Michael Collins

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My son is paraplegic(I think from L4 or L5) and he just turned 16 2 days ago. He is talking about wanting to get his license. How difficult is that for someone his age/with his disabilities? Is there someone that helps with modified vehicles We have been waiting over a year already for a new chair(he's had his since age 7!),due to the insurance taking it's time. Any info or ideas you can offer would be a great help! Thanks.
  • Posted Tue 10 Jun 2014 01:33 PM EDT
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Your son will need to take the sane type of driver's training that his classmates go through, plus a few extra steps. Since he is paraplegic, I imagine that he can transfer himself into the driver's seat of a vehicle although it may take some type of assistive device to do so. If he is serious about driving he will need to get an initial evaluation from a certified driving instructor who is trained in dealing with driving while disabled. When he purchases a vehicle it should be able to accommodate the transfer of his wheelchair into a seat while he is driving, so that initial vehicle purchase should be done with that in mind. I would recommend checking with a local company that modifies vehicles as they would need to install hand controls and should be able to recommend the best types of vehicles to fit his needs. Once it is purchased and modified for him, that specialist can provide the driving training he'll need to pass the same tests every other new driver must take, including a road test. Funding for vehicle modifications may be available from the state vocational rehabilitation agency if he will need it to drive to school. There are also low-interest loans available thru the state AT network, to help pay for modifications, etc. Good luck, and keep us posted on his progress.
  • Posted Tue 10 Jun 2014 02:27 PM EDT
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I am continually seeking new subjects for my Everyday Advocacy column in New Mobility Magazine. Do you have an issue that causes you problems, whether at home or while traveling? Have you run across numerous roadblocks when trying to accomplish or purchase something? Do you need to help with finding resources for the many areas of your life? If so, drop me a note and let me know about your concerns or problems. It could be as short as a one-word identifier. If selected I'll take it on--thanks.
  • Posted Thu 25 Oct 2012 03:47 PM EDT
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I have nothing exotic like the couple of comments on your page but since 1954 have driven a a 6 all wheel vehicle in Taiwan and driven a car (w/trailer) in Taiwan for 6 years in 1950 before they became somewhat road savvy, pulled a trailer with a 16 ft runabout in the Chicago area and explored the Mississippi on overnighters all from my trusty EJ wheelchair (no movement from waist down polio in 1950)
  • Posted Tue 10 Jun 2014 04:45 PM EDT
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Have any of you had difficulty when attempting to get assistance with shopping in grocery stores or other retailers that have their products displayed out of our reach ranges?
  • Posted Mon 23 Jul 2012 01:12 PM EDT
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Does anyone else think that the periodic required evaluations to keep eligibility for paratransit are demeaning and a waste of time--at least for those who are permanently disabled?
  • Posted Tue 12 Jun 2012 12:19 PM EDT
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Two days after the lift failed, my wheelchair van is back in my driveway. It still has the odor of hydraulic fluid, but I'll gladly put up with that as long as the lift keeps working.
  • Posted Sat 21 Apr 2012 07:04 PM EDT
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Took the van in to be detailed yesterday, and the guy cleaning the inside broke the power cable to the lift! Looked spiffy, but I had to have the lift operated manually so I could reenter and drive to the van shop for two hours of repairs. Now I need a new computer board in the lift control tower. SURE IS SHINY THOUGH...
  • Posted Sat 16 Jul 2011 03:46 PM EDT
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You've heard -- or read -- my comments on Accessible parking. Here is one you should read, from another source:
http://www.salon.com/life/my_tiny_hypocrisy/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/06/14/handicapped_parking_abuse_open2011
  • Posted Tue 14 Jun 2011 03:03 PM EDT
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If I were to hire a service dog instead if using my grandsons as 'service kids,' I would expect it to be as talented as this canine:
http://sorisomail.com/email/74298/como-se-danca-o-merengue.html
  • Posted Mon 09 May 2011 02:42 PM EDT
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