Disability Awareness

Water Therapy?

Sofia and her PT Christie, enjoying therapy in the pool.

Sofia and her PT Christie, enjoying therapy in the pool.

I recently came across a nonprofit organization, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of kids with Autism and their families. And, well, that is right up our alley! 

Izzy, a pro-surfer and father of two, found out his son, Isaiah, had Autism at the age of three. After a rough day and no one being able to reach Isaiah, Izzy took him on the surf board with him in hopes that the waves would help Isaiah in the way they help him. The waves did exactly that, so he started his non profit, Surfers Healing, a surf camp for kids with Autism and their families.

Besides relating to the passion for enhancing the quality of lives of people with disabilities and their families, I could also relate to seeing the water, especially the ocean, be therapeutic for Sofia. As many of  you know, Sofia is the inspiration to our families business. Just like Izzy, Luis and Gwendolyne knew that there were other families dealing with the same difficulties and wanted to a resource to them. 

Sofia and Gwendolyne on the beach in Turks and Caico.

Sofia and Gwendolyne on the beach in Turks and Caico.

Sofia loves Adventure, so our family cruise to the Caribbean was her cup of tea! Did I mention she loves being in the water? I have never seen her be in a bad mood when she is in the water, even in the shower. Her favorite part of summer is going to PT in the pool. So, of course we had to take her to the beach. After figuring out a way to take her to the shore, in her wheelchair, and successfully complete it, she was finally in the water. Sofia radiated pure joy. You could tell her body was relaxed, her muscles didn't hurt and she was in paradise. Literally!

The point I am trying to make, is that I am finding more and more people in the disability community, find relief and a sense of calm in the water. Have you tried  any kind of water therapy? What is your experience with your loved one with disabilities and the water? 

Let us know in a comment below.

Make sure to follow our facebook page to see updates on current projects and events we participate in!

Pets and their Special Abilities

 Sofia and Hana (family pet)

 Sofia and Hana (family pet)

Our family loves animals, especially dogs! What can I say, we are dog people :)

Truthfully, the main reason for getting a dog was for Sofia, our loved one with Cerebral Palsy. We knew many people in the disability community who had dogs and mentioned that the dogs enhanced their quality of life. This resulted in extensive research on different breeds and deciding what we wanted in a dog. Once we decided, we welcomed Hana, a red Shiba Inu, to the family. As you can see, Hana is always by Sofia, she even sleeps with her. There is a special bond between human and animal, but I believe it is even more special when the dog has a purpose/ job. In our case, Hana is not a professionally trained dog, but she knows Sofia needs special attention and care, making Hana her helper.

From research I have read, there is a common misconception that service dogs are meant for people with visual impairments, but that is not the case. There are many ways a service animal can help anyone, especially with physical disabilities, M.S. in particular.

Sofia, Grandma and Hana (family pet)

Sofia, Grandma and Hana (family pet)

In the National MS magazine, Momentum, I found a great article about pets helping people with MS. They mention that there is no specific animal that is good for MS. Really, any animal that gives you joy and that can motivate you to be responsible for something other than yourself. They also  explain that trained service animals help improve balance, compensate for numb or spastic hands, provide visual assistance.

What I love the most about this article, is that it has stories of people with MS and their experiences with pets.

Brenda Bolster said, “Every day, Sam (her dog) made me get up and focus on him and not my MS. Along with the joy and comfort he gave me, I found myself working harder to regain my strength in my arms and legs so I could walk him and carry him.”

Pets aren't only therapeutic for the person with disability, but also their caregivers and family members. Worrying about your loved one with the disease is a lot of stress. Bolster found that Sam helped her husband release stress as well.

Whether your furry helper is a service dog or family pet, “nothing can compare to the unconditional love and emotional support they give you,” Bolster says. “They are such a healing thing for the whole family.”

We cannot agree more!

Read the full article here to learn more about service animals and their benefits.

Let us know your experience with your pets or service animals by commenting below.

A letter to Caregivers

"Caregiving is not easy, and I wish more people knew that it is a full-time, around-the-clock job, every single day."

I was hooked on this letter, from The mighty, after reading this sentence.

 Many of you know that we are a family owned business. The owners are husband and wife, who started BFA LLC. accessible home modifications company out of a need for accessible home modifications, for their daughter with Cerebral Palsy. The owners are also caregivers for their daughter.

Accessible Home modifications help people with disabilities have a better quality of life with the independence and safety they provide, but it helps the caregivers as well! Transferring is easier AND safer for the caregiver as well, when they are in a barrier free space.

Sofia (Daughter/ inspiration) to the left, Gwendolyne (BFA LLC. CEO/ Mother/ Caregiver) to the right

Sofia (Daughter/ inspiration) to the left, Gwendolyne (BFA LLC. CEO/ Mother/ Caregiver) to the right

As I read this article, I could relate. I imagine some of you can as well. 

This letter is from one mom caregiver to another:

"I completely understand what it’s like to devote your life to care for someone else and neglect your own needs. It started taking a toll on me. You helped me recognize that it is good — and at times necessary — to let people in and accept help."
"I learned that asking for help doesn’t make me any less of a mother or a caregiver.
As caregivers, we need to nourish ourselves."

 

The writer also reminds us...

 "It’s in everyone’s best interest that I’m the best version of myself, so that I can help my son live a successful and healthy life."

Caregivers are the glue that keep us together and going. 

The team at BFA LLC. is dedicated to enhancing our clients quality of life. We are passionate about accessibility solutions. We live in a home that is completely accessible, so we use the services and products that we provide our clients, everyday.

Caregivers, What do you do the de-stress?

Ability App

Ellen Degeneres gives Alex Knoll $25,000 for Ability App

Ellen Degeneres gives Alex Knoll $25,000 for Ability App

"Accessing public spaces can be difficult if you have a disability. All too often, a store doesn’t have an automatic door, a restaurant has narrow aisles or a playground doesn’t have wheelchair accessible play areas. After conducting his own research, Knoll came up with the idea for Ability App — an app designed to help people with disabilities navigate public spaces. "

Having a family member with Cerebral Palsy who uses a wheelchair, we know first hand the challenges people with disabilities face when they travel. 

Check out the article here!

Would you use this app? Let us know!

Wheelchair Accessible Water Park

Morgans inspiration Island, wheelchair accessible splash park in San Antonio.

Morgans inspiration Island, wheelchair accessible splash park in San Antonio.

Wheelchair accessible water park? WHAT?! ... YES!

A first-of-its-kind splash park designed from the ground up to accommodate people with disabilities will make its debut!

The splash park is completely wheelchair accessible. The park has five play areas with pools, geysers, jets, water cannons and more! There is also a five-minute jungle-themed riverboat ride with twists and turns.

“Like Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it’s a park of inclusion,” said Gordon Hartman, the philanthropist behind the parks. “Both were designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.”

 But, what we are most excited about is... specially-designed waterproof wheelchairs built just for the park will be available for visitors!

Check here to read the article and learn more about this wheelchair accessible splash park!

 

Design for Disability...

The BFA LLC. Team is excited to see this collaboration of fashion designers and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Accessibility is our passion and fashion is another way to incorporate our mission.

" The Cerebral Palsy Foundation partnered with the nation’s top fashion schools to design clothing which will transform the fashion experience for people with disabilities. "

Six designers from Parsons FashionPratt Institute and Fashion Institute of Technology, have created three outfits each that will be featured in this 6 part series. Get exclusive access and vote for your favorite designer!

Check out #Design4Disability 2017 and sign up to be part of our 6 part web series starting June 6th. http://yourcpf.org/design-for-disability/ 

Easter at the Detroit Zoo

Celebrate this holiday weekend at the Detroit Zoo for the 26th Annual Bunnyville.

April 14-April 15th

You can take photos with the Easter Bunny, get painted whiskers and play “Funny Bunny” games.

There will also be a Jelly Bean Jamboree and a golden egg hunt. 

Click here for more details.

HAPPY EASTER!

Exo- glove for people with limited Hand Mobility

Click image to watch video.

Click image to watch video.

This Exo-glove helps to pinch and grip. The glove is also waterproof!

People with limited hand mobility can use the sink, brush their teeth and even open bottles.

What a great product!

Meet Julia...

We all know that representation matters!

That is why we were all excited to meet the new member of Sesame Street, Julia. 

Julia is a fun girl who loves to play with her friends and has Autism.

Julia is a fun girl who loves to play with her friends and has Autism.

Watch "Creating Julia," by clicking on the image above. It tells the story of how Sesame Street created a character with autism, consulting more than 250 people in the autism community, including the University of Washington's own Dr. Wendy Stone.