Tag Archives: disabled

8+ Excellent Movies With Disabled, Mentally or Mobility Challenged Main Characters

8+ Excellent Movies With Disabled, Mentally or Mobility Challenged Main Characters

In 2019, actress Ali Stroker made history by becoming the first person confined to a wheelchair to win a Tony for her performance in a revival of the Broadway classic Oklahoma! In a moving speech, Stroker emotionally dedicated the award to, “every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation, or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena… you are.”

We’d like to dedicate these eight movies showcasing characters who are disabled, mentally, or mobility challenged to Ali Stroker. While those with limitations have often been underserved in title roles, we’re happy to see them in the limelight.

1. The Miracle Worker

Based on a true story, a caregiver struggles to connect with an unruly, deaf, mute, and blind child. Further, the role provided a young Patty Duke an Oscar for her role as Helen Keller. Movies like The Miracle Worker and The Elephant Man are often considered classic and cornerstone films that bring the real-life struggles of those who are different to audiences everywhere.

2. A Beautiful Mind

Based on a true story, A Beautiful Mind tells Nobel Prize-winning, schizophrenic mathematician, John Forbes’ story. Further, the film won an Oscar statue for director Ron Howard and actress Jennifer Connelly for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress respectfully.

3. Benny & Joon

Benny (Aidan Quinn) cares for his younger sister Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) who navigates several unspecified forms of mental illnesses. Soon Sam (Johnny Depp) enters the picture and begins to woo Joon with his Charlie Chaplin-like charm and antics. As the pair begins to fall in love, Benny contemplates sending Joon to live in a group home.

4. Children of a Lesser God

Marlee Matlin was the first (and still only) deaf person to receive an Academy Award for her portrayal alongside William Hurt in Children of a Lesser God. In the film, Hurt is a new teacher at a school for the deaf. His challenge is getting former student Matlin to use her spoken voice instead of relying on sign language. A romantic relationship develops between the two despite the emotionally distant and bitter background suffered by Matlin’s character of Sarah.

5. I Am Sam

In an Oscar-nominated performance, Sean Penn delivered an epic performance as the title role in I Am Sam. Penn portrays a developmentally disabled man fighting to retain custody of his seven-year-old daughter played by Dakota Fanning. Indeed, based on a true story, Sam’s struggle comes to light as his daughter’s growing mental capabilities begin to surpass his own.

6. The Theory of Everything

Based on real-life events, The Theory of Everything relates the relationship of Stephen Hawking with fellow student Jane Wilde. At the age of twenty-one, the couple discovers Hawking has a motor neuron disease. According to his doctor, he has little time left to live. Despite the terrible news, they begin an ambitious study of time, breaking new grounds in the fields of science and medicine.

7. My Left Foot

Born with cerebral palsy, Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis) only has control over a single limb, his left foot. However, early on, Brown astonishes his impoverished family by scrawling the word ‘mother’ on the floor with a piece of chalk gripped with the toes on his left foot. This truly remarkable man goes on to become an accomplished writer and painter in Ireland.

8. Simon Birch

We recently showcased Simon Birch as a choice for a fantastic, lesser-known, family-friendly movie to watch and would like to highlight a fun fact about the film. The actor who played the title character, Ian Michael Smith was born with Morquio Syndrome also known as MPSIVA which affects the skeletal structure and causes dwarfism. However, even with his smaller stature at just over three feet tall, this little boy has a big purpose in this spiritually inspirational film. It also stars Ashley Judd and Oliver Platt.

BONUS: Soul Surfer

Every teen going through a hard time needs to watch Soul Surfer, the true tale of thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton. Indeed, she loses her arm in a shark attack. Not only does this brave gal get back on the surfboard again, but she also finds a higher purpose in life by helping others.

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.

Top 10 New Year Resolutions for Disabled Persons

celebrating the new year by making new year resolutions

Happy family celebrating with sparklers on New Year’s Eve.

One of the ways disabled persons achieve the greatest happiness in life is by living as normally as possible despite the disadvantages they may face. They will often do whatever it takes to do perform the same functions and even achieve similar goals as those who are not limited in their abilities. In this light, from this recent list of Top 10 New Year Resolutions for Success and Happiness, the most popular propositions are just as easily accomplished by anyone regardless of the challenges they may have in life.

  1. Diet or eat healthy (71%)
  2. Exercise more (65%)
  3. Lose weight (54%)
  4. Save more and spend less (32%)
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
  6. Quit Smoking (21%)
  7. Read more (17%)
  8. Find another or different job (16%)
  9. Drink less alcohol (15%)
  10. Spend more time with family and friends (13%)

For the first three new year resolutions, be sure to consult with your physician before starting any type of diet or exercise regime depending upon your unique conditions or circumstances. Together you’ll put together a program that will work best for you.

Saving Money and Spending Less

One of the easiest ways to save money is to sign up for an automatic withdrawal from your primary banking account for deposit into savings, retirement or another type of account. This way you’re saving money without even thinking about it and it happens regularly.

If you don’t already have one in place, set up a budget and stick to it to spend less money in the New Year. There are plenty of online options available to create one of these worksheets. Providers like NerdWallet suggest using the 50/30/20 rule where:

  • 50% of income goes towards necessities
  • 30% of earnings are meant for wants
  • 20% of income goes into savings and debt reduction

Reduce your budget and spend less by trimming from the 30% category and limit items you want by sticking with more necessities.

