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5 Movies About People with Disabilities

05/29/2020

The world is starting to open back up after COVID-19, however we can all do our part to reduce the spread by staying home during this long weekend. No better way to motivate yourself to stay home than a Netflix-marathon! Here are some ideas for shows that have people with disabilities in them! What are you binging?

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

This movie is an incredible story about the plight of those on the forefront of the disability rights movement in the United States. From it’s beginnings at a hippy-run summer camp, to sit-ins and protests and the community and friendship that sustained the movement all along the way, this movie is both incredibly powerful, moving, inspiring, humorous and overall a must-watch. 

The trailer can be found here: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

The Fundamentals of Caring

This movie is a fun and witty watch! It is about a man named Ben who suffers a personal tragedy, and quits his job to become a caregiver for Trevor, a teen with Muscular Dystrophy. The two embark on a road trip and chaos ensues. While the story centers around the client-caregiver relationship, it emphasises the human-ness in the relationship and does not leverage Trevor’s disability for cheap tear-jerking in the way Hollywood typically does. 

The trailer can be found here: The Fundamentals of Caring

Raising Dion

In this super-hero show, Sammi Haney, a 9 years old who uses a wheelchair, plays the main character (Dion)’s friend Esperanza. She is his wise friend, who helps keep Dion out of trouble (as much as she can!). This show is fun for the whole family and definitely worth a watch!

The trailer can be found here: Raising Dion

Switched at Birth

Looking to brush up on your ASL? Look no further than Switched at Birth! This show is about girls who find out they were switched at birth. One character is hard of hearing, and played by an actress who is deaf. Much of the show is signed in ASL, and gives viewers a deeper understanding of the deaf community. 

The trailer can be found here: Switched at Birth

Breathe

The story of a man who is unable to breathe independently, but refuses to live in the confines of a hospital for his life. Him and his wife embrace the technological innovations available to them to be able to leave the hospital, and embrace life together. This movie shows the importance of technology to destroy the barriers facing people with disabilities from living independently. It shows how far adaptive technology has come. To learn more about adaptive technology and the importance of it to support independence, check out Braze Mobility Blind Spot Sensors for Wheelchairs

The trailer can be found here: Breathe

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Finalists announced in startup competition that will showcase technology-based solutions for seniors and caregivers

05/28/2020

Fifteen Canadian startups have been chosen to compete in this year’s AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge, it was announced today.

Finalists will be challenged to explain how their technology-based solution can positively impact older Canadians or their caregivers.

Five finalists will compete in each of three virtual events reflecting the broad spectrum of innovation that exists in Canada’s AgeTech sector. The winner at each event will receive $20,000 in cash, plus in-kind prizes.

Finalists in Competition #1 (June 18 livestream):

  • eNable Analytics
  • HomeEXCEPT
  • Novalte
  • ServUs Health
  • Sparrow Acoustics

Finalists in Competition #2 (July 9 livestream):

  • Able Innovations
  • Braze Mobility
  • Neurofit
  • Stabilo Medical
  • VitalTracer

Finalists in Competition #3 (Sept 29 livestream, in conjunction with the BC Seniors Living Association annual conference):

  • GTCare
  • MatchWork
  • Seven Movements
  • Tochtech Technologies
  • Virtual Gym

Read about the finalists here.

To register to watch the first two pitch events via livestream, please visit the competition main page. Registered audience members will have a chance to win a Kobo eReader.

Each event also includes a lively panel discussion on the future of AgeTech and its impact on areas such as brain health.

“The need for technologies and services that benefit older Canadians and caregivers is more apparent than ever in these challenging times,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Co-Director and CEO of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence. “This competition will spotlight top Canadian startups whose innovations can support the health and quality of life of seniors and those who care for them.”

The competition will also support entrepreneurship in Canada’s AgeTech sector, and advance our country’s leadership in technology-based solutions that benefit people everywhere, Dr. Mihailidis said.

AGE-WELL, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network, brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians.

AGE-WELL thanks all startups and entrepreneurs who submitted applications to the AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge, and congratulates the finalists. Each finalist will deliver a 5-minute pitch, followed by a 5-minute Q&A with a panel of expert judges.

