Different Spokes

Different Spokes Archives

  • NU Wrigley.jpg

    Unfriendly confinement at the Friendly Confines

    default userpic

    Anyone who has read our blog profile knows that I am a White Sox fan. In the summer of 2008, I came to further appreciate this fact. I had an unfortunate experience dealing with the Cubs Accessible Ticket Office. I have no intention of unfairly criticizing the Cubs even though they are a rival of the White Sox. Everything I am about to discuss is real.

  • US_airways_boeing_767.jpg

    U.S. Airways tells passenger he's too disabled to fly

    user-pic

    Two readers recently sent us this article regarding a U.S. Airways passenger being told that he's too disabled to fly. The man, who has cerebral palsy, has flown all over the country for his job and had never before reported any problems. It would be easy to go off on a diatribe against U.S. Air and the pilot who threw him off the plane. That's the easy reaction. But that's not the appropriate and productive reaction. Because, in a way, I understand where the pilot is coming from.

  • Lucky to be alive doesn't mean life is always easy...

    user-pic

    Dan and Chris use wheelchairs. They're lucky to be alive. They could have been more severely disabled, and both avoided mental disabilities. Both have attitudes that help people look past their wheelchairs. Both don't mind where they are in life, and know that without a disability, life could be very different. But please don't confuse gratefulness, optimism, and determination, for easy.

  • Buying accessible tickets to...anywhere

    user-pic

    If you use a wheelchair, you know that for any venue, concert, or event, you have to make sure there is accessible seating. We certainly appreciate that we have these options, but dealing with accessible seating is often limiting and frustrating. Here are some of the problems we run into:

  • Vergeer.jpg

    The most dominant athlete in the world

    user-pic

    Rafael Nadal has nothing on Esther Vergeer. Neither does Michael Jordan nor LeBron James. And Tiger Woods hasn't won a golf tournament all year, so he's nowhere close to Vergeer. But if it weren't for one of our readers, Marley, I would never have even heard of her. Vergeer just won her 5th U.S. Open women's wheelchair tennis title. And she hasn't lost any tennis match in the past 7 years. You can read more about Vergeer here.

  • Why Being In a Wheelchair Doesn't Suck

    user-pic

    One reason being in a wheelchair doesn't suck is that it's a great excuse!

  • Commercials that send the right message

    user-pic

    Last week, we showed you a commercial created by MADD, and it made many people, well, mad. Now we bring you some of the best commercials we have found! Each of these ads features wheelchair athletes, and each sends a slightly different message. Two were created by Nike, and two feature U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott, a former high school wheelchair basketball teammate of mine! Enjoy! Videos after the jump!

  • The worst commercial ever made

    user-pic

    The message sent by this commercial is horrifying. Apparently, a person who is recently disabled will have his or her life shattered completely. He can no longer go outside into the sunlight, can no longer have friends, and can no longer be in a committed relationship. His friends and loved ones will abandon him and band together to live life without him.

  • screen shot.jpg

    We're technologically advanced!

    user-pic

    Believe it or not, we're not just an incredibly interesting blog! Join the Different Spokes page on Facebook to see pictures, videos, and sneak previews of future posts. Or follow us on Twitter @Diffspokes.

  • Helping the learning-disabled prepare for college

    user-pic

    As we head into mid-August, it's time to start thinking about students either heading back to school or heading off to college. USA Today earlier this week published a tremendous article about "Project Access," a program designed to help those with learning disabilities get prepared for college. Nationwide, programs like Project Access are blossoming. As the article mentions, "the number of such programs has increased tenfold," since 2001.

  • sidewalk-closed.jpg

    Sidewalk construction: Passing the impassable

    default userpic

    I was in Chicago the other night using the sidewalk. As I got to the end of the block, I noticed that cement was missing from the walkway. Ah yes, the sidewalk was under construction. Now obviously, maintaining the sidewalk is a completely reasonable goal for any city. However, as happens all too often, I was not able pass by on the portion that was being repaired. The city did not provide adequate signage to alert me to the obstacle ahead.

  • Why Being in a Wheelchair Doesn't Suck

    user-pic

    There are a lot of reasons using a wheelchair really sucks. You can't lift the chair during the Horah at a wedding, Dance Dance Revolution is a challenge, and puddles have a whole different meaning for you than for able-bodied people. But one great reason why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck is that you get away with things.

