Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Helpful Tips for a Full and Accessible Childhood

spinal muscular atrophy

August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy Month and EZ-ACCESS is raising awareness about this devastating and debilitating disease. If your child lives with SMA, EZ-ACCESS is bringing you helpful tips for your child to live a full childhood.

Spinal muscular atrophy is caused by a mutation in a motor neuron gene 1. What does this mean? In a healthy person, this gene will normally produce protein that is critical to the functioning of the nerves that control our muscles. Without this protein, the nerves will eventually die leading to debilitating muscle weakness. 1 in 50 Americans is a genetic carrier.

Accessible playgrounds-

Accessible playgrounds are a new trend that is here to stay for children across the country. Nearly every state in the USA has an accessible playground, including Washington. Accessible playgrounds welcome children of all abilities and your children can play without restrictions that most playgrounds have for those in a wheelchair.

Home accessibility-

If an accessible playground is not anywhere near your home, there are still ways to entertain your child who lives with SMA. EZ-ACCESS has a variety of accessible ramps for the front, side and back doors of your home. The Pathway Modular Access System is ideal for your front door because of the sleek and easy to use ramp.  For the side door or into the garage area, a Transition Angled Entry Mat will assist the wheelchair user while going over the lip of a door. For the backdoor into the backyard or back patio, the Suitcase Singlefold AS Ramp is ideal so your child can enjoy the backyard with friends and family. This ramp is portable, so you can take it on vacations and errands.

Spinal muscular atrophy is a serious and debilitating muscle disease. EZ-ACCESS is here for all of your home accessibility needs, easily find an EZ-ACCESS ramp dealer here.

 

Ramps and Lifts for Schools: Making Back-to-School Season Accessible for All

school ramps

As back-to-school season is in full swing, it’s time for schools to consider ramps and lifts for children in wheelchairs. EZ-ACCESS has a variety of accessibility ramps and lifts to choose from for your school buildings. Today’s blog will highlight these ramps and lifts and why it’s important to have portable ramps if there are children in your school with a wheelchair.

Because of ADA guidelines, schools are required to have accessibility for wheelchair users. Even if your school may have accessibility options for children, some areas still may not be accessible because of the building being older and unable to have permanent accessibility ramps. EZ-ACCESS has portable and temporary solutions for your school building.

Titan Code Compliant Modular Access System– This fully complaint ramp is perfect for the front entrance of the school building. Many schools have seen an influx in students, so temporary classrooms in trailers are on campuses across the USA. The Modular Access System is ideal for these portable classrooms. These ramps are easily installed and easily disassembled.

Traverse Walk Ramp– This ramp option offers a safe and reliable option for young children to walk on or wheelchair users to move in and out of different classrooms and small sets of stairs. This smaller sized ramp is ideal for tight spaces and smaller school systems looking for a simple walking ramp.

Passport Vertical Platform Lift– A lift is ideal for moving to different levels of a building if an elevator is not within reach. A vertical platform lift is durable and ease to use for those who assist wheelchair users. It is approved and safe for school use because of the extensive testing done on the lift.

EZ-ACCESS hopes you are able to find the right ramp or lift for your school system. Find a local EZ-ACCESS Ramp dealer here.

Workplace Accessibility, Serving Limited Mobility Employees

workplace-accessibility-blog

More and more pressure is put on employers to make their businesses accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. We understand the importance of accessible workspaces because there are many great and talented wheelchair users who would be great at your workplace. From easily accessible pathways to accessible entrances, it is important to make your workspace accessible for everyone and EZ-ACCESS has options to do so.

Simple ways to make your office more accessible:

If you have a wheelchair user in the office for a visit or as an employee, it is necessary to keep an open concept in mind. Cubicles are great for working, but can be restricting. Consider open desks with smaller barriers so wheelchair users don’t have trouble getting through the office. Be sure to have handicap accessible doorways that are wide enough for the standard mobility device and have the handicap button to open the door.

OSHA Compliant Stair– Whether you own a construction business or run a warehouse, these OSHA Compliant Stairs are the perfect option for any workplace. The stairs are durable and easy to install in any work environment and can easily be moved from worksite to worksite. No more worrying about having to build or buy unreliable wooden stairs. These are weather resistant and sure to make it through the job.

