Monthly Archives: June 2016

Have You Checked the ATXchange Lately?


Are you looking for assistive technology? Try searching on the!

The AT Xchange is designed to facilitate transactions between residents of Michigan exchanging, donating, or selling used assistive technology (AT). For more information about this site and how to use it, please see the the Frequently Asked Questions.

You might want to review our article about safe online buying and selling using the ATxchange: Using the ATXchange: Buying and Selling Tips

Recent Listings on the

  • Heavy Duty Hydraulic Invacare Lift
    For Sale: $500.00
    Ypsilanti, MI
    Heavy duty (750 lb weight limit) Hydraulic lift  (like Hoyer)
    comes w/batteries and charger, must pick up.
  • Companion 11 Four Wheel Scooter
    For Sale: $1,000.00
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Great condition, recently serviced, new ignition switch. Includes front detachable basket, outdoor cover, and pole/flag for moving in traffic. (Purchased new 6-23-13)
  • Wheelchair Swing and frame
    For Sale: $1,600.00
    Linwood, MI
    This is a heavy duty wheelchair swing with frame. Lifetime warranty on several parts of the swing components. It was purchased from Sportsplay Equipment Inc. All the warranty and paperwork will come with. The purchase price was $2200 and it is only 2 years old. It is portable.
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5 Tips for Accessible Summertime Recreation and Fitness


by MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

Winter seems to be finally over, and after months of my mobility being hindered by the snow, ice and cold, I am itching for some fun in the sun (as I suspect are most people who use mobility equipment). Here are just a few tips for recreational and fitness activities that are accessible for everyone.

1. Recreation and Fitness All in One

Adaptive sports can be a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time.  Many local communities have adaptive clubs and leagues.  If you’re not sure where to start, check out Michigan Adaptive Sports.  Their summer program includes clinics for adaptive kayaking and water-skiing.

2. Know Your Access Rights

pool with a ramp for entry and exitThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines compliance standards for places of public recreation,  like parks, trails, beaches, and sports fields) and state and local government locations.  You may not know that since 2013, “Title III of the ADA requires that places of public accommodation (e.g., hotels, resorts, swim clubs, and sites of events open to the public) remove physical barriers in existing pools to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so (i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense).”  Removing physical barriers means that pools and spas should have an accessible means of entry and exit.  Oftentimes, this means they must have a pool lift , but there are other ways to create accessible entry/exits from pools as  well.  If you have questions related to the ADA and recreation or fitness locations, you can call the ADA Information Hotline through the Department of Justice at 800-514-0301 and receive information specific to your situation.

3. Explore what the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Has to Offer

EZ Launch Transfer System for kayaks and canoes at the Brighton State Recreation Area

EZ Launch Transfer System for kayaks and canoes at the Brighton State Recreation Area

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has an Accessibility Page that offers a wealth of information about accessibility in our state parks, campgrounds,  fishing sites, beaches, and more.  Travelling somewhere specific?  The DNR Recreation Search Application allows you to search by activity, trail, park or location, or you can see all of the places with accessibility features.

4. What’s Happening in Your Own Backyard?

Many local communities have their own adaptive programs or inclusive events.  Many Centers for Independent Living offer classes on gardening, painting, theater, wheelchair basketball, etc. and some have assistive technology for recreation, like recumbent bikes and handcycles.  If cycling interests you, consider checking out Programs to Educate all Cyclists (PEAC).  PEAC offers various cycling programs including their “2 by 2” program for people who are blind or have low vision

Also, watch for picnics and special events, sponsored by your local Center for Independent living and other disability organizations.   ADA celebrations are often held in late July around the anniversary of the law’s passage.

5. Host your own inclusive event!

Sip and Puff Fishing Rod

Creating an inclusive, accessible event may sound daunting to some, but oftentimes it requires only minor modifications and accommodations.  Putting forth the intention and effort is what you need to get started and knowing your guests and including them in the planning will help you pull it off.  For more tips on hosting an inclusive event see our webinars “AT for your Accessible Picnic”, and blog post “Hosting an Epic Party: Inclusive Style”.  More ideas on assistive technology for outdoor sports and recreation can be found on our webinar “Increasing Access and Participation in Outdoor Recreation” presented by Kathleen Laurin, Ph.D. from the University of Montana Rural Institute.   Keep in mind that the Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund offers loans for recreational equipment as well as functional equipment,

How are you planning to spend this summer?  Will you use assistive technology for recreation and/or fitness?


AT for Early Pregnancy


By Aimee Sterk, MATP, LMSW

Today I’m 13 weeks pregnant. It took a lot to get here including two drawn out, awful miscarriages and IVF. This is by far my “easiest” pregnancy to date, but along the way I’ve gathered some AT and resources that have helped me get through this pregnancy and my other two.

