A rollator is a walker with wheels. It is hard to describe the freedom I felt when I first used one.
Rather than walking (often staggering) slowly and always thinking about falling, I was able to actually look up and enjoy (or at least take in!) the world around me as I moved about.
I was no longer at the mercy of some unobservant person who might accidentally knock me down. This was both because I was more stable and because my “wheels” signaled to others to be more careful around me. And I can definitely understand why Heather M. Jones, the writer of the article below, described her first ride in a wheelchair as “like flying down Route 66…”
Lest this sounds too “pollyannaish,” let me assure you that above all, I wish I did not have multiple sclerosis and did not need this device. But since I do, this is one of the things that greatly enhances my quality of life.
And for others who think that something like this (or a cane, a wheelchair or a scooter) might make their lives more manageable, I definitely encourage you to at least give it a test drive!
We have recently been inundated with news stories about peacocks, turkeys and other assorted creatures, who are joining or attempting to join us on airline flights.
Not surpringly, this has occasionally resulted in conflicts between humans v. animals, animals v. animals and humans v. humans. Although these instances are relativly rare,the negative publicity casts a shadow on people with disabilities who genuinely need those animals in order to access airplanes.
It doesn‘t help that there is also tremendous misinformation out there about what the law actually says. That’s why it was refreshing to come across an article by the Washington Postthat explains the issues in a very clear and easy-to-read style.
One of the most important points made is the following:
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits the definition of “service animals“ to dogs and miniature horses, this is not true with the airline industry, which is covered by a different law – The Airline Carrier Aviation Act (ACAA). Under that law, airlines are required to allow certain other animals on board. This is because unlike the ADA, the ACAA covers what are called “emotional support animals,“ animals that are not there to perform specific tasks, but whose job is to generally ease anxiety and provide a degree of security to their handlers.
Without these animals, some passengers with disabilities may not be able to access airplanes. And since accessibility is the heart and soul of all disability laws, it must be fiercely protected.
The US Department of Transportation has recently issued proposed rules to add more restrictions on animals aboard airlines. In a subsequent post, I will discuss what I consider to be the pros and cons of these rules. In the meantime, I have provided links both to these rules and to the Washington Post article.
The ADA Education and Reform Act is horribly misnamed, and I’m sure that was intentional.
If enacted , this law would severely limit the rights of individuals with disabilities to file lawsuits against businesses that do not accommodate them. For example, if a wheelchair user could not get into a store because there was no ramp, she could no longer immediately file a lawsuit against the establishment. Instead, she would be required to give written notice of her intent to sue and would then have to wait at least 60 days for the store to fix the problem. And because the store would only need to show that it had made “substantial progress” towards compliance, this process could string out for a long time, with the individual still unable to make her case for access.
I am attaching a post I wrote for this blog back in February, which goes into more detail about this serious attack on disability rights. I am also attaching a recent article that provides more information and announces that there will be a demonstration in Washington DC next week, to oppose this law.
Those of us of a certain age clearly remember the Marches on Washington in the 60’s. This is designed to send the same kind of message: Justice is for everyone, no matter what our current mode of transportation.