Merlisha Henderson: A Survival Kit for Young Adults After Graduation

It’s almost that time of year once again. GRADUATION! As parents, we all know that you will hear (and pay for) the “G” word from pre-school to grad school. There is just something about that high school and college graduation that really marks a point in the relationship that you have with your children.

Merlisha in her Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel

Senior year of your baby or your babies’ high school career is just as eye opening and wonderous for a parent as it is for a young adult. You have become the teacher, sensei, life coach, advisor and counselor to the child you brought home. You have taught and nurtured them for at least 18 years, as well as your family and friends. You have repetitively imparted lessons onto them when they were listening and not listening.

Before you release your offspring on an unsuspecting world, there are a few intangible skills that you must make available to them so they can survive and thrive in the months and years to come. The good habits, resources and common sense that you can drop into their toolkit serves in building a golden reputation and establishing a work ethic that shows in all that they accomplish.

Time Management

Time is one commodity that you can lose and not get back. It’s extremely valuable and it’s also one of the things that almost all people waste the most. It’s more than just being on time for work. It’s also using what time you have in an efficient way. The closer you get to the end of your schooling, the less time is spent in class. Knowing what to do with the increased amount of free time that they need to fill with equal parts fun and equal parts foundation building can keep them positioned to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

Organization

As parents, we parrot the concept of being neat and tidy. We teach our young ones about cleaning their room or keeping their belongings and clothes where they can find them. I have begged and pleaded with my brood about the ritual and advantage of organization. Once you can explain importance of knowing where to find the things, you can teach them to use organization as a tool to bring order to the inevitable chaos that life can bring.

Completion

Teaching anybody a skill or way of thinking that everybody (including your kids) think is a no brainer to understand makes this tool underused and often neglected. Completion is the ability to complete an assignment, a program, a course, a bucket list or a master’s program. As adults, how many things do we start and forget about completing? What about an exercise regimen or a financial promise like paying off a credit account or school loans? It’s important to instill the concept of finishing what you start. You must learn to live with the regret that comes with not knowing how your life or situation would have been different had you had the foresight and dependability to not let yourself down by following through.

Just like a real tool kit, these attainable skills are constantly being added to and used in different new ways. You must constantly use these tools to stay sharp. Finally, what is the most important thing you can place in your children’s toolkit? Your love and support.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.


For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Building an Accessible Playground

Stephanie in her Edge 3 with iLevel Power Wheelchair

In January of 2020, I participated in a news interview about playground accessibility. A young girl in the Rochester area named Santii was selling hot cocoa for $1 per cup in order to raise money for an accessible swing. Santii wanted to do this because when she was playing on a playground, she noticed another child who used a wheelchair was not able to participate in a lot of the activities on the playground. Santii wanted to change that. 

When I learned about Santii’s goal, I connected her with a local organization called Endless Highway. This not-for-profit organization is dedicated to ensuring children and young adults with physical disabilities have opportunities to participate in adaptive and inclusive sports, recreation and arts. Endless Highway loved Santii’s initiative and her goal to get an accessible swing installed in our area. So, they committed to helping Santii reach her goal!

Working Together

Stephanie helps build the new accessible playground

Over the past year, Santii and Endless Highway have worked tirelessly, even through the pandemic, to reach Santii’s goal of getting an accessible swing! They connected with Jill Moore White, an inclusive play specialist at Landscape Structures, Inc., who also uses a wheelchair. Jill introduced Santii and Endless Highway to different accessible playground options, specifically the We-Go-Round and the We-Go-Swing. The We-Go-Round is a merry-go-round with built in seating and open spaces for wheelchair users. It spins in circles when propelled by the kids (or adults!) playing on it.  The We-Go-Swing is a swing that allows a power wheelchair or manual wheelchair user and ambulatory kids to play together.

After Santii, Endless Highway and Jill joined forces, they got one more player on board: the town of Greece, a suburb of Rochester. Together, they accomplished more than just Santii’s goal of installing one accessible swing. They got an entire accessible playground! The playground includes a We-Go-Round, a We-Go-Swing, music and tactile sensory areas and more! 

Building the Accessible Playground

After watching all of this unfold in such little time, I was excited to join the Community Build days where members of the community came out to help build this incredible accessible playground! We installed equipment, tested the playground and had so much fun! 

I cannot wait until this playground officially opens so that I can bring all of my nieces and nephews to the park where we can all play together!

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.


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Bryan Anderson: Why Father’s Day is Special to Me

Father’s Day is special to me because I have a stepfather that’s been more of a father to me than my real one. Father’s Day is a time to show him my appreciation for what he’s done for me.

When I was 6 or 7 years old, my mom started dating him. He stepped in and just kind of took the reins. My twin brother, Bobby, and I hated him at first. All the sudden, this man was in our lives and things were changing. As kids, we didn’t like change. We liked things the way they were. My stepfather was strict and tough, but he was also fair.