Door Threshold Ramp– If the entrance to your business only has a small ledge and does not necessarily need an entire ramp system, consider a small threshold ramp as pictured in the link. It’s angled and durable for any season.

Passport Vertical Platform Lift– A wheelchair lift is ideal if you have a multilevel business without an elevator. It is a cost effective option for your business and it is easy and safe to operate.

EZ-ACCESS is an advocate for a safe and accessible office and workspace. Learn more about how our products can make your workplace more accessible.

Accessible Playground: What it is and how to find one near you

accessible-parks-blog

Not long ago, an exciting trend began popping up across the United States, accessible playgrounds. This is an exciting trend in the playground world because it is an inclusive and accessible environment. EZ-ACCESS is dedicating this blog to telling you what an accessible playground is and how you can locate an accessible playground for your child to enjoy.

What is an accessible playground?

An accessible playground is an inclusive and accessible environment for all children to play without restrictions because of a wheelchair. These types of playgrounds make it easy for children in wheelchairs to feel like they have a place to play without thinking about their wheelchair holding them back. These playgrounds have been popping up to comply with ADA guidelines and communities that want accessible playgrounds.

How do I find an accessible playground?

There are more accessible playgrounds out there than you may think. Exciting news: nearly every state in the USA has an accessible playground! There is even a directory of accessible playgrounds so you can see which cities in your state have these playgrounds for your children to enjoy.

Where are the accessible playgrounds in Washington?

Washington has quite a few accessible playgrounds to choose from, depending on where you live.

Cresent Creek Park- Gig Harbor, Washington: This Park is an all-ability with all-inclusive play equipment for children of all abilities. The park offers access for adults of limited ability as well.

Discovery Playground and Sensory Garden- Auburn, Washington: From water jets to easily accessible pathways, this is the perfect summertime fun spot for children of all abilities. Raised plant beds at the sensory garden can help wheelchair users see all that it has to offer.

Meadow Crest Park- Renton, Washington: Another accessible part in a different area of Washington state. View all the rest of the accessible parks here.

EZ-ACCESS hopes you are able to enjoy these parks for the rest of the summer into the fall season. Learn more about our accessibility ramps for your home.

5 Tips for the Teachers Working with Students in Wheelchairs

wheelchair teacher

Today, we’re calling out to all the teachers out there because, whether you like it or not, summer is almost over and the first day of school is right around the corner.  For many of you, this means getting to know a brand new group of students, some of whom may be wheelchair users.  This is why the team at EZ-ACCESS wanted to take this opportunity to offer suggestions on working with students in wheelchairs.

  1. Don’t assume assistance is needed.

Always ask if assistance is needed before helping the student.  Also, never assume this student can’t do something because of their wheelchair.  Focus on the fact that the wheelchair allows this student to participate, not prevent them from participating.

  1. Face to face discussions are important.

If you’re interacting with this student for more than a minute, be sure to get to their level and have a face-to-face discussion.

  1. Provide a clear path.

Evaluate the organization of your desks as well as access to each area of the school so that you can help direct this student to the ideal path for them to take.  Consider if you were to invite a wheelchair user to your home.  How would you plan to accommodate them?  Be sure to anticipate their needs.

  1. During transfers, keep wheelchair within reach.

Familiarize yourself with how your student will need to transfer for washroom visits as well as transportation.  If you’re helping the student transfer, it is important to keep their wheelchair within their reach.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the student’s history.

Our final suggestion is that you develop an understanding of your student’s physical and emotional needs.  Learn about your student’s history from his/her parents as well as outside agencies.

Using these five tips, you will not only help your student reach his/her full potential in your classroom; you’ll also set a standard for how the rest of the class is to treat this student.  Our hope is that your excellent example will inspire your students to go out and spark a change in how society views individuals with disabilities.  Thank you in advance for being the change we all hope to see in the world!

