some over their lifetime have adopted more than 20 children with disabilities.

Disability adoption of wheelchair children

Adoption of disabled wheelchair children

The challenges in adopting children with disabilities are many. Parents report problems including a variety of negative child characteristics; worry, anxiety, or guilt relating to the child; an increase in family disharmony as a result of the child’s adoption; and a lack of emotional bonding. Medical emergencies and dealing with service providers can be stressful. Some children with disabilities up for adoption have suffered neglect and physical or sexual abuse, so psychological and behavioral issues can take form as over-sexualized behaviors or a victim mentality.

There is no evidence a spinal cord injury disability has ever caused disruption before finalization, or dissolution of a completed adoption. The likelihood of disruption or dissolution can however be reliably predicted according to a child’s behavioral disorders, externalizing or acting-out behaviors, in particular. Children who are older and have emotional or behavioral problems in addition to other disabilities are hard to place.

Potential adoptive families often have a preference of child types they wish to adopt, but to expedite placements agency workers may encourage parents to consider children who do not match those preferences, a practice called “stretching.” Many successful adoptions result from stretching, but disrupted and dissolved adoptions typically emanate from poor matches between child and family.

Disability wheelchair kids

Disability wheelchair kids

While there is no one family dynamic best suited to adopting a child with disabilities, some characteristics frequent successful adoptive families. These include prior experience with child rearing and with disability as well as family group decision making and a flexible parenting style. Higher education and income do not convert into more successful outcomes. Several studies conclude families with lower incomes and less education are more successful, possibly as their expectations for child achievement are less likely to be unrealistically high.

Post-adoption services are essential for families adopting children with disabilities, and use of these services is known to be associated with low disruption. Post-adoption service providers can help families identify, locate, and obtain assistance of a financial, educational, therapeutic, or medical nature.

Although a permanent placement is the ultimate goal for all children, including those with disabilities, it is not always achievable. At the beginning of the twenty-first century in the United States, more than a half million children were in foster care, with an average stay of almost three years. Although some of these children will return to their families of origin, and some will be adopted, others will remain in the foster care system throughout their childhood. Years in foster care usually result in multiple placements creating greater emotional and behavioral problems.

 

The majority of special needs foster children have psychological and developmental delays along with a variety of other disabilities. The adoption of children with extensive special needs has emerged as a viable option to institutionalization. Experienced mature therapeutic foster parents are trained to be responsive to many of the difficulties that handicapped children present. As special needs children in foster care are susceptible to poor outcomes, an enduring protective relationship with at least one supportive adult is imperative.

Where children remain in foster care until the age of majority, the transition to adulthood, including coordination with agencies serving adults with disabilities, only becomes more complex. Thus, it is important that children in foster care be returned to biological homes if possible or be placed for adoption as soon as is feasible. Stature and wealth are not always beneficial in adoption of special needs children, experience and flexibility are.

 

  • Dumaret, Annick-Camille, Catherine de Vigan, Claire Julian-Reynier, Janine Goujard, Dominique Rosset, and Ségolêne Aymé. 1998. “Adoption and Fostering of Babies with Down Syndrome: A Cohort of 593 Cases.” Prenatal Diagnosis.
  • Glidden, Laraine M. 1989. Parents for Children, Children for Parents: The Adoption Alternative. American Association on Mental Retardation Monograph No. 11. Washington, DC: American Association on Mental Retardation. 2000. “Adopting Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Long-Term Perspective.” Family Relations.
  • Gordon, Jeanne N., William Ganger, and Kristin Gist. 2002. “Developmental Delay in Young Children in Child Welfare by Initial Placement Type.” Infant Mental Health Journal.
  • Marshner, Connaught, ed. 1999. Adoption Factbook III. Washington, DC: National Council for Adoption.

 

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Dignity in care

 Another thing I wanted to suggest is a gtube if you don’t already have one.  If you are having trouble with your nutrition.  Because when your not able to eat by mouth, you or your caregiver can supplement your nutrition, and if you are having trouble swallowing your medications you can crush your pills and take them through your tube or some medications can be made into a liquid.  Dignity in care

Dignity factors – Eating and nutritional care

Providing a choice of nutritious, appetising meals, that meet the needs and choices of individuals, and support with eating where needed.

Mealtimes aren’t just about the food we eat. It’s about who you eat it with, where you sit, is it comfortable?

