Wheelchair Blog from AMS Vans

Welcome! We know there's a reason you're here, and AMS Vans is honored to be part of your world. 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. Our wheelchair blog is here to empower all of you with tips, trends in wheelchair technology, wheelchair news, inspiring stories, insightful interviews, medical breakthroughs, helpful links, the latest in adaptive products, disability news, upcoming events and, of course, information about AMS Vans' wheelchair accessible vehicles. We focus on anything and everything that enriches your life and makes it easier.

Buying a handicap accessible van is a defining moment in the life of an individual who wants manageable mobility beyond the wheelchair. We have handicap vans for sale, and we want to ensure the process—from the moment it begins—is as smooth as possible. When you purchase a wheelchair van from us, the process never truly ends, because you become part of the AMS family. Just like family, we stay in touch and care about your happiness.

We'd love to hear from you—even if it's just to say "hello!" Your thoughts matter, so take time to comment on the articles that interest you, inspire you, or provoke you. Every question, suggestion or concern you share with us helps us make our wheelchair blog better and more useful for all our readers. At AMS Vans, we want to get to know you, and we want you to get to know us!

Pin It

Top 5+ Fantastic Lesser-Known Family-Friendly Movies to Stream During Spring and Summer 2020

Top 5+ Fantastic Lesser-Known Family-Friendly Movies to Stream During Spring and Summer 2020

When the temperatures begin to rise, some of us look forward to enjoying the great outdoors. However, staying at home is a great way to spend some quality time at home. While many new movies hit the big screen in summer, there are many great, lesser-known movies. Check out some of these lesser-known movies that are a real eye-opener.

1. Angus

With a stellar cast including Kathy Bates and George C. Scott, the title character of Angus (played by Charlie Talbert) follows the antics of a shy, obese teenager. He attempts to win the heart of his childhood crush Melissa (Ariana Richards), a popular cheerleader who is dating Rick (James Van der Beek) the quarterback of their High School football team. For fans of classic underdog tales, don’t miss this touching movie.

RATED PG-13 for mild language and sexual innuendo but worthy of some important lessons on bullying and teasing for teenagers

2. Big Hero 6

Even though it took home the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2015, many have overlooked Big Hero 6. The anime-style cartoon follows a special bond that develops between an inflatable, health-minded robot named Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) and tech-prodigy Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter). This unlikely duo teams up with a group of nerdy friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

RATED PG for some mild violence mostly during chases scenes and run-ins with villains

3. The Iron Giant

While it flopped at the box office, The Iron Giant continues to support a growing fan base. It quickly became a must-see family favorite with critics and viewers alike. Here’s another tale about the unlikely friendship between a boy and his robot. However, in this case, the mechanical, metal man is an enormous alien. This is one of those tales that’s best left to be unraveled first-hand by viewers unless they’ve already read the book by the same name written by Ted Hughes back in 1968.

RATED PG for some mild violence and suspense

4. Simon Birch

There’s a big message coming from the small character of Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith) though his heartwarming friendship with his best pal Joe (Joseph Mazzello). Born with a medical condition making Simon extra-small and fragile, Joe equips his bicycle with a special add-on accessory giving his little best friend greater mobility. Despite his much smaller stature, Simon is convinced he was put on earth for a greater purpose. Thus, their friendship is put to the ultimate test when the pair must deal with an unexpected tragedy.

RATED PG for some mild language and another flick with important lessons and an excellent message

5. Zathura: A Space Adventure

Practically everyone has seen Jumanji starring Robin Williams (or the newer version with Dwayne Johnson) playing a board game gone wrong bringing the terrors of a twisted fictionalized jungle to real-life scenarios. Zathura follows a similar plotline except in outer space. In the author’s book, the space movie plot thrusts a brother and sister (Josh Hutcherson and Kristen Stewart) into perilous parts of the galaxy. They are trapped inside their house while playing Zathura: A Space Adventure. Again, similar to the Jumanji experience, the siblings must work together to finish playing the game before getting destroyed by one unexpected adventure after another.

RATED PG for some mild violence and suspense

HOLIDAY BONUS: Rise of the Guardians

Although this lesser-known animated movie is set during Christmastime, the Rise of the Guardians showcases almost every major holiday with an associative protector known as guardians of their red-letter dates and traditions. Among the more notable voices, you’ll find characters include Chris Pine portraying Jack Frost, Alec Baldwin as North, Hugh Jackman appears as the Bunny from Down Under, along with Australian actress Isla Fisher playing the flighty Tooth Fairy, and Jude Law as the villainous Pitch.

