Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Things I Learned From My First Wheelchair Vacation 

Last year I had an accident playing rugby that left me without the use of my legs, the time since then has been a learning experience for me like I have never experienced before and everyday brings new challenges. something which I have just recently learned, is how difficult it is to take a vacation in a wheelchair and that wheelchair friendly hotels are not always what they are made out to be. The whole vacation for me was quite strange and something that I have definitely learned from. I wanted to write down my experience for anyone out there who is planning on going on their very first vacation as a wheelchair user in the hope that my experience can help a little.

Hotels, Be Careful

I stayed in a hotel that claimed to be wheelchair friendly when in fact it was only just sufficient for me to get around in my wheelchair. The truth of the matter is that many hotels want to be known as wheelchair friendly when in fact they are not, they think that because the rooms are pretty sizable and there is plenty of space around the pool, that this will be enough. Before you go on your vacation make sure that the hotel is 100% wheelchair accessible and that you can get to all of the places inside the hotel that you need to. I had a great deal of difficult for example, moving around in the restaurant area as there simply was not enough space, for reasons like this I would urge you to thoroughly check the place out first.

Surrounding Area

Another rookie error that I made was not checking out the surrounding area of the small town that we stayed in before we went. The result of my not checking was that I was forced to climb up and down hills for the duration of the vacation because we were essentially inside a valley. I am not the type of person that can just relax around the pool all and I wanted to get out and explore, unfortunately that is not so fun to do when you are pushing your own body weight in the searing heat.

Transport is Key

My vacation lasted two weeks and it was not until the second week that I realized that there was a small trolley bus that zipped around the town taking people form A to B. As soon as I was aware of the bus I was able to travel much farther and see many more things. I was annoyed because I had specifically asked the hotel if there was a bus and they had said no, for what reason I am still unsure. My advice to you then is this, make sure that before you go, you are reading forums and checking out reviews to see what kind of transport there is at your destination as it makes a huge difference to your vacation.

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5 ways to protect your children while you’re away

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your children’s safety. That feeling is amplified when you’re away on business or working. It’s never easy leaving a child unsupervised. In fact, depending on their age it could also be illegal to leave them alone or unattended.

However, if your kids are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home but young enough to be at some risk, you need to take certain precautions before you leave them. Here are five ways you can protect your kids while you’re away:

  1. Install surveillance

Surveillance cameras could be your best bet to monitor the house and make sure your children are safe. Try to get an integrated system that hooks up to the internet and lets you livestream video while you’re away. Also, inform your alarm company about the hours you’ll be away so that they can be more alert. Leave signs and posters around the house to advertise your security. This is probably the best way to deter burglars and keep your kids safe.

  1. Create an illusion

Another great way to keep your kids safe is to create the illusion that you’re at home. Leave some of the lights on and keep a pile of unopened mail out the front door. You can even invest in timers that schedule turning lamps on and off. Attackers won’t target a house if they think the whole family is at home.

  1. Keep It Off Social Media

A surefire way to put your kids at risk is to broadcast your location on social media. If you’re travelling or working, keep it off social media so that no one knows your kids are unattended. Nearly eight out of ten burglars use social media to figure out your location before planning an attack.

  1. Trust a friend

If you’ve got a friend who lives close by, get them to check on your kids regularly. You can even ask a neighbour to drop in from time to time. Perhaps the best way to keep your kids safe is to hire a professional babysitter while you’re away.

  1. Train Your Kids

Teach your kids all the basics of being safe while you’re not around. Speak to them openly about the risks and make sure they know the dangers of talking to strangers or leaving the house without permission. Give them a spare pair of keys if you think they can handle it. Get them to check on the electricals and gas stoves. Make sure they have all the emergency contact numbers they might need.

It’s never easy leaving your kids unattended. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions if you have to step out for a few hours or more.

How to Pick the Right Boarding School

Having a great education sets the foundation for success. Statistics show that those who receive a great education, on average do much better in just about all measures of life.

There are many approaches parents take to ensure their children receive a great education. Some choose home schooling which allows them to control every aspect of their child’s education from curriculum to the amount of hours spent every day on school work. Some parents choose to put their kids in a formalized learning environment controlled by educators who have a track record for getting great results.

Both of these approaches can work well depending upon the child. But what is certain, is that children do better academically when they have few distractions and are literally living in an environment built to support learning.

This is perhaps why boarding schools consistently graduate the world’s top students. They offer a completely planned out education strategy and a setting that is proven to create high performing students.

But like everything in life, not all boarding schools are created equal and parents interested in sending a child to a boarding school needs to study their options and have a checklist for deciding on the right school. Here are some of the items to include on your checklist:

Educational Credentials

At the heart of any great school is its academic track record, so you will want to examine the education credentials of each boarding school you are considering. It should reveal a school that has top tier teaching curriculum, highly credentialed teachers and a large percentage of the student body that is excelling in classes.

For those who are not excelling in their classes, there should a support system in place that gets to the bottom of why and corrects these deficiencies in a very systematic and deliberate manner.

Further you should find that students are being accepted in high numbers at the top universities and there should be a number of alumni that have gone on to have standout careers in their chosen fields. All of this information should be made available by the school either as an introduction to their approach and accomplishments in this area or upon your request.

Recognized Leaders in Their Specialty Areas

Many boarding schools specialize in a particular subject or subjects. There are schools that are renowned for graduating future politicians and others that excel at creating future business leaders. There are boarding schools with performing arts programs that are the industry standard, and others who graduate top scientists. Make sure if you are interviewing a school that has a particular specialty area, that they have a great reputation for graduating successful professionals in that industry.

A Large Number of Students are Boarders

Practically every boarding school also has students that are day students, meaning those that go home in the afternoons and are not on the school campus during the weekends. So you want to make sure that there is a large enough amount of students that actually stay at the school to ensure that your child will have company during the evenings and weekends. Being far away from home with no one around can be extremely taxing and disorienting on young people. Without lots of other kids boarding, there will be fewer activities available for them to partake in, and fewer friends for them to make. So ask the school about the number of students who are boarders.

Appropriate Values and Traditions

Many boarding schools have been around for decades and some for hundreds of years. During their time in existence they develop an ethos or set of characteristics that come to define the school. Some schools are regarded as very tough and stringent regarding academics, others have a strong record of compassion, while others have a reputation for developing creative skills in students. You should understand this ethos and decide if it fits with what you want for your child.

Focus on Extra-curricular Activities

When your child is not in class or studying there will be considerable free time. Boarding schools try and fill this time with productive activities. You need to be sure that there are enough of the type of activities that will appeal to your child, going on all year long at the school.

Most boarding schools have excellent facilities for music, sports and other types of activities on campus. The school should offer all sorts of group activities built around these facilities. This means singing and music groups, sports teams, drama productions, debate groups, and others, and students should be strongly encouraged to join.

There is also an opportunity to work within the community around the school as a volunteer. These types of activities give students the chance to meet new people and make new friends and develop character. They also build student’s character and school record, which will be looked on positively by universities.

Deciding where to send your child to school is a big challenge. When you add the need to ensure they are also cared for well while they learn, it complicates things even more. Do your homework and you will learn information that will help you make a good choice.