Can you believe that it’s already June? Time is flying and we’re heading into the summer season full steam ahead. With the way the weather changes it feels like we hardly get a spring season anymore—winter tends to lead right into summer with the blink of an eye. For some folks this time of year marks a busy travel season-making plans for trips and creating itineraries of activities. For those living with disabilities, the idea of planning a trip can be taxing; making sure travel sites are accessible, packing the appropriate necessities, organizing each route to be taken—it can be exhausting before you even head out the door! But it’s important to know that there are different resources available to help you plan your trip, so hopefully you can enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
You may or may not know it, but Tuesday November 4th is the day to vote. That’s right – midterm elections are here, and for many people that means they get a chance to make a decision about the makeup of Congress or governorship in their state.
But what do you do if you arrive to your designated voting site and the building isn’t accessible, or there are other problems which would cause you difficulties in casting your vote?
Go to the voting place prepared. You don’t want to be stuck – physically or metaphorically – at the voting site and not be able to cast your vote.
Here are a few tips to make sure your vote is counted:
- Make sure you are registered to vote. There may be a specific time frame you must register in advance of a vote, so if you miss out this year, go ahead and register so you can vote in future elections.
- If you are not sure, confirm your voting location with your city or county government office. You can also call ahead to ask information about where to park, whether there is accessible transportation, etc.
- Get the phone number for your State Office of Protection and Advocacy and bring it with you when you vote. If you run into any barriers (lack of accessible transportation, physical accessibility of the building, problems accessing voting equipment, or understanding your rights), this is the correct office to advise you of your rights under the ADA and make sure you get a chance to vote.
Why go through the hassle of going to the voting booth at all?
- Many states allow individuals to register as an absentee voter. Once you get registered, you can remotely cast your vote! For next time, plan ahead and register to absentee vote.
Over the course of years living with a disease such as MS, there may come a time when more assistance is needed to complete daily activities. Perhaps typing on the computer is becoming a challenge due to spasticity, or driving a vehicle has become difficult because of numbness in the leg. While it may not always be conducive to ask another person for help, perhaps a piece of equipment can aid in getting the task done more effectively. Assistive technology, or AT, is any item, piece of equipment, or software that is used to increase or improve the functional abilities of individuals with disabilities at school, work, home, and in the community.
Assistive technology devices can assist those who may have difficulty with speech, typing, writing, cognition, walking, etc. In each state, a State Assistive Technology Project is available to provide information on assistive technology and consultation about the type of technology piece that may be helpful. A borrowing program may also be available where the devices can be borrowed for up to a certain period of time to see if the device will be effective. Information about available loans to help with more expensive devices can be discussed as well.
In trying to determine the type of device that may be helpful for a specific need, working with a rehabilitation professional such as a physical or occupational therapist might help to clarify the type of device that would provide the best assistance. They can make specific recommendations of devices that can assist with a variety of needs and may also help with checking whether insurance will cover the item recommended.
What assistive devices have you used? What avenue did you take to receive the device?