Winter Often Means Additional Challenges for People with Disabilities


Around the United States, this winter has delivered some record snowfalls, but even a light snow can be troublesome for people with disabilities. When winter approaches, it is important that you help the person you work with prepare for average winter weather, as well as the occasional storm.

The DirectCourse/College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) course, Being Prepared for an Emergency, addresses these issues, and is essential for giving personal care assistants the tools they need to help the people they work with endure winter weather.

“Living in an area with a lot of snow, I have to be prepared,” says Sarah Levis, a disability advocate and a freelance writer whose work appears on The Girl with the Cane, her award-winning blog focusing on disability issues. Levis lives in a small town in Canada.

Levis notes that she was once involved in a power outage—often an issue during ice storms and heavy snow. “I realized I didn’t know where my flashlights were, I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, and my land line phone needed power to work,” Levis says. “I realized that I hadn’t thought this out very well.” The power came on after a couple of hours, but had it lasted longer, Levis says she wasn’t sure what she would have done.

Since then, Levis has a plan to address power outages, knowing where her light sources are and a cell phone. As she wrote on her blog, “Don’t wait until [an emergency] happens and try to cobble something together then.”

Being Prepared for an Emergency is a five-lesson course that instructs learners on a variety of issues, from identifying the needs of people with disabilities during emergencies, to preparing for emergencies, as well as responding and recovering from the same. Natural disasters are covered, as well as man-made ones such as home fires and even terrorism. Being prepared for any kind of emergency is important for people with disabilities — regardless of where they live. But it’s just as important for people without disabilities.

For more information on the College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving’s curriculum, please visit:

To read Sarah Levis’ blog The Girl with the Cane, please visit:

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