SUNRISE MEDICAL Announces JAY® SyncraTM Seating Specifically Engineered for Tilt and Recline

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Man sitting on a boardwalk in a tilt and recline position in his wheelchair with the beach in the background

Sunrise Medical recently announced the launch of the JAY Syncra Seating System, a cohesive and attractive seating system intentionally designed for tilt and recline.

Available exclusively on the SEDEO® PROTM seat frame, Syncra is a comprehensive seating system engineered so that the cushion and the back work in tandem to minimize movement and help avoid body displacement.

The combination of the Syncra’s scalloped back shell and the cushions’ lowered pelvic wall and deeper femoral troughs assist in keeping the body in optimal position during the recline motion. “Many times therapists have to make sacrifices when adapting aftermarket seating to powered seat frames, but with JAY Syncra it eliminates the guess work and helps ensure a proper fit,” said Jeff Rogers, Director of Power Product Management.

To complement this new product offering, there are a variety of positioning accessories available to help support and stabilize the client in their chair such as new removable JAY Lateral Thigh Supports. Both the Syncra Cushion and Syncra Back are available in 3 upholstery options: Syncra Premium Leatherette, Syncra Stretch, and Syncra 3DX Microclimatic.

The Syncra Cushion is available in multiple interchangeable wellwheelchair pictured that has a tilt and recline feature options including the JAY Fluid with Cryo TM Technology or Visco Foam to accommodate changing clinical needs. The industry favorite JAY Fluid is now enhanced with the revolutionary, patent pending Cryo Technology. Research has shown that several factors increase the risk of a pressure injury including four risk elements correlated to wheelchair seating: pressure, shear, temperature, and moisture. The CryoFluidTM insert addresses these risk factors and actively cools the skin for up to eight hours while evenly distributing pressure, reducing shear, and lowering the risk of moisture.

With these new additions to the Sunrise Medical portfolio, clinicians have more options to help find that optimal fit for their clients’ positioning, comfort and lifestyle needs.

Learn more about JAY Syncra Seating and the new Cryo technology by visiting sunrisemedical.com.

About Sunrise Medical: A world leader in the development, design, manufacture and distribution of manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, motorized scooters and both standard and customized seating and positioning systems, Sunrise Medical manufactures products in their own facilities in the United States, Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, China, Holland, and Poland. Sunrise Medical’s key products, marketed under the QUICKIE®, Sopur, ZIPPIE®, Sterling, JAY®, WHITMYER® and SWITCH-IT® proprietary brands, are sold through a network of homecare medical product dealers or distributors in more than 130 countries. The company is headquartered in Malsch, Germany, with North American headquarters in Fresno, Calif., and employs more than 2,200 associates worldwide.

Clothing Size Guide In Works For Those With Down Syndrome

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young man with Down Syndrome looks on as two women review clothing laid out on a table

It’s often difficult for people with Down syndrome to find clothes that fit, but now researchers are working on a solution: the country’s first size guide for this population.

When Jayden Niblett wakes up each morning, his mind races to remember what he is doing that day, and what he can wear to impress his friends.

The last often leads to annoyance. Jayden, 11, who has Down syndrome, struggles to find clothes that fit his unique body type and are accommodating of his motor deficits, an issue that people with physical disabilities face every day in a world where fashion is built on single-size body standards.

“It’s really frustrating for him,” said Janet Littleton, Jayden’s grandmother. “It absolutely affects his mood and how his whole day is going to go.”

People with Down syndrome have shorter limbs, rounder bodies and common sensitivities to tags and fabrics, which make it difficult to find everyday clothes, like jeans, that fit them and feel good. Jayden would often wear women’s capri pants because they fit his waist and shorter legs. But as he has grown into a more muscular body, capris are no longer working.

Now, though, Jayden and his grandmother are working on a solution: They’re participating in a research study at the University of Delaware’s Innovation, Health and Design Lab to generate the country’s first size guide for people with Down syndrome. The lab’s mission is to provide a whole community with access to outfits that help them function with more independence and confidence.

At the end of the study, Jayden and the nearly 1,000 other participating children with Down syndrome will receive a free custom-made pair of jeans that accommodate their size and limited motor functions.