How to Stay Motivated During Tough Times

motivation tough times

In the mobility and accessibility industry, we are constantly reminded that life is hard and can change in an instant.  Whether you’ve recently become a wheelchair user, you are experiencing financial strain, going through difficult times in your family or having trouble in your career, it’s hard to stay motivated and keep moving forward.  At EZ-ACCESS, we learn about difficult situations in mobility daily, so we thought today would be the perfect day to offer suggestions on how to stay motivated during tough times.

Start Small

Looking at the situation as a whole can be intimidating, but breaking it down into small steps that are reached and celebrated will traditionally lead to greater motivation.  Some of you may be in too deep to even see the light at the end of the tunnel, which can make it hard to keep going, but with small achievements, you’ll find the will to keep moving forward.

Remember Why

While we just suggested celebrating baby steps, it is important to keep the final goal in your sights.  Keep in mind why you are cutting back spending, getting up early for exercise or continuing to dedicate time to a job that you dislike.  This way, when things get hard and you forget why you are begrudgingly completing this task, you’ll be reminded of the end goal and keep going.

Keep it in Perspective

When we are dealing with a difficult life situation, we can often lose sight of the aspects of our life that are going well.  Remember to keep the difficult part of your life in perspective and don’t let it the positive areas of your life such as family relationships.

Limit Yourself

Learn how to keep a healthy balance.  Some individuals tend to get lost in the difficult situation and forget to balance with breaks from the situation.  Take breaks to spend with family, with your hobbies or on your own with a good book.  When you return to the task at hand, you’ll be able to look at it more objectively.

Most importantly, find the good in your situation and try to witness personal growth, and also ask for help.  EZ-ACCESS works with vendors and customers to help find the best solution for mobile accessibility.  If you’re struggling to navigate your home as a new mobility user, reach out to EZ-ACCESS and let us know your situation so that we can help!

Keep Calm and Clean Your Wheelchair

clean wheelchair

Do you have the most beautiful wheelchair on the block?  If not, now it the perfect time to earn that title.  This month, we celebrate National Wheelchair Beautification Month by identifying the most effective ways to keep your wheelchair looking shiny and new all year long.  Come along with the EZ-ACCESS team as we describe everything from spot cleaning your nylon seat to maintaining ball bearings!

Wheelchair Cleaning

  • Wipe down entire wheelchair WEEKLY
  • Apply car wax to wheelchair frame
  • Use multipurpose cleaning on marks

Cushion Cleaning

  • Remove cover
  • Machine wash on warm/cold and gentle cycle with mild detergent (no bleach)
  • Air dry (do not tumble dry)
  • Clean cushion by following manufacturer instructions as there are many types out there

Spot Cleaning Nylon Seat

  • Place a towel under the wheelchair to catch drips
  • Spray multi-purpose cleaning on spot or spill
  • Wipe from outside in with microfiber cloth
  • Use clean cloth to wipe down after spot is gone
  • Dampen entire site for even drying
  • Allow to completely dry before use

Maintaining Your Wheelchair

  • Check for loose nuts and bolts MONTHLY
  • Check all function such as removable parts, tilt and fold mechanisms and locks
  • Check wheel tire pressure and tread
  • Pick and clean wheel axle completely
  • Check frame for cracks or breaks in metal and report problems to dealer
  • Lubricate folding mechanism YEARLY
  • Check wheel alignment MONTHLY

Wheelchair cleaning and maintenance is vital when it comes to performance, safety and reliability, and can greatly extend the life of your wheelchair.  Although EZ-ACCESS does not provide wheelchairs or wheelchair cleaner, we do carry wheelchair accessories such as covers, chair packs and underneath carriers as well as a full line of wheelchair ramps to help you safely get you where you need to go.   Contact EZ-ACCESS and see how we can help make your life more accessible!

Celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month with Accessible Outdoor Activities

accessible recreation

July is National Parks & Recreation Month and we at EZ-Access want to help you get out and enjoy your local parks, trails and summertime activities! From identifying easily accessible outdoor areas to joining a local adaptive sports team, EZ-Access is prepared to get you involved with Parks and Recreation Month.

Identifying Accessible Parks and Trails

In recent years, new guidelines have been put in place to help make parks and trails more easily accessible for those with limited mobility. Newer or recently updated parks will be your best bet when looking for a park that can support your mobility needs. These newer parks and trails should include modifications such as wider trails, smoother surfaces, a decrease in hills and major slopes, and accessible routes to campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, etc.

Summertime Adaptive Sports

Many communities offer adaptive sports for those with disabilities. From golfing to kayaking, there are a variety of adaptive sports available in the summer months for both kids and adults. These modified sports can include adaptive equipment or rules, offer exciting exercise to get you active and can provide comradery and friendship by working with a team. Interested in trying a specific sport? Disabled Sports USA has resources for adaptive sports all across America.

Get Involved

If you are interested in getting outdoors, spending time in the park or joining an adaptive sports program, research what your community offers. There are many national organizations that help get accessible parks and recreational activities in cities across the United States. There may even be a local organization near you! Consider joining an organization that helps provide communities with accessible outdoor areas or an organization that helps develop adaptive sports programs for local communities.

EZ-Access hopes that you will join in the celebration of National Parks & Recreation Month and get involved with your community. As always, feel free to visit us or contact us today if you have any home or commercial accessibility questions!

Preventing Heat Stroke in your Wheelchair

wheelchair heat stroke

The summer is heating up which means the risk of heat stroke is on the rise. Those who are in wheelchairs are at an even higher risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. If not prevented, a heat stroke can leave a person with vital organ damage and can even be fatal. EZ-ACCESS wants to help you understand how to prevent heat strokes to protect yourself while using your wheelchair during the hot summer months.

Avoid the hottest part of the day – If you are planning to head outside, it is important to do so at the appropriate time of day. Schedule your outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day such as the early morning or late evening. Stay in air-conditioned buildings during the hot hours of the day.

Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated is important for anybody who plans to be outside in the summer.  It is import to drink plenty of water before, during and after you spend time in the sun. If your body is properly hydrated, it will be able to cool itself off in case you start to overheat. Avoid soda and alcohol as these drinks can quickly lead to dehydration.

Keep a caregiver close – It is important to make sure someone is with you or knows you are going outside.  Having someone close can help remind you to drink water and get you to those cooler outdoor spots, like shade under a tree. Also, in case an emergency did happen, a caregiver would be able to properly and promptly be able to help if you are unable or unconscious.

Remember, if you ever feel dizzy, headachy, muscle cramps, weakness or nauseas get out of the heat and cool down as soon as possible. If you have shortness of breath, hot/dry skin, chest pains or feel confused, call 9-1-1 immediately.

EZ-ACCESS hopes you enjoy your summer staying safe and cool in your wheelchair! Check out our website for more information on our portable mobility ramps and wheelchair storage equipment!

Tips to Travel Safe with Your Wheelchair for National Safety Month

wheelchair travel safety

Are you planning a summer vacation, but you’re unsure what precautions to take to keep you and your mobility equipment safe?  The EZ-ACCESS team understands your concerns.  In honor of National Safety Month, here are a few items to keep in mind when traveling with your mobility device this summer.

  1. Use Your Portable Mobility Ramp Safely

Mobility ramps are our area of expertise and we can’t stress enough how important it is to use your portable mobility ramp in the way it was designed to be used.  This means to only use your ramp at the proper incline, be mindful of weight restrictions and store properly to avoid injury.

  1. Take Along Backup Equipment

Be prepared for anything by remembering to pack replacement parts and backup batteries/chargers.  If your mobility device is battery operated, what is your plan of action in case of a power outage?

  1. Beat the Heat

Heat and hydration is extremely important in the summer, especially for wheelchair users.  Have a plan for staying hydrated throughout the day and know the signs of heat stroke.  Watch for our next blog where we cover the signs of dehydration and heat stroke in detail.

  1. Plan Ahead

Be prepared for any accessibility issues beforehand.  You can do this by calling the places you are visiting to discuss your needs.  This will give you more peace-of-mind and allow the hotel, restaurant or other destination to prepare for your arrival.

Now that you know these four simple precautions, go out and enjoy your summer.  Remember to use your ramp correctly, bring replacements, stay hydrated and call ahead.  If you have questions about how to properly use your portable mobility ramp, contact the helpful customer service team at EZ-ACCESS!