Ableize Shortlisted - Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year

As the owner of Ableize I was shortlisted as Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year but sadly never made it through to the top three, not sure how long the shortlist applicants will remain on the Leonard Cheshire Disability site but for those that want to waste a few minutes at their time my profile along with other Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year shortlisted applicants can be found here

The award is organised by Stelios, owner of EasyJet and is in its fifth year and offers 50 K to the winner with two runners-up receiving 1K each to help with growing their business.

Shame I didn't make it I was going to invite you all to the pub!


Life's a Bitch - Then You Need a Stairlift

This week I finally bit the bullet and had to give in and admit that I'm no longer safe to climb the stairs, basically I had three options. 1 move from my lovely four-bedroom house that I'm proud of and worked hard to get. 2 continue struggling on the stairs knowing that one day I would inevitably fall. 3 install a pesky stairlift.

Having already upped my life insurance I have finally given in and admitted that a stairlift is the only real option, don't get me wrong, stair and chair lifts are a great device but when you finally admit to needing one and having one installed it's like admitting another thing that you can no longer do, i.e. my stair climbing days are numbered, on top of this you are also giving in to the fact that you are getting older and less capable as the years to by, another hard thing to admit.

However as a tetraplegic wheelchair user with a severe spinal injury from the age of 17 and told on day one that I would never walk and then fighting just short of a year with eight hours a day full-on physiotherapy to prove the medical world wrong I am proud as well as grateful that I managed to tackle stairs as well as walk; albeit short distances up until the ripe old age of 52; as they keep telling me, it was major achievement but it doesn't make it any easier when this bleating one eyed monster assists you up the wooden hill.


Making a Head Injury Claim

I have had a few enquiries through Ableize directory and forum lately asking for advice about head injury claims, I'm no expert and certainly won't pretend to be so I've taken the liberty of asking a professional body to offer an insight. Details are listed below.

A head or brain injury is probably the most frightening, unpredictable and deadly type of injury. In a lot of cases, the injured are left with permanent damage and in many cases disabled as a result of head and brain injuries. Many doctors refer to these injuries as “talk and die” because many people don’t realise they are hurt, when they could actually be bleeding in the brain. This means that side effects and disabilities can see late onsets. It’s therefore imperative that anyone who suffers any sort of head injury, whether from a fall, sports injury, or car accident, seek immediate medical attention and have a doctor check for symptoms of serious injury that may change your life. Some of the symptoms to look out for are glassy eyes, confusion, nausea, headaches and unexplained tiredness.

Not only is it important for health and safety reasons to go to the hospital immediately after a head injury, but having hospital records will be very useful in the event of a future claim.

What should you look for?

It is critical that whichever lawyer you choose has the right experience in dealing with the specialised nature of brain injury claims; instructing a non specialist can mean your claim is not properly assessed.

One of the great things about the internet is that it allows you to undertake research that goes well beyond word of mouth. Finding a reputable and caring solicitors firm is vital. Local support groups may enable you to meet other victims, who may have gone through the process and can provide recommendations.

What should you expect?

Once you have identified a Solicitor ask if they offer a free of charge initial meeting at a place of your choice, so you can meet them face to face, ask them about their personal brain injury experience, and get a feel for them. You are likely to be working with this person for a considerable time, and it is vital that you can trust them, and feel confident in having them represent you.

It is normally helpful to take a trusted friend or family member with you. They can take a note, and may think of questions that don’t cross your mind.

Once you have decided upon your choice of lawyer meet with them again, and ask for their advice about the likely stages of your case, and timescales. Ask for a copy of their initial advice and their case plan in writing, so you have a document setting out the steps the lawyer anticipates taking. Of course it is not possible to plot the timeline for your case precisely at the outset, but a written outline can help you as you have something to refer back to as your claim progresses.

What can you do to help your lawyer?

There are a number of basic things you can do to help your lawyer progress your case. Ask at the outset what information they would like from you. This could include payslips, invoices for expenses you have incurred, diaries outlining care needs, medical appointments and improvements etc. Respond to their letters or enquiries are soon as you are able. Remember to tell them if you change your email address or phone number. You’ll be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. These simple things can save your lawyer time, and help them to quantify your claim.

This post was prepared for Ableize on request by Joanne Berry, who works for UK based Solicitors Pannone. Pannone are specialists in head injury services.


Ableize Disability Directory Reaches the Magic 3 Million Hits

Ableize disability was created due to the frustration of receiving poor search results when looking for information about specific disabilities, health problems, local disabled clubs, and services such as disabled education as well as products and services etc. The directory has established itself as the largest and most viewed disability and mobility aids site not only in the UK and Ireland but within Europe and most worldwide destinations.

