The sport of golf is an acquired taste as it requires a lot of time, practice and energy to walk the green from hole to hole. Well, for two 15-year old boys, the love of golf just comes naturally. Guillaume who is paralyzed from the waist down and Quentin who has a severe motor-impairment were only too happy to tee off in Switzerland. With the help of an electric wheelchair that allows the teens to play standing, and the help of Just for Smiles foundation, they were able to fulfill their dream of playing golf. Just for Smiles is a not-for-profit organization established to help poly-handicapped people access various open-air activities. Organizations such as these allow children with disabilities to experience something they thought they never could on their own. Just for smiles connects them with network of motivated professionals who are present to help them every step of the way. To read more about Guillaume and Quentin’s experience click hereFXP4VNVZFPPD


Just for Smiles Foundation:


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Possibly more golf, bridge and bingo for Canadians?

Canada’s aging population consistently been growing over the past 3 decades. Are people getting older faster? No, but a combination of factors is driving this growth including:  aging baby boomers, an increased life expectancy and a decreasing fertility rate. For the exact statistics and statistics by region, have a look at Human Resources Canada’s statistics on the aging of the population.


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Changing the perspective on mobility


Mobility equipment comes in various shapes, sizes and forms but none of  the typical forms describe what one Baltimore school has installed.  Dedicated to caring for, and educating children with special needs, this Maryland school added inclined platform lifts (pictured left) to improve student accessibility.   There was just one small problem. When the safety arms of the machine came down, some children were scared by the new contraption. To take the fear factor out of the equation, a creative teacher came up with a crafty plan. The lifts would be painted  to resemble happy caterpillars that transported wheelchair-bound children over the obstacle of the stairs.  The previously frightening safety arms became the adorable caterpillar arms and the kids resisted no more.

Dennis Bartnik, President and CEO of 25 year experienced American Pride Remodeling, explained that the  installation of the three Savaria ES-125 inclined platform lifts were originally planned to be hand painted, but after more consideration, it was decided that decals would make for a simpler process with the same high impact results.   The installation and graphics were completed over several weeks and the happy caterpillar continues to stretch out his arms for its willing passengers.  Just goes to show you that accessibility need not be beige!


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Use of technology to help disabled… or not

In seven years a lot has changed with regard to technology at least in the eyes of former TV engineer Jeff Hall. At the age of 40 Jeff was paralyzed by a stroke that left him with only limited movement in his head, arms and legs. With the help of his text-to-voice synthesizer and common everyday technologies, he is able to live his life, sending text messages or emailing  his friends. This is all made possible by disabled designers that big companies, such as Microsoft, employ to provide a different approach of thinking and feedback on the products they create,  making them more accessible by anyone and everyone. Read more on how technology has changed and how it may be a hindrance to people with disabilities  in this  BBC article.

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Wheels to legs for $150,000?

I guess miracles do happen… well with the help of extremely evolved technology that is. Radi Kaiof, an ex-Israeli paratrooper who became disabled during his time with the military had the opportunity to walk once again after 20 years in a wheel chair. His miracle was possible with the help of a partial robotic exoskeleton system designed and produced by ReWalk. At this point in development, the equipment costs $150,000 and is not widely produced, however in a few years, it is predicted that production will increase and the system’s price tag will come down. To view this equipment in action, check out this video.

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