Thank you to the sponsors of this competition: Aging2.0 Local I Halifax Chapter, BC Seniors Living Association, Bereskin & Parr LLP, CARP, IBM Canada Ltd., Impact Centre, Innovacorp, Innovation PEI, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, Ontario Brain Institute, Spectrum Health Care, and YouAreUNLTD.

newswire.ca/news-releases/finalists-announced-in-startup-competition-that-will-showcase-technology-based-solutions-for-seniors-and-caregivers-814690251.html

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Preparing for Emergencies When Using a Wheelchair: Healthcare

05/24/2020

s the world faces the COVID-19 crisis, it is time to evaluate what emergency preparedness means for the disability community and wheelchair-users in particular. The focus of this article is the development of the health care accessibility standard for people with disabilities. This advice is written by Terri-Lynn Langdon who is a resident of Ontario, Canada and uses a wheelchair. The opinions expressed are Terri-Lynns, and should not replace medical advice. 

The healthcare concerns of the wheelchair-using community demands attention every-day in order to continue to make healthcare services and options increasingly accessible to all of us, and no time for this is more crucial than during the Covid19 crisis. Here are 5 things to consider when advocating for yourself in the healthcare system to ensure you are ready for whatever the happens.

  1. If you do not have a family doctor, reach out to your local health care network and inform them of your situation, and ask to be advised on next steps. In Ontario, contact Health Care Connect http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/healthcareconnect/pro/
  2. If there are non-essential medical needs during this time, speak to your healthcare provider about accessing your appointment remotely through tele-health or delaying it until after COVID-19 concerns are controlled.
  3. For essential care needs try to access a familiar clinic and use the same service as often as possible to help ensure continuity of healthcare and communications related to your healthcare visits. Make sure you let your healthcare team know what you need in order to make your healthcare experiences as accessible as possible, this includes transportation to medical appointments.
  4. In a medical emergency, you cannot control which hospital or medical team you receive care from. For this reason, keep a summary of your medical conditions, emergency contacts and medications in your wallet.
  5. Make sure that your medications are up to date and that you have access to them. Call your local pharmacy and see whether they will deliver your medications. Call ahead to pre-book delivery to ensure you are able to receive your medications on time. 

Thank you for joining us! Come back next week for the second part of the Emergency Preparedness for People Who Use Wheelchairs series. 

Sources Consulted:

Health Care Connect Ontario. Accessed Online:  http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/healthcareconnect/pro/ 

Lapofsky, D. (2019). Achieving a barrier-Free healthcare system. Osgood Hall Law School. Accessed on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2yuFz_z9V0

Medic Alert Canada (2020). Accessed Online: https://www.medicalert.ca/programs

Revoler (2020). Accessed Online: https://revolar.com/ Thompson, G. (2020). What Must Be Done to Make Ontario’s Health Care System Fully Accessible to Patients with Disabilities? Check Out the AODA Alliance’s Finalized Framework for the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard. Accessed Online: https://www.aoda.ca/what-must-be-done-to-make-ontarios-health-care-system-fully-accessible-to-patients-with-disabilities-check-out-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-framework-for-the-promised-health-care-accessibility-st/

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Image with flowers on each side and two people in the middle in a heart with one person on the left in a wheelchair

An Open Letter to Mothers with a Disability

05/10/2020

On this day of celebrating the triumphs and joy of motherhood, we want to wish all parents and mothers a wonderful day, and thank them for all of the work that they do. This blog was written by Terri-Lynn who is the mother of an 18-month old daughter, and uses a wheelchair. In this open letter, Terri-Lynn shares her experience, including the challenges and guilt that can arise as a result of societal pressures and opinions toward parents with disabilities. 

To all of the disabled mothers and parents on this day, I want to let you all know that in my mind and in my heart you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.

In a world where disabled parents are constantly questioned by ignorant others who ask, “is that child yours?” I feel the heartache of that….

In a world where disabled people are told that their genes are dangerous or unwanted, I am sending love.

In a world where you are told that your role as parents is unwanted, undesirable, unlivable, inconceivable, irresponsible, and selfish, I am sending love….

In a world where you may be told that you are a burden to society and to your own children, I am sending love….

In a world where disabled parents are often subjected to violence in the form of cutting words and myths, I am sending love.

In a world where your parenting role is validated, praised, and valued I am sending love and hope that others in the world can get to that place as well.

To all parents with a disability: I hear you, I see you, and I am holding a space of love and hope for a world that honors disabled parents and disabled women on Mother’s Day. 

I am a single-choice mom and a wheelchair-user of a 19 month old little girl. I love my daughter deeply, and we have conquered many challenges together. On February 1st of this year I sent out an SOS on Facebook for help. In hindsight, I’m unsure why I sent this particular SOS because I was offered help but ironically, I did not have time to respond. However, I do know it made me feel as if I was doing something to maybe change the course of a very bad day. 