The site not only offers you the chance to view a collection of almost 3000 sites and 450 specific categories but provides a great outlet for businesses to share their product ideas and new daily living aids that make our lives just a little bit easier.

Ableize disability information and services directory continues to grow from strength to strength and has recently hit the 3 million unique visitors mark.

If you haven't done so already please take a flick through Ableize, you will be surprised not only by the vast amount of content but also by the quality of the sites that are there for you to make your life that little bit easier.


Luggie Mobility Scooter Review

Been looking at lightweight mobility scooters lately, I don't often deliberately promote disability and mobility aids but every now and then a little gem jumps up and bites me so it would be silly not to share them with others that could get the benefit of them. One that really grabbed my attention is called the Luggie, it is a really neat folding lightweight mobility scooter, ideal for popping in the car for holidays, nipping around the supermarket or those days out to enjoy our new found UK sunshine (don't hold your breath it won't last!)

OK, there are a ton of folding mobility scooters out there, I hear you cry but the Luggie offers a new and innovative design, after folding, the telescopic control tiller forms part of the handle in a similar way to a suitcase and it has specially designed wheels so it can be wheeled about similar to a suitcase. I am guessing that's where the name came from i.e Luggie/luggage.

The Luggie has a lightweight lithium battery, height adjustable tiller, folding seat and folds up to 17.5 inches wide and just 25 inches tall and comes in a choice of five exciting colours.
Check out the Luggie at  www.luggiescooters.com 


Customer Service Really Is Everything

Some time back I purchased an electric exercise machine called a Mini Walker, this is an excellent disabled exercise aid that enables wheelchair user such as myself to exercise their legs as this does all the turning for you electronically.

While the product purchase may be excellent the company selling them has a lot to be desired, let me explain. After using the unit a few times it was evident that I needed wider foot straps, I say evident I would have thought that it would have been obvious that many people that use these electronic exercises may well have swollen feet and because of that would require wider straps to enable the foot to fit completely into the unit. Okay all sounds simple enough, just contact the company and ask them if they can do wider straps, problem solved, or so you would think!

Coopers of Stortford that sell these units are very good indeed at selling them but when it comes to customer service, (one of the most important factors you should consider when purchasing online) they are probably amongst the worst I've ever come across and that really is saying something.

I contacted Coopers of Stortford by e-mail on May 18, I immediately received an automated reply back that says:
To enable us to deal with your enquiry efficiently, we would ask that
you allow up to 7 working days to receive our response. Please do not
resend or chase during this time as this may cause further delay.

On June 1 (14 days later) and still no reply I contacted them again and as of today June 10 (total 23 days) surprise surprise there is still no reply!

The unit that cost me one pound short of £100 today sheared a pedal off while I was using it! So I am now seething after throwing £100 down the swanny without a hope in hell of receiving a reply from a company that is very keen to take my money but not so keen to provide any form of after sales service.

Coopers of Stortford consider yourselves named and shamed. Disabled people have a massive £84 billion a year spending power in the UK, that does not mean we should be ignored when things go wrong!

Mobility scooters and buggies from argos


Disabled Computer Aid - Dragon Naturally Speaking

Just popping in a quick entry to share my experiences of voice activation and dictation systems.

Many years ago I purchased and tried a voice-activation system, it drove me up the wall and simply made me frustrated. So it threw it to the back of the cupboard. It took me some persuading with a friend, constantly telling me how much they had improved, so I dived in, brushed the mothballs out of my wallet and purchased DragonDictate aka Dragon Naturally Speaking.

All I can say is I'm totally and utterly amazed by the system, I am able to use the keyboard, but after typing for several hours a day as I often do, I find myself in pain and not really wanting to continue. You can not only write in Microsoft Word, and all online applications such as this one, but you can also have complete control of your PC, example, you can open and close programmes and basically do just about everything you can with a mouse.

What may surprise you, is the fact that I'm writing this entire article using DragonDictate, okay, I've made a few mistakes, but that's mainly due to the fact that I've only had the software for less than 48 hours.

I'd also like to hear from others that have the programme and have been using it for some time.

Right, so that's my hands freed up and probably saved a few bob in the process by not having to forever replace the keyboard that seems to constantly be having the letters wearing away.

Here is a YouTube video clip that will amaze you. I'm also including a link to purchase it by Amazon, if you don't believe me how good it is. You really need to try it! Trust me, I'm a guy that doesn't like spending money and I take some persuading!!

I'm getting to the age now where I have decided to try to make my life easier wherever possible, why not do the same and get Dragon Dictate today and take the hassle out of typing!


Considered a disabled sport?

Most people with a physical or mobility disability will frown on taking up a sport, mainly due to a fear that they wont be able to do it, they will look silly or that they won’t be able to compete at a reasonable level. As a disabled person myself I can relate to all of these.

