Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • Wheelchair Accessibility: The Country’s First Disability Rights Museum

    Though it is a sad truth, historically, people with disabilities were treated as secondary citizens.  Thanks to the dedicated efforts of many, the rights of people with mobility impairment in the western world have grown - gaining respect and earning the support and defense of people nationwide.

    by zeevveez on flickr cc

    Increased Wheelchair Accessibility

    The development of these rights and the increase in wheelchair accessibility that comes along with it is what Van Products strives for in providing wheelchair accessible vans, and we are excited to announce that the country's first disability rights museum is being build to honor those changes from the past!

    In downtown Birmingham, Alabama, a museum is planned that will be dedicated to honoring and preserving the rights of people with disabilities.

    While all sorts of memorabilia will be displayed in the museum, particular focus will be on the individuals that on a local, state or national level that have had important roles in the advancement of the rights of the mobility impaired community. These people will not just be featured sporadically in the many exhibitions, but they will also be permanently honored in a memorial garden that is to be a part of the museum.

    Support for the Wheelchair Community

    The initiative for the museum, the first of its kind, should be attributed to the Independent Living Resources of Greater Birmingham (ILRGB) organization. Much like Van Products philosophy of building up the wheelchair community in North Carolina, the ILRGM claim that community is the key to empowerment and happiness, and to mirror this statement all ILRGB’s services for encourage wheelchair community-based support.

    The ILRGB plays a role in speaking up for equal access and disability rights through advocacy and public awareness activities. While the museum is a less direct approach to the same end, because of the worthwhile role it will play in remembering history, it will undoubtedly draw visitors who are passionate about this great cause.  Hopefully, it will inform people about the realities faced and the challenges overcome in the wheelchair community.

    Share Your Story

    Have a story to tell? Share your story with us! At Van Products, our goal is to serve the handicapped community better, whether by sharing stories of encouragement or more easily offering wheelchair accessible vans, we want to cater to you. Drop us a note!

  • Wheelchair Accessible Activities: Dancing on Wheels

    At Van Products, we know that physical disabilities can often leave people feeling like they are limited in the hobbies, sports and activities they can take up, so we like looking for fun alternatives to the traditional way of participating!

    What we’ve come to find is that there are actually plenty of sports and activities have been adapted to become wheelchair accessible, and that people are achieving amazing things while enjoying these options!

    Triangle Dance Wheels

    Dance is one of these, and Triangle Dance Wheels in Raleigh is one of our favorite options for taking wheelchair accessible dance courses!  Last summer Van Products hosted a Triangle Dance Wheels demo for some of our friends and customers, and they fell in love with it!

    The organization, owned and run by Melanie Dale and Frank Spears, regularly hosts eight-week courses at the Raleigh Sanderson High School that focus on one or two different types of dancing. Foxtrot, Tango, the Rumba and Swing dance are a few of the dances the people there enjoy.

    The courses are 95 dollars per person, but for people with multiple sclerosis the cost can be covered by scholarships! No matter your situation, whether wheelchair-bound from birth or simply in the midst of physical therapy and recovery, if you love to dance, you have an option!

    The Benefits of Partner Dance for the Physically Disabled

    One other part of the classes we love is that they are taught with each physically disabled student dancing with a standing dance student. We think this is a great chance for those groups to bridge to gap and build the relationship between people who may have different abilities but are interested in the same things.

    American DanceWheels Foundation, the nationwide parent organization, has this philosophy: that people of all ages and abilities should have the opportunity to partner dance by pairing one person with an ambulatory disability with an able bodied partner.

    It is a great workout for both people, and it also helps particularly with activating and strengthening the muscles of people with disabilities that are otherwise not often used due to limited range of motion.  Other benefits of dance carry over as well: better posture, flexibility and the ability to twist and turn easier than before. For anyone taking up a new hobby, the ultimate boost in confidence is to master a new skill, so be brave and take up the challenge to learn to dance!

    Curious about other wheelchair accessible activities or transportation? Drop us a note and we’ll guide you through the process of figuring out your options. We can’t wait to hear from you!