Eating and nutritional care in practice

  • Carry out routine nutritional screening when admitting people to hospital or residential care. Record the dietary needs and preferences of individuals and any assistance they need at mealtimes and ensure staff act on this
  • Refer the person for professional assessment if screening raises particular concerns (eg speech and language therapy for people with swallowing difficulties, occupational therapy for equipment such as special plates and cutlery, dietician for special dietary needs relating to illness or condition, physiotherapist to assess physical needs and posture).
  • Make food look appetising. If the texture of food needs to be modified seek advice from the speech and language therapist. Not all food for people with swallowing difficulties needs to be puréed. Keep different foods separate to enhance the quality of the eating experience.
  • If necessary, record food and fluid intake daily and act on the findings.
  • Make sure food is available and accessible between mealtimes.
  • Give people time to eat; they should not be rushed.
  • Provide assistance discreetly to people who have difficulty eating. Use serviettes, not bibs, to protect clothing. Offer finger food to those who have difficulty using cutlery, and provide adapted crockery and cutlery to enable people to feed themselves where appropriate.
  • While socialising during mealtimes should be encouraged, offer privacy to those who have difficulties with eating, if they wish, to avoid embarrassment or loss of dignity.
  • Ensure that mealtimes are sufficiently staffed to provide assistance to those who need it.
  • If there are insufficient staff to support those who need it, introduce a system of staggered mealtimes.
  • Develop or make use of existing volunteer schemes to help give support to people at mealtimes.
  • Encourage carers, family and friends to visit and offer support at mealtimes.
  • Don’t make assumptions about people’s preferences on the basis of their cultural background – people should be asked what their preferences are.
  • Ensure all care staff, including caterers, have access to training.
  • Raise awareness of the risk of malnutrition and the importance of providing good nutritional care.
  • Ensure staff have the skills to communicate with people who have dementia and communication difficulties. Visual aids, such as pictorial menus, and non-verbal communication skills may help people to make choices.
  • For people with communication or cognitive difficulties, gather information on their needs and preferences from people who know them well.
  • Ensure that home care staff have sufficient allocated time and the skills to prepare a meal of choice for the person, including freshly cooked meals.
  • For residential and day care, implement best practice in food procurement ensuring food is of good quality and is, where possible, local, seasonal and sustainable.
  • Carry out regular consultation on menus with people using the service.
  • Wherever possible, involve people using the service in meal preparation.
  • In residential settings, where access to industrial kitchens is denied, provide facilities for people to make drinks and snacks.
  • Ensure that fresh water is on offer at all mealtimes and freely available throughout the day.

Hydration

  • Encourage people to drink regularly throughout the day. The Food Standards Agency recommends a daily intake of six to eight glasses of water or other fluids.
  • Provide education, training and information about the benefits of good hydration to staff, carers and people who use services, and encourage peer-to-peer learning.
  • Provide promotional materials to remind people who use services, staff and carers of the importance of hydration (available free from Anglian Water).
  • Ensure there is access to clean drinking water 24 hours a day.
  • If people are reluctant to drink water, think of other ways of increasing their fluid intake, for example with alternative drinks and foods that have a higher fluid content, (eg breakfast cereals with milk, soup, and fruit and vegetables).
  • If people show reluctance to drink because they are worried about incontinence, reassure them that help will be provided with going to the toilet. It may help some people to avoid drinking before bedtime.
  • Be aware of urine colour as an indication of hydration level (Water UK, 2005); odourless, pale urine indicates good hydration. Dark, strong-smelling urine could be an indicator of poor hydration – but there may be other causes that should be investigated.

Practical Tips for Adding a Wheelchair Ramp to Your Home

  To be safe in any type of building if you have a wheelchair, you must have a way to get out safely and securely.

 Practical Tips for Adding a Wheelchair Ramp to Your Home

BY SAMIR SHAH ON MON, 2013-06-03 14:15

Ramps are expensive but worth it for the independence and safety they provide, says a man who details his experiences with having a ramp built for his wife

 
Article Highlights:
  • A man whose wife has progressive muscle weakness due to a mitochondrial disease details his experience with building and adding a ramp to their home.
  • When building a wheelchair ramp, a qualified contractor is the most important choice you’ll make; tips are given for finding and selecting the best contractor for the job.
  • To control costs, choose a contractor who lets you pay separately for labor and materials.
  • Ramps are expensive; they can be financed using low/no-interest loans from a bank or the contractor, or through grants from foundations or your state.

