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I Want Accessibility for My Daughter Who Uses a Wheelchair

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Recently, we attended an event that was amazing. The girls had a blast and enjoyed many fun activities.

Unfortunately, there was one part that was somewhat disappointing. As we walked through the event, we approached a table filled with props and a photo booth next to it. The girls were super excited — dress up, pictures, best day ever! As they were rummaging through the props, I asked the gentleman if there was a way to get Lenn’s chair in the photo booth. He said they could move the bench to swing the chair in there! This is perfect, I thought, Char can stand beside her and they will both have free range to pose and make whatever funny faces they choose! Then the look on his face changed, “But the camera sits too high for her in the chair.”

Imagine the disappointment for them when we couldn’t play dress up and have a photo shoot like they had hoped. We thanked the kind man as I fought back tears and moved on to something else.

I tell this story for one simple reason: accessibility.

I’ve grown accustomed to the stares, whispers and rude comments. But I will never be OK with Lenn not being able to do something simply because it’s not accessible with her chair. A handful of parking spots close to the entrance isn’t enough. A ramp, here or there, isn’t enough. Keeping my fingers crossed that somehow when we go on an adventure, Lenn will be able to participate in her chair, isn’t OK. Parents, siblings and friends, shouldn’t have to keep their fingers crossed that their loved one will be able to join in when they go places.

We live in a society where if it doesn’t directly affect you, it isn’t happening. So I challenge you to think: what you would do if this was your child? Would you fight to make changes? Because I will.

Originally published: March 28, 2018
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