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We hope you’ll visit our wheelchair blog often, because we promise to bring you an engaging perspective every day. A physical disability presents unique challenges for the individual, the family and the caregivers.

office supplies including laptop phone and sticky note

7 Ways to Work From Home to Make a Little Extra Cash

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to work from home to earn a little extra money and improve your overall standing. You might not be able to work outside the home due to the need to care for children, chronic illness or disability, or inability to work on a standard schedule. Perhaps you need part-time work to continue to qualify for disability benefits. Whatever your reason for working from home, luckily, there are many options available. Consider these fun work from home opportunities.

Freelance Writing

Do you love to write? As a freelance writer, you can choose to work for a writing platform or seek out private clients in your niche. Freelance writing allows you to work from home–or to work from anywhere–while expanding your knowledge of the world around you. With some dedication, a personal blog can even earn a little income through sponsored products or ads.

Network Marketing

Network marketing allows you to champion the products you love and support while earning a little extra money on the side. From essential oils to jewelry and bags to vitamin supplements, there are plenty of network marketing opportunities out there. This is a great career for anyone who doesn’t mind becoming a salesperson–especially since, as you build your network, you will discover opportunities for passive income streams as well as the ongoing, active income from your personal sales efforts. If you enjoy building a team, motivating others and challenging yourself, you could find a lot of success with this type of business. Keep in mind, there is usually some sort of fee to join these companies, but often, it’s a minimal investment.

Starting a Home Business

Many businesses can be started from the comfort of your own home. Do you have a hobby, like sewing or woodworking, that people will pay for? What about jewelry making or baking? Consider selling your creations online on a site like Etsy or at your local farmers market or craft fair. Or, maybe you want to offer a service that you can perform from home – advising, for example? Put your skills to use and create a home business that will help generate a side income.

Telemarketing woman looking at laptop

Many telemarketers have the ability to work from their own homes, rather than working from a call center. All you need is a phone line and a little basic software, and with some training, you can make money calling into people’s homes. Often, telemarketers can set convenient schedules or work on a part-time basis, depending on their needs. There are major companies that offer these types of employment opportunities, too, like United Healthcare.

Data Entry

If you have a reasonably fast typing speed and a computer, you can take care of basic data entry tasks from home. When you take a data entry position, you simply enter the data you’re given into the system. Often, it doesn’t require any calculation or thought on your part, which makes it the perfect job for individuals who need to be able to work while taking care of responsibilities at home.

Virtual Tutoring or Teaching

Do you love working with kids? With some basic skills in English, math, or other subjects, you can take on tutoring or teaching positions that will allow you to work from the comfort of your own home. From teaching children English as a second language to helping kids who are struggling in a specific subject – or even working in your own virtual classroom – virtual tutoring and teaching are great ways to transform that love of working with children into a work from home position.

Specialized Skills

Do you have a specialized skill set, like web design or social media marketing? Accounting, life coaching and even voice-over work are all examples of work that can be done at home with an Internet connection. Did you acquire a degree that you want to be able to use in spite of your inability to work outside the home? Many businesses now offer remote work that will allow you to take on those responsibilities from anywhere. Even podcasts or YouTube channels can earn money if you find you’re able to build an audience.

Explore More Ways to Work From Home

Working from home may, at first, seem daunting. Over time, however, you will find that, once you learn how to juggle home and work responsibilities, you can learn that it’s possible to generate a solid income from your own living room or bedroom! Find a job that fits your skills and comfort level, then dive in! You may be surprised by just how much you enjoy it.

coins growing green sprouts

AMS Vans Customers: Make Money With Our Mobility Referral Program!

Another great way to make a some extra income is by referring your friends to AMS Vans! Whether you bought a new mobility vehicle from AMS Vans or shopped our inventory for a used wheelchair accessible van from AMS Vans or other mobility conversion vehicle manufacturer, for every new customer you send our way, we’ll send you a $500 referral bonus when they buy a wheelchair van from our inventory.

The best part is the reward is unlimited! Suggest as many people as you like, because every one of them can be another referral bonus for you. Our only request is they must be a first-time AMS Vans customer.

The “refer a friend to AMS Vans” process is simple: Just tell the person to mention your name while they’re purchasing their mobility van. When they receive their van, you’ll receive a check. It’s that easy!

group shot including a boy on a therapy bike

Bubba’s Story Inspires a Community

Upon having his adaptive bike stolen from his backyard, Beorn (fondly known as Bubba) and his family were devastated. The ability to go for a bike ride is something many of us take for granted. Not only was his bike crucial in his ongoing therapy, but it connected him to his family and all the other kids out there. With a several thousand-dollar price tag and four other kids to look after, Bubba’s mother, Stephanie, was at a loss on what to do next. So, she created a Facebook post, and it all started from there.

social media screenshot of boy in a therapy bike that got stolen

“When all this started, I was upset someone had taken my boy’s bike and knew it would be years before I could replace it. I was disheartened, to say the least. I felt like there was no point in reporting the loss, but I’m so glad I was persuaded to do it. Instead of being a bitter experience it has turned into this amazing thing I could have never of imagined. I was excited when we had over 100,000 shares – my mind is still blown!