When my wife got her TiLite manual wheelchair, it opened up a world of freedom for her. Her back pain was gone, along with her risk of falling, and she could move longer distances. Suddenly, she could again move across the shopping mall, maneuver around the house and perform at her job.

While the wheelchair gave her more freedom inside and outside the house, it introduced a new challenge: getting inside the house from the outside, and vice versa, because of the four concrete steps going into our house.

Watching her carry her lightweight manual wheelchair up the steps made me very nervous. So nervous that most of the time, I carried it for her. I wondered about a ramp, but the issues seemed so complex. Ramps did not appear to be cheap, and we were still hoping for a cure, though it had been one-and-a-half years without a diagnosis for her progressive muscle weakness (later found to be a mitochondrial disorder).

What finally motivated me was a blunt statement from her doctor — that it would be a lot harder for her to recover from a broken bone. It was time to accept the reality, and consider a wheelchair ramp to access our house.

We made the decision, but were not sure what to do next. I wondered how to find someone who could build a safe ramp. I did not know anything about estimated prices, best designs or even what materials it should me made of. I also wanted to learn about funding sources. And were there any rules we had to follow?

In this article, I am going to share the answers we found to these questions to help you as you plan your own wheelchair ramp.

Finding a contractor

The contractor you choose will affect how your ramp looks, how well it helps you get into and out of your house, and how much you pay for it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a Consumer Reports guide on how to find a wheelchair ramp builder. Luckily — because ramps have many similarities to decks, and local codes regulate these structures — you do not need someone specially trained in ramps, just someone with experience. I recommend first generating a long list of contractors and then narrowing down the list to those qualified to do the job.

Referrals are the best way to find someone. But few of us know others who have built a wheelchair ramp. For that reason, start by contacting your county and state disability services organizations. The local building permit office also may tell you who has built ramps, or perhaps where they have been built. You then can drive over, knock on the door and ask about the ramp.

Broaden your list even further by asking friends and family for names of contractors they would recommend, especially ones that have built decks. It doesn’t hurt to have more names than you need because right now you want to generate the list; later on, you’ll narrow the list.

Another great source is Craigslist, which is how we found our contractor. Before you post on Craiglist, first take some pictures of the area and measure the height of the doorway to the ground. Then, create an email address just for this purpose, since it may attract a lot of spam. We posted in the skilled trades jobs category that we were looking to build a home wheelchair ramp, along with the height needed, the general region where we lived, and that we wanted estimates. In retrospect, I would have added that we were looking for someone who was licensed, insured and experienced. Through Craigslist, you will collect a lot of names.

A final source of potential contractors are expos, like the Abilities Expo, and even home remodeling or garden shows. However, contractors pay a premium for booths at these types of shows, and therefore may be at the higher end of the price scale.

Choosing a contractor

With this long list of contractors, you now can identify those who are most qualified, most affordable and have the fewest potential pitfalls.

Start by eliminating anyone who is not insured and licensed. They may offer a lower price, but your town may not grant a permit to work, and you’ll have little recourse if they build the ramp unsafely.

For the remaining contractors, share your pictures and ask them for details and pictures of past wheelchair ramps they’ve built. Invite all the licensed, insured and experienced contractors to your house to look at your area and provide an estimate. Several contractors will weed themselves out by canceling (for what usually sounds like a good reason), or by not showing up. This happened to us three times; two did it a second time, and by the third, we learned not to waste time on them.

Talk to the contractors who visit; show them every external door to your house, and listen to what they say. Observe if they seem to understand your needs, how they visualize a solution and your own feelings about them. After inviting at least three contractors, you should see important differences among them.

Another difference is their source of materials. Experienced contractors in this field will have discounts at lumber yards; inexperienced ones use local hardware stores to buy materials. Our contractor provided separate costs for labor and materials, with the intent that we pay the materials cost directly to the lumber yard, therefore ensuring there was no markup on the price. Due to increased lumber prices, and changes to our design, our materials price was much higher than originally estimated. Our contractor joined us in calling around to different lumber yards, and we ended up choosing a different supplier (which the contractor also chose for a deck job he was doing the following week).

The contractor we chose, Ron Lester, in central N.J., was the first one who visited within a few days of our email. When he looked at our front door, you could tell he was trying to think of the best way to lay it out, avoid getting too close to the road, and with enough distance for a gentle slope. We then walked him to the backyard. You could tell by the way he walked around our deck that he liked it much better. It was then that he talked about buying the materials directly from the supplier and mentioned his preferred supplier house.