  • folic acid.jpg

    Folic acid is working! Spina bifida rates drop

    user-pic

    In my final years as a goodwill ambassador for the March of Dimes, we spent much of our time encouraging pregnant women to make sure they get enough Folic acid each day. Folic acid, found in orange juice and various other fruits and vegetables, was thought to help prevent birth defects such as Spina bifida (Dan's disability). folic acid.jpg Some vegetables high in Folic acid. Picture courtesy of markmincolla.com. Now, according to MedPage Today, that belief is coming true! As this article shows, the rate of Spina bifida dropped annually by a rate of 1.4% from 1991-2002.

  • Thumbnail image for Family Reunion 2010 027.jpg

    Update: Savannah, GA clarifies its position on wheelchairs

    user-pic

    You may remember a travel post a few weeks ago in which a worker for the city of Savannah, Ga., banned Dan from one of the city's interactive fountains. We played phone tag with the city of Savannah for a few days and made contact last week. We were put in touch with three city officials. In our conversation, we were informed that, in fact, "there is no city ordinance, and there will never be a city ordinance, against me going into the fountain." Our experience was the result of "a single security guard, and it has been made VERY CLEAR to all the security guards that a person in a wheelchair is allowed in the fountain." At the end, one city official invited me back to Ellis Square and its fountain!

  • ADA week: A look back at the passage of the ADA

    user-pic

    Here's an incredible video created by the state of Wisconsin in remembrance of the Disability Rights movement and the efforts to make the Americans With Disabilities Act a reality. Many are unaware of the protests, lobbying, dedication, and legislation needed for the ADA to come to fruition. This video is in honor of those that worked so hard for so long. Enjoy!

  • Obama executive order.jpg

    ADA week: Employment opportunities

    user-pic

    As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ADA, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday to increase the number of disabled workers hired by the federal government. Unfortunately, we've seen this promise before. In 2000, President Clinton signed a similar order, yet according to the White House, "few steps were taken to implement that [order] in subsequent years."

  • ADA image(1).jpg

    Happy ADA Week!

    user-pic

    Monday was the 20th anniversary of Congress passing the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The House of Representatives celebrated the anniversary by having a member with a disability preside over the House for the first time in our nation's history. Meanwhile, the president cited the ADA as "one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in the history of this country."

  • Abilities Expo recap: Where do the manual wheelchairs fit in?

    user-pic

    The entire Expo, while a great idea, seemed to cater to either power chair users or elderly/partially disabled people, who could stand up with difficulty but used a wheelchair for more ease. Where were the helpful products for manual wheelchair users? How would a bathtub that opens with a door help someone who has to crawl to get in that small space? What's the point of a ramp in your car if you need a power chair to use it? Is Dan too able-bodied for the Ability Expo, even though he's clearly disabled?

  • Kids say the darndest things

    user-pic

    One of the best parts of using a wheelchair is seeing different people react to you. Many adults stare at you while trying to make it look like they aren't, trip over themselves to hold the door for you while blocking it entirely with their body, and are afraid to ask why you use a wheelchair (or ask it loudly after knowing you for 5 minutes). Kids however, have no such filter.

  • AccessChicago stops by Navy Pier

    user-pic

    Between the Abilities Expo in Schaumburg (which we'll have a write-up about early next week), and AccessChicago at Navy Pier, it's been a busy time for the Chicago disabled community.

  • The Problems of Challenger Division Baseball

    default userpic

    Since I can remember, I have been a baseball fan. When I was still strong enough to walk, I played a season of Challenger Division baseball. At first, baseball that encourages the participation of people with disabilities seems like a great idea. In reality, the Challenger Division of Little League Baseball is problematic.

  • A Refreshing Experience at Jamba Juice

    default userpic

    Last week I went to Jamba Juice in Deerpark. When my order was ready, the girl who took my order did something surprising. She made the effort to come around the counter and hand the juice to me.

