Some See This Artist's Wheelchair as a Limitation. She Sees It as an Adventure.


British artist Sue Austin began using her wheelchair more than 16 years ago due to an extended illness. When she got her “new toy,” she found freedom — finally, she could go outside on the streets again, “whiz around,” and feel the wind in her face. Despite this freedom, she noticed people’s perception of her had changed. She heard words like “limitation,” “fear,” “pity” and “restriction.” Austin had a choice: accept these assumptions or change the way people saw her.

In her TEDxWomen talk below, Austin talks about how she remade her identity and transformed others’ perceptions — by scuba diving… in an underwater wheelchair. Today, Austin devotes herself to helping people see excitement and joy in her life instead of limitation and fear.

“They’re seeing the value of difference,” Austin says in her talk, “the joy it brings when instead of focusing on loss or limitation we see and discover the power and joy of seeing the world from exciting new perspectives.”

Watch Austin’s full TED Talk below:

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