SeabandsFour raised hands with seabands on the wrist with the plastic dots in the palm side of the wrist crease

Seabands are motion sickness bracelets that also help with pregnancy nausea. They have hard
plastic bumps that are placed so they press on an acupressure point that helps with nausea and sea sickness. They are available at your local drug store.

Facebook Groups

I have mental health disabilities including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. That combined with the “normal” anxiety of pregnancy and my two previous losses resulted in some significant anxiety early in my pregnancy. In addition to therapy and medications, I found great online support from groups including the Facebook groups: Pregnancy After Loss and the IUI & IVF Pregnancy Support Group. These groups offer strength, support, and shared stories. I found them especially helpful for middle of the night anxiety—because people are on from around the world, I would get responses to questions and requests almost immediately at any time of the day or night. There are many other pregnancy support groups on Facebook as well, depending on your situation. I also found The Disabled Parenting Project Facebook page to be helpful and reduce internalized ableism about parenting with a disability.

Timer Apps

This pregnancy, I have been especially tired the first trimester. Early on, I needed two naps a day. To keep up with my work and maintain my job, I needed to make sure my naps didn’t go overboard so I used timers on my smartphone to wake me to get back to work.

Mood Apps

I experienced Prenatal depression with my first and second pregnancy. Mood tracking apps would have been useful to try to notice when it was starting to get bad. An ill-informed OB nurse told me to quit taking my antidepressant during my first pregnancy which spun me into a deep deep depression that only worsened after my miscarriage. Had I been tracking my mood, it may have prevented such awful consequences. I recommend T2 Mood Tracker and PTSD Coach. I am using PTSD coach this pregnancy to track symptoms.

Pregnancy PillowsA pregnant woman sleeping with the C shaped Snoggle pillow by Leachco. Several positions are shown including the pillow alone and the woman with the pillow wrapped in front of her and behind her. The top of the c is under her head and the bottom between her legs. The middle either supports the belly or the back.

I have chronic upper back pain and am starting to have lower back pain related to pregnancy. Pregnancy pillows have already been very helpful for me for sleeping more comfortably. They wrap around your body supporting your neck, back, belly, and then slip between your knees to support your low back. Boppy makes a pregnancy pillow as does Leachco and several other companies. I have the Leachco and so far it is working well for me. I have ordered a wedge pillow to put under my head and upper back to help with heartburn and sleep apnea symptoms.

Have you been pregnant with a disability (disabilities)? What AT worked for you?


Low Vision Reading and Writing (almost too many options!)


close up of side view of woman's blue eyeBy MATP Staff Member M. Catherine McAdam

I frequently get asked about options for continuing to read mail, sign checks, and do simple visual tasks for older adults losing vision. The problem is that everyone defines those simple task quite differently, and the number of tools available is almost overwhelming if you can’t break down the tasks you most want to perform.

More Information: reading, writing and vision loss.

Many scan and read options use synthesized speech, so if you have any hearing loss, or simply are just learning the art of listening, this could be problematic. There are many portable magnification options for reading without speech output, but if you also need magnification to write your choices may be much more limited. Some people want to hear and visually scan information and this is possible, but again you need to be specific when seeking this alternative. It’s not just a matter of visual acuity; it’s all about functional vision! This may include issues of glair, color perception, and depth perception.

More information about adult vision loss.

As much as I appreciate the advances in assistive technology, it’s always a good idea to start with some basics, or low tech, first. Most banks now have large print checks, and/or checks with raised lines for help guiding for signatures, or there are a variety of signature guides.  Large print calendars and 2020 pens are often just right for daily task reminders.

Sometimes better lighting is enough to make a work area usable again. There are simple message communication devices for recording quick messages in your own voice.

More information: suppliers for low vision aids

However, we think the hand-on method of exploring options is best!

Three of our demonstration sites for low vision can now loan out some low tech items for short trial periods, and offer additional resource assistance in seeking out a low vision evaluation. Learn more about low vision demonstrations!

There is an abundance of products categorized and described by the American Foundation for the Blind, including videos.

Holding hand held magnifier over text about fly fishingIf you are considering a higher-priced option such as a standalone closed-circuit TV, scanning systems, or the newer face/object recognition products, it’s always good to know if the vendor does demonstrations for these items and/or if they have a 30 day trial period, with the option to easily return an item. This is usually noted on their web sites or in their marketing material.

Unfortunately, because low vision is so different for each person, this is one of those times when what your best friend uses may not work at all for you! Eye strain is fatiguing, and once magnification is past 5x for large volume reading, the “audio” or listening method may work best, and be more efficient. There are many natural voice options available.

View materials and the archived webinar: Reading for All for more information!