The SC State Primary is less than two weeks away, and I plan to rock my disabled vote as I have done since I became a registered voter at the age of 18. The voting process as a disabled South Carolinian has changed in many ways, particularly in the area of accessibility with new voting methods being made available.
As a wheelchair user, accessibility is undeniably on my mind when I venture out in public, especially when visiting new venues with friends. Worrying about ramps, accessible restrooms, having enough room to maneuver about comfortably, etc., can cause anxiety because in 2016, these are still problems for me and millions of others who use mobility devices. Technology has been a major game-changer in pointing out public places that are accessible or inaccessible, and this week, I am spotlighting a new resource that will allow those with disabilities to travel a bit easier with less stress.
2016 is a bittersweet political year; President Obama will be finishing his last year in office, and we as Americans will have to elect a new president in November. There is so much going on with this year’s presidential election that it may be exhausting to keep up with the latest news, the candidates running, and when to vote in your state caucus or primary. This week, I wanted to share pertinent information that will help disabled and non-disabled voters know who the candidates are, when to vote, and when to watch the debates to empower oneself about which candidates are focused on the issues that matter to you.
Photograph of Sharina Jones testing out the wheelchair stroller she’ll be using with her baby.
As someone who may want to become a disabled parent one day, one of the many concerns I have is how I would carry my child around as a wheelchair user. I know that there are baby wraps that I can wear while my child is very small, but as she/he grows, I will need something that will grow with her/him and allow me to transport them to and fro safely and comfortably. This need is one that has been grossly overlooked in the parenting/baby supplies industry. Imagine my excitement when I learned about a high school student from Michigan who invented a wheelchair stroller to bridge that gap for parents in wheelchairs. I had to feature it for the “Tools You Can Use” series because this is a product that would personally improve my abilities as a future disabled mother.
Fall is one day away, which means that this is the perfect time of year for disabled people to travel and see the beautiful fall scenery that will unfold over the next three months. What many disabled people, particularly wheelchair users, may not realize is that there are many places across the nation that are accessible for them to visit and explore. I wanted to highlight a travel guide compilation for wheelchair users, created by Wheel:Life, for the “Tools You Can Use” series.
Being someone who is currently searching for housing that is disability accessible, I was glad to have learned about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) launch of its innovative mobile application and website that aims to enhance HUD customer service. The HUD Resource Locator seeks to provide real-time HUD housing information to those who want to be quickly connected to building managers, public housing authority officials, and property management companies in order to gather more understanding about the availability of housing options, and answer the housing-related questions they may have.
Homepage of HUD Resource Locator for Apple iOS. (Click to enlarge for better viewing.)
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon an article about a new fitness tracker being developed for disabled people, particularly wheelchair users like myself. Being someone who always jokes about how pushing this 20+ pounds of metal for over 25 years has been a great cardio workout routine for me, I was eager to learn more about how Freewheel came to be, and to feature it this week for the “Tools You Can Use” series.
Being someone who has begun the process of finding and hoping to retain affordable housing on a fixed income, I know first-hand how cumbersome it can be to scope out viable resources that is right for your situation.
School is ending, and parents have begun researching summer camps and activities their children, teens, and young adults can partake in over the next few months of summer vacation. For families of disabled youths and adults, it can be a unique challenge to find summer camps that specializes, accommodates, and are fully accessible for the disabled. The SC Assistive Technology Program has created a masterlist of summer camps in South Carolina that I thought would be timely to share for the “Tools You Can Use” series.
Last year, I wrote about the need for disabled dolls to be created for disabled girls, and it seems that the British toy company Makies decided to step up and make this a reality by answering the call of the Toys Like Me social media campaign. When I learned about MakieLab, and Toys Like Me, I could not wait to feature them as a “Tools You Can Use” resource on the blog.
Important Disability-Related Videos You Should Watch
Here's the Out of Step's TOOST Radio interview I participated in as a panelist on Nov. 6th, 2013. During the interview, I discussed my personal & professional viewpoints about the choice of discussing disability status while seeking employment opportunities. The part that I'm featured begins 15:29 minutes into the interview.
In this video, Beyoncé helps Kid President with World Humanitarian Day 2013. The Kid President has OI like I do. I think that his messages are ones that all walks of life & ages can learn from. I'm so jealous that he met one of my idols & favorite music performers, Beyoncé! I wanted to share with you all the interview the Kid President did with Beyoncé for World Humanitarian Day, which was August 19th, 2013.