Another contractor that we did not choose had similar ideas when he looked at our backyard. However, when he talked about materials, his low price and preferred sourcing from the local hardware store had us concerned about quality. A third contractor recommended by someone at the town suggested a design that we did not find as appealing and provided a total cost that was higher than our other estimates, and not broken down by materials and labor as we had requested.

The process of finding the right contractor is kind of like finding the right idea when working within groups. First you brainstorm, getting a long list. Then you narrow it down, in this case, by contractors that are licensed, insured, experienced, responsible and appear to understand your needs.

Designing the ramp

Click to enlarge photos.

Even though your contractor will design the ramp, you need to understand how design aspects will affect its usability and cost, particularly if the contractor gives you choices. In this section, I explain factors to consider regarding the ramp length, the materials it is made of, landings, railings, the foot of the ramp and securing a permit.

Ramp length: The first design issue is the length of the ramp. For places of public accommodation, codes require the ramp to be 1 foot (12 inches) long, for every inch of height. That equals an angle of 4.76 degrees (inverse tangent of 1/12). Even though making it steeper shortens the ramp and reduces its cost, we recommend against that because going uphill at the 1:12 ratio is challenging enough.

Ramp location: Next consider which external door to use. The front door seems most logical; however, if the ramp is lengthy, it may not be aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, putting a ramp on the front yard may require tearing up a sidewalk or driveway to put in pillars to hold the ramp, or getting special permits to bring the ramp closer to the street level than normally allowed. A backyard ramp requires an asphalt or concrete path to the front, but it may be easier to dig holes for the pillars, may have more room for the length of the ramp, and will be away from the street. We built our ramp to the back of our house because we already had a deck back there; because our driveway comes up to the side of the house; and because we had more room there for the length of our ramp. We also considered placing the ramp near a side door to the house but eliminated that idea because there were two steps within our house to reach that door.

Ramp material: When we first considered a wheelchair ramp, we heard differing stories on whether wood or metal was more expensive or more durable. We learned that wood can actually be more durable than metal, as well as less expensive, and nicer looking than a metal ramp. We received three estimates for a wooden ramp and one estimate for a metal ramp. The metal ramp was the second-highest estimate we received and the design — consisting of horizontal bars with a few vertical poles — did not seem very eye-catching.

On the other hand, the wood ramp proposals we received showed pickets that matched the pickets on our deck. When I asked about durability, I heard that ramps made of pressure-treated wood can last forever if properly maintained. Though there are many warnings about the durability of wooden ramps on the Internet, I considered that most outdoor decks for homes are made of pressure-treated wood, not metal. Our contractor advised us to wait six months to a year for it to get weathered, and then put a water-resistant seal on it. For these reasons, and because our ramp was connecting to our wooden deck, we chose a wooden ramp, and we’re very happy with how it looks.

In our town, and most likely yours, the bottom of the ramp must be concrete. Our contractor designed it to open up — “fan” — into the driveway.

Ramp landings: Our contractor and others said that ramps don’t have to just incline up. You can have short areas in the ramp where they remain flat — a resting place perhaps — called a landing. On our lengthy ramp, we have two landings. These landings hold the ramp up, since they are the only parts of the structure that go into the ground. The four legs of each landing go 36 inches deep into a concrete-filled hole in our backyard, ensuring the ramp is also very stable.

My wife has really appreciated having the landings. Going uphill at a 1:12 ratio is not always easy, so these landings provide a place to rest.

Railings: If you do not have a power wheelchair, you typically use your hands to move the wheelchair. That can require a lot of energy going up at a 1:12 incline. Most ramps have railings or something you can grab to help you pull yourself up.

What you should know is that code requires railings on only one side of the ramp, not both. In retrospect, we wish we had railings on both sides. From the bottom of the ramp, it is far easier for my wife to use her hand, perhaps both, to pull her way up the ramp than to wheel up.

Door entry: One detail not to overlook is whether there is an incline into the door as well. Our door is about 2 inches above the bottom of the deck. Our contractor therefore built a gently sloping ramp out there too, with a handrail to keep her from rolling off the platform at the door.

Permit: Finally, a discussion of the design could not be complete without the issue of a permit. Actually, a permit should be your first concern when considering a wheelchair ramp. Make sure the contractor is willing to take responsibility for securing a permit. We had one contractor suggest we could get by without one. This is not a good sign! You may want to ask your contractor if they have built in your area before, how familiar they are with the local ordinances and whether they are willing to call the permit office. Most of all, do not purchase material or place any deposits until you have the permit in hand.