But get over those barriers and you may well find the reward far greater than you realised, firstly remember that you are not alone, every disabled person that has taken up a social activity or sport felt the same on day one

There are tons of disabled clubs dedicated to enjoying a range of sports, hobbies etc and most (if not all) will be there to cater for your needs.

A few disabled sports (click the link) to consider are horse riding, swimming, archery, basket ball and all offer great benefits, socially and of course physically to help improve your mobility as well as being great for rehabilitation. I’m not here to preach, just to show you some of the disabled sports out there waiting to be enjoyed.


One bright day in the middle of the night

Just had to share this with you.

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back-to-back they faced one another,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came and shot the two dead boys.
A paralyzed donkey walking by,
Kicked the copper in the eye,
Sent him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.
(If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man -- he saw it too!)


Disabled Cruise Holidays

Cruise ship access for the disabled:
Not having had a holiday for about five years, I was finally persuaded by the trouble and strife to take her away, we checked out accessible cruises and it seems to be an ideal hol for the less mobile, no accessible hotels to worry about finding, no worry about finding restaurants or getting from A to B etc, its all on hand.

If you choose a big cruise ship it will have plenty to do and loads of chilling out to be had, well that's the plan, will let you know.

Most modern cruise ships have fully adapted disabled cabins, loads of lifts giving access to all levels and many have accessible travel laid on for excursions ashore if you want.

One bit of advice for wheelchair users if interested is try to get a cruise that leaves and returns to the same port so you can avoid all the messing about being man-handled on and off planes if choosing a fly cruise option.

Will give you all an update when done and dusted, in the meantime if anbody has got any advice i'd love it hear it.


Advice on Buying a Disabled Vehicle

Today, the UK Mobility Scheme has made it so much easier for a family with a disabled family member to travel around more comfortably – and conveniently. The scheme provides a chance for disabled individuals to have some independence back in their lives through the opportunities of disabled cars and wheelchair access vehicles designed for everyday travel in and around the UK.

More About the Mobility Scheme

There are many ways that the UK government can help financially those living with a disability; vehicles and transport is one of the key areas of help available. The UK Mobility Scheme can help with anyone in need of a wheelchair, scooter, a car or a van for getting around. Those who are eligible in this scheme will be able to exchange their mobility allowance for a vehicle from a registered supplier. If you are looking for a new vehicle, always be sure to choose a recommended supplier with all the right credentials. Allied Mobility is the UK’s leading supplier of disabled vehicles and can offer a whole range of vehicles including cars which can be driven from the wheelchair or cars with wheelchair access at the back.

Other benefits you will receive include the Blue Badge Parking Scheme and vehicle tax exemption. To claim for tax reduction, find out more information and learn how to apply on the Gov.uk information website.

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Needs

The advancements in the technology now provide a full range of options for people living with disabilities. To find the right vehicle, always speak to a leading supplier to discuss the options available.

Wheelchair accessible cars, like many modern day vehicles, are now available either new or used. So if you are funding the costs of the car on your own, you will have a number of options across all price ranges. Financing is often available with disabled vehicles should you not qualify for the Mobility Scheme discounts.

Another option is the self-drive disabled vehicle which allows a wheelchair user to drive the car from their wheelchair. This amazing advancement promotes an independent life and makes travel much easier. The Peugeot Impulse is one of these incredible modern motors; with a ramp installed at the back and a spacious rear area, it offers the flexibility of being driven up front or for wheelchair users to travel as a passenger.

The Peugeot Impulse offers families an all-round vehicle that can be used in any situation. To find out more about this car and how it drives, take a look at this YouTube video.


Disabled man not allowed to use his wheelchair

36 year old disabled guy Jim Starr purchased a special tracked wheelchair to get access to the countryside and the beach and has been told he CANNOT use it in any public areas unless the takes and passes a driving test similar to the test tank drivers need to pass.

I guess the bureaucrats think Jim's mighty machine will do damage to the beach, hell best ban kids digging on the beach then and doing dreadful things like moving the sand about to build castles.

One reason Jim bought the machine was because the countryside is unaccessible to his standard wheelchair, well Jim i'd say you carry on buddy and if they try to stop you ask them why they are failing under the DDA to make reasonable adjustments to footpaths and public council owned areas for wheelchairs!

View video By CLICKING here
Also see Ableize Countryside Disabled Access.


Government plans stop paying DLA

The Government has said that it plans to stop paying Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component to people living in residential care from October 2012.

This will have a massive impact on the independence of thousands of disabled people. It will mean that many will no longer be able to meet extra costs like a taxi when there's no accessible public transport, an electric wheelchair or an adapted car.

Please help by signing the petition by clicking this link, it will only take a few seconds and could make a massive difference.