Love Your Sex

by Alyson

The questions that people have asked me about sex are startling.  I sometimes wonder if it’s because they’re actually interested in me, or if they’re just straight-up curious.  As a 22-year-old single woman having lived in NYC and now in Los Angeles, I’ve met some pretty straight-forward men.  At this point, I am comfortable enough to just say, “It’s none of your business, thank you very much.” BUT, at times I still feel the need to defend.  I want people to know that women and men with spinal cord injuries can have sex, and that just because there is another “prop”--a wheelchair--sex is not impossible.  In fact, the wheelchair has little to do with sex because usually it isn’t even part of the equation.


by Amy Saffell

No matter how much a person accepts and embraces their disability, most people still strive to fit in with and assimilate to the rest of society as much as possible. Often it’s the ease and confidence with which a person goes through life that determines their ability to do so, regardless of how differently someone may have to do something. As such, whether a disability is congenital or acquired, people often spend lots of time learning either to be as self-sufficient in their daily living as possible or to overcome the stereotypes of disability by trying new, exhilarating, and even seemingly somewhat daring, recreational activities as they gain their independence. This kind of learning often flourishes best with the encouragement of their peers who also have disabilities. Since the early 1990s, Shriners Hospital For Children - Chicago has been helping youth and young adults with spinal cord injuries do just that.

Featured mobileWOMAN -- Chanda Hinton

Chanda Hinton with service dog "Flint"
by Kristin Beale

At age 9, Chanda Hinton's life was dramatically changed. While being babysat by her 14-year old relative, his friend picked up a gun. The gun discharged, hitting Hinton in the back of her neck. The impact of the blow resulted in a spinal cord injury in the C5-C6 vertebrae.

Because her accident happened at such a young age, Hinton feels she had a less difficult transition from the lifestyle of an able-bodied person, to the life of one who is unable to move or feel from her neck down. When Hinton reached the age of 21, her disability not only redefined her lifestyle, it also took a toll on her health. Her weight dropped to 59 pounds, she had chronic pain and a drastically reduced immune system. The combination of these factors led Hinton to undergo a lengthy stays in the hospital and recurring visits to the doctor.

Featured mobileWOMAN -- Alana Yvonne Wallace

Alana Yvonne Wallace is a multi-faceted artist who, along with Michelle Obama, received one of ten Phenomenal Woman Awards at The Black Women's Expo Gala in 2008. Alana currently appears in TV commercials for “Think Beyond the Label”— a national campaign to promote employment for people with disabilities.  She is also featured in the latest edition of “Who's Who in Black Chicago,” as an accomplished community leader.  A graduate of Columbia College with a BFA degree in Theater/Music, Wallace has served as Founder and Artistic Director of Dance>Detour since 1995.  She is a life-long disability advocate, speaker, actor, vocalist and dancer who promotes the inclusion of artists with disabilities in varied creative genres. Her disability advocacy passion focuses on promoting fully accessible housing and universal design.

Sitting Games with Your Preschooler -- Pretend Play

By: Valerie Deneen

Being a parent of a preschooler can be trying for anyone at times. But, for parents who have disabilities, this youthful period can be especially challenging.

No matter what day of the week, children in this age group tend to have an endless supply of energy and often demand a tremendous amount of attention from their parents. Finding activities to do with your preschooler may seem limiting at first, but with a little creativity, you can help channel some of your child's boundless energy into structured playtime—all while sitting down.

In this article, we will explore pretend play scenarios that can be done from a wheelchair. Each one will provide your child with hours of fun. In the end, the goal is also to enhance your child's development with the added benefit of tiring him or her out—leaving you with enough energy to complete the endless tasks a parent faces each day.

Featured mobileWOMAN -- Buddy Hayes

Buddy Hayes, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, lives by the motto Desire to Inspire--and that she does!

A former Ms. Wheelchair Virginia titleholder, Hayes is also a retired Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Special Education teacher, and Army veteran. She earned a degree at Tidewater Community College in recreation leadership and later a Bachelor’s degree in recreation at Virginia Wesleyan College. After graduating, Hayes worked with a wide variety of individuals with disabilities, from adults with brain injuries to toddlers requiring special education. This combination of education and experience ultimately benefited Hayes, herself, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).