Still, you could tell my mom was happy. As time went on, my stepfather taught us how to become men. He instilled in us a good work ethic. He taught us to be kind and compassionate. He showed me how to take responsibility for my actions and my life. He helped turn me and my brother into the men we are today. I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Dad, thank you for turning us into great men. I love you.

About Bryan Anderson: Bryan grew up and resides in Illinois. Injured by an IED in October 2005, Bryan is one of the few triple amputees to survive his injuries in Iraq. He is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and a spokesperson for USA Cares, which is focused on assisting post 9-11 veterans. Click here to learn more about Bryan.


For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Are You Our Next Q Roll Model?

Quantum Rehab’s commitment to the Disability Community goes beyond creating innovative power wheelchairs that allow us to live our best lives. We know that there is no one type of wheelchair user and we are committed to creating wheelchairs that are as unique as the people who sit in them every day because we truly value the authentic and diverse population that we serve. That’s why we are hosting the Q Roll Model contest again this year! The Q Roll Model contest offers a custom power wheelchair with iLevel technology and a four-month paid contract to two awesome, relatable wheelchair users.

We first held the Q Roll Model Contest in the summer of 2019 and we selected six winners! Each winner received a custom Quantum Rehab Power Wheelchair and a four-month paid contract to work with us! Our winners were:

  • Tim Shin, a disability rights advocate from New Jersey
  • Emily Ladau, a writer from New York
  • Merlisha Henderson, a corporate professional from Arizona
  • Amy Bliele, a teacher from Wisconsin
  • Sakina Shamsi, a middle school student from New Jersey
  • Isabella Bullock, an employment specialist from Michigan 

Each of our winners were unique, fun, authentic, and relatable – and they all showed us how iLevel helps them to live their best lives! 

This year, Quantum Rehab is searching for two wheelchair users from across the country to be Q Roll Models. Winners of the Q Roll Model Contest will each win a four-month paid contract, as well as a Quantum Power Chair with iLevel technology with complimentary future service and parts. The contest runs until July 31, 2021. 

The contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years and older, and children 10 years and older with parent/guardian consent. To enter, participants can go here. Judging will consist of public voting (10%), picture content (30%) and an explanation of how iLevel would help the participant live their best life (60%).

I cannot wait to see who wins our Q Roll Model Contest this year! Who knows – it could be you!

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.


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The Next Generation of the 4Front® Power Chair is Here!

The 4Front 2 Power Wheelchair

The 4Front® 2 is the next generation of the 4Front® Power Chair! New Smart Traction Control (STC), along with Smooth Ride Suspension (SRS), provide stability for smooth obstacle transitions and unmatched driving performance. Additional new features include 4-pole motors and redesigned caster arms for improved durability and aesthetics and reduced weight.

Features:

  • 4-pole motors
  • NEW Smart Traction Control (STC)
  • Superior, automotive-grade SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension)
  • Unmatched driving performance and ride quality
  • Advanced stability for smooth obstacle transitions
  • Redesigned caster arms for improved durability and aesthetics and reduced weight
  • Q-Logic 3e controller
  • Increased speeds up to 6.25 mph
  • LED front and rear fender lights
  • Quiet ride technology
  • Optional 10″ of power adjustable safe seat elevation at speeds of up to 3.5 mph
  • Optional NEW backup camera

Benefits of Front-Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchairs

When working with your therapist and the ATP during the power wheelchair selection process, there’s a lot to discuss. Which components meet your needs, do you qualify for funding and more. When choosing an electric wheelchair base, the drive wheel configuration is very important. Front-wheel, mid-wheel and rear-wheel drive each have their own advantages and you need to consider your needs and how the wheelchair will be used when determining a drive wheel configuration that is right for you. Read on to discover the many great benefits of a front-wheel drive electric wheelchair, such as the 4Front® 2.

Front-Wheel Drive Offers More Force

Front-wheel drive wheelchairs are extremely beneficial to power wheelchair users. One advantage is there is more force distributed to each of the four tires. Unlike with other drive wheel configurations, such as mid-wheel, there are two fewer tires in contact with the ground. The greater force increases traction. This allows front-wheel drive electric wheelchairs to perform well when driven over grass, soft terrain or uneven gravel. The drive wheels are the first to encounter an obstacle. These large tires can grab an obstacle like step or curb and drive over it, pulling the rest of the wheelchair along.

Front-Wheel Drive Allows for Different Foot Riggings

With front-wheel drive wheelchairs, the user’s feet can be positioned easily because there are no front caster wheels on the power wheelchair. The user’s feet are placed closer to his or her body for comfort. In addition, 90-degree footrests can be added.

