Overcoming a spinal injury

Watch this inspiring TED talk by Janine Shepherd. While training for the Olympics, Janine suffered a spinal injury after being hit by a truck. With a crushed L1 vertebrate, Janine underwent bilevel fusion. Listen to her inspiring presentation on her recovery and how we are more than just our bodies.

Continue reading Overcoming a spinal injury

When to help a blind person?

Here’s a great video from Blind Film Critic Tommy Edison answering the question, when do you help a blind person in public?

It all comes down to:

  1. Take a moment to observe the situation.
  2. Does the blind person need help?
  3. Offer to help. Do not just grab ahold of the blind person.
  4. If you are helping the blind person, they may hold on to your elbow as you walk slightly in front of them (this helps them feel you go up and down stairs, ramps, curbs, etc).

Documenting Social Anxiety for Social Security Disability

Preface: It should be noted that medical evidence (such as treatment records and opinions) are often the best evidence of how social anxiety disorder is disabling. However, by its very nature, social anxiety disorder can make treatment difficult if not impossible.

Every case is different so it is very difficult to make general statements about how to prove a case. At least, other than, “make sure SSA gets your medical records.” Personally, I recommend working with a lawyer to help figure out the best way to develop your case. However, here are some general tips for developing a Social Anxiety Disorder disability case.

This post discusses alternative methods of documenting a social anxiety disability case.

Enough lawyer-ball! Let’s get to the tips! Continue reading Documenting Social Anxiety for Social Security Disability

Can Social Security immediately pay disability benefits to children?

Yes. Under some circumstances, Social Security can immediately start Social Security disability benefits, and continue to pay benefits for up to six months, while the state agency component of Social Security makes a formal decision of whether the child is disabled. These are called “Presumptive Disability” cases.

Basically, Social Security is saying that the child is probably disabled, and as such will pay benefits, while it reviews the case to confirm the presumed disability.

Here are the conditions that may qualify: Continue reading Can Social Security immediately pay disability benefits to children?

Do powerchairs cost as much as cars?

Mark E. Smith’s great blog Wheelchairjunkie.com, has a great article about powerchairs — a topic which combines two issues I am passionate about: disabilities and technology.

I have seen some amazing powerchairs, from a super speedy model with an Herman Miller Aeron chair, running circles around people at Sam’s club, to a Dean Kamen Segway filled with a small bench (!) at Whole Foods letting the rider sit much higher that in a traditional chair, aiding in shopping and interacting with people at a common height. It is exciting seeing the developments in this area. These advances create an expectation of more than just simple mobility but also freedom.

So, do powerchairs chairs really cost as much as a car? Continue reading Do powerchairs cost as much as cars?

Seven facts about complex partial seizures

Today’s guest article is contributed by Meredith Walker, who writes about the masters in public health. She welcomes your feedback at “MeredithWalker1983 at gmail.com” Enjoy the article and please make her feel welcome!

Complex partial seizures are epileptic seizures that affect one particular region of the brain. These seizures do not usually cause a tonic seizure more commonly associated with epilepsy, but instead affect thoughts and behavior.

Sufferers may go undiagnosed or misunderstood as this type of seizure is often not recognized as a physical disability and thought, instead, to be a mental disorder. Even when diagnosed, those with complex partial seizures may feel isolated as this invisible disability may not be recognized. The good news is that these types of seizures are often well-controlled by medication.

Here are seven facts to help you better understand complex partial seizures: Continue reading Seven facts about complex partial seizures

Childhood epilepsy and Social Security disability benefits

How does Social Security look at children’s disability cases based on epilepsy or other seizure disorders?

Social Security first considers the Listing of Impairments. The Listings are a set of descriptions of medical conditions which can be disabling. The Listings tell you the what kind medical evidence you need and the medical findings to prove that the condition is disabling.  While the Listings are not the only way to be found disabled, they are very important in children’s disability cases.

For seizure disorders, there are two critical Listings.

Continue reading Childhood epilepsy and Social Security disability benefits

Game or therapy?

Check out this demo for a Xbox Project Natal game called “Milo & Kate.”

Can you imagine the therapeutic value of this? From phobia therapies like the one below, to helping people with social phobias, to even more complex therapies such as helping individuals with Asperger’s syndrome pick up on social cues, vocal inflections and body language. The possibilities are amazing!

It also opens the possibility of long distance and even multiple provider therapies: the patient interacts with a single avatar which may be “driven” by different therapists at different times (allowing 24 hour care and a consistent “face”), or even running on auto-pilot as in the “Milo & Kate” demo above.  I did not realize we were so close the the ‘ractors in Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.

Virtual therapies could be amazing, or they could be awful! What’s your opinion?