Monthly Archives: April, 2019

Rep. LaFave mobilizes plan for updated accessibility logo

State Rep. Beau LaFave has introduced a plan to update the accessibility icon used on signs and in parking lots and buildings in Michigan, better reflecting the lifestyles of people with disabilities.

The legislation would require that any new placement or replacement of signs displaying the international symbol of access utilize the updated logo, which portrays active independence, rather than stationary helplessness. The new symbol would be replaced at no cost to taxpayers and no additional cost to business owners.

Michigan wouldn’t be the first to adopt the new icon. New York and Connecticut have already implemented similar legislation.

“The new logo shows that individuals with disabilities play an active role in the community and aren’t just sitting in a chair letting life pass them by,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “It’s not about political correctness, it’s about showing the true relationship between people and the devices that assist them. It’s not 1968 anymore. It’s time to portray the new reality.

“As a person living an active life with a disability, I’m proud to stand on the front lines to instigate this important change.”

LaFave’s measure would also take steps to remove the term “handicapped” from signs and other communications at state and local levels.

The legislator worked closely with Disability Network Michigan to create the legislation. The group joined him at the Capitol today to advocate on behalf of the legislation. Scores of individuals with disabilities were in attendance to support the cause.

“Disability Network Michigan’s 15 federally-established Centers for Independent Living served 43,588 people with disabilities last year,” said Sara Grivetti, CEO of Disability Network Michigan. “We know that people with disabilities are active members of their communities. This legislation will help our signs reflect the reality.”

LaFave’s bill in the package is House Bill 4516. The second bill, HB 4517, was sponsored by state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores. The bills were co-sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, including all Upper Peninsula representatives and the chair of the House Health Policy Committee.

Michigan SILC Voting Membership Seats Open for Governor Appointments


The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MiSILC) currently has four voting member vacancies with a fifth voting member seat becoming vacant on May 2, 2019. They are looking for qualified candidates that reflect statewide geographic diversity as well as demographic and disability diversity. The majority of the council, both non-voting ex officio members and voting members, must be comprised of a majority of people with disabilities who are neither state nor CIL employees. Ideal candidates from CILs include current and former CIL board members and consumers knowledgeable about CILs and independent living. If you know anyone who may be interested in serving, please pass along this opportunity.


Council members serve a three year term and are eligible to serve a second three year term if re-appointed by the Governor. No council member may serve more than six consecutive years (unless they are finishing a partial term of another council member who resigned or otherwise left the council mid-term).


At this link, please find an overview of the Michigan SILC’s purpose and role in promoting and supporting Independent Living throughout Michigan. A link to the current SPIL and the Governor’s online appointments portal are included in the document. Anyone interested in being considered for the MiSILC vacancies is encouraged to apply immediately.

Motivational Monday – Meet Aaron “Wheels” Fotheringham

Picture of Aaron on a half pipe doing tricks in his wheelchair. Caption: "Always test your boundries and don't the the disability restrain your capacities and possibilities."

Aaron “Wheels” Fotheringham

Aaron Fotheringham (Born with Spina Bifida on November 8, 1991) is an extreme wheelchair athlete who performs tricks adapted from skateboarding and BMX. Although he used crutches early on, he has been a wheelchair user full-time since the age of eight. He would watch his brother riding his BMX at the skate park, and one day his brother told him that he should try riding his chair in the park. Aaron later noted that “I did, and I was hooked”


– At the age of only 14, he was the first person to successfully perform a backflip in a wheelchair

– At the age of 18, he was the first person to successfully perform a double backflip in a wheelchair