Safety and Efficiency: Tools and Resources for Disabled Parents

Safety and Efficiency: Tools and Resources for Disabled Parents

I was contacted by Ashley Taylor of and she asked if she could write an article for my Blog. It didn’t take me more than a moment to be both honored and humbled by her request and interest in Basket Express.

Her story is one of strength and courage. This is the request that she sent to me.

My husband and I both have disabilities. We’ve always wanted children, and knew that because of our disabilities becoming parents and parenthood, in general, would require extra planning and prep. From the get-go we started saving for IVF treatments and making modifications to our home that would make us and our future children safer. Along the way, we’ve picked up a lot of great resources on planning and preparing for parenthood as parents with disabilities and we’ve learned some valuable lessons, too.
Can I write an article for your website with advice for people with disabilities on how they can prepare their lives and their homes for parenthood? Today, my husband and I have two amazing kids, and I thought this might be a good way to show my gratitude to the universe for all the ways we’ve been blessed.
Imagine how I felt when I read this story, and the shivers that went up my spine when she sent me this information, which I gladly share with you today.

The days when disabled people were considered unfit to be parents are behind us thanks to the efforts of organizations like Through the Looking Glass, a resource that provides training and services for the disabled. Their advocacy, and that of others, has made it easier for the disabled to find products that help them care for their children effectively and efficiently. Many have been forced to use their creativity and ingenuity, devising new, more convenient ways to breastfeed, change diapers, and bathe their children. Performing these tasks is a lot easier with tools that can help save time and allow parents to multitask, an important capability for any parent. Fortunately, there are many products with designs and features that can make it easier to care for your child, both independently and safely. (Also remember that any modifications you make to your home, such as an entrance wheelchair ramp or widened doorways, may be a great help to subsequent owners.)

Wheelchair ramps can be works of art! Check out these pictures of home that have used their ramps to accent their flowers!


Accessible sleep space

This has long been a major hurdle for disabled parents. The traditional baby crib configuration is incompatible for most disabled parents, especially those who are in a wheelchair and can’t reach into the sleeping space. The Cocoonababy is a soft, cushioned platform with no sides or attachments. Your baby is safely secured with an adjustable strap that can be removed quickly for diaper changes. The Cocoonababy is light and easy to carry as you move around the house. For parents who prefer the conventional design, a side-opening crib allows parents to reach directly inside.

(I don’t know about you, but I had no idea this existed, let alone how important it would be for parents with disabilities.  The baby looks so comfy, and I can understand how easy it would be to use this great bed! )

Breastfeed with ease

Finding a comfortable breastfeeding position is a subjective thing for moms. Some prefer to breastfeed while lying in bed without having to move their child around. An adaptive cot with one open side can be wheeled up to the side of your bed, allowing you to lie on your side while feeding and keep your baby safely next to you while you sleep. It’s an ideal multitasking product – you can breastfeed, burp and put your baby to sleep all without having to change location. If you prefer a more mobile solution, the Breastfeeding Sling lets you feed your child anywhere. Its padded shoulder strap allows you to feed for as long as you need without getting tired.

(Don’t forget the privacy involved with breastfeeding, not only for the baby but for the mom as well.  As an able-bodied mom, I remember the issues I had breastfeeding Lauren. I imagine these are magnified 10-fold for a disabled mom.)
Convenient potty training

Potty training time can be a real challenge for disabled parents. If your mobility is limited, it’s difficult to be as encouraging and physically supportive as you’d like. Many training aids are heavy and difficult to move or lift with ease. The Disney Baby Winnie the Pooh Training Seat is lightweight and clips easily and securely to the top of your toilet seat. It’s also an excellent option if you need to move it between bathrooms.

(Oh, my, the joys of potty training! Just when you think it’s mastered, the “fun” can start all over again!  I guess the best part is this takes a short period of time and then it’s forever!)

Bath time

This is one of the most challenging tasks that disabled parents face. The inflatable Bambino Duck Bath is a light and convenient alternative for parents with limited reach. It can be placed on a low table to take the strain off your back when lifting or stretching. The soft sides can be pushed down easily for improved access.

