Local Resources: Technology, Transportation, Travel


Your First Stop

Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge (FHFGBR)
This non-profit family-directed resource center for individuals with disabilities and their families provides information and referrals, education and training, parent to parent support, and even entertainment programs at no cost.

What You Need to Know

They answer questions and provide technical assistance for any disability and for any age. FHFGBR has a unique approach to serving families that helps you find where you need to go for help, what is available, and how to stay informed of changes and policies. Monthly programs may be geared to age groups such as Early Steps, and resources with staff, a Lending Library, and outside groups providing seminars provide much-needed guidance navigating the health care systems available. A bonus is the entertainment each month, which can be found on their user-friendly Event Calendar.

Tips for Families

In July, FHFGBR sponsors a Parent’s Night Out in which children ages 2-12 are entertained with fun activities and pizza while the parents are invited to have a worry-free night out. There is a meeting of Verbal Expressions in July that is held every other month for children with hearing loss, and the monthly Sensory Friendly Film brought by the nationally supported AMC and the Autism Society in which families can enjoy a favorite film in an auditorium dedicated to a safe and accepting environment. Lights are up, sound is turned down, and the audience is invited to get up, dance, walk, shout or sing. FHFGBR winds down July with a Family Luau. ■ fhfgbr.org

 

Technology Assistance

LATAN (Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network) is the only organization that assists individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence through access to assistive technology.

What You Need to Know

No doctor referral is needed, and they will provide a tour of demonstrations for simple and advanced devices that help one make informed decisions about what is needed for help with vision, mobility, hearing, and other special needs. With the exponential advances of technology, amazing innovations have been developed. LATAN has a device loan program, a financial loan program, and an online classifieds database of equipment for sale or donation. Rooms are set up to show how voice technology can do everything from close the blinds to turning on your television; computer adaptations feature voice commands, modified keyboards, and state-of-the art software; mobility devices have advanced to helping with personal needs in the home and specially equipped vans.

Tips for Families

Support and information is enhanced with electronic newsletters, printed newsletters, a website, Facebook and Twitter. ■ latan.org

 

Mobility on the Road

Gerry Lane MV-1
While adapting vans to be handicapped accessible has been around for a long time, the Gerry Lane MV-1 is now the only American vehicle purpose-built and designed from the ground up for wheelchair access. The van costs on the average $20,000 less than buying a new van and having it converted. Side-entry ramps, a solid Humvee frame, and state-of-the-art features have changed lives with prices beginning around $42,000.

What You Need to Know

Gerry Lane Enterprises is the exclusive Louisiana statewide automobile dealer for MV-1, and a video is available as well as financing at www.gerrylaneMV1.com. Both FHFGBR and LATAN support the MV-1 and its capabilities.

Tips for Families

Also, additional financing options are available at www.latan.org.

 

By Sea, Air, Train, and Roads

By federal law, public transportation must be handicapped accessible.

What You Need to Know

CATS (Capital Area Transit System) has every bus and van equipped to handle wheelchairs. If a child with developmental disorders such as those on the Autism Spectrum must go through airport screening, find out how their special needs will be addressed and prepare your child. Ask for seats near the bathroom and door. Make sure that with plane trips that have no assigned seating that you will be able to pre-board and sit together. With trains, ask for seats that do not require the use of stairs.

Tips for Families

The Royal Caribbean Cruise line was named in 2014 to be the first Autism-Friendly cruise line. See our article on great travel plans and destinations for families with special needs. ■

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01 Aug 2014


By By R. T. Ripley

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