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Posts Tagged ‘United Spinal Association’

Happy Wednesday!

We are in the final countdown of days to Christmas, and perhaps some of you are planning to travel around the holidays. Air travel IS possible for people who use wheelchairs, and I would encourage you to not shy away from flying places that you might want to go to. Whether to visit family or friends, take a vacation or even a business trip, some advance planning and preparation are key to a succesful and enjoyable experience.

First, make sure you specify your needs when making your initial plans with the airline.

Second, allow PLENTY of time for all parts of the process: arrive early and allow extra time for going through security and getting to the gate. If you need assistance curbside, let the airline personnel know what you need. Once you’re at the gate, make sure the gate agents know you need an aisle chair or assistance. You’ll probably be the first passenger to board, so be ready!

Third, make sure you take all removable parts of your wheelchair onto the plane with you, and your seating cushion if you will use that on the plane. Make sure your chair is tagged and marked properly for any special care that needs to be taken. This is especially important for power chairs.

Fourth, always allow for delays! Make sure you have extra supplies for cathing and know how you will handle a situation if it arises. Delays are inevitable these days (or so it seems!), so being prepared is essential.

Finally, when you arrive at your destination, check your chair throughly to make sure it is not damaged, all parts are accounted for and it is safe to use. Don’t transfer into it until you are sure it is safe! If it is damaged, take pictures and document what has happened, and file a claim.

Air travel can be troublesome for everyone to some extent, and with added challenges of accessibility, accomodations, wheelchairs and extra supplies needed, you do need to plan accordingly if you have a disability of any sort that requires special attention. There was a story in the news recently about a 12 year old girl who uses a wheelchair being treated unfairly by the TSA. It happens, and it’s awful. My son was, I believe, unfairly targeted when flying out of Denver airport several years ago, and the commotion they caused and the way he was treated probably violated his rights as a person and a passenger. It’s a difficult situation, though, and while you may not deserve the treatment the TSA seems intent on imposing on you, it’s a very helpless feeling to be at their mercy. Try to document anything that seems ufair, and get names and badge numbers for follow-up later on.

I hope you enjoy traveling and go many wonderful places! Using a wheelchair may present additional challenges, but I hope they don’t prevent you from going anywhere you want to go!

A recent edition of Life in Action (Sept-Oct 2012) has some wonderful information on various travel activities and tips. Check it out!   http://www.spinalcord.org/getting-there/

Happy and safe travels! Cynthia

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Governor Chris Christie has proclaimed September 2012 to be Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month in New Jersey. This is very exciting! After more than 18 months of work, writing letters, making phone calls and sending e-mails, an Official Proclamation has been signed and received by Push to Walk. With a group of supporters that include Kessler Institute, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Dr. Wise Young and Dr. Patricia Morton of Rutgers, United Spinal Association, National Spinal Cord Injury Association and Disability Rights New Jersey, the Governor’s Office responded positively to our request.  It is now official, and will hopefully be renewed each year.

The official proclamation states that “through public awareness and education, the State of New Jersey seeks to minimize the devastating effects of spinal cord injuries among our residents,” and that “increased focus and investments in treatments, research, advocacy and awareness are key factors in improving outcomes and the quality of life for individuals living with spinal cord injuries.” It is now up to us, collectively, to determine how to maximize the positive impact this could have on the SCI population of our state, and use this recognition for the benefit of all. Please help us spread the word to your friends and family, on Facebook, e-mails blasts, etc.

We have a link to the Proclamation on our website homepage – please check it out: http://www.pushtowalknj.org.

Thank you to all those individuals and organizations who helped us get this recognition, and to Governor Christie for his support.

Now let’s do something to celebrate! Any ideas???

Cynthia

 

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Happy Friday! And congratulations to our NJ Devils for getting past the first round of the playoffs, for the first time in way too many years. Go Devils!!!

When my two children, Darren and Arianne, were younger, I dreamed about going away for several weeks in the summer and traveling in an RV to see the U.S. After a considerable amout of nagging, prodding and practically begging, my husband agreed. In the summer of 2000, we rented an RV and headed cross country. It would turn out to be 17 days and a lot of fun, for most of us – varying amounts of fun at varying times would probably be an apt description! All in all, it was a great trip and provided us with great experiences, family bonding and wonderful memories. I (of course!) loved it the most! I’d like to see more of the U.S. in an RV – hopefully we will do that in the future! To plan a trip like that (for me, anyway; lots of people can just go and do, which is fine) requires a fair amount of research and planning ahead. For people with disabilities and who use wheelchairs, the need to be prepared is multiplied many times over, and requires due diligence in some cases to make sure that traveling will be enjoyable, fun and not stressful. A Push to Walk client recently returned from a cruise with her family and had a wonderful time!

Here’s a website that will help all of us if we ever want to travel around the country in an RV. This site has so much valuable information and it is so well organized and sorted. I love it! Check it out! http://rollinginarv-wheelchairtraveling.blogspot.com/p/our-motorhome.html. The author presents the information in a very well-written format, as a wheelchair user and as a seasoned traveler.

There are lots of resources out there on accessible travel and helping people have fun while vacationing. Don’t let using a wheelchair limit the possibilities. If you want to go somewhere in particular or take a specific type of vacation – cruise, all inclusive resort, etc. – there are resources out there to help! Another great place for info is United Spinal’s “Able to Travel” program (www.abletotravel.org). Take advantage of the info, get out there and GO!!  Happy travels!!!

Cynthia

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The more I read and learn about exercise for people with spinal cord injuries, the more I realize it’s really no different than exercise in general. Yes, there are special considerations and complications that one might want to prevent or try to offset, but exercise for everyone is so important!

In this month’s “Life in Action” magazine (one of my favorite publications put out by NSCIA and United Spinal for everything related to disabilities – www.spinalcord.org), there are articles on Diet & Exercise. There are some really helpful pointers and comments on various eating styles/diets, and some good references, too.

The adjoining article talks about a weight loss program with a sidebar on a home exercise setup. All good, useful and helpful info. Check it out!

The other part of my message is that consistency is an important part of the equation. Like so many other aspects of our life, if you are disciplined and stick to a program to reach a goal, it will be easier, quicker and more successful. Find out what helps you stay consistent – forming habits, having a buddy, scheduling and time of day – and stick with a plan!

That’s what we see at Push to Walk with our most successful clients, and that’s what I have seen in my personal life as well. In fact, part of my reason I am writing this today is reinforcing all of this for myself, as well. I need to be more diligent in my own exercise program, and I need to set a new goal or two to accomplish. I know this is what works for me. What works for you?

As a timely and related reminder – check out the Adaptive Sports, Recreation and Living Expo at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, NY – tomorrow, Saturday, April 21 from 11 am to 4 pm. Push to Walk will be there, as well as sports programs, adaptive driving, Canine Companions and more! Exercise can be accomplished through sports and fun activities, too. Matt Castellucio has put together a great line-up. Come check it out and say “hello!”

Enjoy your weekend, and get in some exercise! Cynthia

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