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Agent Newsletter – February 2011

February 2011



As baby boomers are now in or reaching their mature years, a record number of people are driving around in mobility scooters, whether it be on vacation, in a supermarket, at a convention, etc. While those driving scooters deserve the respect of others in order to smoothly operate their equipment, driving a scooter is a two-way street. If scooter drivers are conscious and courteous of those around them, they make it safer and more pleasurable for pedestrians and others.
Surprisingly, even with the large number of individuals using scooters today, there isn’t much guidance about how to courteously operate the equipment. Here are a few tips and etiquette suggestions from Special Needs Group for scooter drivers to ensure that their trips are safe and enjoyable for themselves and those around them: 
  • Operate your mobility scooter or power chair in a careful and considerate manner.
  • Use a footpath or sidewalk when one is accessible. In most jurisdictions, you are considered a pedestrian and should avoid driving on the road.
  • Move off a shared path if you have stopped so others can pass.


In October of 2010, Special Needs Group donated a new transport wheelchair to 12-year old, Rita de Santos of Ceara, Brazil. Rita, a child born with both physical and mental disabilities, and her mother, Tieta, live alone in the barrio community of Favela dos Cocos. Tieta works various odd jobs including cleaning houses and vending on the streets to provide her daughter and her with bare essentials. In order for Tieta to arrive at her jobs, to take Rita to the hospital or to visit neighbors, Tieta and her friends would physically have to carry Rita.

Tieta had requested assistance from local charities and radio stations for a wheelchair but her requests were met with no avail.  In the fall of 2010, Special Needs Group learned of the de Santos’ family’s plight from Grace Plebaniak. Grace had a home in the small community, knew the family and explained the situation to President and CEO of Special Needs Group, Andrew J. Garnett. "We heard about Rita’s predicament and wanted to help," explained Andrew. "Rita has an amazing fighting spirit and is truly inspirational. We were so happy we could help make their lives easier by donating a wheelchair." Read More        



Los Angeles is a world center of entertainment, culture, fashion, technology, business and education. Often referred to as the "Entertainment Capital of the World," Los Angeles provides much fun and entertainment to both residents and visitors. From shopping, beaches, amusement parks, museums, galleries, live music, fantastic culinary experiences and more – the question isn’t, ‘What should we do?’ But rather, ‘Where shall we begin?’

If you’re looking for a place to see stars – the celestial type, that is – travelers should visit the Griffith Park Observatory. The popular tourist attraction has an extensive array of space and science related displays. The Griffith Observatory includes the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which has a show that takes visitors on a cosmic journey of exploration and discovery; the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, a 200-seat theater; Public Telescopes; Exhibit Halls inside and outside the building; Gottlieb Transit Corridor, a 150-foot long passageway that immerses visitors in the motions of the Sun, Moon and stars. During the day, the views are phenomenal, both of the city and the Hollywood Sign; going at sunset, it is a sight to behold. Griffith Observatory provides extensive access for persons with disabilities. All levels of the building and grounds are accessible to all visitors. Each level has elevator access, and some are also accessible by ramp. The two theaters offer assistive listening devices upon request. And the regularly scheduled film in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon also has open captioning upon request. For additional accommodations for visitors with special needs, call 212.473.0800. Read More

Interesting Fact: The first person to personally receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was actress Joanne Woodward. She received it in 1960.

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Quote of the Month:
"Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience."
– Francis Bacon, philosopher & scientist 


This February marks Special Needs Group’s 4th Anniversary! Thank you to all of our agent friends for working with us. With your help, we have made travel accessible to thousands of men, women and children.  


In addition to the new online booking capability, our Travel Agent Portal now includes:
Web link generator – put a banner on your website to place equipment orders. Any orders linked from your website will earn commission as well! 
Cruise Ship Checklist – gather special needs information for your ship inspections
Traveler Questions – ask your clients questions pertaining to their special needs requirements
All can be found on Starboard.  


Travel Agents Earn Commission on Every Rental.

Toll Free: 1-800-513-4515 | International: 954-585-0575

2860 West State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

About Special Needs at Sea and Special Needs Group…

Special Needs Group, Inc. is a one-stop resource for special needs travel around the world. We offer a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase and rental including wheelchairs, scooters, power chairs with capabilities to support 500 pound or more; oxygen (liquid, cylinder, and concentrator); hearing impaired equipment, Braille printing, baby cribs and more. Recommended by the world’s major cruise lines and hotels for superior service and value, we also provide consultation services regarding special needs policy and new-build design. Special Needs Group, a U.S. company, is not a travel agency; we do not compete in any way with travel agents.



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