My day went as follows: our nurturing assistant did show up but she had to leave early. All was well but Jaycie didn’t nap at all that day and by 2:30pm all of the contents of my daughters’ lunch of chicken pasta in tomato sauce and rice pudding were on the floor. I left her momentarily with some crayons and a coloring book to go pee and in that minutes long period of time the tomato sauce and rice pudding were all over the floor and the wall mixed in with toilet paper in a fantastic piece of 15 month old paper mache art. My efforts to clean this all up were met with more mess in the kitchen by my 15-month-old artist. I was about to lose my mommy-mind so, after I cleaned up my little girl, I told Jaycie we would put on her shoes and go for a walk in the halls and in the lobby. She agreed, as she is a talented runner. All was well. The day was getting better I thought, but then….

My little girl got stuck in an elevator by herself because it got jammed and refused to open. I could hear her in the elevator, but the door would not open. I yelled out to my neighbours when it appeared that the elevator went to the parking garage. The security guard was nowhere in sight. One neighbour went downstairs to the parking garage by foot; the other one called 911 to say my kiddo was stuck, alone, in the elevator. A third neighbour who was just coming in from the parking garage picked up Jaycie and brought her to the lobby. When she saw me she was laughing and was all smiles. My heart had to be revived.

In this story, on this day, all was well. But there are deep moments of guilt within that story as a wheelchair-using momma. Starting with… well if my legs worked I could have run down to the parking garage myself. If my legs worked, and if only I had enough depth-perception to drive, I might know where the parking garage is (I’ve actually never been there!). If I had more balance I could and should mop up the tomato-sauce rice pudding toilet paper-mache mess off of the floor. But, in the absence of that, most of that mess will be there in some form until tomorrow when an able-bodied person using able-bodied tools will, and can do it. None of this would have happened if we could just take the stairs!

And the very worse thought of all….yes the elevator obviously malfunctioned, that could have happened to any parent regardless of ability, but what if Jaycie went into the parking garage and because she is so small and so unexpected in that in that environment…what if she had been hit by a car!?

This is my experience of deep guilt as a disabled mother. It’s actually hard to write about.

Since the state of emergency in Toronto my extremely happy, and engaged child has become distressed some of the time because the loss of daycare and going out to play spaces and seeing friends is not possible. For the first time, I am seeing my child struggle with boredom.

And I…. love the privilege of being her mom and at the same time I’m an exhausted woman. Due to a spinal condition I am not supposed to lift anything over 20 lbs. Jaycie is well over 20 lbs and I lift her all of the time, and now many more times a day, due to a lack of her wonderful daycare. As a wheelchair- user you can’t lift anything with your legs to offset the weight as is the ‘safe-lifting procedure’ for folks with more mobility. 

And without writing a very long essay. I need to say to disabled parents and to anyone who might listen and might care that the disability community and disabled parents have been largely overlooked and forgotten in this pandemic and that is a weighty truth.

A few days ago, Jaycie was very direct in reporting “I not bebe.” She also absolutely burst into tears in the lobby a few days ago when no one would hug her or pick her up. This was a regular highlight for her and for me before the pandemic hit.

In an effort to be ‘a good mother’ I am not imposing any kind of additional changes in my young child’s life at the moment. For example, a pediatrician recommended that we give up bottles just before  the pandemic and I’ve chosen not to do that because it might represent  another loss for my child. Additionally, My child has some toys that she has grown out of including a push-cart that she doesn’t need because she runs and has great balance all on her own. But because she loves her push-cart, I’ve not rehomed it yet.

Terri-Lynn’s daughter wearing sunglasses

What I have learned in this time is that I am incredibly strong. My child just had her 18 month doctors appointment and from the point of view of that visit, Jaycie is doing great. My child is strong and resilient, and wildly intelligent and funny. I am always-already reminded of how deeply human we all are from the late night feedings, and deep mother-guilt. Occasionally my child wakes up at 3:00am just to attempt to tell me a story or sing Old Macdonald and that is to be cherished. There are also my own wild nightmares, body pain, the limits of my body faced with the limits of the pandemic and the limits of a toddler’s body-mind. There is my own mind and my own wild nightmares. And in being human- at the end of the day- there is hope.  

I have also learned that I should never have quit drinking coffee.

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