There’s never a good time to have a disability, but if you must have one, there’s never been a better time than now. That message was driven home to me more than ever yesterday when I attended the Abilities Expo in Boston. The emphasis was definitely on “ability”.
The amount of technology and other support available to those who deal with physical challenges is unprecedented. On display was mobility equipment that was the stuff of science fiction a decade or two ago. The promise of future innovations for the disabled offers even greater hope.
It seems as if there are more people than ever out there who need some kind of assistance to get around. It wasn’t that many years ago when such folks would be consigned to a life of staying at home watching TV. (It’s amazing and disgusting how many physically able people consign themselves to that fate.)
Now there are more options than ever to get and keep moving. At the Expo, there were more such vehicles than I knew existed, in every size and shape for very size and shape, even devices to help people stand and move in a vertical position. The variety was phenomenal.
Wanna take it off road? Check out this bad boy:
It’s not all about getting a sweet ride. For those trying to stay out of a chair, exercise is a key component of therapy. Equipment was everywhere – recumbent trikes, hand cycles, and rowing machines, for example – as were demonstrations of adaptive sports and activities. How about wheelchair rugby, tennis, and basketball? And other sports were available from the vendors exhibiting there: hockey, sailing, cycling, soccer, etc. If there’s an activity someone wants to do, chances are it’s out there in an adaptive form. Northeast Passage covered a lot of those opportunities.
A few accessible travel services offered practical advice and assistance when planning vacations. Support groups were on hand to let people know they aren’t alone. One of my favorites was “Shut up about your perfect kid.” Gotta love that attitude.
What an encouraging event!
The message is loud and clear: help is out there. There are a lot of companies and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of people for whom basic life activities are a challenge. But based on what I saw Saturday, those challenges aren’t insurmountable. The barriers are dropping. There is hope. Check it out and don’t miss it when it comes back next year.