Visit HDS Medallion at Houston Abilities Expo July 31 – August 2

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Abilities Expo, Walker Bags, Wheelchair Bags | 0 comments

HDS Medallion bags Houston Abilities ExpoHouston Abilities Expo will be held from Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2 at NRG Center (formerly Reliant Center) in Hall E. HDS Medallion is excited to be a part of this important event.

Abilities Expo offers members of the disabled community an opportunity to gather and learn about many products and services that can help improve their lives. Visitors can learn about new technology and products, participate in dance and sports, attend informative workshops, and learn about service animals.

Come visit HDS Medallion at our booth (#500) at Houston Abilities Expo and see our selection of designer wheelchair and walker bags. We will be offering all of our bags at discounted prices at the Expo. Our Demi-Premier bags will be 5 percent off (including new bags), Premier and Metro bags will be 10 percent off, and Classic bags will be 15 percent off. We will be selling pashminas for $2.50 below the regular price. If you buy a bag, you can also get a pashmina for just $12.50, regardless of the original price.

We will be selling two of our new bags in Houston. Our Demi-Paisley Pink and Blue bags are based on our best-selling Premier bags. They have a beautiful jewel-colored paisley on a black background.

Come meet us, Carol Rady, Co-Owner, and Sharon Richardson, Designer of HDS Medallion Bags. We are very interested in what kinds of bags you would like to see added to our collections. You can enter a drawing to win a wheelchair, power chair, mobility scooter or walker bag of your choice. You can also meet our adorable mascot, Abby, a fuzzy teddy bear with a slicker raincoat, fancy bow, and sweet expression. She is in a wheelchair with a matching bag sewn by Sharon. We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at Houston Abilities Expo.

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Nike Creates Shoes for People with Disabilities

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in General | 0 comments

Nike LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE sneakersNike responded to a request from a teenager with cerebral palsy and designed a new line of sneakers specifically for people with disabilities.

Matthew Walzer wrote an open letter to Nike in 2012, when he was 16. He said he was able to dress himself independently, but he still needed his parents to help him tie his shoes. He found that frustrating and embarrassing. He wanted to become more independent so he could attend college. Walzer is now a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Nike developed the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE sneaker in response to Walzer’s request. Nike worked with him for three years on testing prototypes. Designers talked to other individuals with disabilities and learned that being able to put shoes on easily was just as important as the lacing system.

The new shoes are an “easy-entry footwear system.” They have a larger opening at the back to make it easier for wearers to slide their feet in and out. Instead of laces, they have a wrap-around zipper system that secures the shoes.

Nike was unable to create a universal solution because different people have varying levels of mobility. However, the company believes FLYEASE is a significant development for people who seek more independence.

LeBron Solider 8 FLYEASE sneakers began to be sold in limited quantities on Nike.com on July 16. The company is working on other FLYEASE styles.

Walzer was surprised by the response from Nike. He had expected to simply receive a letter politely acknowledging his request. He is extremely grateful to Nike for designing the new shoes.

It is encouraging to see Nike take the request of someone with a disability to heart and work to create products that can help others with similar limitations. We hope that more companies will follow suit and create products to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

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New Opportunities for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Disability News | 0 comments

disability job opportunitiesJob seekers with disabilities have more opportunities than they did in the past thanks to new legislation and initiatives that encourage employers to hire qualified workers with disabilities.

This year is the first full year of Section 503 regulations, which encourage federal contractors to create workforces that include at least 7 percent workers with disabilities. The Workforce Investment Opportunity Act helps students with disabilities pursue their chosen career paths after high school. State Medicaid buy-in programs that let people with disabilities work without losing their benefits are becoming more popular.

Think Beyond the Label, an advocacy group for disabled workers, recently conducted a survey that found that job seekers with disabilities use many of the same tools as other job seekers. Most would also use targeted job boards and network with employers who want to hire individuals with disabilities.

Employers are usually not permitted to ask about disabilities during the hiring process. One exception is the Section 503 voluntary disability disclosure form used by federal contractors.

Think Beyond the Label can help employers target workers with disabilities. The group conducts print and TV advertising campaigns that stress that labels can get in the way of employment, but disabilities rarely do. It has created a community of 7,000 disabled job seekers and has helped to connect them with employers who are actively seeking workers from that group. Job seekers disclose the fact that they have a disability, and then employers can focus on their skills and experience.