The lab, which opened in September 2018, is powered by the vision and leadership of Martha Hall, a fashion designer turned biomechanical engineer. Hall, who was born in Newark, Del., earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware and then a Ph.D. in biomechanics from the school in 2018. She started her career designing cocktail dresses, but once she saw the work that University of Delaware professor Cole Galloway was doing for children with motor deficits, she dedicated her work to improving minority populations’ quality of life through functional clothing.

“People think of fashion as a sort of fluffy science,” said Hall. “But I’ve always encouraged people to consider fashion as being all about self-advocacy and self-expression.”

The lab started with two students working on four projects, and now has 34 students — and a wait list — with 22 projects, which address everything from inclusive apparel and athletic wear to medical devices that can increase the survival chances of premature babies. Its work centers around improving quality of life through clothing, and has been so successful that by fall, Hall plans to launch health design as a major at the university, the first program of its kind in the country.

Some brands have tried to make accessible, sensory sensitive clothing lines, but they’re not using accurate size guides, said Hall.

“There’s not a lot of evidence for the design decisions that (some brands) are making,” said Hall. “It’s great that there are designers interested in serving the population, but you have to talk to the community and understand what the actual issue is … in order to design something that actually suits them.”

That’s where Hall’s student researchers come in. With the Down syndrome size guide and jean project, Kiersten McCormack interviews caregivers to learn their child’s specific needs. Senior Elizabeth deBruin built an “obstacle course” for kids to pick out fabrics, designs and colors for their jeans. Sydney Solem, a senior majoring in medical diagnostics, manages the body scanner. Together, the group focuses on fashion, function, fit, fasteners and fabric.

To generate the size chart, the lab uses a three-dimensional scanner that scans participants’ bodies and creates a 3D colored avatar with exact measurements of their size and shape. Once all participants are scanned, the company that created the machine, Human Solutions, will take the measurements, create a size guide, and sell the guide to companies, which will be able to design clothing based on accurate measurements for this population of people.

While learning to dress themselves independently is a key rite of passage for children, for those with disabilities who need assistance, it can become one more thing that makes them feel different from their peers.

Continue on to DisabilityScoop to read the complete article.

Lexilight is a reading lamp designed to help people with dyslexia

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The Lexilight is pictured on a desk

The precise causes of dyslexia remain a mystery, though research out of France two years ago suggests the condition occurs when someone has two dominant eyes, rather than the usual one.

This means letters appear mirrored or blurred, making it difficult to read. The Lexilight lamp tackles this problem with LEDs — it pulses at a customizable rate, enabling the brain to process information from a single “dominant” eye and clearing up mashed-together letters instantly.

The Lexilight is completely adjustable — knobs on the back of the light change the pulsation, allowing users to find the rhythm that works for them.

Lexilife is a new company out of France, and it showed off at the Lexilight at CES 2020.

The lamp itself is available now in Europe and will come to the United States soon, according to Lexilife founder Jean-Baptiste Fontes. It costs €549, and is available for a free 30-day trial.

Lexilife partners with dyslexia support organizations, and it’s tested the lamp on more than 300 people with dyslexia. Ninety percent of them found it improved their reading abilities.

Continue on to Engadget to read more.

Actress With Autism To Debut In New TV Comedy

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Kayla Cromer is standing in front of a background with colorful butterflies wearing a bright blue floral dress

Autism is set to be front and center on a new television series starring a woman who’s on the spectrum. The cable network Freeform, which caters to teens and young adults, will introduce the show “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” this month.

The half-hour comedy is about a 20-something who steps in to take care of his two teenage half sisters when their father dies of cancer.

Matilda, one of the half sisters, is a high school senior with autism. The character is played by actress Kayla Cromer who disclosed last spring that she has the developmental disorder herself.

Cromer has spoken up about the need for people with disabilities and other differences to represent those like themselves on screen.

“So many characters on television today, they’re portrayed by people that do not have a difference. And, honestly, people with a difference, we’re fully capable of portraying our own type and we deserve that right,” she said while speaking on a panel at the Freeform Summit last March. “With so many changes in the industry right now, why not now? Just give us our chance. Include us. We can do this.”

Freeform said the show will tackle “navigating autism, budding sexuality, consent, parenthood, adolescence, family and grief” while following a family discovering the “importance of finding happiness in the middle of really difficult moments.”