  • The "Cripple Nod"

    user-pic

    I'm sure all of you have experienced it at one time or another. In fact, I'm sure many of you have initiated it at one point. I'm guilty of it many times in the past. It's the moment when you're wheeling down the street and you encounter another person in a wheelchair. Invariably, he or she will either wave, nod, or acknowledge you in some way. Why? Because you're in a wheelchair too! Derin and I like to call this the "cripple nod."

  • Chicagoland Abilities Expo this weekend in Schaumburg

    user-pic

    This weekend at the Schaumburg Convention Center is the annual Abilities Expo, a three-day event filled with product demonstrations, workshops, and even free health screenings. Entry is free of charge.

  • Travel website helps those with disabilities

    user-pic

    Over the past week, we've been writing about our recent travels down South. Obviously, when planning future trips, it's nice to know which cities are wheelchair friendly and which ones are not. Luckily, there is a website out there to help those with disabilities.

  • Disability Pride Parade in Chicago, July 24th.

    user-pic

    The 7th Annual Disability Pride Parade is taking place Saturday, July 24th at 11am.

  • Me on beach.jpg

    Wheelchairs on the beach? Hilton Head says sure!

    user-pic

    I never liked the beach. I didn't like the fish, the salt water, but most importantly, I didn't like the sand. Because let's face it, beaches are not friendly to wheelchair users. In fact, loose sand may be the absolute worst surface for navigating a chair. And that is why Hilton Head deserves kudos for making their major tourist beach as accessible as possible!

  • Wheelchair user aims to host Oprah show

    user-pic

    Oprah Winfrey is looking for a host for a show to develop on her new network, and Zach Anner is currently in the lead with over 9 million votes when we last checked the website. You can watch his audition tape below. We got a huge laugh out of this, and we know you will too! ...This wheelchair user has cerebral palsy, which he states is the sexiest of the palsies (we're not disagreeing).

  • Family Reunion 2010 027.jpg

    Travel log: Shame on you, Savannah, Ga.!

    user-pic

    Derin and I just returned from a week-long trip to Pennsylvania and Hilton Head, South Carolina. Over the next week or so, we'll be recounting some of our experiences from the vacation, some of which were extremely positive, others of which were negative. Since our slogan is that we put a positive spin on life with a disability, let's logically start with the negative!

  • Canadian artists push the boundaries

    user-pic

    Two artists in Canada are proving that their disability is in no way an excuse to ignore what they love. This article from Owen Sound, Ontario, tells the story of Elaine Davidson (Spina bifida), and her husband Uwe Harders (visual impairment). Davidson is a painter and Harders a sculptor, and both have combined forces to create a local art exhibit.

  • Why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck

    user-pic

    Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks.You can't go fly-fishing in Montana, you can't play hopscotch on the playground, and you can't steal batteries from the smoke detector to put in your remote control when the White Sox are on. But there are times when being in a wheelchair doesn't suck. One is that you don't have to remove your shoes when you go to somebody's house.

  • French airline refuses to seat disabled passenger without a companion.

    user-pic

    EasyJet is being sued as they told a paraplegic that she could not travel alone, then when another passenger offered to help, refused her a seat since they hadn't boarded together.

  • Reader question: Would you prefer able-bodied friends to "stoop to your level?"

    user-pic

    We got a reader comment from Jeff, of Michigan, asking which we prefer: that an able-bodied person bend down to talk to us, kneel down, or stay at their own height? Here's what Jeff had to say: "A lot of people, myself included, would prefer to just talk to someone instead of them bending down to 'our level'...I think some people feel like it makes them feel like they are a kid again."

  • Doing backflips: Not just reserved for the able-bodied

    user-pic

    If you haven't yet heard of Aaron Fotheringham, you'll never forget him after seeing this video. He's ushered in an era where extreme sports are becoming more common within the disabled community.

  • ADA Oxymorons

    user-pic

    Things that make you go hmmm....a lot of buildings, organizations, and venues are very proud of their ADA compliance and accessibility. But common sense seems to be lacking in many of these areas...like they checked things off a list without looking up from their clipboard. Here are a few situations we've found that just don't make sense and make the owners seem like true morons.

  • Why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck

    user-pic

    Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks. You can't dance the Cha Cha Slide at weddings, people who are 5'2" make you feel short, and sagging your jeans doesn't have the same effect as it would if you were able-bodied. But there are perks to using a wheelchair. One reason is that you are memorable. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Let's take a look at some pros and cons.

