HOW I GET AROUND ON WHEELS
Getting about with a disability can be difficult. My Cerebral Palsy affects my mobility meaning I use a wheelchair and Kaye walker to assist with my movement.
1. WHAT DO I USE?
I use a wheelchair most of the time as it gives me a little bit more freedom. On a day out with friends, at work and at the gym I will use my wheelchair. I got this wheelchair from the NHS which is replaced every three years. Mine is due in 2021 and I am considering getting a gift voucher from the NHS to go towards purchasing a new lightweight slim wheelchair.
As mentioned I also use a Kaye Walker. This is a frame that goes behind me and I can use to lean on and push me forward. It has locked wheels at the back so I can lean on the frame without rolling backwards. This piece of equipment gives me so much freedom as I can walk around confidently and comfortably.
2. HOW I GET AROUND WITH MY EQUIPMENT?
I actually have a YouTube video about getting my equipment in and out of my car. It has been something I've had to develop the knack of but now I can get my equipment in and out really easily!
I can get my equipment in most cars with a little adjustment. So using taxis has never been a big issue. It helps to have someone with you who knows the best way to work your equipment so you can assist the driver. But being confident with how your equipment works and how you can adjust it will help you instruct and reassure the driver.
3. PET PEEVES WITH TRAVELLING
First is train staff. Majority of train staff are really helpful and will assist you in anyway they can. Weirdly I have found Birmingham train staff incredibly helpful and always really nice.
However, a lot of them act like you're an inconvenience. I hate it when they ask have you booked because no, I didn't know exactly what train I was getting on after a day out in London. I just went to the station like anyone else and got the next train home. Sometimes they make you getting on and off the train seem like a humongous task which makes you feel so small and irrelevant. All it takes is the guard on the train to put the ramp down. Literally.
Taxi drivers who either over help or panic about your equipment going in their car. This is why it's great to have someone with you. I often just spend a lot of time reassuring and repeating myself so the taxi driver feels at ease. Ironically. Most taxi drivers are nice and want to do everything to make you comfortable. But they don't quite know how to go about that. So it's easier to just sound confident and be assertive.
So getting around on wheels has a lot of challenges, but I've learnt what I can and can't do and adpat to my abilities.
As always don't let your wheelchair hold you back!