Long Island park in winter

by Roberta Rosenberg, Destination Accessible US Inc.

No one can deny we are squarely in the middle of winter. February 4th is the exact middle, between December 21st and March 21st. Until a few days ago, it has been a relatively benign season. That being said, there is still a good bit of this season left. Many of us have been staying in, staying safe, until spring arrives and until many of us can get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

What can those of us do who want to be outside, get some fresh air, visit someplace new, enjoy the outdoors?  We are here to tell you that there are places for you on Long Island, places that are beautiful in winter. Places you may have visited before, and places that you may have never been to. Surely, they are different from what we find at them in spring, summer and fall, but nevertheless beautiful in their own way. We have not found any place we have gone to be busy, so distancing is easy. Another plus for staying safe!

www.destinationaccessible.org has detailed information for more than 30 Long Island parks on its website, Each of these offers a unique experience.  Some of them are more accessible than others, but each is worth a trip.

Want a walk along a boardwalk, try Sunken Meadow, or Robert Moses.

Want a river walk, go to Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Want a walk on the South Shore, visit Wantagh Park. Want a walk at Oyster Bay Harbor, try Theodore Roosevelt Park. Want a walk close to a town,  Harbor Front Park in Port Jefferson is great!  Looking for a walk around a lake, visit Eisenhower Park. Want a park with handicapped- accessible playgrounds, try Eisenhower or Sands Point Preserve. Looking for a walk where you might be able to see the New York Skyline, go toNorman Levy Park on a clear day.  Want a park with a labyrinth, then it’s Avalon Park in Stony Brook. You can even visit the Anne Frank Memorial Garden.  There is much more, but we will stop here and invite you to visit www.destinationaccessible.org to “know before you go” for more detailed information about what you will find at each of these and more!

The only thing you need to be aware of is finding open restrooms at these destinations. We have tried to give the best information we have on this topic,  but it is sketchy at best. We suggest going with the idea that you most likely will not find restrooms or food. 

Be prepared for your adventure by dressing appropriately. For me, layers are the way to go. Several thin layers work better for me than one or two thick ones.  I am in love with instant hand warmers. I find that putting them inside my mittens makes a huge difference, and they stay warm for hours. Warm boots are great, waterproof even better. Although, if I am going to be really “walking,” i just use wool socks inside my sneakers.

We hope you will take advantage of some of the nice days that winter does have and find the beauty in someplace new.

As always, we at Destination Accessible, advise you to visit a venue’s website, when planning a visit to “know before you go.”

People who live with disabilities often face fear, discomfort, and hostilityat a rate that far exceeds that encountered by those who do have no disability. The vast majority of such treatment is rooted in a basiclack of understanding about the challenges that come with having adisability, and the experience of sharing the world with people who do not. People often seek to fill in gaps in their knowledge, and when information is lacking, confusion and even fear may result.

Anyone wishing to overcome this experience in themselves will be best servedby first recognizing that a disability is a limited phenomenon. A physical disability may have a large impact on how an individual interacts with the physical word. A sensory disability may alter the gathering of information. These are conditions however, in no way prevent the individuals who live with them from having unique personalities, talents, knowledge, humor, and lives. People who live with disabilities have more in common than not with those who have no disability. We all share the same existence, and the same basic needs. In order to establish a foundation, he top three considerations, as repeated in the vast majority of lists of disability etiquette concerns are:

  • Ask if a person needs assistance before attempting to assist them. All people, whether or not they live with a disability, take pride in what they are able to do. Making any assumption about a person’s abilities in any given situation can rob them of this feeling.
  • Speak directly to a person with a disability, even if he or she has an interpreter. While a person with a hearing impairment may have to look at an interpreter for communication, it is discouraging to everyone to be looked around or over when communicating with  someone.
  • Ask permission before touching and assistive device or service animal. These items and creatures are the tools that the user needs to live their life. They are very important, and very personal.

Never Say Never

The more a discussion of etiquette directly relates to lifestyles and personal abilities, the more likely it is that the word “never” is used to illustrate what not to do. While this is often a useful guideline,  it can be cumbersome in some situations. In some cases, people who are less experienced in respectful and positive communication may stumble over wording, and significantly impair communication efforts. In other cases, people who are living with a disability may have feelings about language that is not in keeping with the established guidelines for etiquette. Whatever the reason, the commonly recognized best practices of disability-related etiquette may not always be the preferred practices, and it is always most important for the most effective and respectful communication, to first respect the wishes of the individual.


People with mobility impairments are often the most immediately identifiable people who are living with disabilities. As such, the stigma that our culture attaches to these people out of fear and ignorance, often impacts people with mobility impairments most frequently, and most harshly.

Developmentaland Cognitive Disabilities

Developmental and cognitive disabilities are an extremely broad, but very inter connected category. Both types of disability frequently occur together as a result of a single causal factor, though they just as frequently occur individually. While an experienced and compassionate person may be able to recognize that a person has a developmental disability, there is often no way of knowing whether the person also suffers from a cognitive disability without interacting with that person. Likewise, cognitive disabilities may occur in people who do not appear externally to have any disability whatsoever. It may take observation of behavior and interaction to determine how to communicate most appropriately with someone. Further, a basic recognition that a person’s behavior differs from the range that is considered mainstream may not absolutely indicate a cognitive disability, but could be a result of a mental illness (see below) or simply a personality quirk that does not constitute a disability. Lastly, a person with a cognitive disability may not be recognizable in casual interaction. Conditions such as dyslexia, and attention deficit are classified as cognitive disabilities, and can reasonably require both accommodation and sensitivity, but neither will necessarily be immediately apparent. It is in this broad category that the most care must be taken in making assumptions about what aperson is or is not capable of doing on their own or with assistance.


Make no assumptions about what someone who is blind can and cannot do. Modern assistive technology has made things that were formerly inaccessible to the blind common place. A primary example is computer usage, which has become a nearly ubiquitous skill for sighted people, and is rapidly becoming standardized as audio screen readers and web standards converge.

  • Being a sighted guide  A reference on tPeople with mobility impairments are often the most immediately identifiable people who are living with disabilities. As such, the stigma that our culture attaches to these people out of fear and ignorance, often impacts people with mobility impairments most frequently, and most harshly. He established protocol for assisting someone as a sighted guide
  • BlindEtiquette 101 Some words of advice from a person who lives with a vision impairment
  • Resources for Access and Etiquette A set of resources specifically geared toward interacting with people who use guide dogs
  • Etiquette A run down of etiquette considerations for people interacting with those who are blind in social and professional situations


Deafness is an extremely common disability, and one which does not present the same mobility issues faced by many other people with disabilities. This combined with modern support for signing (which was once discouraged as a form of communication) has resulted in vibrant deaf communities springing up around the world.  Still interacting with a person who is deaf can be challenging, as deafness presents a communication barrier not experienced by most people who live with disabilities.


People living with mental illness may or may not have a disability. The specific criteria for determining the nature or severity of apsychiatric condition that constitutes a disability constantly shifts, but generally rests on a consideration of the level of impairment of daily activities suffered by the person in question.The biggest barrier faced by people living with mental illness is the lack of understanding which is nearly universal to almost all psychiatric disorders. Stigma and the accompanying ignorance, remains the primary barrier to overcome.


  • Disability Etiquette A broad guide provided by the City of Sacramento, California
  • Focuson Ability Tips for employers interviewing applicants who have disabilities
  • Developing Sites A guide to web development for users who have cognitive or learning disabilities (most accessible design is focused on visual disabilities)
  • Discribing People With Disabilities A resource on people first language for use when talking about people who have disabilities.