Continue on to the Disability Scoop to read the complete article.

American Girl introduces doll with hearing loss for 2020 Girl of the Year

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American Girl Doll Joss Kendrick wearing hearing aid and surfing with her dog on the surfboard

By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

Meet American Girl’s 2020 Girl of the Year: Joss Kendrick.

The 10-year-old surfer and competitive cheerleader from Huntington Beach, California, has long brown hair and a penchant for hooded sweatshirts.

Joss also wears a hearing aid in her right ear. She can’t hear at all in her left.

American Girl introduced a wheelchair in 1996, and went on to offer items such as service dogs, diabetes kits and leg braces, Joss is the first doll whose disability is a storyline in her book series.

“We’re proud to welcome Joss Kendrick, whose stories are sure to instill confidence and character in girls who are learning to think about the possibilities in their own life,” American Girl’s general manager Jamie Cygielman said in a statement.

To make Joss as authentic as possible, the Mattel-owned company worked with a team of experts including pro surfer Crystal DaSilva, who was born deaf.

“Deaf children should know that they can accomplish anything in life with hard work and dedication,” DaSilva, 35, told TODAY Parents in an email. “They should not be afraid to do anything they set out to do in life simply because they have a physical challenge.”

American Girl also partnered with Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and donated $25,000 to support the organization’s education and awareness programs.

Continue on to Today to read the complete article.

Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles February 21-23

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Los Angeles Convention Center for the Abilities Expo is pictured with blue skies and palm trees

Abilities Expo is about bringing necessary products and services together under one roof for the community of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, and healthcare professionals.

It’s about introducing opportunities that can enrich your life …especially ones that you never knew were out there.

What’s in Store for you at Abilities Expo?

New products and tech. High-impact workshops. Fun, inclusive recreation including an all-inclusive climbing wall.

 

Special Features include:

Adaptive Sports
Dance Performances
Can’t Miss Experiences
Service Animals
Face Painting

Workshops include:

Accessible Home Design
Can I retrofit my master bathroom to include a spacious roll-in shower? What must I do to install an elevator in my two-story home? How can my flower garden be made more accessible? Who should I hire to make sure my home renovation project will fit my needs?

Mosquitos, Mess Halls, and More Like Me: The Importance of the Summer Camp Experience for Youth with Disabilities
Is summer camp relevant for my child? Is it really the best use of our time and resources? How does the camp experience prepare my child for their future?

Watch the video to find out more about the Abilities Expo!

Abilities Expo Los Angeles has it all so register for free today!

Jim Ryan and the Wheelie 7: A Game-Changer For Mobility

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HOOBOX Robotics' Wheelie 7 kit allows users to pick from 10 facial expressions to control their motorized wheelchair moving forward, turning and stopping. Instead of invasive body sensors, the Wheelie 7 uses a 3D Intel RealSense Depth Camera SR300 mounted on the wheelchair to stream data that AI algorithms process in real time to control the chair

By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons

The date of March 30th, 2016, will be forever etched into the mind of Jim Ryan. That day, while vacationing in Maui with his wife, Isabelle, a wave struck him in waist deep water, driving him into the sea floor. He surfaced, unconscious and unresponsive. In that split second, Ryan was paralyzed, becoming a quadriplegic from his C4 vertebrae down. In that moment, his life was changed forever.

Ryan is not alone. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, nearly 288,000 people in the United States are living with spinal cord injuries, and there about 17,700 new cases each year.

For those with movement-limiting conditions like Ryan, getting around can exact a terrible toll on quality of life and autonomy. A 2018 study found that physical mobility has the largest impact on quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. Mobility is often enabled through caregivers or through a motorized wheelchair with complex sensors placed on the body that require special education to operate.

With this in mind, technology company Intel partnered with robotics company Hoobox to create the first-ever artificial intelligence-powered wheelchair that translates facial expressions into freedom of movement.

Using a combination of Intel hardware and software, Hoobox developed ‘The Wheelie’—a wheelchair kit that utilizes facial recognition technology to capture, process, and translate facial expressions into real-time wheelchair commands, finally providing individuals such as Ryan with autonomy, regardless of the physical limitations they’re facing. This system is a kit which can be installed on any motorized wheelchair system and, at under 7 minutes for installation, is relatively easy to implement.

Like many individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries, Ryan was using a conventional motorized system, one that uses a head array to translate gestures into movement.

“Before the Wheelie I drove my wheelchair with the head array. It is like a horseshoe around my head with five buttons that I used to turn left, right, forward, back, and change modes,” Ryan said. “Because of the head array, I am unable to look left and right. Nor can I wear hats of virtually any type. The hats get in the way of my buttons.”

Hoobox saw this limitation and found a way through it. By incorporating AI and a camera, the Wheelie 7 operates without invasive body sensors, providing users with independence and control over their location. It translates 11 different facial expressions into wheelchair commands in real time with 99.9% accuracy. And its performance improves over time as the algorithm learns to recognize the user’s expressions, allowing for increased freedom of movement.

“The Wheelie allows me to turn my head left and right and wear any hat I want,” said Ryan, who was introduced to Hoobox’s Wheelie through a group in Vancouver. He is one of more than 60 individuals who are testing the new technology to help Hoobox developers understand their needs and requirements.

Since being introduced to the Wheelie 7, Ryan has improved not just his mobility, but his lifestyle as well.

“I now can look left and right, up and down. I can wear a sun hat or baseball hat in the summer and nice winter hat or hoodie in the winter,” he said.

As technology continues its march forward with advances in AI systems, the limitations on mobility for those suffering from debilitating injuries like Ryan are beginning to see a transformation.

Wheelie 7 is a game changer in improving access to mobility solutions for those with conditions resulting from nearly 500,000 spinal cord injuries per year. But through continued research and development by companies such as Intel and Hoobox, and with the help of individuals such as Ryan, mobility is becoming a reality.

“For a person like me it gives a tremendous amount of freedom,” he said. “By using facial expressions instead of head movements, the Wheelie allows me more freedom and comfort in my wheelchair. And for anyone else with limited movement like me, it can be at true asset.”

Nurse adopts man with autism so he can have a heart transplant

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Nurse and man with autism who had heart transplant stand side by side in hospital smiling

Jonathan Pinkard wasn’t eligible for the procedure because he didn’t have a support system.

By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

When Jonathan Pinkard, a 27-year-old man with autism, was taken off the heart transplant list, all hope for his survival was gone.

Then, Pinkard found Lori Wood.

Wood, an ICU nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia, was assigned to Pinkard in December 2018.

Lori Wood became Jonathan Pinkard’s legal guardian so he could have a heart transplant. Lori Wood became Jonathan Pinkard’s legal guardian so he could have a heart transplant. Courtesy of Lori Wood
“Jonathan was very sick, but he wasn’t eligible for a transplant because he didn’t have a support system,” Wood, 57, told TODAY Health. “One of the requirements is that you have someone to care for you afterwards.”

Because there are so many people on waiting lists for donated organs, before receiving a transplant patients are evaluated to make sure they are responsible enough to protect their health, including taking anti-rejection medications, if they receive one.

“They’re going to look at things like do you show up for appointments and follow doctors orders?” said Anne Paschke, spokesperson for United Network for Organ Sharing, a group that decides which patients receive life-saving organ transplants in the United States. “If you get a transplant and don’t take your immunosuppressive drugs, you’re going to lose it.”

Pinkard, who had been in and out of the hospital since August, was often discharged to a men’s shelter because he had nowhere else to go.

So, after knowing Pinkard for two days, the single mom asked Pinkard if she could become his legal guardian.

“I had to help him. It was a no-brainer,” Wood revealed. “He would have died without the transplant.”

Though Wood “didn’t know a thing” about Pinkard when he moved in, the two bonded quickly over football and “Family Feud”.

“Jonathan has his chair, and I have my chair,” Wood said. “We like game shows and high five back and forth if we get an answer right. He is very loving.”

Lori Wood, seen here with Jonathan, was honored by Piedmont Healthcare for making a positive difference. Lori Wood, seen here with Jonathan, was honored by Piedmont Healthcare for making a positive difference. Courtesy of Piedmont Healthcare
Pinkard calls Wood, “Mama.” She monitors his medications — he takes 34 pills a day — and shuttles him to doctors appointments. Wood is also helping Pinkard to improve his credit score and teaching him the life skills he needs to live independently.

Continue on to Today to read the complete article.