RATED PG for some mild violence and suspense. This movie includes a newer, more unique viewpoint, and twists about the holidays and other popular traditions

10 Movies to Watch in 2020

10 Movies to Watch in 2020

Beat the heat this spring and watch movies inside with your friends and family. There are so many amazing movies coming out this year. We have put together a list of our favorite ones.

1. Trolls World Tour

Branch and Queen Poppy discover that other troll worlds exist. There are many clashes between the different tribes. A mysterious threat puts everyone in danger. Poppy and Branch must go on a mission to unite all of the tribes and save everyone from impending threat. Will they succeed?

2. SCOOB!

So many kids love Scooby-Doo. If you have been watching these guys for a while and are ready for a new story, you are in luck. Scooby-doo and his buddies are back. They are embarking on a totally new adventure. The whole family will love this movie.

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

If you are a SpongeBob fan, this one is for you. This is the third movie in the series. SpongeBob meets the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang during summer camp!

4. Artemis Fowl

If you have ever read the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, you will know how amazing his stories are. In this particular movie, an Irish criminal kidnaps the LEPrecon officer Holly Short. He needs to fund the rescue of his father somehow and has convinced himself that the ends justify the means. A transaction is made and then they go on a hunt to take down the evil pixie Opal Koboi. They also have to save Artemis Fowl Senior from the Arctic, as soon as possible.

5. Minions: The Rise of Gru

Gru is an evil mastermind, but how did he become so evil? If you are wondering why Gru became such a monster, this movie is for you. Everyone has a story. This is the story of Gru.

6. Soul

This is an inspiring animated film about where your dreams, your passions, your identity, and your goals originate. It takes place partly in New York City and partly in several cosmic realms. It is directed by Pete Doctor, who has won two Oscars to date.

7. Free Guy

bank teller goes to work and fulfills his duties, day in and day out. At first, he seems like he is just an average guy living a run-of-the-mill life. This is not the case however. Life is fairly mundane until he discovers that he is actually part of a video game. When chaos ensues, the world rests on his shoulders. He must save the world from impending doom.

8. Jungle Cruise

This movie is actually based off of one of Disneyland’s famous theme park rides. A group of folks is on a small riverboat floating down a river through a jungle filled with dangerous wildlife. This story documents an incredible, and often very dangerous, adventure.

9. Morbius: The Living Vampire

This is the third chapter in Sony’s Marvel Universe. It is based on Spider-Man characters who coexist with Sable, Black Cat, and Silver Sable. If you are a marvel fan, this movie is definitely for you. You will not want to miss it. It is a great movie to watch with your family.

10. West Side Story

If you have a soft spot for musicals, then this movie is definitely for you. It is a remake of the 1961 film which was about two members from rivaling gangs living in New York City. These two rivals fall in love.

Find More Movies to Watch in 2020

We hope you enjoy these phenomenal films. They are all family-friendly. Whether you are looking for adventure, magic, villains, or romance, we have got you covered.

The Many Types of Assistive Technology for Disabled Persons

Woman with disability working from home in her Assistive Technology wheelchair

We live in a world where anything is possible thanks to technology. Today, we have technology that makes it possible for people with disabilities to achieve unimaginable feats. It is a fantastic thing to see and be a part of. AMS Vans is very happy to be a part of the forward progress, not just with our vans, but in other ways as well. Join us as we take a look at the many types of assistive technology for disabled persons that technology has given us.

The Daily Struggles Stop Here

For years, people have felt that disabilities could possibly hold them back. Then, there are others who prove that disability does not stop anyone. Consider how Sylvester Stallone overcame birth complications that resulted in paralysis of his face. Even though it left him with a perennial snarl and slurred speech issues, he still one of the world’s sexiest men.

Chris Burke, a man that we all know from the sitcom “Life Goes On” is another example of overcoming obstacles. Although born with Downs Syndrome, he appeared in this very popular television show from 1989-1993. He has been in a music band that created four albums and won a few Golden Globe Awards despite doctors saying when he was born that he would never walk or talk.

These two did it without the help of technology. Today, we don’t have to. We have access to assistive technology. It is this technology that makes it easy for a writer to overcome blindness, a paralyzed veteran to access the internet, and wheelchair-bound people from all walks of life to be more independent.

