Why I Celebrate Assistive Devices

Mobility aids and assistive devices infinitely improve the lives of disabled and chronically people but unfortunately many don’t see it that way.  When people see someone using an assistive device there is so much negativity around them and people often assume around lives are horrible because of our devices but it’s because of them that make our lives so great!  It’s not having to use them that makes a disabled person’s life so horrible and depressing but the shame from society when they see a disabled person using an assistive device to make their life easier and better. Assistive devices have changed my life and without them, I would not be as independent as I am today but would probably be completely dependent on someone else so I celebrate that have some great assistive devices that work for me.  You shouldn’t feel sorry that I have to use assistive devices but celebrate that I can! My assistive devices have done so much for me and not all disabled people have as much as I do and some can’t even afford to get a wheelchair that they need to get around. I am grateful I have never had the problem and here are some things my assistive of helped me with.

It allows to leave my home!-  Without my crutches and wheelchair, I would not be completely bedbound and unable to leave my home. My crutches have given the ability to walk and my wheelchair has made it so I can travel long distances without getting fatigued. If it weren’t for my crutches and wheelchair I couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning without the help of my caregiver or even leave my house without needing to be carried. My crutches and wheelchair have given me the freedom to leave my house and without them, I would be stuck inside all the time so don’t look at it as a negative but praise my assistive devices because it has given me the opportunity to leave my home and have new experiences.

It has given me the ability to travel- Airplanes are not accessible for all disabilities and some disabled people have to ride first class because that is the only accessible space that they can get to since the aisle are too and it’s too difficult for many people to walk down aisles or do a transfer. Luckily my disability does not limit that and because of my crutches and wheelchair, I am able to walk down aisles on airplanes (even if I have to walk to the back of the plane) and can travel because of my wheelchair. If it wasn’t for my crutches and wheelchair I couldn’t travel because I wouldn’t be able to walk down aisles and even if I rented a wheelchair I can’t afford first-class tickets. My wheelchair has allowed me to travel because when I visit family we are always on the move and visiting new places but without my wheelchair, I couldn’t do that and we would either have to rent one everywhere we went or someone would have to carry me. Renting a wheelchair can be expensive and not always available!

It gave me the ability to go to the bathroom independently-  Many people might not think of a catheter as an assistive device but in a way, it kind of is because without one I could not empty my bladder since those muscles do not work properly.  I don’t need help anymore like I needed when I was younger and can do it all independently and it’s all thanks to my supplies because if I couldn’t get what I need then it wouldn’t be possible to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes it can be kind of annoying to need equipment every time I go to the bathroom especially when I am out and always have to remember to grab what I need before I go but I have gotten used to it by now so I have a pretty good system for when I leave and don’t forget important medical supplies that often. You shouldn’t be sad that I have to use a catheter but be happy I have the equipment I can use to stay as healthy as possible. I don’t know what my life would like without it so as much of a pain it sometimes is I am grateful that I don’t have to have those kinds of worries.

Allows me to walk up to my sister’s apartment- My sister has a lovely apartment but unfortunately, to get to it you have to climb a small flight of stairs. It is not a problem for me now because my crutches make it easy and often expect there to be more stairs then there are and start to go up an extra flight of stairs because I am not there all that much so I sometimes forget what apartment she’s in but a little extra exercise never hurt anyone! If it wasn’t for my assistive devices like my crutches and wheelchair I couldn’t leave my home let alone visit my sister because I wouldn’t be able to climb a flight of stairs like I can now unassisted and someone would have to carry me up them. It’s one thing to pick up a grown woman to do a transfer it’s a whole different experience to carry them up a flight of stairs.

Allows to hang out with my friends- If it weren’t for my wheelchair Karly and I couldn’t hang out or may not even know each other. Karly and I have so many good memories and I can’t even imagine not knowing my best friend!  I probably would have had to be homeschooled if I didn’t have access to a wheelchair or crutches because I wouldn’t be able to walk to my classes carrying my books like most people can. My wheelchair has allowed me to go to school and meet my best friend let’s, Karly. My chair has allowed me to go to the mall with Karly since we both need our chair for accessibility I need because of long distances and Karly can’t walk at all.  When we go to the mall sometimes I need to help Karly get some things off shelves when they are too heavy for her to lift since her disability makes that difficult but if I didn’t have a wheelchair I couldn’t help her because with my crutches it would be just as difficult for me to pick up stuff as it was for her. Shopping wouldn’t be a possibility for us without our assistive devices because neither of us could leave our homes!

It helps me stay active- Not all disabled people can workout but luckily I am able to because my assistive devices have allowed me to build my strength so it is not as difficult for me to find a fitness routine like it may be for many disabled people who have more limitations. I still have limitations but my assistive devices have allowed me to stay active and because of them I can function the way I do I and have found my love for Pilates which would have never been possible without my crutches because I wouldn’t even be able to do the fundamentals of Pilates if my functionality was any less. then it is now. You move your legs a lot in Pilates and if I hadn’t been building my strength learning to walk with crutches there is a strong chance I would be a full-time wheelchair user and unable to use to move my legs very well if at all which would be nothing you could train.  When you have Spina Bifida you either have the ability to learn to walk or you don’t and teaching it as early as possible will be your best option because at some point that door will close and you’ll miss out on that opportunity.

Assistive devices are something that many people pity disabled people over because they see them as this horrible thing that is taking over our life. Assistive devices are what gives us life so we can live as normally we possibly can. When I got my first wheelchair and my first pair of crutches I was so excited because I had the freedom and accessibility and I never had before. You may see it as ugly bulky equipment we have to lug around but disabled people don’t see it that way and we see it as freedom and it’s not having this equipment that would be restricting.  Feel proud of what your assistive devices have allowed you to do and if someone is trying to make you feel shameful for using them just know they are wrong and if it came down to not being able to leave your house your friends might want to use them too. Assistive devices give you the freedom and accessibility to do more things with your friends but because we live in an unaccepting society where people can’t see how mobility aids are something to celebrate there will be times when you will be shamed for using them. It’s so important you know what’s good for yourself and don’t let the opinions of others get to you because assistive devices can and will change your life if you allow yourself to use them.  Encourage others to use assistive devices instead of shaming them by saying there is a better way because sometimes we are doing the best we can! Do you use assistive devices? How have they changed your life?

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