Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Handicap Van Conversion

I put some hand controls on the steering wheel. Attached them to the brake and the accelerator so I can push forward on it to brake the car and pull back for some acceleration. Takes a bit of time to get a handle of it. With the hand controls, I added some knob controls for easier wheel moving. Also, buttons that control lights and windows right near the wheel.

A hoist on top of my van for the wheelchair. Make sure to check if it's not too high for some parking locations, otherwise the wheelchair might prevent you from parking. Secure the hoist tightly to the roof or get a rack on top if necessary.

Installed a elevated car seat for better viewing and comfortability.

Make sure to get a car that you plan on keeping because these changes might become permanent and affect your future sale of the car.

This modification has definitely allowed me to be more independent and drive to locations I want without asking or hoping for some assistance. Take the plunge for the van conversion if you want to be more independent.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Call Location For Handicap Access

Even though there are regulations in place, in the United States, which calls for disability building requirements, many locations lack handicap access. Call and check if they have a handicap ramp in place that meets the regulation guidelines of at minimum 12 inches length for every 1 inch of rise. This refers to the slope of the ramp.

Ask if their hallways and aisles have enough ample room for wheelchair and scooter turns.
Check if their bathroom have rails or grab bars to provide for wheelchair to toilet transfers.
Are there elevators, platform lifts or ramps within the building complex to get from one floor level to the next?
Are there automatically opening doors or easy to push/pull doors that a wheelchair/scooter or weakened mobility person can open and close by themselves?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bathroom Experience with Wheelchair Disability

Now you all may have been in a situation where you had to use a public bathroom but came across poor attempts at building an ADA compliant bathroom. Grab bars are all in the wrong places and things just do not work for anyone who has a handicap. This was my experience and I hope none of you ever get in this situation.

Everything seemed fine as I entered the building. The ramps were all at regulation height, extending 12 inches for every 1 inch in height. There was a landing spot for me and a push handle on the door, so I could easily get through. I had high hopes for this building because the front area was very wheelchair accessible.

For some reason, I had to check out the bathroom and see if it was also complaint with the rest of the building. Unfortunately, it was not and I was quite disappointed by the layout. First the handicap bathroom was located at the farthest area from the bathroom entrance. Inside the bathroom there was ample space but the grab bars were placed far away from the toilet, where I would actually need the use of it. Needless to say, if anyone had to use this bathroom, I could not imagine how difficult it would be just to transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet.

As I came out from the toilet area to attempt to wash my hands, there was no opening underneath the faucet for a wheelchair to slide into. Some people are unable to reach forward and activate the water, so without this empty opening, it would be impossible for anyone to wash their hands. This also increases the chances from water falling from the faucet onto the individual.

No mirrors either! There were no mirrors that showed someone from the bottom to the top. For a standing individual, you can see from the waist up. For someone sitting, you would see their face. That is not very helpful if you want to fix your attire.

Now for most people, they put their best efforts into creating a handicapped accessible building on the exterior but fail miserably on the interior. What's the point of entering a building if you are unable to use the facilities? This should be more of a learning experience for someone rather than sounding like a rant on things that went wrong. Everyone just wants to be comfortable in their surroundings. Help others by checking your environment and see if they meet the ADA requirements.