How Technology Helps Everyone

From Smart Home technology allowing us to use Alexa or environmental control devices, and other types of things; to adaptive tools that make it easy to use utensils, keyboards, and more. We have it all within our reach in today’s world.

If you look up “handicap home solutions” you will find a variety of tools that can make your life easier. We hear often how people may still struggle to use a keyboard. It takes precision to hit the right keys. Autocorrect can help some, but what if you are unable to see the keyboard or have trouble controlling your fingers? There is a solution available. It can be found through searching for “adaptive keyboards” on Amazon. These devices simplify using the keyboard so that you can search the web for necessities or wants that you may have.

As another option, you can also search for the term “smart home” on Amazon.com. This will allow you to find a large variety of products that may help you in your day-to-day life as you embrace the technology we have available.

Increasing Mobility and Convenience

Mobility is one of the easiest things to deal with. You have a lot of options. Depending on the disability you face, you may use canes or walkers, or be wheelchair dependant. Although difficult, this does not mean you are ever restricted. We have too many different types of mobility aids available, including scooters or our customized, wheelchair accessible vans.

In the words of Chris Burke, “It’s not your disabilities, it’s your abilities that count.” This is our mission. Our hope is that as technology continues to improve, we can do even more for those who struggle with simple things. We have the dream of becoming a world where there is no such thing as being “unable” to live your life on your terms.  In this world, the one that makes anything possible, disabilities and handicaps should not hinder your ability to be the independent person you want to be.

Learn More About Assistive Technology for Disabled Persons

If you are ready to show your independence, we encourage you to contact us. We will be happy to help and with three convenient locations and nationwide support, we are always here for you.

The New Mattel Hot Wheel Is a Wheelchair Model Die-Cast Car

father and son playing with The New Mattel Hot Wheel Is a Wheelchair Model Die-Cast Car

For over 50 years, Mattel’s Hot Wheels die-cast cars have been a smashing success with children of all ages. Many kids grow up to collect classic cars and newer models hitting the marketplace.

Brief Hot Wheel History

The first set of die-cast Hot Wheel cars came out in 1968 in a lineup called “Sweet 16”. The original set included custom designs based on hot rods available in the real world reflecting California’s custom car culture. Some of the beloved automobiles available during initial release were customized versions of the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Volkswagen Beetle.

Mattel’s co-founder, Elliot Handler, envisioned tiny hot rods while playing with his children in 1966. At the time, he realized die-cast cars were lackluster in their performance and not very agile. Indeed, there was a lack of variety of models and variations. After his first prototype rolled off the production line, Handler exclaimed, “Those are some hot wheels!” So the title for the new toys was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Wheelie HW Ride-On Chair

Over a half-century after the first Hot Wheel, the creative minds at Mattel dreamt up a new design called the Wheelie Chair. The model resembles the actual wheelchair ridden in real life by Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham. For those unaware, Fotheringham is an extreme wheelchair athlete. The BMX-inspired, skateboard-related stunts are nothing short of spectacular.

It was Aaron who coined the phrase, “It’s a wheelchair, not a prison” and you can check out a video of him performing tricks and taking flight in one of his many online videos. Fotheringham is an inspiration to many people regardless of their abilities and reminds us all to live our best self and not to let obstacles stand in the way of our success.

Miniaturized Riders

A wheelchair needs a rider so Mattel partnered with the Lego brand of building blocks to equip their Wheelie chairs with an operator from their miniature figurine MegaBloks collection. Any of the Lego minifigs will snap into place on the specially designed ride-on chairs as their hands can clip onto the rail that extends from one side, across the rear, and onto the other side as well. The figurines are also able to grasp part of the base that extends past the footrest.

To emulate Aaron’s, the chair is lime green with bright orange wheels. Further, it comes with licensed decor from the daredevil. Fotheringham’s image and signature are on the packaging.

Perfect Pairing

Hot Wheels paired with Aaron Fotheringham and the Danish Lego toymaker makes a fun addition to Mattel’s kid-friendly products. It was the brainchild of Mattel Designer Alvin Chan as part of the 2019 Hot Wheels “C” case assortment. Children of all abilities request this particular addition. Then, purchased by collectors looking to add to their beloved inventory of Hot Wheels.

Learn More About the New Mattel Hot Wheel

When you’re in the market for an actual, full-sized vehicle capable of transporting a wheelchair and its real-life occupant, check out our inventory of handicapped accessible vans. We’ve got hundreds of these specially designed vehicles available.