My phone has literally been blowing up. I’ve tried to respond to messages but just can’t even keep up. The overwhelming response of support and love for my boy brings me to tears. I am beyond words to ever express how grateful and appreciative we are to everyone who has shared my posts, commented with support or advice, offered to set up a Go Fund Me, or to buy a new bike out right. I’m still in awe over all this.

I’ve heard many times “people suck,” but I believe all this has proven just the opposite. Big hearts are what I’ve seen from all of this, and that’s my takeaway: most people are good and caring,” shared Stephanie.

screenshot of news story, headline reading "community steps up to help valley teen"

An AMS Vans employee saw Bubba’s story on the local news and noticed the family was driving one of their vans.  He asked his senior managers how they could help, and the business immediately reached out to the family to offer a new bike custom-built to Bubba’s needs.

“Our mission is to really provide independence through mobility solutions, and while yes we do sell vans, Bubba’s independence was getting on the bike and riding with his brothers and sisters,” said general manager Randy Shiller. 

screenshot of news story, headline reading "boy gets new special needs bike"

One month later, the big “bike reveal” happened on a beautiful day at a local park with the family, community and media in attendance – everyone sharing in the special moment. After a quick fitting fromNumotion, Bubba was off again with a happy smile back on his face.

back of a therapy bike for kids with a custom license plate that reads "bubba" 

While AMS Vans provided Bubba with a new Rifton Adaptive Tricycle, there are still many families and children like him in need. And, you can help.

The Suzy Foundationis a charity especially close to Beorn’s family’s heart. The foundation specializes in helping to obtain assistive equipment for individuals with special needs – like this amazing bike.

To get involved, go to suzyfoundation.org

A special thanks to the local media for helping share Bubba’s story. You can watch their coverage below.

Bubba Needs Help:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona
AZ Family 3TV & CBS 5

The Community Steps Up:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona
AZ Family 3TV & CBS 5

Bubba Gets a New Bike:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona

5 Actors on Wheels Making Moves in Hollywood

The characters we see on film and TV are becoming more and more diverse. It’s not uncommon these days to see a character with a disability in a show or movie. In the past, though, most actors portraying those characters were played by actors without disabilities. But, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of many dedicated individuals, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place in Hollywood among the stars.

Here are some actors on wheels that have made a name for themselves in the entertainment biz.

1. Micah Fowler

actor micah fowler

Micah Fowler, Image: IMDB

What did you get for your eighteenth birthday? For Micah, he got a lead role in a TV series. The show Speechless is about JJ, a young adult living with cerebral palsy. It aims at giving viewers insights on the challenges faced by people, and specifically teens, with special needs. They tackle issues like dating, parenting, disability awareness, healthcare and more.

Born in 1998 in New Jersey, he started acting when he was five because of his older sister and best friend, Kelsey. He took the next step in his career after his sister booked a role on Broadway. This led him to roles in Blue’s CluesSesame Street, and the film Labor DayMicah is also an ambassador to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and devotes his time to the foundation’s efforts when not performing.

2. Teal Sherer

actress teal sherer

Teal Sherer, Image: IMDB

Teal went from taking theatre classes in college and working on school productions, to starring in the Emmy nominated film Warm Springs alongside Kathy Bates, and working closely with Kenneth Branagh as he prepared for his role of Franklin D. Roosevelt. She has appeared on TV on Survivor’s Remorse, The Guild, and more recently on NCIS: New Orleans. Also a dancer, Teal has performed with the Full Radius Dance Company and appeared on the NBC pilot of I’m with Stupid.

Teal is well-known in the disability community for her web series My Gimpy Life, which won the 2013 Best Female Comedy Performance at the Web Television Awards. She has also been featured in national commercials for clients including Liberty Mutual insurance, Disneyland (Cars Land) and Chrysler.

Next up for Teal, she’ll be starring in the Pulitzer Prize winning play Cost of Living in Vancouver, Canada! And, we’re sure much more!

3. Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell

actor daryl Chill Mitchell holding an award

Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Image: NewMobility.com

Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell is without a doubt one of the most recognizable faces when it comes to actors who roll, with film and TV credits dating back to the 80’s. His staying power is a testament to his work ethic and likable personality – and we can expect to see Chill on the big screen for years to come.

Starting as a member of a hip hop group in the 1980’s, he saw further success in acting with roles in films like House Party, The Inside Man, Galaxy Quest and 10 Things I Hate About You, to name a few. He also made appearances in TV shows like The Cosby Show, Becker, Brothers and Desperate Housewives. Since 2014 he has had a role on NCIS: New Orleans and joined the cast of Fear The Walking Dead in 2018.

Chill has paved the way for so many other actors on wheels -and we’re really proud to have as a customer here at AMS Vans in Atlanta!

4. Ali Stroker

actress and Tony award winner Ali Stroker

Ali Stroker, Image: AliStroker.com

You may have heard Ali Stroker‘s name recently, as she just became the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award for her role of Ado Annie in the revival of the classic Broadway show Oklahoma!!

She has performed at the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers, earned a Barrymore Award nomination for her role in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and was cast as Tamara in ABC’s show Ten Days in the Valley. A talented singer as well, Ali was a finalist on the second season of The Glee Project, and later appeared as a guest star on Glee in 2013. She played the role of Anna in Deaf West’s 2015 revival of Spring Awakening and appeared on the new Lethal Weapon TV series.

Being the first isn’t new to Ali Stroker. In fact, she became the first actress in a wheelchair to earn a degree in Fine Arts from New York University in 2009. Further, in 2015, she became the first performer in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway. If you have kids, you may have also seen her cameos on Sesame Street!

5. Santina Muha

actor and comedian Santina Muha

Santina Muha, Image: IMDB

Growing up in New Jersey as a member of an extended Italian family, humor has been a big part of Muha’s life. Paralyzed at the age of 6 after being involved in a car accident, she found that comedy would often ease the tension in a room. Santina grew up studying pop culture and learning from her favorite actors on TV – and from a young age, it was clear she was destined for stardom. Today she is a comic, actress, writer, storyteller and improviser currently plying her trade in Los Angeles.

Since joining UCB in 2013, Santina has contributed to their shows; hosting Rollin’ with my Homies, and writing and performing her one-woman show, That Girl in the Wheelchair. Not only is Santina raising awareness and dismantling stereotypes for people in wheelchairs through her comedy and writing, but she is also improving physical access to stages around UCB that have never been accessible before.

Santina is best known for her roles on Comedy Bang! Bang!One Day at a Time and starring opposite Joaquin Phoenix in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. Keep an eye out for this Jersey girl, because you’ll be seeing much more of her!

If you're an actor in a wheelchair, Hollywood is ready for you! With dedication and hard work, your dream can come to life! #actorswithdisabilities Click To Tweet

 

Gaming Companies Making Efforts to Create More Inclusive Games for People with Disabilities

Boy is playing inclusive games on mini computer

More than half of the sixty million people living with disabilities turn to the world of gaming to meet the need for friendship, belonging and self-esteem. According to Mark Barlet, founder of AbleGamers, gaming is a way for them to free themselves from their disability. They can present themselves in a manner that has fewer stigmas.

The reality is, there is a huge market for accessible gaming for people with disabilities and with the advancement of technology, the options are growing. More than ever, developers are considering people of all abilities as they create their virtual experiences. 

PC is the Most Flexible 

While there may be objections amongst the disability community, developers believe that in terms of gaming platforms, the most flexible is the PC (Personal Computer). This is due to the many plug-and-play devices that can be used. While consoles offer more cutting edge games, they are often not suitable due to their closed systems.

There are, however, initiatives meant to make the inclusive games more accessible to a broader range of people, with everyone playing an equally important role; from the developers to the caregivers. This article looks at the initiatives being put in place and how they have helped more and more people with disabilities get into the world of gaming.

man playing video game with hand controls

AMS Vans’ Dallas Crum tests out some hand controls connected to a driving game.

Game Design

Game engines are the tools used in the creation of video games. More and more developers have understood why the element of inclusion should be considered from the beginning; at the game design level. This has been the case recently with specific game engines already encouraging accessibility. An example such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, which enables developers to see the appearance of their game with various forms of color blindness, allows developers the opportunity of addressing disability in their game design.

Accessibility Features

Certain major brand consoles have also joined in on the push for more inclusive games. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 accessibility features allow the player to redesign the controller layout to one that would suit their needs.

There is also the Xbox Co-pilot option found on Xbox One. This feature allows a player to pair a second handset to the first one which allows the player to recruit a friend or caregiver to help with certain buttons or with multi-tasking.

With the increased popularity of Virtual Reality, it has opened another alternative to how gamers can enjoy the different products. However, there is still a way to go. Virtual Reality Headsets can be bulky and when they require head movement, that can be a challenge for some individuals. The opportunity they present for vast and diverse experiences for a user with limited mobility, though, can’t be ignored.

man wearing virtual reality headset

Virtual reality could be the future for gaming for people with disabilities.

Disability-Friendly Companies

Companies such as Special Effect are creating inclusive games and developing all new ways to enable people to play. Furthermore, they are crafted on a case-by-case basis to meet the specific person’s needs.

AbleGamers develop solutions that game developers can implement to make their products more accessible. Remappable keys; which would allow users to reconfigure controls, color-blind options and closed captioning are a few recommended solutions. Tutorials are essential for players with cognitive disabilities since they will allow players to learn the game without fear of failure.

AbleGamers educate content creators, hardware and software developers on how to develop accessible games. On top of that, they also teach and support caregivers on the advantages gaming has to those with disabilities. Events such as Accessibility Arcades help show disabled gamers the technology that helps them enjoy gaming like everyone else.

According to statistics, there are roughly thirty-three and a half million of gamers with disabilities in the United States, two-thirds of them being male. Click To Tweet

Find More Inclusive Games

Able gaming can be fun for people of all ages and abilities! The more accessible gaming is made, the more inclusive it will be. For more information on how this is being made possible, head on to AbleGamers.

Speaking of accessible equipment, we install a variety of hand controls for wheelchair accessible vehicles at AMS Vans! You can read about some of the options we offer here.