Paying for a wheelchair ramp

Wheelchair ramps are not low cost, so paying for the ramp becomes another issue. They cost anywhere from $80 to $120 per foot of ramp. Furthermore, the lumber yard usually wants payment for materials before the ramp is built. Here are some options to consider when paying for a ramp:

Split payment into labor and materials: Our contractor was clear at the onset he only made money on the labor, not the materials. He gave us an estimate of his labor and then an estimate for the lumber, based on prices from a job he did the year before. It turned out lumber prices had gone up since then, so that price did increase. We took his materials list, sent it to different lumber yards and got quotes, then chose one, after ensuring the contractor was comfortable with the vendor. Our contractor did not want to work with a local hardware store and was disappointed that the lumber yard we chose (not his preferred one) did not have the same level of service he was looking for (replacing bad wood). In retrospect, though, we likely saved $1,000.

Payment plan with the contractor: Our contractor agreed to give us a no-interest loan for the labor. He asked how much we could pay and then split it into equal payments. To make that happen, we had to sign a promissory note putting up the house. For the materials, however, we had to pay the lumber yard upfront; some lumber yards may offer payment plans, however.

Low-interest bank loan: After calling around to the county disability organization, we learned that one local bank offered low-interest loans for wheelchair ramps. We met with them and discovered the loan was based on individual income, not family income, so we were excited. However, that also meant they only looked at my wife’s credit history, not mine, to qualify for the loan. The rate on the loan was about 3.25 percent. (We did not use this method though, because the contractor offered us a no-interest plan.)

Habitat for Humanity, state agencies, foundations: We heard from others that Habitat for Humanity in our area had some ways to build a wheelchair ramp for someone. However, due to our family income, we did not quality. We also reached out to organizations we found through county and state disabilities agencies, but did not qualify for any of their programs for the same reason.

Once you have worked out the payment arrangements and figure out how to acquire the materials, you’re ready to start building.

Light it up

We were excited when our ramp was complete and could be used. (My wife actually rolled on it before the contractor gave us the OK.) After a few nights using the ramp, however, we realized another problem: It was pitch dark.

I did not like leaving the deck light on all the time, but that was the only way for my wife to see to unlock the back door. This was not a safe situation. We fixed the situation by wiring and installing 180-degree or 240-degree motion security lights purchased at a local hardware store: one by the garage, one by the back door and one that lighted the ramp about halfway up. (We tried an expensive solar-powered light at this middle location but it didn’t work well, perhaps because it didn’t get enough sunlight. So I wired the area myself to accommodate the light.)

With my wife’s help, we set the distance settings for the motion detection so it would pick up her motion either coming down the ramp, or when her car first comes into this area. It’s been more than a year since we installed these lights, and they’ve been fantastic. They turn on when they sense her car or when she is going down or up the ramp, and have required no maintenance, other than changing one light bulb. Furthermore, they have worked in rain, snow and hot summer. These three sets of motion sensor lights have made her ramp a lot safer for her to use.

A year after having the ramp built, we had it stained to more closely match the wood on our deck, and it really looks nice.

Well worth it

The wheelchair ramp cost us a great deal of money. A year later, we feel it has been indispensable for preserving my wife’s independence and safety. My wife can lift her ultra lightweight wheelchair into and out of her car by herself. She can then safely move up the ramp and enter the house. Therefore, she can come and go to the house, as needed, to meet the timing of her activities, job or baby.

I believe a major reason for the success of our ramp was that we chose a contractor who understood our needs. He realized that a backyard ramp was more appropriate and aesthetically pleasing. He helped us choose the right number of landing areas, and stabilized the ramp by grounding those landing areas in 36 inches of concrete. He came up with the right wood design, ensured entry into the door and proper railings. He only charged us the labor, and let us purchase the materials, thereby ensuring there was no markup. These steps made the ramp a great value for us.

If you have a need for a wheelchair ramp due to steps in your house, I hope you can use our tips to make it worthwhile for you.

Samir Shah lives in the New York City area with his wife and child. He says his engineering, organizational and communication skills have come in handy in getting medical and support services for his wife, who has a mitochondrial disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness.