Lower Seat-to-Floor Height on Front-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs

Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs have a lower seat-to-floor height. This allows individuals who drive wheelchairs to fit more easily under standard tables and desks, which enhances their inclusion and social interaction. Along with lower seat-to-floor height, a front-wheel-drive power chair can easily navigate tight corners in the home, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

With so many advantages, front-wheel drive wheelchairs can truly benefit many individuals who require complex rehab. If your therapist and ATP believe that front-wheel drive suits you, consider the 4Front® 2 Power Chair, which features a front-wheel drive configuration. With STC (Smart Traction Control) and SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension), you can enjoy stability during obstacle transitions and unmatched driving performance. The 4Front 2 Power Chair is available with optional power adjustable safe seat elevation, elevating users up to 10 inches while driving up to 3.5 mph. Learn more about the 4Front 2 Power Wheelchair.


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Wheelchair Accessible Atlanta

I live on the outskirts of a very wheelchair accessible city, Atlanta, Georgia. It has a lot of accessible places. Here are some of my favorites.

The World of Coca Cola Museum

One of my favorite places in Atlanta is the World of Coca Cola Museum. It has very wide motorized wheelchair ramps and wide aisles. This allows me and other wheelchair users to move around freely. We have no fear of bumping into anyone or being in the way. You can learn about the history of Coca Cola and they always have cool new exhibits to check out.

Wheelchair Accessible Georgia Aquarium

Another place that is very accessible is the Georgia Aquarium. They even have wheelchair ramps in the parking deck, which is a huge help. Navigating a power wheelchair in parking decks and garages can be a bit risky, especially with people’s crazy driving. The aquarium also has wide walkways and the floors aren’t rugged or raggedy, which makes for a smooth ride in my Stretto Power Wheelchair. There are also elevators inside so that if I can’t access a ramp, I’m able to still move through the building seamlessly. The exhibits also have spaces that allow me to go down and be closer to the exhibits like other kids. I really appreciate this because who wants to be in the back, instead of up close looking at the cool sea creatures? 

Accessible Centennial Olympic Park

Right up the street from the aquarium is Centennial Olympic Park. I can see it from the front of the aquarium and it is very easy to get to. The city keeps it pretty clean and it’s flat. I don’t have to worry about too many bumps in or around that area. There are several ramp entrances around the park that make it safe for me and other wheelchair users to move around. I really love this place too because it is a popular attraction and it allows me to have fun with my friends. The water area of the park is also flat so when I want to, I can roll my power wheelchair in and enjoy the cool water from the splash pad. 

College Football Hall of Fame

Right around the corner from Centennial Park is the College Football Hall of Fame. The sports history in that place is so cool. It has automatic opening doors so you don’t have to pull the door open. That is a big plus because I don’t have to wait for anyone to open it. The museum has a three-story helmet wall, historic artifacts and the Hall of Fame rotunda.

Accessible Skyview Atlanta

On the opposite side of Centennial Park and across the street is the Ferris wheel called Skyview Atlanta. I have ridden it and it’s perfect because my motorized wheelchair can roll straight in without any issues. Places like this allow me to have a lot of freedom and independence. It keeps my mind off the fact that I am confined to a motorized wheelchair, even though it’s a cool one. It makes me feel like other kids without a physical disability.

Accessible Mercedes Benz Stadium

The new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta is where the Atlanta Falcons play. It has plenty of wheelchair access and wheelchair ramps as well for me and my Stretto motorized wheelchair. The people who built this stadium didn’t skimp on the space in there either! Of course, it’s big stadium because it hosts a lot of sporting events.

Whether I am going to a football, soccer game or a concert, I am confident that me and my Stretto wheelchair can get anywhere I need to (even the bathrooms) in all these attractions in Atlanta.

About Morgan Steward: Morgan is an honorary police officer for the Covington Georgia Police Department. He uses the Stretto Power Wheelchair for mobility. Morgan is an active member in his community and enjoys helping others. Click here to learn more about Morgan.


​For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Go Where You Want to Go: Part 2

Morgan uses his Stretto Power Wheelchair to go where he wants to go!

The second television commercial in the Stretto campaign from Quantum® began airing June 7. The new commercial features Morgan Steward, 12, who is a Brand Ambassador for Quantum. Morgan, who has spinal muscular atrophy, describes what the Stretto can do and how it has given him more freedom.

“I’ve been using a power chair my entire life, so I definitely know what I want,” Morgan says in the commercial. “Quantum has made huge advancements with the new Stretto.”

He also talks about Quantum’s new backup camera.

Consumers are hungry for information. They’d like to know more about the differences between power chairs, especially exciting, new innovations before meeting with a therapist and ATP.

That was one of the main takeaways from Quantum focus groups of power chair users. Led by Stephanie Woodward, Quantum’s Brand Ambassador Advisor, the focus groups identified what power chair users wanted to see and that they felt the industry needed to be educated on what consumers are looking for.