Learn a New Skill or Hobby

Here the possibilities are practically endless and could include anything from reading more as suggested in the roster above to taking on a new crafting project or learning to play a musical instrument. But don’t limit your choices to sedentary activities as suggested in this list of hobbies as suggested in this roster from Very Well Health.

Quitting Smoking and Drinking Less Alcohol

Often these two unhealthy habits go hand in hand. Thus, quitting might make both tasks easier when combined for new year resolutions. As everyone who has attempted or successfully stopped drinking or smoking knows, making this transition is difficult at best.

Be sure to reach out for assistance and use resources available to help conquer these addictions. This is another avenue where your physician should be able to help you with medications to make quitting easier and therefore more successful in the long run.

Finding a New or Different Job

Sign up for automatic job postings that arrive in your email inbox at sites like Indeed to find a new or different source of employment. At this particular website, users have the ability to perform refined searches for job opportunities available in their area according to different parameters that meet your experience and skills. Upload your resume and you could have potential employers searching for you instead.

With a rise in the trend of more people telecommuting, working from home is becoming more popular than ever. Stay at home jobs are also available from many of these providers and your new line of employment could find you working in your pajamas from the comfort of your domicile.

Reading More

If you’ve signed up to receive regular job updates, you’ve filled two needs with one deed when perusing these posts. With the world-wide-web available at nearly everyone’s fingertips, finding more content to read is easier than ever before. Perform a search online for “free novels to read now” and you’ll find a plethora of platforms offering these books at no charge. What an easy way to complete new year resolutions.

Spending More Time With Friends and Family

If mobility is an issue when it comes to transportation to see more of your family and friends, please check out our inventory of new and used handicapped and wheelchair accessible vans for sale. There are hundreds of vehicles available for purchase and come in a variety of makes and models.

Find More New Year Resolutions

From everyone here at AMS, here’s wishing you and yours the happiest and most prosperous New Year.

Type of wheelchair used in The Upside

What Wheelchair Does Bryan Cranston Use in The Upside?

The film The Upside has been the first sleeper hit at the movies in 2019 so far, earning over $76 million at the box office. In the film, Bryan Cranston plays a disabled billionaire named Phillip looking for help with his day to day functions. He hires a man named Dell Scott (played by Kevin Hart) as his caretaker.

As a quadriplegic, Cranston’s character’s wheelchair plays a pivotal role in the film as it is featured in nearly every scene. Let’s take a look at an overview of the film’s plot, what kind of wheelchair Cranston’s character Phillip Lecasse uses, and also what the film’s real message is.

What is The Plot of the Upside?

When we meet Phillip at the beginning of the film, it doesn’t seem as if he’s been confined to a wheelchair for long. He’s deeply depressed at the outset, clearly not adjusting well to his new lifestyle after a tragic hang gliding accident he suffered and his ex-wife’s passing. He’s looking for an assistant with the help of his caring and kind executive Yvonne, played by Nicole Kidman.

Enter Dell Scott. A down on his luck parolee who’s estranged from his wife and son, he’s bouncing from job interview to job interview without as much as a callback. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to get hired, he shows up at Lecasse’s swank penthouse apartment, desperate just for that signature that proves he’s actively looking for work.

Dell’s desperation and lack of respect for the process trigger something in Phillip. He hires Dell mainly because of how incompetent he thinks Dell will be in the role, almost hoping he fails due to his depression. Dell is overwhelmed in the role at first, though he greatly appreciates the large paycheck and luxury, live-in apartment with state of the art amenities.

The two spend the majority of the film learning each other’s worlds. Phillip takes Dell to the opera. Dell takes Phillip out for hot dogs. They come to respect and even like one another. As Dell and Phillip grow closer, Dell also begins working his way back into his son’s life.

Late in the film, Dell learns that Phillip has a pen pal to whom he writes romantic letters. Due to Dell’s antics, he ends up agreeing to meet her in person. Though the dinner goes well at first, she ends up saying they should remain friends. A heartbroken Phillip goes into another sad spell and fires Dell in misdirected anger.

In the end, Dell gets a new job manufacturing wheelchairs and buys a new home for his family. He reconnects with Phillip and takes him hang gliding. Phillip rediscovers his passion for life and strikes up a romance with Yvonne. Phillip and Dell remain friends to the present day.

What Kind of Wheelchair Does Bryan Cranston Use in the Upside?

Phillip’s wheelchair is known as an F5 Corpus. It features fully independent suspension, a 14″ seat elevator, and lowered seat to floor height for improved accessibility. It also features enhanced tilt functionality, with optional 10º, 20º, and 45º anterior tilt. It maintains 50º posterior tilt.

The wheelchair plays a big role in the movie, as it allows Phillip to perform a number of functions he wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

What is the Film’s Message?

The film’s message was that no matter what life throws your way, it’s important to cherish it and try to roll with the punches. Phillip’s character had been dealt a tough hand, but by connecting with Dell and learning more about his predicament, he understood that everyone has their separate battles to fight.

While living with a disability is a challenge, it doesn’t have to stop anyone from living a rewarding life that includes recreation, fulfilling work, and deep, meaningful relationships.