  • 5 Things that make a home accessible beyond lacking a staircase.

    user-pic

    Many times when apartment or house searching, a realtor or landlord will tell us a home is accessible because it has an elevator, is on the ground floor, and/or has safety bars in the bathrooms. Here are 5 things that truly make a home accessible:

  • New Handicapped Entrance at U.S. Cellular Field

    default userpic

    Before this season, the entrance for people with disabilities to attend a White Sox game was located at Gate Four. For myriad reasons, this was not only inefficient, but oftentimes annoying. The handicapped parking was not close to the accessible entrance and the elevators had to be shared with suite holders and media members. This year, the White Sox got it right.

  • Disability and God's Kingdom

    default userpic

    Things that seemingly have no rhyme or reason happen all the time. There are wars, natural disasters, hurtful people, and corrupt officials. Not to be left out are conditions that lead to disability. If all these things exist, is there a God? If so, how does disability fit into His kingdom?

  • Traveling the globe and breaking down barriers

    user-pic

    "I witnessed the most amazing thing the other day! [My husband] and I are in Peru, traveling, etc., and at Machu Picchu, where there are literally at least a thousand stairs, there was a family that included a woman in a wheelchair, and somehow, they were taking her through the whole place. It was...fantastic."

  • Why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck

    user-pic

    Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks. You can't take a "jump shot" to beat the buzzer, you'll never know the thrill of falling out of a tree, and you have to spend more money repairing walls and doors than the average dude. But sometimes, being in a wheelchair doesn't suck. Let's take a look at one reason: you have an instant chair wherever you go.

  • Iceland's disability logo: Modern twist on a classic look

    user-pic

    Inspired by our post about whether or not the disability logo needs a makeover, one of our readers sent us a photo from across the ocean. Quinn passed along a great picture of a disability logo he found in Iceland! It's modern, sleek, and accomplishes the goal of making it look as if the person in the chair is pushing himself.

  • Sci-Fi Contest wants disabilities to be accepted...even in fiction.

    user-pic

    Redstone Science Fiction wants stories that show "disability as a simple fact, not as something to be overcome or something to explain why a character is evil."

  • Students with disabilities at DePaul get the treatment they need

    user-pic

    Today's Tribune includes a tremendous feature on students with disabilities at DePaul. The article focuses on a number of students with chronic illnesses who get regular treatment at Children's Hospital.

  • It's not always your fault...

    user-pic

    Many times, Chris and I accidentally crash into a stranger on the street. There are times where we may cut you off on the sidewalk without realizing it. And believe it or not, when those things happen, it's our fault!

  • Why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck

    user-pic

    Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks. You can't express your appreciation for a Britney Spears concert with a standing ovation, you can only go so low during the Limbo, and you'll never fit your chair in a Lamborghini. But sometimes, being in a wheelchair doesn't suck. Let's take a look at one of the best reasons: parking spots.

  • Number 1004 of things you don't think about for wheelchair users:

    user-pic

    We don't think about the small things that affect wheelchair users. What if their chair hits an incline and they're not in it?

  • The media's struggle with disabilities

    user-pic

    Restaurants, airlines, and other companies tend to struggle when it comes to dealing with a person with a disability. But one line of work we haven't touched on yet is the media. And believe me, despite working in the journalism field, the media is not exempt from my disdain! There are three phrases found in almost every article about a person with a disability. And each of these statements drives me up the wall. It is easy to focus my anger on the journalists themselves. However, to me, this issue is much broader and begins at the very roots of the journalism tree.

  • A good experience with accessiblity in Minnesota.

    user-pic

    Over Memorial Day weekend, Dan and I went home to Minnesota and went to baseball games at Target Field and at Midway Stadium where the St. Paul Saints played. We wanted to quickly commend these two stadiums for their efforts towards accessibility and the ease we had using them.

  • Thumbnail image for Deformed man.jpg

    Lost in translation: Amusing disabled access signs

    user-pic

    Meryl in Edinburgh, Scotland sent us a link to many of the ridiculous signs found across the pond in China and other countries. The slide show, put together by the New York Times, features many signs that have nothing to do with disability. But some of them do.

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook