ThisAbles, Ikea project for a home for everyone

Have you ever thought that, for who lives with a given disability, even his own home can turn into a hostile place, full of hidden dangers? Sometimes, little tricks could be enough to make furniture or rooms fully usable also by those who have physical limitations. This is the starting point of ThisAbles, the project developed by Ikea Israel and by the non-profit organization Milbat that enables who has a disability to pick, through the website dedicated to the initiative,  adjustmensts for commonly used furniture (obviously, made by Ikea) such as chairs, beds, couches that make it easier to use them also for those who have special needs.

Some products can also be printed in 3D directly from the website users, simply downloading the appropriate file from the website. ThisAbles currently includes 13 hacks for various home rooms: the living room, the study, the bedroom and the bathroom. Special handles that help opening and closing the closets, switches that are easier to reach, supports for canes and extensions for the couches legs, for instance.

Cane by me - a bed support for cane

Cane by me, a bed support for cane

But there’s much more that can be done! In fact, the website invites its users to  collaborate to expand the upgrades catalogue, sending ideas and proposals adapted to single needs, in addition to signal what objects, among those already included in the catalogue, are more suitable for helping people with disabilities in their everyday activities.

Couch lift

Couch lift

The ThisAbles project is perfectly aligned with the Swedish company’s vision: “create a better everyday life for as many people as possible”. We hope it can be soon extended to the other countries Ikea operates in and, hopefully, other brands follow its example. Since, as we always say, a more accessible world is an advantage for everyone, not only for those with “special needs”.

Parking permit for disabled people: what is and how to get it

Moving  everyday by car is convenient, for sure, mostly if you have a mobility issue. But what about parking? Nowadays, parking lots reserved to disabled people can be found almost everywhere, and they’re usually (there are always exceptions…) placed in barrier-free areas so that the disabled people (or their caregivers) can safely get in and out the car. But how can you benefit from it and assert your right, despite so many “wise (or absent-minded) guys”, who don’t notice the specific symbol identifying the reserved area? The answer is the parking permit for disabled people, that, as stated by the “Traffic Laws”, if put on the windscreen of the disabled person’s car, allows to use the reserved parking areas.

car with parking permit for disabled people

who can request it?

The parking permit for disabled people can be requested by:

  • People with permanent disability, certified as <<disabled person with a sensibly reduced ambulatory capacity>>
  • Visually impaired people
  • People with temporary disability, that is people whose ambulatory capacity is reduced just for a limited time, until they recover. In this case, the permit length will be limited to the timeframe specified on the medical certificate detailing the length of the invalidity.

In order to request the parking permit, you don’t need to own a car nor a driving license: the disabled person can request and use it on every car used for his mobility, remembering to show it when he is on that vehicle. On the contrary, showing the parking permit when the disabled person isn’t onboard implicates a fine. In any case, you must remember that the parking permit doesn’t allow to stop in all the “no parking” areas.

how to request the parking permit for disabled people?

The parking permit for disabled people must be requested through the appropriate form to the City you live in, showing – if you already have it- the documents certifying your disability. If your disability hasn’t been certified already or in the event of temporary disability, before presenting the request, you need a medical committee to certify the motoric or visual problems of the applicant person. The parking permit for disabled people is, usually, free of charge: you must pay a small amount only for temporary permits.

how long does it last and how to renew it?

Normally, the parking permit for disabled people lasts for 5 years. In the event of temporary disability, its length is limited to the period of disability and, in any case, cannot exceed 5 years.

In order to renew it, three months before the existing permit expires, you must request for the renewal, demonstrating that you still have right to it through specific documents.

European parking permit for disabled people

the european parking permit for disabled people

Until September 15th 2012, the parking permit for disabled people was orange. Since that date, on the contrary, the new European permit entered into force: the procedures to request it and its duration remain the same. In addition, you can use the permit not only in Italy, but in the whole EU, in order to allow citizens with disabilities to move freely inside the EU boundaries. Moreover, many countries have specific facilitations for disabled people, that can be enjoyed by tourists too, showing this permit.

For more info about the procedures to request the permit, please refer to your municipality.


I wanna drive!

The car (and the possibility to drive it) is among the “stronger” symbols of autonomy and freedom of movement. But is it possible to drive even with a physical disability? The answer is yes, with the appropriate adaptions. Are you thinking about KITT, the “supercar” of the well-known 80s’ TV series? No, there’s no need to go that far!

Waiting for the sale of self-driving cars (hopefully, improved under a safety perspective…), if you want to drive, you still need a driving licence, that, in case of disability, is “special”. How to get it?