This feedback was the inspiration behind Quantum’s Stretto commercial campaign, which began airing nationwide last December. The first commercial featured 20-year-old Bryson Foster who is a friend of Quantum.

If viewers would like more information, the end of the commercial directs them to quantumrehab.com/gostretto to learn more about both Morgan and the Stretto. The page also has a link to find a provider for assistance.

Click here to view the commercial.

My Summer Trip at Sea with iLevel

While I have been experiencing the warmth and what I call “endless summer” in Florida, it is starting to get warmer up in the north. So naturally, when I speak with my friends from New York, We are making some summer plans. If you know me, you know that I love the outdoors. So last week me and my friends had a big video call about our yearly guy trip. Sometimes, we go to Las Vegas or the Caribbean. With all the restrictions due to COVID, we are unsure about what might be open and to what degree. So, for this summer, we have decided to do a boating trip.

Planning Our Trip

One of my friends has a boat that can accommodate 15 people. We figured this would be the best and safest way we can all hang out with each other. Currently, our plan is to depart from New York and take the boat to the Carolinas. Then, we camp in the Carolinas on the beach and then sail back up to New York. Our trips are usually 5-6 days when we go, so we figured this will allow plenty of time to travel. We won’t have to worry about flying or restrictions. It’ll be safe for us and we’ll get to spend time together.

I’m actually looking forward to the trip this year. It’s more of an adventure. My friends are always very accommodating of my physical needs and my friend’s boat is big enough that I can take my Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair. We usually take my buddy’s boat out every year on the Hudson River and normally I leave my power wheelchair at the marina because we return the same day. This year will be the first year where my friends will be lifting my motorized wheelchair on to the boat to bring with us. Normally when I board the boat, one or two of my friends just pick me up and carry me onto the boat and put me on the couch or the outdoor table. Obviously, I cannot move from that spot once I’m there, but my friends are really good about bringing me drinks and food. Since we are bringing my motorized wheelchair on the boat this time, I’ll be more independent and can move around the boat whenever I want.

Having a Backup Plan

When I told my parents our plans for this year’s guys trip, they thought It was risky because of loading and unloading my motorized wheelchair onto the boat. So, to put myself at ease, I will also bring my Go-Go® mobility scooter just to have as a backup if we want to go to shore for something. I wonder if this will be the first time iLevel® technology will be sailing on a privately owned boat. I know a lot of Quantum® power wheelchairs have been on cruises. Still, I have yet to see one on a privately owned boat sailing the ocean.

Talking it Out

I’m looking forward to the trip but in my mind, I always think of the worst case scenarios. So, I have made a list of things that I’m concerned about. Before we depart on our trip, I will sit down with the guys and let them know all my concerns, so we are on the same page. I will not let my disability stop me or hold me back from this trip. There is always a way to make what you want to do a reality. I’m thankful that I have friends who understand.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.


​For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Morgan Steward: Go Where You Want to Go!

At just 12 years old, Morgan Steward has a lot of responsibilities. He leads the annual Christmas parade for his hometown of Covington, Georgia. He helps at the annual “Shop-with-a-Cop” during the holidays, taking underprivileged children shopping for gifts. He’s also a brand ambassador for Quantum. What helps him keep up with his busy life? His Stretto Power Wheelchair!

Using His Stretto Power Wheelchair

Born with spinal muscular atrophy, Morgan uses the Stretto Power Wheelchair for mobility. He loves the style and the ultra-narrow base on his power chair. The Stretto is the narrowest, most maneuverable power wheelchair in America. With an overall width of 20.47 inches, Morgan can easily drive around the tight corners in his house.

“With the narrower base on the Stretto, it’s so easy to navigate tight rooms, narrow doorways and van ramps,” Morgan said.

Feeling More Included with iLevel

Morgan’s favorite hobby is playing and competing in video game tournaments. He even wants to be a video game designer when he grows up. Morgan also plays adaptive baseball with the Miracle League of Newton County, Georgia. The Stretto Power Chair comes with optional iLevel® technology, which elevates the seat of Morgan’s power chair up to 12 inches while driving 3.5 mph. With iLevel, Morgan can elevate his motorized wheelchair and feel more included in team photos.

One of Morgan’s favorite features on the Stretto is the optional Quantum backup camera. Morgan can see what’s behind him when reversing his motorized wheelchair, whether it’s door frames, furniture or a friend’s dog.

Experiences a Smoother Ride with SRS

The Stretto Power Wheelchair is equipped with independent SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension), for a smooth and comfortable ride.

“The Stretto has amazing suspension and is excellent outdoors, especially at the playground,” Morgan said.

From camping with his family to playing on the playground, the Stretto Power Wheelchair can handle it all.

No matter what the day brings, Morgan knows that he can go where he wants to go with the Stretto!

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