International Wheelchair Day is a celebration of the wheelchair. Wheelchairs give freedom to those who use them every day. The day is also a chance to consider taking positive action towards a more inclusive and accessible world.
This week, we heard from Marketing Assistant – Shannon, a valued member of the Ability Options Marketing team. For Shannon, using a wheelchair is a part of her daily life.
I first started using a wheelchair all the way back in the beginning of 2013, when I was 14 years old. It’s hard to believe that was over ten years ago now.
To me, while my wheelchair gives me freedom, it is truly an extension of my body, some may see wheelchair users and their chairs or mobility devices as two completely separate things, but that is not true in my opinion. It’s important to note that as wheelchair users, we have a very fine sense of both location and balance, it can even throw us off when someone touches or moves our chairs without permission. This is entering into our personal space, so please always ask for permission!
Some might think that by using a wheelchair, we are unable to drive a car, but we certainly can. Other wheelchair users may also have modified cars to assist them in driving. Personally, I’m capable of driving an automatic car, as my right leg is able to push the pedals Speaking of driving and accessibility – a key theme of International Wheelchair Day – I would personally like to see more action around accessible parking. 18% of Australians have disability, and 4.4% of people with disability in Australia use a wheelchair. I tend to find that some places have the bare legal minimum of parking spaces for people with disability.
In the end, we are like everyone else, and of course we would like to be treated just like everyone else. So, on International Wheelchair Day, let’s come together for those who use wheelchairs and those who have created them for us.
Ability Options’ mission is to support people who need assistance to achieve their aspirations and inclusion in the community.
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