  1. First, you need to undergo an examination at the Local Medical Commission, in order to verify you are eligible to drive. Together with the doctors, the Commission includes DVLA engineers and, if needed, other technicians. During the examination, you can also be assisted by a trusted doctor and, of course, you must show the documents about your disability.
  2. If the Commission has expressed a positive opinion and released the eligibility certificate (where are listed also the adaptations your car needs, to be able to drive it), you’ll have 90 days to get the learner’s permit. On the contrary, in case of negative opinion or if you don’t think the advised adaptations are needed, you have a month to file an appeal.
  3. Once you have obtained the eligibility certificate and the learner’s permit, you can get ready for the driving test using a properly adapted car (or a driving simulator). During the test, the DVLA engineer can confirm the advised adaptations (e.g. automatic drive, manual break and accelerator, etc.) or suggesting other.
  4. On your driving license, you’ll find the European codes corresponding to the definite adaptations and your handicap.


The “special driving license”, usually, lasts for 5 years (it can be renewed more frequently, depending on the conditions of the driver), presenting (better in advance) to the Province Medical Commission a medical certificate, on the appropriate form, and a copy of the existing license, booking an appointment for the eligibility examination.

Let’s pass to the economic side of the story. Disabled people (or the relatives they are fiscally dependants of) can buy their cars benefiting from specific fiscal facilitations:

  1. 19% Irpef deduction on the cost of the car
  2. favoured VAT rate at 4% (instead of the ordinary one) for the car and its optional accessories (if any)
  3. exemption from paying the car tax and the transition tax on transfers of property

You can benefit from all of these facilitations for one car at a time and, in particular, you can benefit from the favoured VAT rate only to buy a car every 4 years (provided that the previous car has been demolished and, hence, cancelled from the public automobile register.

Is everything clear? Enjoy your driving!

Taking a plane? Mission: possible!

We’ve already talked about the services enabling everybody to travel without concerns by train. What if we’d choose a more distant destination, reachable by plane?

No problem with that too! Whether you travel alone or with someone else (if he/she is an healthy adult, he/she could also be your companion), in Italy ora abroad, now every airline offer the assistance services for disabled and/or elderly people, families with children, children travelling alone, etc. Here we’ll just talk about the so-called “special assistance”, the service addressed to disabled (both physical or sensory, temporary – for instance, due to an accident or a surgery- or permanent) and elderly people.

How to request for it? Procedures vary depending on the airline: by phone, on their website using the available chat service after having booked the flight, flagging the appropriate box during the booking process, etc. Anyway, the service is always 100% free. Then, why don’t we benefit from it?

There are a lot of airlines, so I’ll avoid “hidden advertising”: you can find all the info directly on the website of the airline you’ll choose to fly with.

In this post, I’ll simply give you advices to request the service, thanks to about 4 years of direct experience, since I’m a frequent flyer, both for business or leisure reasons.


  1. Think about it in advance! In case of emergency- and if the flight you want to take isn’t full- the assistance service can be requested even during the check-in, but all the airlines suggest requesting it at least 48 hours before the departure, following the procedures specified on their websites. Furthermore, if you have recently had a surgery or suffer from a disease that could be not totally compatible with flying, make sure to bring with you, at the airport, the MEDIF (Healthcare Information Form for Flights), which must be filled by your general practitioner not earlier than 7 days before the flight. In this document, the doctor, specifying the disease the traveller suffers from and expressing a positive or negative opinion about the opportunity to fly, relieves the flight staff and the airline from any responsibility, should there be issues depending on the disease itself during the flight. Then, if you’re planning your summer holidays, get organized in advance!
  2. The day of the departure, arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before the take off time: this way, the staff will be able to guarantee the assistance you’ve requested, both inside the airport and on the airplane (if needed).
  3. Are you changing your reservation, maybe because you decided to stay for a longer time in the place you’re visiting or, due to any other reason, you need to leave back in advance? Remember to contact the assistance service, to make sure they’re aware of the change and avoid unpleasant surprises…
  4. Do you use a wheelchair, crutches or other aids and/or device (e.g. oxygen)? Communicate it while requesting the assistance, so that the staff is ready to fully assist you.
  5. Do you need a guide dog or any other animal acting as an emotional support? Relax: it will have the chance to travel with you on board (you won’t need to buy an additional ticket for it and there won’t be weight limits), provided that you’ve communicated it to the airline in advance (should the animal be an emotional support, you’ll need to get a certificate from the specialised doctor explaining why you need it) and you make sure the animal won’t bother the other passengers or the staff during the flight.
  6. Will you need to take medicines during the flight? Even in this case, you’ll have the opportunity to take with you the amount you’ll need during the journey, presenting at the safety checks a medical certificate released not earlier than 30 days before the departure, clearly specifying their amounts and consumption ways. Should you need needles (which are normally forbidden on board), you’ll have to communicate it to the staff before taking off.

Remember that, based on your needs and the airplane model, airlines have limits to the number of “special assistance” passengers admitted on a single flight: it’s not because they’re evil or insensitive, since it’s just a way to provide the passengers with a service level suitable for their own needs. On the airplane, usually there are seats reserved to these passengers (who, for safety reasons, cannot seat, for instance, near the fire exits), whose amount varies depending on the airplane size. Then, here you have another – very good- reason not to wait ‘til the last minute!

Do you need more info? Refer to the ENAC website or to the airline you’re flying with!