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Concerns about Autism

Thought this was a good subject to cover.  This has been in the back of my mind since I heard it.  No matter what they say.  I think there is a high possibility that there is a relationship between vaccinations and autism.  But I am not going to tell you what to do.  I am only here to give you the facts.  When I do something like this, so you may all do with it what you will.  

Concerns about Autism

Group of kids

As the country’s leading public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to protecting the health of all Americans–including infants, children, and adolescents. CDC shares with parents and many others great concern about the number of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We are committed to understanding what causes autism, how it can be prevented, and how it can be recognized and treated as early as possible.

Recent estimates from CDC’s Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring networkfound that about 1 in 88 children have ASD. This estimate is higher than estimates from the early 1990s. Over the years, some people have had concerns that autism might be linked to the vaccines children receive. One vaccine ingredient that has been studied specifically is thimerosal, previously used as a preservative in many recommended childhood vaccines. However, in 2001 thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines except for one type of influenza vaccine, and thimerosal-free alternatives are available for influenza vaccine. Evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association between thimerosal and autism. Furthermore, a scientific reviewExternal Web Site Icon by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that “the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal–containing vaccines and autism.” CDC supports the IOM conclusion that there is no relationship between vaccines containing thimerosal and autism rates in children.

The IOM also recently conducted a thorough review of the current medical and scientific evidence on vaccines and certain health events that may be observed after vaccination. It released a report in August 2011 on 8 vaccines given to children and adults that found the vaccines to be generally safe and serious adverse events following these vaccinations to be rare.

CDC recognizes that autism is an urgent health concern and supports comprehensive research as our best hope for understanding the causes of autism and other developmental disorders. Through collaborations with partners in government, research centers, and the public, CDC is focusing on three areas–

  1. Understanding the frequency and trends of autism spectrum disorders.
  2. Advancing research in the search for causes and effective treatments.
  3. Improving early detection and diagnosis so affected children are treated as soon as possible

More Information

Related Scientific Articles

DeStefano F, Bhasin TK, Thompson WW, Yeargin-Allsopp M, Boyle C (2004) Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta.External Web Site Icon Pediatrics 113: 259–266.

Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T, Bauman ML, Lauwers G, et al. (2008) Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.External Web Site Icon PLoS ONE 3(9): e3140. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140

Mandell DS, Thompson WW, Weintraub ES, Destefano F, Blank MB. Trends in diagnosis rates for autism and ADHD at hospital discharge in the context of other psychiatric diagnosesExternal Web Site Icon. Psychiatr Serv. 2005 Jan;56(1):56-62.

McMahon AW, Iskander JK, Haber P, Braun MM, Ball R. Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) in children < 2 years of age: Examination of selected adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after thimerosal-free or thimerosal-containing vaccine.External Web Site Icon Vaccine2008;26(3):427–429.

Price CS, Thompson WW, Goodson B, Weintraub ES, Croen LA, Hinrichsen VL, Marcy M, Robertson A, Eriksen E, Lewis E, Bernal P, Shay D, Davis RL, DeStefano F (2010) Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal from Vaccines and Immunoglobins and Risk of Autism Adobe PDF file [PDF – 365 KB]External Web Site Icon. Pediatrics 126(4): 656-664.

All the Days (7/30/13)

THE RIVER WALK

Read: 2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27, Romans 13:1-14, Psalm 23:1-6, Proverbs 20:11

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)

Divorce

Relate: He sat on the couch numb. She was still talking, explaining her reasons, but he couldn’t hear anything more. It was just sounds to his ears, but as he stared out the window, watching the wind shake the branches of their elm tree all he kept hearing were those dreadful ten words. “I just don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce.” How could this happen? Where had things gone wrong? How could he not see it coming?

She sat there on the bed weeping, holding the evidence of his infidelity in her hand. There had been suspicions. There had been fear, but she had done her best to bury it. She figured if she…

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Gangs

Don’t get caught up in gangs.  If you see a gang starting tell a responsible adult.  If you are a responsible adult stop the gang from starting or progressing.  If you see one in progress, stop it.  If at all possible.  Because it could lead to violence.  All violence leads to destruction of life and material goods.  Once they get started they are hard to stop.  They are like friendship once you get one started they are hard to destroy.  If they are already loyal, they are even more difficult to destroy.  They can get bigger than a wild fire in a hurry if they are subjected to the right conditions.  All gangs even if they are good gang can lead to trouble.  Not saying that they will but it is possible.  This can lead to a person being handicapped.  This is  not something you want to endure or make someone else endure.  So my advice to you, “If at all possible if you know a gang is starting in your community stop it before it starts.”  Get them involved in a good organization, such 4-H or After School Programs.   Otherwise,  help me to help you put this all across the nation and spread the word.

