A Day in The Life With a Wheelchair - a first-person perspective - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

A Day in The Life With a Wheelchair - a first-person perspective

Posted: Updated:

Getting around in the physical world is something many of us may take for granted.  Stairs, thresholds, obstructions, sidewalk gratings, narrow passages - are all barriers we walk over, through, around, all throughout the day. For those who do have some physical difficulties, however - a curb or a few stairs can be large barriers.

Physical features that people without physical disabilities take for granted can present serious problems for people with different abilities, mostly because their needs haven't been considered in designing those features.

I had the opportunity to work with the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities, and as part of the Americans with Disabilities Awareness Month - I took a few hours out of the day for a Day in The Life With a Wheelchair. I will say this was no easy feat for me. Without the help of my trusty cameraman "Joe Sir" Termulo, I don't think I would have been able to get around as easily.

According to DISID Director, Ben Servino there are between 12,000 to 13,000 people with disabilities that have been identified on Guam. But Servino says he feels there may be more who either don't want to report or have more hidden disabilities. Today was surely an experience I was grateful to participate in, it gave me perspective and insight on what those with physical impairments experience.

While I did have a wheelchair, I did not have accessible parking - understandably so ... as this was simulated. So at the legislature, we parked elsewhere. It was quite tiring..actually pretty hard.

The Guam Congress Building did have ADA compliant parking and ramps - but I did struggle with trying to get the doors open. According to Servino, automatic doors are not required for ADA compliance.

Going to the restroom, reaching for things high up, and getting around are all things we can do on a daily basis - and after today I have a new perspective on things. I've spent years dancing hula - so today's experience come with insights I will never take for granted or for forget.

Disabilities can be visible or invisible, physical or otherwise. Most can result either from hereditary conditions or pre-birth developmental issues, from injury, from disease, from or from chemical imbalances.

Ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities means more than building ramps and accessible restrooms. It calls for a change in basic attitudes and understanding that individuals with disabilities are individuals who are not defined by their disabilities.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Men face deportation after governor commutes their sentences

    Men face deportation after governor commutes their sentences

    Two men are facing deportation after their sentences were commuted by Guam's chief executive.  They are the latest to be named under Governor Eddie Calvo's Initiative to remove non-citizen criminals from the island.

    More >>

    Two men are facing deportation after their sentences were commuted by Guam's chief executive.  They are the latest to be named under Governor Eddie Calvo's Initiative to remove non-citizen criminals from the island.

    More >>
  • Pacific Judicial Workshop discusses youth victims

    Pacific Judicial Workshop discusses youth victims

    They're the most vulnerable of victims. Child crimes, specifically criminal sexual conduct, were up for discussion in Day 3 of the Pacific Judicial Workshop on Friday. Scientist and attorney Dr. Christopher Barden stressing the importance of handling child victims with extra care. "Children have to be interviewed properly," he said. "If they're interviewed properly, they can be excellent witnesses - if they're interviewed improperly, they can be manipulated by the syst...More >>
    They're the most vulnerable of victims. Child crimes, specifically criminal sexual conduct, were up for discussion in Day 3 of the Pacific Judicial Workshop on Friday. Scientist and attorney Dr. Christopher Barden stressing the importance of handling child victims with extra care. "Children have to be interviewed properly," he said. "If they're interviewed properly, they can be excellent witnesses - if they're interviewed improperly, they can be manipulated by the syst...More >>
  • Senators given timeline to agree to Fernandez/GEB settlement

    Senators given timeline to agree to Fernandez/GEB settlement

    The legislature has 45 days to agree to the terms of settlement for the case between Superintendent Jon Fernandez and the Guam Education Board. You may recall, it was back in November 2016 that Superintendent Fernandez sued members of the Guam Education Board in their individual capacities...arguing that his removal from his position as Superintendent caused him economic harm in loss of income, emotional harm, mental anguish, professional embarrassment, and public humiliation.... Th...More >>
    The legislature has 45 days to agree to the terms of settlement for the case between Superintendent Jon Fernandez and the Guam Education Board. You may recall, it was back in November 2016 that Superintendent Fernandez sued members of the Guam Education Board in their individual capacities...arguing that his removal from his position as Superintendent caused him economic harm in loss of income, emotional harm, mental anguish, professional embarrassment, and public humiliation.... Th...More >>
Powered by Frankly