She’s got the power! Going from a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair is a life-changing experience for 15-year-old Maddie Kasten. She has used a manual wheelchair since kindergarten. Now, in her sophomore year of high school, Maddie has an Edge 3 Stretto® Power Wheelchair with iLevel® and is so excited for all the opportunities that await her.
The Stretto Power Chair has made a huge difference in Maddie’s daily life, giving her more freedom. In her manual chair, she could wheel herself, but her arms and shoulders fatigued after a while. So, she had to rely on friends or family to push her wheelchair. With the Stretto Power Chair, Maddie is in control of her own chair and can go where she wants to go!
“For a power chair, the Stretto is so narrow and compact, yet still has all the features I need,” Maddie said.
Using Her iLevel Power Wheelchair at Home
One of her favorite features is iLevel® technology, which has truly elevated her independence, especially at home.
“The biggest thing is cooking,” Maddie said. “I couldn’t reach the stove before.”
With 12 inches of elevation on her motorized wheelchair, she can access the things she needs in the kitchen. In addition to making meals, Maddie can reach the controls on the washing machine, hang clothes in her closet and look out the peephole before opening the front door.
iLevel also makes Maddie taller, which is a huge benefit because she is 4’11” tall.
“When you’re already the shortest person in the group, being seated when everyone else is standing makes you feel even smaller,” Maddie said. “People bend way down to talk to me, like I am a little child.”
If people don’t bend down to speak to her, Maddie experiences neck pain from having to look up so much, especially when talking to her dad and brother, who are both 6’3” tall. iLevel technology on her motorized wheelchair has changed all this.
“With iLevel on my Stretto, I can interact with people face to face. It’s amazing,” Maddie said.
Taking Her Stretto Power Wheelchair to School
When school starts, Maddie looks forward to using iLevel to sit at the high tables in the science classroom with her peers, instead of sitting by herself at a low table.
Maddie has dyslexia and attends a specialized school for kids who have learning and attention disabilities. The Wilson Reading System is a program for students who require literacy instruction that is more intensive and structured. Maddie has completed all 12 levels of the Wilson Reading System to become a fluent reader, despite her dyslexia.
Outside of school, Maddie is extremely active in the disability community. When she was younger, she participated in wheelchair basketball and archery with Arizona Disabled Sports. She also enjoyed horseback riding with Horses Help. Most recently, Maddie joined Ability 360 Sports and Fitness Center, where she learned to play wheelchair tennis.
“I am an Ability 360 wheelchair tennis athlete now and get to work with an awesome coach who’s a former wheelchair tennis Paralympian,” Maddie said.
In addition to adaptive sports, Maddie enjoys playing video games and watching anime. She really enjoys designing and building in 3D, whether it’s with physical materials or via a computer program called Tinkercad. Maddie wants to attend college and study 3D design or engineering.
Before her power chair, there was so much Maddie could not do. Now, the possibilities are endless because she has the power of the Stretto!