God Help Me to Be What You Want Me to Be

  Sometimes our faults get in the way of God’s divine plan for us.  Sometimes our actions get in our way of God’s divine plan for us.  Sometimes our thoughts get in the way of God’s divine plan for us.  Sometimes we go to the Dr. when we don’t need to, we just need to let nature take it’s course.  We will get better eventually.  If God wants us to if he doesn’t nothing we can do can change it.  We can change a little bit of our plan, but some of our plan is concrete.  Some of our plan is concrete that we can’t change.  Some of our plan is stone and gravel that we can change.  After we go over it , it changes to concrete.  In other words we can not change the past, so why do I always dwell over it?  Because it is in our nature to dwell over the past.  But then again who am I to judge?  I am nobody.  That’s for God to do.  Yes I am somebody in God’s eyes but I am not high enough nobody is for that matter to Judge.  We always think we are high enough to judge but we aren’t.  Why do we always think I’m high enough to judge?  Because of today’s society everybody’s making decisions for everybody else, when we should be concentrating on our self and not other people.  We should only be concentrating on other people when we mean to do good, and when we mean to do harm try to leave them alone, and mind our own business.  I know that’s hard believe me it’s hard for me.  Not easy to say or do.  Saying your faults is not an easy thing to do or write down.  Honestly this is one of my faults.  I always judge other people when I shouldn’t be judging other people, I only see the bad parts of people.  I should be seeing the good parts of them and congratulate them on their good parts.  Somehow I always get sucked in to seeing the bad parts of them and get angry at them for doing something bad, and I should be looking for the good parts in them and learning from them, and not thinking about the bad parts and only them not learning from the bad.  Only concentrating on the good parts and not concentrating on the bad parts.  That is something I learned from a good chiropractor, I didn’t know that they work on  the mental part too, but some of them work on the physical, some work on the mental part, but they should be concentrating on the mental part too, not just the physical.  Like so many other chiropractors do, they don’t get to the cause they just get to the physical symptoms.  And their physical symptoms will come back if you don’t work on the mental part too.     

Hoyt, Father, Disabled son forge bond

I will never be like these two, but it is true.  When your out there running or talking about this you forget about your disability.  Something about their  excitement rush of adrenaline makes you forget about your disability.  I am talking in first person, because I get that same way even though I have only done it a couple times.  Every time I go out even not for a race, I get that way.  Because of my size they think I’m just a normal child riding in a stroller.  When I go up trails, then they realize I’m handicap.  Then they’re like “wow, I didn’t realize a handicap person can do this” and act surprised.  So I wan’t to continue to race to be able to get up in the trails.  I am only  limited by their strength of how far they can push me.

 RACING HELPS MASS. FATHER, DISABLED SON FORGE BOND

— Apr. 11 2:02 PM EDT

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HOLLAND, Mass. (AP) — The year was 1992, and Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick, wanted to run and bike across the country to raise funds for a charity for cerebral palsy — a condition 30-year-old Rick developed at birth.

But the charity didn’t want anything to do with a trek across the United States.

“And, uh, so this insurance company that was going to finance us backed out with four weeks to go before — so we had to refinance our house here so we are able to pick up the expenses,” Dick Hoyt recalled recently, sitting next to his quadriplegic son at their home in the hills of western Massachusetts.

Twenty-one years later, after running, biking and swimming together in some of the world’s highest-profile competitions, 73-year-old father and 51-year-old son are among the most recognized faces at the granddaddy of them all — the Boston Marathon.

One of the race’s sponsors recently unveiled a life-size statue in their honor in the town where the race starts. Another backer, Timex, pushed so strongly to be identified with the duo that it would allow them to talk to The Associated Press only if the article mentioned the two are promoting the watch maker’s social media campaign.

They’ve gone from being skeptics dogged by veiled references about abuse to visionaries, even heroes, mirroring how perception and treatment of people with disabilities have changed over the years.

“When we started running in road races and stuff, I used to get a lot of phone calls and letters from other families that had disabled people, and they were very upset with me; they said, ‘What are you doing dragging the disabled son through all these races? Are you just looking for glory for yourself?'” Dick Hoyt said. “What they didn’t realize: He was the one dragging me through all these races.”

