Thanks for seeing me, and not the disability!
Not all those who
wanderroll are lost. — J. R. R.Tolkien/Edited by Me
Imagine this: you’re 18, fresh out of high school going to your first college class for Graphic Design, oh yeah, and you’re in an electric wheelchair with an aid because campus isn’t completely accessible. You arrive on campus, the sun is shining and your rolling down the sidewalk to your first drawing class. You had to arrive 10 minutes early just in case an elevator or lift doesn’t work but you’re optimistic and can’t wait to learn more about your major.
You arrive at the building, go up the ramp through the door and take a hard right to avoid driving down the flight of stairs that are just inside the door, kinda sketchy but luckily you’re a good driver. You make it to the elevator go up to the second floor and find your drawing class, there are steps going into that class so you have to use a lift, no problem right? Unfortunately no, the lift that is supposed to take you up 7 or 8 steps is not working and maintenance has to come and diagnose the problem, good thing you arrived early, too bad the problem lasts for the next 30 minutes and now your professor has moved your drawing class outside where you cannot draw because there are no tables and you can’t sit on the grass like everyone else.
The lift is eventually partially fixed but that is far from the last time you will have problems with it because it was put in when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth. You thank the maintenance guys because they do the best they can and you know it is not their fault the lift isn’t working and it isn’t updated, you also apologize to your professor because the class shouldn’t have had to be moved and it wouldn’t have had to be moved if you weren’t there, but the lift not working isn’t your fault either, so whose fault is it?
I do have to give credit to the people that have helped me at college, all of my professors have been great and more than willing to accommodate my disability when necessary. The Disability Service Center has helped me a lot, from trying to get a new lift to even adding a button to rooms that I use often. If my professors and the Disability Service Center didn’t help me as much as they have I would not be as successful as I am now.
I am starting this blog because there are too many places on my campus, in my town, and in this world that are just downright not accessible. You might be a fellow wheelchair user or you might not be but my goal is for you to recognize how poor or great the accessibility is wherever you are. I want people that aren’t disabled to realize that they too could someday need the accessibility tools that are not available today and won’t be available if nothing gets done to have them implemented. If you think about it, I wouldn’t be disabled if it wasn’t for poor accessibility.