Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 6 Mobility

As a wheelchair user, I would wake up in a completely different home. I would not be able to access either of the bathrooms in my current, "classic," 1960's ranch. Using the standard manual wheelchair measurements in Beard, Carpenter, and Johnson's book, I'm an inch shy, not including my hands!  All three bedrooms are tiny, and there would be no way to maneuver a wheelchair into my galley kitchen and open a refrigerator door that fills the width of the room. I park in the single-bay garage. I could either make my garage wheelchair accessible, OR park my car in it. 

Once at school, it would be a struggle to get in the outward-swinging doors at both the entrance of my building and of my classroom/library. Since renovations in 2008, I have a circulation desk at comfortable sitting height. The book shelves are 36" tall, and though it would be cumbersome to shelve, I would be able to find and retrieve books. I would be able to access the Polyvision controls and turn on the computers. Helping individual students at a computer would be tricky. My storage rooms are difficult to navigate on foot, so I would have difficulty in a wheelchair. Some aspects of my job would be impossible (like delivering equipment carts) but I could manage most daily things. I could get OUT of any room... just not IN!

In order to make my building wheelchair accessible, I would need a handicap entrance at the main doors, the library door, and the faculty room. We already have elevator access to all levels of the building. I would also need to clear out the unused items in my storage rooms. There are many televisions on carts that predate the building renovations. I would not be able to reach the top two storage shelves, so frequently-accessed items will need to be arranged on the lower shelves. The remainder of items would be "self-serve." I would need to rearrange some furniture in my office and around the circulation desk, but most everything is manageable.

One of our teachers was in a "motorized cart" for the first half of the year. I watched him struggle at the doorways.

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