Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quotes by Robert M. Hensel

The Following Quotes are by Robert M. Hensel:
"Placing one foot in front of the other, I've climbed to higher lengths.
Reaching beyond my own limitations, to show my inner strength.
No obstacle to hard, for this warrior to overcome.
I'm just a man on a mission, to prove my disability hasn't won.
"Limitations only go so far."
"We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being."
"Know me for my abilities, not my disability."

"I have a Disability yes thats true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you."

"I don't have a dis-ability, I have a different-ability."

"As a disabled man, let my life be a reflection of the endless amount of ability that exists in each and everyone of us."
"We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being."

"My disability has opened my eye's to see my true abilities."
"When everyone else says you can't, determination says,'YES YOU CAN.'"

Visually Impaired Students in Biology Labs

There is currently research being done to help create assistive technology to be used for visually impaired students in biology labs. The research is being done by University of Pune and is in the works to help create maximum independence for students. The goal is that this will help increase the students' love of science and overall confidence. I remember the best part of science class being when the instructor would announce "lab time." It was so much easier to learn the concepts of science when I was able to apply them in the lab. I am thrilled that the University of Pune is doing research in assistive technology in order to help bring the job of "lab time" to the visually impaired.

For a link to the full article, please visit:

To visit EmpowerTech's website, please visit:

Independence for Teens and Parents

Here is a great article by Quest Online Magazine about how teens can become more independent and how to transition into becoming adults. The article goes through important categories such as timing, assistants, and resources to help further the discussion. It is always a hard topic to address, but independence is a great step to work towards.

Read the article at:

Another resource that may be helpful is our own EmpowerTech organization. We help individuals with disabilities to establish independence through the use of technology. We also have a program to help prepare students for employment.

Please visit us at:

Rock Climber with Cerebral Palsy

Yesterday, we made a blog post about how a disability should not limit someone from pursuing their love of sports. Today, we have an inspirational story about a man named Steve Wampler. Steve has a physical disability called cerebral palsy. He cannot walk, and his right arm is the only fully functioning arm. Nonetheless, Steve Wampler did 20,000 pull-ups and slept on a mountain for 5 nights in order to climb the largest rock face in the world, El Capitan in Yosemite. Previously an environmental engineer, Steve gave up his job and created a camp for kids with physical disabilities to help inspire them to challenge themselves in the wilderness. Steve Wampler has become such an inspiration that he has been on the news in over 70 countries, was awarded Red Cross's Real Hero award, was named United Cerebral Palsy Man of the Year, and Ellen Degeneres even sang a song about him on stage. People like Steve Wampler demonstrate that a disability does not stop you from fulfilling your dreams.

For more information on the Wampler Foundation, please visit:

To donate to EmpowerTech and help empower people with disabilities, please visit:

"Just the Way You Are"

By now, a good majority of radio listeners have heard the song, "Just the Way You Are," by Bruno Mars. What I can almost guarantee is that these same radio listeners have not heard the version of the song by Matty B. Matty B gives this song a sweet twist by dedicating the song to his sister with special needs. Here is a link to the video where Matty B raps sweet lyrics such as "when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile because girl, you're amazing just the way you are."

Matty B ends the video by telling its viewers, "if you have anybody in your life that's special, make sure you tell them." A great way to end a great video. So please, follow Matty B's words and tell the special person in your life just how much they mean to you. And, if your conscious pleads you, make a donation to EmpowerTech and enable them to empower many more special people.

Donate to EmpowerTech here:

Visit Matty B here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Playing Sports with a Disability

Sometimes, people with disabilities want to play sports but don't believe they can because of their disability. Good news! There are many assistive sports technologies, sports organizations, and resources that can help.

Assistive sports technologies, such as the BeepKickball, which helps blind sports enthusiasts play kickball, or the OTS Interspiro Divator MKII, which helps the blind to scuba dive, are becoming more and more advanced, and financial aid is sometimes available to help with costs. Instead, suppose you wanted to join a sports organization; there are many to join like Disabled Sports USA. Take advantage of resources like your city’s recreation department, your own school, health clubs, YWCA, the local Girls Scout council, and nearby colleges. They may have pools, sports teams, exercise rooms, or more ways for you to be invovled. Your local Chamber of Commerce could also help to find programs in your area. The possibilities are endless, but the initial step must be taken to contact these resources.

For more information on assistive sports technologies, please visit:

For more information on how to become involved in sports, please visit:

The Blind Geek Zone

The Blind Geek Zone is a blog that allows people that are blind to keep in touch with the latest technologies available. Here is the link to the blog that includes podcasts and reviews of these technologies:

EmpowerTech Celebrity Bartender FUNdraiser!

Hi all.

Everyone has thought it would be fun bartending for their family and friends behind a real bar before. Now you can make your dream come true! Your family, friends, co-workers, people in your organization and even yourself can work with the finest Bartenders in Westchester! I am going to put you and/or people from your organization behind the bar at Melody Bar and Grill to pour the finest drinks to members of your team and the bar patrons. 100% of the tips go directly to support EmpowerTech’s programs. What I will need from all of you other than bartending, is to make sure you bring people that you know in for the FUNdraiser. The larger the crowd, the more cocktails to be poured the bigger the tips! I will follow up this email with a flyer for you all to send out to your contact lists.