  • What Makes Our Wheelchair Vans Handicap Accessible?

    Though each day the world is becoming increasingly wheelchair accessible, there are still a number of lifestyle restrictions that mobility impairment can cause.

    The difficulties of wheelchair transportation can often make traveling both long and short distances one of these limitations, simply because it is such a hassle.

    Van Products’ wheelchair vans circumvent this issue, being vehicles that are adapted for handicapped individuals and that allow for simple and convenient wheelchair transportation.

    What makes our wheelchair vans handicap accessible?

    First, all of the vans come with automatic doors that are easily opened by push-button controls. These controls are located both on the keychain remote and on the internal control panel, thus effectively enabling this feature both from within and outside of the vehicle.

    Secondly, boarding for wheelchair-bound passengers is facilitated by an entry ramp.  Because we know people have different preferences, we offer both in-floor and foldout entry ramps, each made of lightweight aluminum and fitted with a slotted surface to prevent wheelchairs from dragging dirt into the wheelchair van.  That surface has also been layered with a durable non-skid finish to provide excellent traction. Although the ramps are automatic, they can be extended manually in case of emergencies or power failures.

    Integrated Kneeling Systems

    The integrated kneeling system further contributes to the wheelchair van’s ease of access by reducing the slope of the ramp. Basically, the van is equipped to lower each time the door and ramp are opened.  Our wheelchair vans have an already lowered floor that also leaves plenty of head space so that passengers can stay in their wheelchairs during travel.

    Wheelchair Tie-Down Systems

    The wheelchair tie-down system ensuring the safety of the wheelchair-bound individual while the vehicle is moving. These vans have been fitted so that each wheelchair passenger occupies the space of one seat, leaving room for friends, family and belongings throughout the van!

    We hope these details are helpful as you explore your options for wheelchair accessible vans to keep your life the moving experience it was intended to be!

    Let us know if you have any questions, or if we can help in any way. We’d love to hear from you!

  • Wheels for Humanity: Wheelchair Accessibility Spotlight

    Over the past few years, great strides have been made in research funding, community resources and wheelchair accessibility for those who have physical handicaps, especially across North America.

    Though mobility impairment can make certain aspects of life difficult, it is encouraging to see that times are changing and consideration is growing! Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many developing nations.

    Mobility Options in Third World Countries

    Third world countries might not only lack the means to provide handicapped people mobility options, but factors such as war, disease and natural disasters might also increase the frequency of it. Many people in these countries may never get help either because they cannot afford it or because it simply is not available.

    In these places where a wheelchair is considered a luxury few can afford, physically handicapped people have to rely on family members or friends to carry them.

    Improving Quality of Life for the Physically Disabled

    This lack of freedom and independence is heartbreaking, so organizations like “Wheels for Humanity” step in and make a difference by improving the quality of life!  Wheels for Humanity is a non-profit humanitarian organization based in California that refurbishes donated wheelchairs and sends them overseas to communities where such mobility options are hard to get hold of.

    The wheelchairs are given to both adults and children whose needs are the greatest. Wheels for Humanity works closely with volunteer health care professionals and international health care organizations to connect with the handicap community and provide each person the sort of wheelchair that would best fit their requirements.

    Since it start in 1996, Wheels for Humanity has provided wheelchairs for over 50,000 mobility impaired people in 68 developing nations. This organization and the generous supporters who have donated wheelchairs and resources are great examples of people changing the world. We all have people like that in our lives, whether they are operating on an international scale or the live in your home with you!

    During Share Your Story September, tell us about them! We’d love to hear your story and see if there is any way we can help meet your needs!

  • Wheelchair Accessibility Features: Van Products Keeps Life Moving

    Though Van Products was created to make transportation easier for those in wheelchairs, our services are not limited to handicap accessible vans and wheelchair accessible vehicles.  We offer many other options as well as options within the wheelchair van group of products. Many people find themselves in need of wheelchair accessibility but already have a vehicle, often a van or truck that they desire to keep. Since purchasing a vehicle is expensive and selling one is difficult, we offer conversion features and solutions so that you can convert your van into a wheelchair van or convert your truck into a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Our vans and conversion features are unique and effective, including a non-slip ramp and an automatic kneeling system built into the van. This means that if you have a Van Products wheelchair accessible van, it will be significantly easier to enter and exit than many other options, such as keeping your van in its original state. The other feature we are most proud of is the floor level. Many times, wheelchair vans are disproportionate, leaving the driver too low to the ground or the wheelchair passenger in the back seat too high to see out the front window. Instead, we level out the ground and lift the front seats so that the wheelchair passenger can see out the front window and the driver remains at a comfortable height. In addition to the wheelchair conversion offerings, Van Products has features to make your home wheelchair accessible. Get in touch to learn more about how Van Products can keep your life moving.

  • Wheelchair Accessible Vans in North Carolina

    Whether moving around one’s home or traveling the world, mobility should be a part of each person’s life no matter their circumstances.  At Van Products, our motto is “Life is a moving experience,” and our goal is to help those who are physically handicapped or in a wheelchair go anywhere, anytime.  Our company was started by a family, so our goal is to treat each customer like family as well, helping solve their mobility problems by guiding them through their wheelchair accessible van options.  We want to help each person find the handicap accessible van that fits their needs the best. Whether you are looking for a used wheelchair van made by Toyota or a new handicap van made by Honda, Van Products will help you find a solution. We also have the option to rent a wheelchair accessible van for any length of time. If you are recovering from an injury that has limited your mobility and need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, we can get you to and from your rehabilitation visits as long as you need us to. We know there are many people who need a wheelchair van in North Carolina, so we have offices in Raleigh and Wilmington. We also know it is a big decision to buy a wheelchair accessible van, so that is why we offer rental van options as well as used vans.  Someone from our Van Products team will be happy to show you an in-home demo as well as bring your van to you. We value our family of customers, so we want to treat them like it. For wheelchair accessible vans in North Carolina and other handicap accessible features in Raleigh or Wilmington, drop Van Products a note!

  • Wheelchair Community Highlights

    Here are a few interesting stories and articles we have enjoyed recently. Do you have any favorite handicap related organizations or publications? We love adding to our news sites!

    Circular Gardens Allow Wheelchair to Maneuver - These are such a cool and creative idea! Gardens can be some of the most relaxing places to spend an afternoon, especially as the weather is cooling off. Having a circular garden enables those in wheelchairs to maneuver with little difficulty and enjoy the beauty and the weather the way everyone should.

    What it means to be an Athlete - We love the way the IPC (International Paralymic Committee) describes the Paralymic games: "Athletes are what makes each competition thrilling,  inspiring, and unique." We agree! Share your success stories with us, we'd love to hear what makes you unique!

    Therapeutic Potential for Some Stem Cells - Research has been done recently that helps scientists understand better what stem cells can be used for regenerating spinal cords. Pretty amazing steps forward in science if you ask us!

    Share Your Story September! - This month, we're collecting stories that inspire, make us laugh, encourage or show true determination. We know that in our families and lives, we have many people like that. If you've overcome a challenge, achieved a goal or seen someone do something amazing, let us know!

    As always, Van Products is here to make life a little easier by providing wheelchair accessible vans, and to get involved with the wheelchair community in North Carolina and around the world. Get in touch to let us know how we can help you!

  • Handicap Accessibility: Supporting the Wheelchair Community

    In North Carolina there are many groups, organizations, foundations and events that exist to support the wheelchair community, and at Van Products, we are both excited and humbled to be a part of that community.  People throughout North Carolina need wheelchair accessible vans, whether they have been immobilized in a wheelchair since birth, lost their mobility in an accident, or are only temporarily handicapped during physical rehabilitation. Because we value the opportunity to offer these people and groups the chance to keep their lives moving, we also want to keep up with the causes and organizations they value by being involved. Van Products supports groups that work to promote awareness and raise funding for diseases like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis. We also coordinate with local athletic teams like the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Hurricanes to provide tickets and handicap parking passes to people who need wheelchair accessibility.  We value our relationships with the disabled veterans in North Carolina as well as the North Carolina Handicapped Sportsman group and the Ms Wheelchair USA competition, which was won most recently by Ms Wheelchair North Carolina! The families and friends who come alongside those valued members of our wheelchair community are also champions in our eyes; loving, supporting and encouraging those who are physically handicapped and helping to keep them moving.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 20 years ago, and we are thrilled to see the changes that have occurred in that time, both in understanding and awareness of the challenges of being in a wheelchair, but also in the changes that have occurred to make the world more wheelchair accessible. Our part is to provide wheelchair accessible vans and keep the world handicap accessible through transportation, as well as to support other groups within this community. Want to learn about your handicap van options or share your story about an organization or person that has touched your life? Drop us a note!

  • You Sell Wheelchair Vans? A Little Bit About Who We Actually Are

    We’ve told you a bit about what we do and what we’re passionate about, but we thought we’d let you know who Van Products really is and where we came from.  We want to get to know you better, so hopefully this will let you get to know us a little better!

    Here are the facts:

    We provide mobility solutions for people who have disabilities, mainly in the form of wheelchair vans. We see our main goal as giving people the opportunity to keep life the moving experience it was meant to be!

    We love getting involved with our community- so, whether it is saying hello at an event or by sharing your story on our blog, we want to hear from you.

    Here is the history:

    Raleigh native William Wendt, Sr. founded Van Products’ parent company over 50 years ago, and since 1974 we’ve been functioning to meet the needs of physically handicapped people.  We know it can be frustrating to feel limited or immobile, so over the past 30 years we’ve been committed to offering specially designed modes of transportation that can accommodate wheelchairs.

    Since day one, Van Products has been driven to innovate and build relationships so that needs are being met and people don’t have to worry about getting service for their wheelchair accessible vans, no matter where they are or what the circumstances are!  Even it it means doing a demo at your home or if you are just interested in testing a wheelchair van through our rental service, we’ll talk you through the options.

    As technology develops and wheelchair vans gain the sleekness of design and functionality, Van Products looks forward to serving the wheelchair community and making sure that no matter your circumstances, whether in physical therapy to recover from injury or if you've been in a wheelchair from birth, you will feel taken care of!

    Let us know how we can come alongside you, we can’t wait to hear from you!

  • Overcoming Challenge and Disability: A Father’s Love and a Son’s Cerebral Palsy

    It is a challenge to do justice to this family’s story with words, but the Father-Son duo called Team Hoyt is too inspirational to be left out.  Just before he was born, a complication leading to extended oxygen deprivation caused Rick Hoyt to become a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.  This debilitating and heartbreaking diagnosis, however, was met with love, determination and encouragement by Rick’s parents, Dick and Judy Hoyt.

    Though he is unable to speak and will always be in a wheelchair, with his family’s support Rick was able to be integrated into school with the use of an interactive computer Rick used to spell.  He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Special Education in 1993, and has continued on to achieve previously unimaginable goals.

    An avid sports fan, in 1977 Rick told his dad he wanted to take part in a 5 mile run to benefit a school athlete who had been paralyzed in an accident.  Up to the challenge, Dick Hoyt pushed Rick in his wheelchair all the way across the finish line, and began their incredible journey through athletic events around the country.  “Dad, when I’m running, I feel like I’m not handicapped,” were the words that sparked an adventure leading this father and son team to participate in Boston marathons, Ironman triathlons and a 45 day biking and running trip across the United States.

    Take a minute to watch this powerful and moving video that shows clips of some of the races they have participated in.  Each is an incredible testament shown as the father carries, bikes or pushes his physically handicapped son so that he has the opportunity to feel like he is not handicapped.  Be encouraged that while the challenge may be great, the encouragement of a supportive family or community can overcome!

    At Van Products, we are here to offer that support and encouragement, and though circumstances may not seem ideal, we’re here to walk you through the process of making your life, whether wheelchair bound or as a caretaker, a bit easier.  Life is a movie experience; let us help you make sure yours is! We hope to hear from you soon.

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