Think Beyond the Label hosts quarterly online career fairs where candidates can interview with recruiters from their chosen employers. Since 2012, 2,500 job seekers, 350 recruiters, and 50 businesses have participated.

Employers have found that job seekers with disabilities are often highly qualified. Over 60 percent of the job seekers in Think Beyond the Label’s community have five or more years of relevant experience, and they are more likely to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree than the general population of job seekers.

Think Beyond the Label plans to expand its programs to include mentoring and networking opportunities. The group is also developing more partnerships with universities and businesses.

While challenges remain, job prospects for workers with disabilities are improving. We support the efforts of job seekers with disabilities and groups that are working to make a difference on their behalf.

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New York City Hosts Events in Honor of ADA

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Disability News | 0 comments

ADA25NYC disability pride paradeTo mark the 25th anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of New York announced ADA25NYC. This series of events is intended to honor the achievements of the disability rights movement and support the future of the disabled community.

ADA25NYC is a celebration that will be held throughout the summer and the rest of 2015. The goal is to inspire New Yorkers to set and expect new standards for accessibility in the city and beyond.

The campaign is a collaboration involving the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, dozens of organizations that serve people with disabilities, cultural institutions, sports and recreational facilities, and community groups from across the city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared July “Disability Pride Month.” New York’s first annual Disability Pride Parade was held on Sunday, July 12. Over 3,000 people participated in the parade. They traveled up Broadway using wheelchairs, canes, and guide dogs. Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, who sponsored the ADA 25 years ago, served as grand marshal. He stressed the contributions that people with disabilities make to the workforce.

A series of commemorative lectures and seminars will be held at CUNY campuses throughout New York City. The ADA Legacy Tour will visit the city, and an exhibit called “Gaining Access: The New York City Disability Rights Movement” will be open to the public at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The ADA Sapolin Awards will honor significant contributions to the cause of accessibility. Several other events will be held across New York City.

De Blasio said he is proud that New York is a national leader in supporting rights for people with disabilities. He said his administration is committed to making more of the city’s taxis wheelchair accessible. Currently 4 percent are accessible. He said he wants New York to be more like London, where every taxi is wheelchair accessible.

We are excited to see New Yorkers coming together to celebrate the ADA and the contributions of the disabled community. We hope that these events and others like them across the country will increase awareness of the needs and potential of disabled people and help progress continue to be made.

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Community Raises Money to Buy Wheelchair for Disabled Boy

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Wheelchairs | 0 comments

Logan Roninger wheelchair fundraiserLogan Roninger, a 4-year-old boy who is unable to walk, has received help from strangers in his community, including a teacher who offered to sell his toy collection, to buy a wheelchair.

Logan was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that affects his muscle strength and tone, when he was 18 months old. He got his first power wheelchair when he was 2. Insurance helped his family cover the cost of the chair.

Logan loves to play outside. His parents, who are both biologists, enjoy taking him outdoors in their community of Klamath Falls, Oregon. However, as Logan got older, taking him along became more difficult.

The Roningers raised money to buy Logan a Tankchair, a power wheelchair that can go off road. They wanted to give him the opportunity to explore the outdoors as much as possible.

Their insurance company would not cover the $17,000 cost of the wheelchair. Local businesses and schools helped the family raise the money they needed. Klamath Union High School and other local schools held fundraisers during the school year and raised over $11,000.

Nat Ellis, a business and marketing teacher at Klamath Union High School, decided to pitch in to help raise the rest of the money. Over the past 25 years, he has amassed a collection of 1,139 toys from fast food restaurants. Some of the toys were given to him by students, and he bought others himself. Some were worth $30 to $60 each.

Ellis was planning to sell the toys to finance his retirement, but he decided to donate the money to the Roningers instead. He had never met the family before this year, but he wanted to help in the cause that his school was supporting. He had his students create a press release and publicize the eBay auction on social media.

The winner of the auction donated the toys back to Ellis so he could auction them again and raise more money. The second auction ended on June 16 and helped the family reach their goal. The Roningers say they feel grateful and overwhelmed at the kindness the community has shown to them and Logan.

We salute the Klamath Falls community. It’s wonderful to see everyone pitch in, and special kudos to Mr. Ellis.