Carnival Cruise Line now certified as ‘Sensory Inclusive’

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Carnival Cruise Ship pictured at dock

Cruises can be a dazzling display of lights and sound with an overwhelming amount of things to do – and for some people with autism, ADHD, PTSD, Down Syndrome and other sensory disabilities, that can lead to sensory overload. But Carnival Cruise Line has gone out of its way to be more accommodating to its guests, and that has paid off with the company becoming the first cruise line to be certified “sensory inclusive” by KultureCity, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accessibility and inclusion for individuals with sensory needs and invisible disabilities.

All of Carnival’s South Florida-based ships are now certified, with the rest of the fleet scheduled to also earn that distinction by March of 2020.

“Carnival Cruise Line and KultureCity share a heartfelt commitment to acceptance and inclusivity,” Vicky Rey, Carnival’s vice president of guest care and communications and the company’s ADA Responsibility Officer, said in a statement. “Working together, all of our guests can maximize their enjoyment and be the truest versions of themselves during their time on board.”

KultureCity co-founder Dr. Julian Maha echoed her thoughts.

“We’re proud and grateful to partner with Carnival Cruise Line, offering guests with sensory needs an opportunity to more fully enjoy their vacations and create wonderful memories with their friends, families and loved ones,” he said. “We appreciate Carnival Cruise Line for taking this important step in making their vacations accessible to everyone.”

Carnival’s rollout of the sensitivity training began in October. Hundreds have been trained to understand and help adults, youth and children with sensory-related questions or needs.

Continue on to Fox News to read the complete article.

Google Seeks Help From People With Down Syndrome

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A man with voice recognition on his phone

Voice computing is the future of tech— devices like smart-home systems and internet-enabled speakers are leading a shift away from screens and towards speech. But for people with unique speech patterns, these devices can be inaccessible when speech-recognition technology fails to understand what users are saying.

Google is aiming to change that with a new initiative dubbed “Project Understood.” The company is partnering with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society to solicit hundreds of voice recordings from people with Down syndrome in order to train its voice recognition AI to better understand them.

“Out of the box, Google’s speech recognizer would not recognize every third word for a person with Down syndrome, and that makes the technology not very usable,” Google engineer Jimmy Tobin said in a video introducing the project.

Voice assistants — which offer AI-driven scheduling, reminders, and lifestyle tools — have the potential to let people with Down syndrome live more independently, according to Matt MacNeil, who has Down syndrome and is working with Google on the project.

“When I started doing the project, the first thing that came to my mind is really helping more people be independent,” MacNeil said in the announcement video.

Continue on to Business Insider to read the complete article.

Florida Mom Says Neighbor’s Christmas Display Inspired Non-Verbal Daughter with Autism to Speak

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Kaitlyn seated outside in the driveway in front of the house with Christams light decorations

A Florida mother who took her 13-year-old daughter to see their neighbor’s Christmas lights had no idea that the festive display would have such a large impact on the teenager, who has autism.

Since Kaitlyn De Jesus was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, she hasn’t spoken more than two words, her mother Marisabel Figueroa told Today.

That all changed on Saturday when Figueroa took her daughter to their neighbor Don Weaver’s driveway — a visit they’ve made daily — to see the elaborate Christmas light display he has set up on his front lawn since 2007.

“She got up from the chair and started singing,” Figueroa recalled to the outlet.

“She said, ‘Mom! Look at the blue lights. Look at the snowmen. Santa’s coming!’

I started crying. I couldn’t believe it.”

The incredible moment was something Figueroa had waited 10 years to witness after learning of her daughter’s diagnosis when she was a toddler.

“The neurologist who saw Kaitlyn said she was going to be non-verbal for all of her life,” Figueroa, a single mom who lives in Mulberry and works as a managerA closer look at Kaitlyn seated outside in the driveway in front of the house with Christmas light decorations at a local McDonald’s, explained to Today.

“I refused to accept that.”

Over the years, Figueroa said Kaitlyn would speak with visual prompts, but remained primarily nonverbal — even when the mother-daughter duo would make daily trips to Weaver’s driveway to see the musical, 200,000-light display.

“Our usual routine is to go after 6 when it gets dark,” Figueroa told the outlet.

“Mr. Weaver puts down a special chair just for Kaitlyn and she sits there dancing and tapping her feet.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.