Father and son had to get creative to race together.

Dick pushes Rick in a specially designed wheelchair when they run together. When swimming, Rick wears a life jacket and is belted into a seat that’s towed by a rope attached to Dad’s wetsuit vest. For biking, the younger Hoyt sits in a chair at the front of Dad’s bicycle.

Rick developed a severe form of cerebral palsy, a condition that limits motor skills, during birth, when the umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck and cut oxygen to his brain.

Dick rejected doctors’ suggestions that he put his infant son in an institution. Rick later went to public school and joined Boston University.

“This would prove one of the most difficult tasks I’d ever endure, but, finally, after nine long years, I became the first quadriplegic to graduate from the Boston University School of Education,” Rick said through a computer synthesizer he uses for communication. “This has been my greatest personal accomplishment to date because I have shown to disabled people that they don’t have to sit back and watch the world go by.”

Rick has run, biked and swum with his father in 1,092 races — including 252 triathlons, 70 marathons and 95 half-marathons — over the past 34 years, including a wartime race in El Salvador in which they had to be escorted by armed men.

Kim Rossiter, of Virginia Beach, Va., a major in the U.S. Marines, says the Hoyts inspired him to go running with his 9-year-old daughter, Ainsley, after she was diagnosed with an incurable neurological disorder that keeps her in a wheelchair.

“Immediately, my family found a therapy. It’s a therapy like no other,” said Rossiter, who has run in at least 42 races with Ainsley. “You cannot imagine the look on her face as the wind blows in her face while running.”

Tammy Stapleton, of Reading, Mass., is a mother of three girls who will be running Boston for the third time this year, after raising more than $12,000 for the nonprofit Hoyt Foundation Inc., which helps disabled people get specialized wheelchairs and communication equipment, as well as access to therapeutic animals.

“The Hoyts are my heroes, and the girls look up to them,” Stapleton said. “Dick is doing it not for his own glory.”

It all began at a college basketball game where Rick, 19 at the time, heard an announcement about a benefit run for an athlete who had become paralyzed in an accident. Rick said he felt he had to participate in the 5-mile race to show the victim “that life goes on and he could still lead a productive life.”

His father, who was then 40 and whose athletic feats were limited to the occasional run of a couple of miles, said he agreed to push Rick’s clunky wheelchair, not realizing a streamlined racing chair would have made the experience less painful.

“After that race, I was really hurting,” he said. “I could hardly walk for about two weeks, and so that’s when I talked to Rick and told him that we were going to have to get a new chair so I won’t be hurting as badly.”

Rick’s reaction after the race, his dad said, was inspiring and made it impossible to quit.

“What he told me is, ‘Dad,’ he says, ‘when I’m out running it feels like my disability disappears’ — which is a very powerful message to me,” Dick said.

So the Hoyts traveled to Greenfield, N.H., where an engineer designed and built a custom racing chair.

Rick says the Boston Marathon is his favorite race — despite the bugs in his face and the sometimes-cold New England spring winds.

“His body doesn’t move, where I can stay warm, you know, because I’m out there running, competing and stuff,” Dick said.

Their journey has not been without pain, both physical and emotional. Rick’s parents divorced and his mother later died of cancer. And while father and son were participating in the Ironman race in Hawaii in 2003 — a famously grueling test of swimming, biking and running — they crashed at the 85-mile mark of the bicycle ride and spent five hours in the emergency room.

“He had stitches all over his head, he had cuts all over himself, he was all bruised up,” Dick said of his son. “But he’s got a great attitude about it, too, because the Ironman finishes at midnight and we didn’t get out of the hospital until 2 o’clock in the morning — and he wanted to go out and finish the Ironman.”

The races have taken a toll on Dick, too, who suffered a heart attack while training for Boston in 2002. Doctors discovered two major arteries were largely blocked, and he had three stents inserted.

Besides, pushing a wheelchair for 26.2 miles can be excruciating.

“You are out there pushing your own weight, and then you’ve got the weight of the running chair, and then Rick’s weight,” Dick said. “And when you are out there going up hills, it’s really terrible.”

Still, the experiences are priceless, Rick said.

“I have thought long and hard about what I would do if I weren’t in a wheelchair. I really don’t know what I would do first. I love sports, so maybe I would play hockey, basketball or baseball,” Rick said. “But then I thought about it some more and realized that what I would probably do first is tell my dad to sit on the wheelchair — and now I’d push him.”

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