Lott Industries – “A Whole Lott More”

At first glance, you might not think there’s a lot to Lott Industries of Toledo, Ohio. A company that excelled in the automotive industry was facing closure like similar companies thanks to the decline of the auto industry in neighboring Detroit. Known for employing over 1,200 works with developmental disabilities, Lott Industries was in a tough situation. They had twelve months to reinvent themselves and to save the livelihoods of their employees.

The critical journey to reinvent the company is followed in a documentary that came out last spring. It follows the perspectives of three unique and memorable characters. If you came into Lott Industries you wouldn’t know these people had disabilities, you would just see workers. According to the film’s website, more than eight million people in America have developmental disabilities, and 80% of them remain unemployed. The documentary follows Wanda, TJ, and Kevin. Continue reading "Lott Industries – “A Whole Lott More”"

Coffee and Chocolate Have Never Been More Special

Fairfax City in Virginia is now home a shop that’s truly special, in more ways than you might think. Walk through the doors of Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates and you’re in for a surprise. The shop is named after Cameron Graham, a girl who loves to bake and dip chocolates. Besides combining two of the greatest things ever invented, coffee and chocolate, the shop has made it its mission to create a place that offers opportunities to people who have disabilities just like Cameron. The shop opened October 1st, and half of the employees are made up of individuals with disabilities.

The shop was opened by Cameron’s parents, Ellen and Jim Graham. Their daughter, Cameron, was born with intellectual disabilities and attended a local high school and training center until she aged out of the FCPS system. Cameron first began her journey in the culinary arts at Chilmark Chocolates in Martha’s Vineyard. Chilmark Chocolates was the inspiration for Cameron’s shop, which employed individuals with disabilities as well. They spent their days baking delicious treats and dipping chocolates, a job Cameron really enjoyed. Continue reading "Coffee and Chocolate Have Never Been More Special"

New Policy on Disabilities at Disneyland

In the past, Disney programs have allowed theme-park guests with disabilities to skip to the front of the line for many rides. This policy was great for visitors with disabilities and their family members, allowing them faster access to the attraction. Unfortunately, abuse of this system has forced Disney to change their policy in order to protect the individuals with disabilities. This system has been abused by wealthy families who pay people with disabilities to serve as “guides” in order to avoid the long lines during visits to Disney World. The guides are paid upwards of $130 an hour and allow the wealthy families a way to skip the long lines when accompanied by the individuals with disabilities.

To avoid this, the new system will implement a new program reportedly known as the Disabled Assistance System. Rather than bypassing the lines, under this new system guest with disabilities will be able to request access to a ride at special kiosks. They’ll later be able to return to the ride at a specified time and while they won’t have to wait in line, they’ll only be able to request access to one ride at a time. Disneyland understands that the needs of individuals vary dramatically, and that one size might not fit everyone. The changes are similar to their current FastPass system. Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown says, “Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities”.The new system was implemented on October 9th but has not been easily accepted, even by families who have kids with disabilities. Many parents are upset with the abuse of the system and the impact it will now have on their visits to Disney.

 

Below is updated information on the new system for Disney:

Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for guests.

 

On October 9, the process that provides access to attractions for guests with disabilities, known as the Guest Assistance Card, will be replaced with the new Disability Access Service (DAS) Card. Guests will request the new card at Guest Relations and DAS Cardholders will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. The DAS Card is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, growing at an alarming rate.

 

For more information on this new card, please visit http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/disney-parks-disability-access-service-card-fact-sheet/

 

We believe that the DAS card, with its virtual wait, will accommodate many of our guests with disabilities.

However, we also recognize that our guests with disabilities have varying needs, and we will continue to work individually with them to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.

While each situation will be handled individually at Guest Relations, following are two examples of accommodations that could be offered based on a guest’s needs:

•   For a Guest whose disability enables them to be in the park for only a limited time, the Guest might be offered an accommodation that enables them to use the DAS Card in conjunction with access to a number of attractions without having to obtain a return time.

•   Another potential accommodation, based on a Guest’s unique needs, might include providing access to a favorite attraction multiple times in a row without having to obtain a return time.

If you need more information or have specific questions about an upcoming trip, please send an email to disability.services@disneyparks.com. If you are planning a vacation in the next few months, please include a contact phone number and the best time for us to reach you.