(It was difficult enough for me, at 5’2″, to bathe Lauren in the sink or tub.  Somehow we manage. Imagine having to “manage” on a daily basis when you are disabled. It’s a good thing these kids are so resilient!)


In-vitro fertilization is a proven successful alternative for couples having trouble conceiving, but it can be a pricey proposition, with couples paying an average of $19,000. You can defray some of the cost by using your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Plan. Shared risk or IVF refund programs can also help you prepare for the financial burden. As expensive as it can be, IVF has been changing lives for the better for decades. According to Qunomedical, “The success and availability of in-vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.”

Ergonomic efficiency

Thinking in terms of your physical challenges can help you identify tools that will make it easier to provide care. There are products and resources that make bathing, feeding and dressing your little one much easier. Remember that the best products are those that provide ergonomic efficiency.



As important as your daily activities and amenities are to your parenting abilities, the way you care for yourself also plays a part. A warm bath each evening, a chapter of a good book while your baby naps, or a moment of quiet with a warm cup of coffee in the mornings can all enhance your mental health. And there are plenty of ways your friends and family can encourage you to focus on self-care. A gift basket with your favorite things, a bouquet of fragrant flowers to brighten up the room, or even just a friendly phone conversation and well wishes are all great gift ideas for new moms. With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s never too early to drop a few hints…

Daisies and butterflies  Top 'em Off with Fruit and Flowers  

Thinking in terms of your physical challenges can help you identify tools that will make it easier to provide care. There are products and resources that make bathing, feeding, and dressing your little one much easier. Remember that the best products are those that provide ergonomic efficiency and make life a little more comfortable for your entire family.

No matter the road you took to become a parent, it was and will continue to be an exciting journey. As a disabled parent you will face obstacles and have to make some modifications to your home and life, but at the end of the day you are a parent just like everyone else. Welcome to the ride!

Courtesy of


Phoenix City Light Rail Party

Phoenix City Light Rail Party

The City of Phoenix held their “half way” completion party for the Phoenix City Light Rail Party Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

Your first question, of course, is why through a party so early in the morning? That’s an easy one… at 7 a.m. it’s reasonably warm (as opposed to unbearably hot) in the desert southwest! So when the City of Phoenix decides to throw a Light Rail party in the middle of the summer, they do it at 7 a.m.

Your next question is: what was the purpose of the party? The City of Phoenix is working on a 3-1/2 mile extension to the Light Rail, and Saturday marked the half way point in construction.

This construction, which is through an older part of town, is hindered by lack of locational maps of things like gas lines, electric lines, water lines, sewer pipes and phone lines. That means, even though there is no doubt that the lines and pipes are there somewhere, they have no idea where they are! So they’re tearing up 3-1/2 miles of street, replacing all of the old lines and pipes, replacing the asphalt, ripping up an additional 3-4 lanes for additional traffic, and then putting down the electricity and the track. Whew! It’s a lot of work!

What did they do at the party this morning? They completed laying the first a piece of track!

The fun part was, it wasn’t the workers doing the labor, but the “desk guys” …the engineers and planners (the guys who know absolutely nothing about concrete!!)

<img src="image.gif" alt="Light Rail Party" />

This is a picture of the men pouring the concrete on the last piece of rail. We drove by yesterday and saw that the rail itself had already been installed, but today they finished the project by topping it off with concrete. I would have loved to have put my initial in that concrete!

The construction crew has a mascot. She helps them with their daily projects. Here’s a picture of the Light Rail mascot. Can you see her sitting on the ice chest? She has a hard hat and a big grin!

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is the Light Rail Mascot" />

We have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people who work on the Light Rail project. Many of them come into our flower shop. They tell us updates, give us maps, help us with road closures, and generally offer any assistance they can to the 300+ businesses affected by the construction of the Light Rail.

Here are a couple pictures of people we know from the Light Rail Project.

First is Jorge, the Business Assistance Coordinator for the Light Rail. I would say Jorge is the all around go to guy when there’s anything going on with the Light Rail. He answers all of our questions, bring us flyers and calendars, sends out emails, and generally helps facilitate anything he can between the businesses and the project. Jorge always has a smile on his face and a keen ear for listening to everything that is happening on the project.

The other gentleman is Rich, the man in charge of all of the city street closures for the entire City of Phoenix. The Light Rail construction is one of his many projects, and this one changes from day to day. Imagine having to know where the workers will be on any given day, and then arranging for traffic to flow in all directions and still guarantee the safety of the workers. That’s his job.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Jo" />  <img src="image.gif" alt="This is Rich" />

I took this picture of Pamela and she took the picture of me.

Behind us you can see palm trees (they look like balloons!) and the track.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Pamela at the light rail party" />  <img src="image.gif" alt="Tina at the Light Rail Party" />


Our friend Gail, who lives a few houses from the light rail construction, brought Clark to the party this morning. Clark is a 150 pound Great Dane, one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met. Gail, Clark, Abbie and I go to the doggie park together, so I know what type of dog Clark is. Among his talent is being a therapy dog at John C Lincoln Hospital. You can see him on the very right on the picture of me, and here’s a great picture of Gail and Clark taken just a few days ago at a summer school class.

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Clark" />

What was missing at this party? They had cookies. They had hand-outs. They had tents and chairs and music.

Oh, yes…

Did I mention the Mayor?

Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, AZ, had quite a conversation with me while Pamela snapped pictures!

<img src="image.gif" alt="Tina talks to the Mayor" /> <img src="image.gif" alt="Tina and the Mayor" />

You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Basket Express and Roadrunner Florist. Our beautiful, local Phoenix Flower and Gift Shop is located just 2 blocks off the Light Rail line. That means when construction is complete people will be able to get off the Light Rail and walk to Roadrunner Florist & Basket Express!

We invite you to call, click or come by!

<img src="image.gif" alt="Summer Flowers" />  <img src="image.gif" alt="Springy flowers" />  <img src="image.gif" alt="Mix Spring Flowers" />  <img src="image.gif" alt="Spring Basket" />


People Visit Roadrunner Florist Basket Express

We love when people visit Roadrunner Florist Basket Express!

Roadrunner Florist & Basket Express, the place to come for fresh flowers & gift baskets in Phoenix, AZ

Meet David

<img src="image.gif" alt="This is David Sandoval" />

David came into our shop to buy 2 dozen beautiful roses for his wife. Here he, carrying them out of the shop! He looks like one happy guy!

Meet Omar

<img src="image.gif" alt="Omar with Candle" />


Omar’s story is very interesting. I was at the shop one Sunday designing flowers for a funeral. The door was locked but the lights were on. Omar and his family came to the door and he was carrying the largest candle I had ever seen! They had pictures to show me, and although none of them spoke English, I managed to figure out that they wanted flowers to surround this candle for a baptism. We agreed on red and white roses, lots and lots of baby’s breath, and an hour of my time.

When Omar picked up the candle he was one happy uncle!

Prom season is over in Phoenix! These 2 ladies loved the corsages we designed for them.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Prom girls" />

We love it when other florists drop by! This one is from Beaverton Florist in Oregon.

<img src="image.gif" alt="Another florist" />



Meet Norman and Robbie

.<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Norman and Robbie" />

They came into our shop after enjoying a lunch at the restaurant next door. He purchased one rose, which Pamela wrapped with greens and baby’s breath, and I handed it to him. He then handed it to her! That was one of the nicest gestures I’ve seen in a long time!

This is Marthanna

.<img src="image.gif" alt="This is Marthanna" />

For their wedding anniversary, her husband ordered these beautiful pink roses. He was kind enough to send us this picture of Marthanna standing in front of them at her home.

Meet Cheryl

cheryl morris

Cheryl brought her family in to pick up her wedding flowers she had ordered from Roadrunner Florist. They loved them!


YOU can join the gallery of People Visit Roadrunner Florist Basket Express!

Simply come into the shop, introduce yourself and let us take your picture with your beautiful flowers or gift basket!