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A History Lesson: The Long Road to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Disability News | 0 comments

Americans with Disabilities ActThis month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26,1990. The law was the culmination of many years of hard work and advocacy by disabled individuals and their supporters across the country. It built upon legislation that came before it and ushered in a new era of civil rights.

The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 required federal and federally-funded buildings to have accessible entrances and restrooms. The Access Board developed the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. Historian Hugh Gallagher, who used a wheelchair after being diagnosed with polio and served as a legislative aide to Senator Bob Bartlett, was instrumental in its passage.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, signed by President Richard Nixon, said that no otherwise qualified person could be discriminated against because of a disability in any program or activity that received federal assistance. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare refused to issue regulations to protect these new rights until it was sued by Dr. James L. Cherry, a veteran with quadriplegia. Officials still refused to sign the regulations, so disabled citizens and their supporters staged demonstrations in HEW offices across the country.

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which later became known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, was passed in 1975 to provide students with disabilities equal access to education. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 made it easier to travel, and the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 made it easier for disabled people to find housing.

Evan Kemp was one of the instrumental players who helped win passage of the ADA. He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 12 and began using a wheelchair after breaking his leg in 1971. He was denied jobs and a promotion and sued successfully for job discrimination in 1977. Kemp became director of the Disability Rights Center in 1980 and became the most prominent disability rights advocate in Washington. Kemp became friends with George H.W. Bush and his chief counsel, C. Boyden Gray, and advocated for people with disabilities.

Justin Dart contracted polio in 1948. He earned history and education degrees from the University of Houston, but the university refused to give him a teaching certificate because of his disability. The university is now home to the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with Disabilities, which helps students with disabilities achieve their academic goals.

Dart worked in Japan and was inspired to become involved in the disability rights movement after visiting a facility for children with polio in Vietnam. When he returned to the United States, he began serving in high-level roles, including as vice chair of the National Council on Disability. He used his own money to visit every state and territory and meet with disabled people to hear their concerns.

The National Center on Disability drafted a report called “Toward Independence” calling for a law to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. Dart became known as the “Father of the ADA.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act was a culmination of many years of hard work and growing awareness of the needs of disabled individuals. The law removed some of the remaining barriers for people with disabilities. We honor the many Americans who fought for the ADA for their contributions and hope that our country will continue to make strides toward full inclusion for all.

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Ms. Wheelchair America Empowers Women with Disabilities

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in General | 0 comments

Ms. WheelchairMs. Wheelchair America is a title awarded every year to a woman who has advocated on behalf of the more than 54 million Americans living with disabilities. At HDS Medallion, we are proud of the inspirational work that these talented women have done on behalf of people with limited mobility.

Ms. Wheelchair America’s mission is to offer an opportunity for women who use wheelchairs to successfully educate and advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Unlike traditional beauty pageants, the goal of Ms. Wheelchair America is not to choose the most attractive contestant. It is a competition that recognizes courageous women for their advocacy, achievement, communication, and presentation to choose the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for people with disabilities. Ms. Wheelchair must be able to communicate the needs and accomplishments of individuals with disabilities to the general public, business people, and legislators.

Ms. Wheelchair has several duties during her one-year reign. She educates the public about the need to eliminate architectural and attitudinal barriers, shares the achievements of people with disabilities with the public, and helps to establish programs in all 50 states to promote Ms. Wheelchair America. She visits advocacy groups, makes public appearances, and conducts radio, print, and TV interviews.

We have sold, donated, and demonstrated our stylish wheelchair and walker bags with Ms. Wheelchair of Texas, California, New Jersey, and New York and Little Ms. Wheelchair of Texas. Shameka Andrews, Ms. Wheelchair of New York, stopped by our booth at the New Jersey Abilities Expo to thank us for the bag she won and introduced us to Ms. Wheelchair America, Samantha Schroth (Wisconsin). We are happy to support these women and girls and are proud that they like our bags. We just met Ms. Wheelchair of Illinois and Wisconsin at the Chicago Abilities Expo and will be supporting them as well.

At HDS Medallion®, we salute Ms. Wheelchair America and Ms. Wheelchair from every state for the valuable work they do on behalf of the disabled community. We hope that the work of these talented women will continue to advance the causes that are important to Americans with disabilities.

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