Mistakes Will Be Made

Everyone will at some point make a mistake in conversation. This is one occasion that requires absolutely no special consideration for people who live with disabilities. As when interacting with anyone else,when a mistake is made, simply apologize. People who live with disabilities learn early and unequivocally that others are frequently uncomfortable interacting with them. Most people who have lived with a disability since birth (and many who have not) have experienced bullying and harassment as a result of individual ignorance. A conversational error will not be the harshest experience suffered by any person living with a disability. An apology is an acknowledgement of an error and of a person’s intention to be sensitive. Communicating an awareness of etiquette and concern for an individual’s feelings may even set one apart from the crowd, and be the first step toward making a new friend.

        by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US Inc.

Although I can hardly believe it , Holiday Season 2021 has arrived. It seems to me yesterday was Labor Day, not Thanksgiving ! No matter what I believe, it is here. 

Many of us have returned to indoor activities and some of us are still hesitant about being inside.  If you are not inclined to be indoors, know that there are places to go and ways to enjoy the holidays that offer easy accessibility.

One of the easiest ways to experience the season is with a “drive through or drive- by,”  of one of the holiday light shows. All you need to do is get into a vehicle and go! (Although in most cases you need to secure tickets in advance). Jones Beach has “The Magic of Lights.”  “A Bug’s NIght,” is at the Nassau County Museum of Art. The town of Riverhead has a Holiday Light Show as do the Girls Scouts, in Smith Point Park. 

If you can manage it, Milleridge Village has a lovely Holiday Village, complete with shops and Santa. Although there are bricks underfoot, it is quite accessible. 

Two of our favorite, easily accessible, places any time of the year are the Brooklyn Botanical and the New York Botanical Gardens. Both have holiday lights. The New York Botanical Gardens also has their wonderful holiday train show, which is indoors. 

Harbor Front Park in Port Jefferson is easily accessible and always lovely. From here it is easy to walk through town, with its shops, restaurants and festive decorations.

If you don’t need the holiday decorations, but want a beautiful, easily accessible outdoor place to take in the view, you can’t go wrong with any of the following: Sunken Meadow State Park Boardwalk (with a view of Long Island Sound), Theodore Roosevelt Park (with a view of Oyster Bay Harbor), Heckscher Park in Huntington, or the Long Beach Boardwalk (with a view of the Atlantic Ocean). 

If you are going into Manhattan, check out its newest, accessible park, Little Island, overlooking the Hudson River.

You can’t go wrong with any of these things to do as part of a fun, holiday season. 

Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday and New Year!

If you want the accessibility details of any of the above venues please visit, www.destinationaccessible.org, to “know before you go!” We always suggest also visiting a venue’s website for very up-to-date  information, such as pricing, hours open , etc. 

Picture of "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh
Great Art From The Comfort of Your Own Home Winter is in full swing. Although it has not snowed in New York as yet, we all presume that time will come. Some of us are not getting out as much as we would like. Between the cold and illness, staying inside seems like a good idea. Tired of reading the newspaper, watching tv, or doing puzzles? Try something different!While sitting comfortably in your favorite chair or curled up on the couch, you can view great art! Many museums offer a variety of great art, online, for free. All you need to do is go to their website to check it out. Below are just some of the art museums that offer you this wonderful opportunity (according to www.travelobserved.com.) Take some time to browse their websites to see what they have to offer. You are sure to find something you like. 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.metmuseum.org) has    “Art At Home” an extensive collection of their free online resources. They also offer a kids’ collection (Met Kids). 2. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (www.lacma.org) offers some interactive activities as well as their permanent collection online.  3. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (www.sfmoma.org, offers online content that changes weekly. 4. The Art Institute of Chicago (www.artic.edu)  even has a You Tube Channel 5. Museum of Modern Art (www.moma.org) allows you to access online courses, which can be audited for free.

This summer, Lego will release its first-ever mini-figure that uses a wheelchair, the company says, confirming reports that emerged after one of the toys was seen at a toy fair. In recent years, the company has been urged to show more diversity in its offerings.

An image taken from a video by Lego fan website Zusammengebaut shows a new minifigure in a wheelchair. The toy will go on sale in June, the company says.

German website Zusammengebaut and other Lego fan outlets published photographs of the figurine at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, on Wednesday, setting off celebrations among those backing a movement called Toy Like Me, which urges Lego, Hasbro, Fisher Price and other toymakers to include disabilities in some of their figurines.

Included in Lego's upcoming Fun at the Park set, the wheelchair is seen being used by a youth wearing a beanie cap and a hoodie.

"We are beyond happy right now," Rebecca Atkinson of Toy Like Me says in a statement posted online. "Lego have just rocked our brick built world and made 150 million disabled kids, their mums, dads, pet dogs and hamsters very very happy.

The wheelchair is part of Lego's City line and will go on sale in June, according to Emma Owen, Lego's spokesperson in Britain and Ireland.

"This is the first LEGO mini figure with a wheelchair, although previously there was a LEGO Duplo range, a series of the toys aimed at pre-school children, that featured an elderly man in a wheelchair," website The Mighty explains. "That set was criticized by activists for reinforcing stereotypes about wheelchairs only being for the elderly. This new figure is a part of the LEGO line aimed at older kids."

Atkinson, a journalist and disability consultant, says Lego's move "will speak volumes to children, disabled or otherwise, the world over."

More than 20,000 people have signed Toy Like Me's online petition that calls on Lego to use its toys to "help generations of kids, (both with and without disabilities), grow up with a more positive attitude to human difference!"

Most of us have library cards and generally know about the wonderful array of services our libraries offer. Depending on your local library, besides borrowing actual books, books on tape, and audio versions, they may offer performances, classes both in person and on zoom, reference help, and services for patrons with disabilities. 
I was recently reminded of another great perk that comes with having a library card.  Your Long Island Library Card doesn’t cost anything to get, and doesn’t have any fees. It does, however, come with many perks, including one that many people don’t seem to know about - the Museum Pass Program. 
The Museum Pass Program offers card holders the opportunity to reserve free passes to many Long Island and New York City museums. From the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan to the Parrish Art Museum on the East End of Long Island, you can find a museum to visit. Whether you admire art, want to learn about science and history, or  explore different cultures, visiting a museum lets you discover new things. 
Go to your local library’s website to find out what museums it offers passes for. You can usually reserve a pass for up to four people at a time.  Some passes can be printed online, others require pick-up at the library. Check your library’s website for details, as each library seems to have a somewhat different set up. Library offerings differ and there are restrictions, so be sure to check. If you have any difficulties you might want to pay a visit to your library or call for assistance. Librarians are always ready and willing to help.

Destination Accessible and The Business Power Hour With Lisa and the Music Man

by Roberta Rosenberg

“January 29th, is National Puzzle Day, the perfect day to do a little brain exercise. Whether it’s a crossword, jigsaw, or Sudoku, (to name just a few) puzzles engage our brains in more ways than one. Scientists have discovered that when we work on a jigsaw puzzle, we utilize both sides of the brain, improving memory, cognitive function and problem solving skills in the process. By utilizing puzzles, people can stimulate the brain to improve a number of skills.” (National Calendar Day)

But, I think the best thing about puzzles is that they are fun!  Whether working on The New York Times crossword (not me), doing a Sudoku, wordsearch, jumble, or having a jigsaw puzzle out on a table, we are usually enjoying ourselves. Puzzles are generally relaxing and engrossing, yet sometimes frustrating.  Finishing one offers a sense of accomplishment. And, puzzles are inexpensive indoor activities, especially during the winter months.

The first jigsaw puzzle ( initially called “dissected maps” ) was probably made in 1767, by a mapmaker. The world’s first crossword was published in December, 1913 in the “New York World” Newspaper. During the Great Depression, puzzle sales soared to over 10 million per week. During our Covid Pandemic, puzzle sales increased 300-400%, probably because puzzles are well-suited to staying at home. (information obtained from "The Jstor Daily,” article by Rebecca Bodenheimer - 12/16/20)

Considering all of the benefits of puzzles and, between winter in full swing and Covid still keeping many of us indoors,  I thought now would be a good time to research some of the best places to obtain puzzles, both puzzles to do online, and places to get puzzles to do “in person.”

From my research I am listing some of what seem to be the best places to get the best puzzles. This list is, by no means, complete.  If you have other suggestions PLEASE share them with us.

Best Places to purchase Jigsaw puzzles:

- Amazon   -   biggest selection

- Dawdle  and Mondo   -   great selections

- Jiggy   -   most beautiful artwork

- Puzzle Masters   -   unique object puzzles

- ebay   -   rare vintage puzzles

- Walmart   -   kids’ puzzles

Free puzzles online:

www.dictionary.com   -   daily crossword puzzles

www.boatloadpuzzles.com    -   free online  crosswords

www.washingtonpost.com  and www.games@washingtonpost.com

www.games@aarp.com   -   daily crosswords

www.thewordsearch.com   -   free word searches

www.razzlepuzzzles.com   -   you select the difficulty 

www.247wordsearch.com   -   good selection 

www.arkadium.com   -   a variety of free word games



by Roberta Rosenberg

Are you or someone you know on the Autism Spectrum and preparing for a flight?  If there are communication, social interaction and/or sensory sensitivities you can watch and learn what to expect during airport security screening by viewing a short video on the www.tsa.gov website.

TSA Cares is a helpline that has been created “to provide travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.” (TSA website) 

Take note that this is only available for help through the screening checkpoint. If you need in-flight assistance, or wheelchair assistance from curb to flight you need to contact your airline.

The TSA Cares helpline ( 855 - 787 - 2227) is available on weekdays from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm ET and weekends from 9:00 am to 8:00pm. You can also all the federal relay at 711. If your flight is within 72 hours you must call. If you are getting in touch earlier than that, you can go online to fill out the required form for assistance. 

At some airports across the country there is a program called “Wings For All,” for children with special needs. I would describe it as a flying rehearsal, The child (and family) get to go to the airport to see what it is all about. You can find out more about it online as well. As far as I can tell, in the New York Metro Area,  it is only available at JFK and Newark airports.

We at Destination Accessible always advise you to “look at a venue’s website,” to get more information. We ask you to do this for more  information and to see the video. 

We hope that this has been helpful.

Enjoy your flight!

by Roberta Rosenberg

I recently found out about “TSA Cares, a helpline from the Transportation Security Administration, that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.” (TSA website)  The website states that “this is only available for help through the screening checkpoint. If you need in flight assistance or wheelchair assistance from curb to flight, you need to contact your airline.”

Although I have not called myself, I have spoken to several people who have utilized it. They feel that it is very worthwhile and each spoke of the positive experiences they had.

This program seems to offer more help to passengers than just having a wheelchair brought to them. Here are some examples of assistance that are listed on the website: 

- difficulty standing or waiting in line; 

- difficulty following instructions; 

- mobility limitations, including lifting your arms; 

- internal/external body devices; 

- transporting medically necessary liquids, gases, etc. over 3.4 ozs; 

- religious or cultural items;

- concerns regarding screening for transgender or gender diverse individuals.  

You can check the website for more examples (www.tsa.gov)  and call for clarification of your personal needs and to request assistance. (855) 787-2227. The website states that you should call if your flght is within 72 hours. If it is before that you can either call or click the link on the TSA website to fill out the required form.

We at Destination Accessible, believe that one should always check a website to “know before you go.” We believe you should take the time to look at "www.tsa.gov>travel>passengersupport"  to find out more about it before giving them a call. 

Whatever your destination we wish you a good flight!

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