Where: Melody Bar and Grill
9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd Westchester, CA

When: Wednesday March 13th 5pm-9pm. We will work in shifts.

Why: Because you all are fun and it’s for a good cause!!!


***If any of you know any actors or athletes, can you ask if they would like to help out a good cause?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hiring People with Disabilities

A few months ago, we made a blog post about National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In the post, we discussed the topic of hiring people with disabilities. Many people have misconceptions when it comes to hiring someone with a disability. There is a myth that "Persons with disabilities can’t keep up with other workers." The reality is that it has been conclusively shown that, on average, people with a disability are more loyal, dependable, and productive than their non-disabled colleagues - and that they work more safely. 98% of people with a disability rate average or better in work safety. Employers also often cite "the cost of accommodations as a barrier to hiring persons with disabilities." This has been established as a myth because the vast majority of persons with disabilities, who are currently employed, require no special workplace accommodations whatsoever.

In fact, a recent article by the Chicago Tribune discussed how many companies such as AMC and the investment firm, TIAA-CREF, are agressively hiring people with disabilities. Walgreens is another example of a company that is adament about hiring workers with disabilities. Walgreens opened a distribution center in Anderson, South Carolina, and currently more than 40% of its employees there are people with disabilities who are paid and treated the same as their non-disabled coworkers. More than 100 Fortune 500 companies have toured the distribution center to learn more about the program. It is refreshing to see so many companies including people with disabilities into their workforce.

For the full articles used, please visit:

Visit our website to find more information on our T.R.A.D.E. program which helps students increase their employability:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NASA Providing Mentorship for Students with Disabilities

Through an agreement with D.C.'s Public School transition program, NASA will be providing mentors to a few lucky students with disabilities. This new program will allow a handful of students with learning difficulties or multiple disabilities to experience what it would be like to work for NASA. James Stofan, the associate administrator for the agency, states "We particularly want to encourage students who are underserved or underrepresented in STEM to explore the many opportunities that pursuing this course of study can offer. This partnership will help us do just that.” From all of us at EmpowerTech, we are thrilled to hear of yet another story where people with disabilities are given the chance to explore the world of technology.

For the full article, please visit:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Through Autistic Eyes" Documentary

People without disabilities often wonder how a disability would impact their lives. Most don't understand what daily obstacles would look like or how to overcome them. There is a documentary called "Through Autistic Eyes" in which Christopher Smith, a man with autism, gives insight into how a life with autism would be.

Here is a link for a documentary clip:

If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, please visit:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paralyzed Patients in the Deep Sea

There is a new medical study that is seeking to determine whether a zero gravity undersea environment has therapeutic value for improving paralyzed patients' physical or mental health. The positive results showed improved spasticity and reduced enema. 

For the full article, visit: …

2013 Technology Advances to Watch

James Temple, a Chronicle Columnist, recently published an article outlining what are the five areas of technology he will be looking for this upcoming year. We have listed them and summarized why their advances are so important.What is so fascinating about all of these innovations is how revolutionary they are. As an organization that uses technology to help people with disabilities, these new advances, like artificial intelligence and gesture control, are sure to help us in our mission to empower the disabled.

Personal Robotics:
With successful robotic lifeguards and Google's robotic cars that have logged more than 300,000 miles on the road, personal robotics is an area that will constantly be improving, and it is only a matter of time before personal robots are a regular presence in our lives.

Context-Aware Computing:
Millions of people regularly use services like Apple's Siri and Google Now, services that represent sophisticated artificial intelligence, so an update in these soft-wares are sure to occur in the near future.

Electric Vehicles:
Electric vehicles have made extreme progress and continue to develop "new cheaper, and smaller options." Electric vehicles like the Hiriko can go up to 75 miles on a single charge, an appeal that is sure to stimulate more developments. 

3-D Printing:
Artificial limbs, drones, and homes have all been successfully built by 3-D Printers. The 3-D Printers "spit out layers of metals, plastics, and other materials to form just about anything."

Gesture Control:
The company, Leap Motion, is set to begin shipping its much anticipated gesture control product early this year. The product will allow user to control a computer using mid-air hand movements. 

To view the full article, visit:…#page-2

Augmentative Communicator

There have been vast improvements in augmentative communication devices. For post-operative patients, speech impaired individuals, or anyone requiring a voice generation device, these new devices are revolutionary. One of the newest improvements comes from Chester Creek Technologies. They have developed the TextSpeak TS Series Talking Keyboard. Individuals with special needs will like this keyboard because it is the easiest augmentative communication keyboard device that is available today. The device can speak in both English and Spanish and has an unlimited vocabulary for both languages. It also can act as with a speaker telephone for calls going outbound.

For more information on the new TextSpeak, please visit:

For an assistive technology assessment, please visit: