Wheelchair Accessibility and Traveling to Boston

Recently, I took the Amtrak Downeaster train for a day trip to Boston with my family. I’d like to talk to you about my wheelchair accessibility experiences on the Amtrak train and the MBTA in the city.

Taking the Amtrak Train

Boarding the Amtrak train went smoothly. When I reserved our tickets online, they had a handy little section that asked if anyone boarding had any disabilities and would require assistance. It asked all sorts of things down to the type of wheelchair you use and if you would be boarding with a service dog.

When the train arrived at the platform, the conductor popped out a small and sturdy ramp for me to use to get onto the train. I admit, turning the corner to get to my seat was a bit… interesting. If I were in a chair with a base wider than my Stretto, I don’t believe I would have been able to fit easily. After that, I parked myself in the designated disability seating/wheelchair area and we rode to Boston! Departing on the Amtrak was pretty good overall!

Navigating Wheelchair Accessibility on Public Transit in Boston

wheelchair accessibility on subways

I did have some issues when we rode the T subways in Boston. The Orange Line was fantastic! The trains are outfitted with blue buttons (like a disabled parking sign) that you can push to alert the operator that a ramp/assistance is needed. These same buttons were inside as well.

The Red Line did not have these buttons. At one point, there was no way for us to alert the operator that we needed the bridge plate to get off the subway. The bridge plates are locked to the wall at the platforms, so someone needed to open it. Even though the operator got out of the train and saw us, we still ended up getting left behind and had to find an MBTA worker to help us.

While the Green Line is outfitted with the blue buttons, the one elevator was completely out at the station and it was not listed online. I needed this to get to the correct train or else we would miss our Amtrak train back to Maine (which we almost did). The advice given to us was to board the train to the next station and then turn around there. We ended up taking a 17 minute power walk/roll to get to our origin station, North Station.

Overall, navigating the MBTA in Boston was honestly not so great this time around. I had no recollection that the red line especially was so bad, and I believe that they can do better. I’m going to be emailing them with some suggestions that hopefully get taken into account.

About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Disabled Students and Important Things To Know About College

College is a natural next step for many graduating high school seniors. College can offer many opportunities, social events, and educational paths. It is essential that you choose the right college that best suits your needs as a student and as a disabled individual. Whether you plan on attending a four-year university or a two-year college, these tips for disabled students on researching colleges will help you ask the right questions and find the best option!

Find Ratings and Reviews from Alumni Who Used Disabled Students Services

Riley is just one of many disabled students enrolled in college around the world

Previous students have a lot to say! You can find these reviews on internet forums, social media groups and websites dedicated to rating college faculty. The function and form of a college’s Disabled Student Service office can provide insight into the college’s awareness of accessibility and accommodations.

Look at the Clubs, Organizations and Sports the College Offers

College is a great time to try new things and meet new people! Look for things that interest you. If the college has a disabled student club/organization or wheelchair sports teams, chances are they have a great community of disabled students! A community of individuals who share the same experiences as you can be very beneficial in college.

International Travel Opportunities

Disabled students should explore study abroad opportunities
Photo by Pascal Renet on Pexels.com

Many colleges offer student exchange and study abroad programs! Some are for students who are pursuing a specific degree, but most programs are for any student. If you are interested in traveling internationally but your college does not offer a program, look into trusted exchange organizations. My favorite organization that empowers disabled individuals to travel internationally is called Mobility International (MIUSA).

Find Government Resources for Disabled Students

If you live in the United States, you may be familiar with Vocational Rehabilitation Services, or VR. This is a state assistance program for individuals with disabilities who want to pursue a career or require assistance in their career. VR services can include but are not limited to: finding a job, funding college education, learning skills for a job and job accommodation advocacy. To get started with a VR counselor, reach out to your state’s vocational rehabilitation office.

I hope these tips help guide your college decision-making process. Just remember, there are many paths to education. If one thing doesn’t work, there is another opportunity right around the corner. Best of luck!

About Riley Hurt: Riley lives in Salem, Oregon, and uses a Stretto Power Wheelchair for mobility. Riley is enrolled in college, pursuing electrical and computer engineering. She hopes to make her future field more inclusive for people with disabilities. Click here to learn more about Riley.

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What to Know About a Feeding Tube

The week of February 6-10 is Feeding Tube Awareness Week and is officially recognized on the National Health Observances calendar each year. In this blog, I will talk about feeding tubes, a life-saving intervention, how a feeding tube saved my life and break down some of the myths associated with feeding tubes.

What is a Feeding Tube?

Chrysanthemum uses a feeding tube to get the calories and nutrition she needs.

If you are unfamiliar with feeding tubes, you’re about to learn what they are! While most people can eat normally via their mouths to receive all of their daily calories and nutrition, there are some people who cannot. This is due to a variety of reasons. A feeding tube is a life-saving intervention in the form of a polyurethane or silicone tube that can be placed in the abdomen, either the jejunum or stomach, to deliver liquid nutrients to the body. There are a few different types of feeding tubes:

  • Gastrostomy Tube or “G Tube” (stomach)
  • Jejunostomy Tube or “J Tube”
  • Gastrostomy-Jejunostomy or “GJ Tube” (combination of the two)

Some feeding tubes are long hoses that are very thin that are inserted through the nose or mouth and end in the stomach or jejunum. The most common ones are called NJ or NG tubes.

My first feeding tube was an Nasojejunal Tube, or NJ Tube, that was placed in my body in September of 2021. I no longer have it, as it has been replaced with a J-Tube in my abdomen. While some people have the nasal tubes temporarily, some people require more long-term use of a feeding tube. Their doctor may decide to place a surgical one into the abdomen. This is the case for me.

Can You Eat with a Feeding Tube?

While some people require a feeding tube for all their nutrition, some people are still able to eat with a feeding tube! Being able to eat with a feeding tube varies from person to person. Everyone is different. Some people are able to eat, but not enough to meet their daily calorie needs so they have supplemental tube feedings to reach their bodies intake needs. This is the same for water or other drinks.

Personally, I can drink liquids, but sometimes I am unable to. Food is off the table for me, although I still try on occasion. For me, my stomach does not work properly and anything that I eat comes up. This is why my feeding tube bypasses my stomach.

Do Feeding Tubes Hurt?

The short answer is that it depends on the type of tube and the person. I am going to explain what it was like for me.

The nasal tube I had, an NJ, hurt initially due to my nose and throat not being used to having something jammed in there. After a few days, the pain went away and I barely ever felt the tube after. I have never experienced an NG tube, which is much thicker, though I hear they hurt and are very uncomfortable. My J-tube area hurt after placement, but after two weeks it felt a lot better. I can still feel this one, although most of the time, it is not painful. When it is, the pain is light. Again, I would like to emphasize that everyone is different and may or may not have the experiences as me.

Does a Feeding Tube Affect Your Quality of Life? Are They Used When Someone is Dying?

A feeding tube can save someone’s life, like mine did. A feeding tube is there to help a person sustain life and meet their bodies’ intake needs. Whenever I had a tube placed in me, I have bounced back from being sick and I can do a lot more things. Recently, I even started going to the gym due to having energy again. While being hooked up to a backpack 24/7 can be a slight nuisance, I prefer it over my old situation.

Feeding tubes and their uses are different for everyone. I hope that this blog may have answered some of your questions regarding feeding tubes and that you learned something new!

About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.

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Six Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Your Power Wheelchair

Valentine’s Day, or if you plan to celebrate with close friends, Galentine’s Day, is right around the corner. If you or your Valentine use a power wheelchair, there are plenty of activities to accompany your many love notes, candied hearts and teddy bears. Here are some of the top ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone or Galentine’s Day with your pals.

Celebrate at Home

silver candle holders on a table
Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

If you plan it right, spending the night in can be just as romantic or fun as heading out. The key to a great Valentine’s at home is novelty. Being a little creative can go a long way! Break out the fancy plates, set the table and light some candles for a classy, romantic dinner, no reservation required. If your friends are coming over instead, decorate your living room with some string lights and blankets for a good, old-fashioned sleepover. Top it off with some buttery popcorn and some classic rom-coms and you have the start to a fun night.

Dine at a Power Wheelchair Accessible Restaurant

If you feel like dressing up and hitting the town, check out a power wheelchair-accessible restaurant near you. We recommend:

iLevel on a power wheelchair provides greater access to restaurants with high-top tables and the bar
  • Making reservations – Seats fill up fast on Valentine’s Day!
  • Asking about accessibility – Make sure the restaurant accommodates your power chair.
  • Trying something new – Consider trying the chef’s special or ask your server for a recommendation.

Enjoy the Arts

Valentine’s Day is an excellent opportunity to experience the arts in your community. Grab your sweetheart or your gals and try:

  • Checking out a play at your local theater
  • Seeing a movie
  • Enjoying a professional band or open mic night at a venue nearby

Explore the Outdoors with Your Power Wheelchair

If you’re looking for a daytime Valentine’s Day excursion, why not explore the fresh air? Check out a paved walking trail in your area, visit a new town for a change of scenery or promenade through an outdoor shopping plaza. If it’s still chilly in your region, bring a jacket and drop by your favorite café for a hot drink to sip along the way.

Indulge in Self-Care

selective focus photography of candles
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

You can celebrate Valentine’s Day with some well-deserved self-care whether you’re single, partnered or celebrating with a friend. Grab some supplies for an at-home pampering session or book an appointment with a local accessible spa to enjoy:

  • A relaxing massage
  • A glamorous manicure or pedicure
  • A luxurious facial
  • A fresh blowout

Plus, a spa visit or self-care supplies also make excellent Valentine’s gifts!

Mix and Mingle with Your Power Wheelchair

There’s no better time than Valentine’s Day to get together with your friends or even make some new connections. Hosting a party with multiple friend groups or going on a double date can be just what you need to mix things up. If you are looking to meet some new people, try:

  • Signing up for a speed dating event
  • Joining a trivia team at a local bar or restaurant
  • Checking out a meetup at a nearby community center

Happy Valentine’s Day from Quantum Rehab

At Quantum Rehab, we love our power chair users and the people closest to them. Our innovative mobility technologies support everyday living, whether you’re going to work, enjoying the outdoors or heading out for date night. No matter how you celebrate, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!

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Best Tips for Using a Wheelchair in Snow and Ice

Minnesota winter is in full swing! Our house is surrounded by icicles, snow and ice! While we outsource the job to plow the driveway, both my husband and I are full-time wheelchair users and for the first winter as home owners, we were pretty stuck. As winter takes over in Minnesota, the ground is covered in chunky hidden ice patches under a hefty layer of snow. Until I got my Stretto power chair, we were completely at the mercy of whenever the snowplows showed up. We had to find a way to fix this since our dogs need to go out during the winter. We also need a path around our patio so we can do other tasks, like burning our cardboard boxes. So, here are a few tips and tricks while using a wheelchair in snow and ice.

Choose Your Snow Shovel Wisely

Jill uses her Stretto wheelchair in snow and ice with the help of a leaf blower

First, it’s important to have a solid snow shovel! Something sturdy and wide enough to move about a foot worth of snow at a time. That’s been the size most manageable for us, but it’s important to get one that fits the user. Even if it’s a bit smaller, the key is to be able to keep the snow shovel in front of you so that you can use your power chair to push the snow out of the way by using the momentum of the chair and utilize the leverage of seat elevation. When snow layers upon itself, it’s a mix of fluffy snow with frozen layers in between. Having a snow shovel will allow you to break apart the frozen layers and move them out of your path. These are generally inexpensive, and available at stores like Target and Walmart.

Other Tools to Use with a Wheelchair in Snow and Ice

We recently upgraded to a snow shovel that has a motor and shoots the snow out to the side. While this tool certainly rocks, we still needed our regular snow shovel to break apart the bits of ice that it wasn’t able to crush. With a combination of the two, we were able to clear the snow from the path, break up the ice, and create a pathway to the firepit. As long as the ice doesn’t cover the entire path, we found that I can drive my Stretto power wheelchair with iLevel® over the ice and snow to keep moving forward.

Invest in a Leaf Blower for Clearing the Snow

bicycle on snow covered street
Photo by Dave Haas on Pexels.com

Lastly, an additional tool that proved pretty useful is a leaf blower! Once the snow and ice have been broken up, or if the snow is fresh enough, the leaf blower can move it out of the path fairly efficiently. Sometimes, I found myself needing to adjust the angle of the leaf blower and to angle it from below the ice to create enough force to break the ice up and move it out of the way. Fortunately, having a Quantum power wheelchair allows you to approach stubborn snow and ice spots with enough force to create a much better path, especially with additional leverage gained by iLevel!

About Jill Moore White: Jill is an inclusive play specialist, bringing accessible playgrounds to local communities. She volunteers with disability organizations, including the Disability EmpowHER Network. Jill enjoys music, sketching and playing video games. Click here to learn more about Jill.


Romantic Nights Out with My Quantum Wheelchair

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! Many of us are considering who we will ask to be our Valentine, or if you have someone already, you may be considering what is the perfect romantic or sentimental gift. Having been in a relationship that became a marriage, I have learned that showing your love to those that you care for is a constant process that cannot be relegated to just one day. Before my disability, my husband and I were always out together. When I became disabled, the time we spent together, especially in public, began to dwindle. Once I began using my Quantum wheelchair, however, date nights were back to being about us and enjoying each other’s company.

Before Life at iLevel with My Quantum Wheelchair

Merlisha is out for date night in her Quantum wheelchair

For my husband and I, one of our most constant expressions of our love for each other is just being together when it’s easy to be and even when it’s boring, difficult, or mundane. Date nights, supporting our children at school functions or selling Girl Scout cookies in November and December in the brutal Baltimore winter, are all ways we show love to each other. When I received my wheelchair, that changed. It was often more practical for him to go to functions and public events by himself. My first two chairs were okay to use but not powerful enough to navigate varied terrain or difficult to use in crowded spaces. My husband had to be my offensive lineman to keep me from being tripped over, bumped into or blocked from moving freely.

Date Nights Make a Comeback

My Quantum wheelchair, an Edge® 3 with iLevel® technology, has brought me back to a place where my husband and I are able to roll (no pun intended) back into public. I can raise my power chair seat up to its maximum height, which allows me to be at eye level with others. This makes me hard to ignore when moving through restaurants, the theater, and museums. When out on date night, we can enjoy each other and experiencing new places. We can focus on keeping the love fun and spontaneous.

Reaching Bars and High-Top Tables with My Quantum Wheelchair

Using iLevel almost eliminates the need for waiting for the hostess to find a suitable place for us to sit. I can use high-top tables that require stools, sit at the bar, or adjust the height of the wheelchair seat so I am where I need to be. My husband would not say so, but he worries that I may not be having as good a time as I could be because I feel limited in any aspect of our outings. That stresses him and then he isn’t able to enjoy himself. Having my Edge 3 power chair has taken away a lot of small worries and brought back much of the fun that my husband and I enjoy. Now we can get back to expressing our love to each other all year round!

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.

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Loving Myself and Living Life in My Quantum Wheelchair

It’s Valentine’s Day season once again. While I was hoping to be spending this holiday with my special someone, some changes occurred and I am once again single. I find it kind of ironic that this happened to me during a time when “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus is number one on the Billboard charts. It really is the perfect attitude to have about these abrupt life changes. Healing from a breakup comes from loving yourself and being the person you need to be. This can be extra challenging when you’re a wheelchair user. So, in honor of loving myself and my abilities, here is a list of things I can do independently using my Quantum wheelchair.

Anomie uses iLevel on her Quantum Wheelchair
  • I can make myself dinner
  • I can take care of my cat
  • I can go out to different places and sit at tables of any height, including high-top tables
  • I can carry heavy things, even for other people
  • I can love me, as a wheelchair user, better than anyone else can

The Importance of Self Care

Self-dating is self-care. Taking myself out on a date in my Quantum wheelchair is something I can do better than any of the losers on dating apps. Most won’t even try to date a girl in a wheelchair. Those that do tend to either ignore our disability or try to be controlling. I don’t need to waste my time having a conversation with someone who doesn’t get me. I get who I am and I can take myself places.

Going on a Date with Myself in My Quantum Wheelchair

There are quite a few things that I can do with iLevel technology on my wheelchair. I can order food from places with high counter tops and access the machine for making credit card payments. I can also sit at tables at any height. I like going to restaurants, whether it’s with someone else or by myself. Having the ability to choose is everything.

Other places I would like to take myself out to are concerts, festivals and craft fairs. It’s still a struggle to deal with the limitations of wheelchair accessibility. It’s the best feeling when a place actually is accessible, because you know you’re in a place that you’re accepted. I hope to find the best wheelchair accessible shopping, hair salons, nail salons, and everything I need to give myself the love this season.

Even when I can’t leave the house, I’m finding ways to enjoy myself at home as well. Hoping every single disabled female wheelchair user reading this is doing the same. Much love to you all.

Anomie Fatale: Anomie is a musician who performs at shows and open mic nights in Philadelphia. She is the current titleholder for Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania USA 2022 and is passionate about helping others. Click here to learn more about Anomie.

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Top Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month. In honor of the contributions African Americans have made to this country, we’ll explore the origins of Black History Month, highlight influential African Americans throughout history and provide a few ways to celebrate the month. 

The Origins of Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month by visiting the Martin Luther King Center

In the summer of 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson joined an exhibition in Chicago, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation.[1] After witnessing the profound impact of the Chicago celebration, Dr. Woodson and other Black academics formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Nine years later, in partnership with Dr. Woodson’s fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, the Association created Negro Achievement Week. As organizations, schools and universities around the country embraced Negro Achievement Week, Black communities pushed local and federal governments to formalize a month-long celebration. In 1976, they succeeded, and President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month during the celebration of the US Bicentennial.

Black Historical Figures

Black History Month is an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the challenges and accomplishments of some of history’s most prominent figures:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the legal equity of Black people in the 1950s and 1960s, and his leadership inspires racial justice movements to this day.[2]
  • Harriet Tubman was a critical force in the Underground Railroad. After a brutal beating from an overseer as a child, she developed epilepsy, a disability that never suppressed her nine-year efforts to convoy enslaved people to freedom.[3]
  • Fannie Lou Hamer was a lifelong civil rights activist who organized and joined grassroots movements in support of women’s rights and voting rights. She faced lifelong physical disabilities as a result of childhood polio. Check out a blog by Morgan Steward to learn more about Fannie Lou Hamer and her life.

Black History Month Activities

To honor Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans throughout history, consider celebrating Black History Month 2023 by visiting a museum, like the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Pay your respects to Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, at the reflecting pool, which is where their remains are buried. You can also visit Dr. King’s childhood home and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Some other things you can do in honor of African Americans and Black History Month:

  • Donating to a non-profit like the NAACP or the ACLU
  • Visiting a Black-owned business in your area
  • Joining a community demonstration for civil rights
  • Attending a lecture, exhibit or educational event exploring black history

Honoring the Past, Looking to the Future

This month, and all year long, Quantum Rehab is proud to celebrate the black community and uplift black voices as we continue to develop exciting new mobility technologies. If you’re looking for more insights from power chair users, check out our blog. Featuring everything from lifestyle tips to contributions from everyday power chair users.

[1] Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Origins of Black History Month. https://asalh.org/about-us/origins-of-black-history-month/

[2] The King Center. About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thekingcenter.org/about-tkc/martin-luther-king-jr/

[3] University of Pittsburgh. disABLED Black History. https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/disabled-black-history

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My Quantum Power Wheelchair and Great Gardening Hacks

Over the summer, I tried my hand at gardening which was made so much easier with my Quantum power wheelchair with iLevel® technology. It turns out, it’s outrageously nice to have a power chair when transporting heavy pots of dirt, using a full watering can, or holding a bowl to collect all the veggies I pick. I am by no means the world’s best gardener. I thought I was growing jalapenos and you can imagine my surprise when green beans came out. For a while, I thought I was just watering a weed and it turned out to be a tomato plant. Still, my herb garden was fairly successful! My basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary, and lemon balm positively thrived. Unfortunately, they all died out when the weather started getting colder in Minnesota. So, over the past few weeks, I’ve been cultivating an indoor garden! Here are some tips for starting your own indoor garden.

How to Pick Seeds

shallow focus of sprout
Photo by Gelgas Airlangga on Pexels.com

To start an indoor herb garden of your own, one of the first things to consider is the type of seeds you get. It’s important to get seeds that are slow to bolt. When an herb bolts, they experience a vertical growth spurt to produce seed for the next generation before the vegetables are ready for harvest. The result of this nuisance is inedible, bitter-tasting leaves or poor quality herbs that can’t be salvaged. You can tell when a plant has bolted as it’ll flower. That’s a bit more reliable than having to taste test the bitter leaves. Certain varieties of seeds have been modified to slow bolting as much as possible. That way you still get a great healthy (an edible) plant, without racing the clock. And when it’s time to plant the seeds, my Quantum power wheelchair is great for helping me transport heavy pots of dirt.

My Quantum Power Wheelchair Helps with Watering

Watering plants can be a challenge if you use a wheelchair. Depending on how high your plants are, you may need help holding or tilting the watering can. My Quantum power wheelchair definitely came in handy when it was time to water.

You can also invest in self-watering pots. There are a few options available online that have a water basin underneath, and a piece of absorbent string that acts as a wick. It pulls the moisture from the basin below and keeps the soil wet. This reduces maintenance, so you can leave your herbs to grow for a longer amount of time. I found that when herbs initially seed, the stems and plant is so weak that too much water quickly can knock the weak stems over and kill the sprout.

Hacks for Strengthening Your Plants

Jill in her Quantum power wheelchair

I’ve found a few great adds for quick nutrient boosts. Epsom salt is fantastic plant food that adds additional nutrients to your soil to make your indoor herbs stronger and healthier. I also found that tonic water is a great add. Research shows that tonic water acts as a bio stimulant and makes plants more resistant to fungi and insect. It also improves photosynthesis. If you have any lying around, it’s a great add!

The last thing that has helped improve my herb garden is leaving water out for 48 hours prior to watering. The city water we receive is loaded with chlorine, which can damage plants. Leaving tap water out at room temperature prior to watering my plants allows chlorine gas to evaporate naturally. This results in healthier plants that don’t brown at the tip.

After all this, I can have fresh herbs all year long, even in Minnesota!

About Jill Moore White: Jill is an inclusive play specialist, bringing accessible playgrounds to local communities. She volunteers with disability organizations, including the Disability EmpowHER Network. Jill enjoys music, sketching and playing video games. Click here to learn more about Jill.

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My Quantum Power Wheelchair Goes to College

Maddie tours ASU in her Quantum power wheelchair

I’ve started my second semester as a high school junior, which means I need to pick up the pace when it comes to touring colleges and universities. I’ve already decided I want to stay somewhat close to home, so that has narrowed down the options quite a bit. I really need to decide what I want to study so I can figure out which school is the best fit. So far, other than staying in Arizona, all I know is that I want to include art or design in my studies, and obviously my program must be accessible. One of my mentors and friends who is also a wheelchair user majored in industrial design, and she thought it would be a good fit for me. I decided to explore it further.

Visiting Arizona State with My Quantum Power Wheelchair

My mom helped me arrange a one-on-one tour with the new director of the industrial design program at The Design School at Arizona State University, or ASU. Last month, we loaded my power chair into our van and headed out on my first college tour. We arrived maybe 30 minutes early, and it took us that whole time to find the right building on the map. I was glad I had my Quantum power wheelchair and not my manual chair, because I would have been exhausted!

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Eventually, we found our way and met the program director. He was really friendly and encouraging. After chatting for a few minutes, I asked him for his personal observations about the accessibility of the design school building and facilities. He pointed out that although it’s an old building, another wheelchair user told him she has only observed one issue regarding a bathroom door, but that it is being addressed. He also told us that it was really important to him to receive personal input from people with multiple perspectives to ensure that the building was entirely accessible. He said that ASU’s charter emphasizes inclusiveness and he takes that value very seriously.

Touring the Design School

He then showed us around the entire building where the architecture and industrial design students attend classes and work on projects. I saw classrooms where some students were working independently and attended a live lecture. By far, the coolest areas we saw were the spaces where students could design, build and create prototypes. There were a variety of machines, some of them enormous, for a variety of uses, like working with materials such as metal and wood. Another area was entirely dedicated to 3D printing. They had 3D printers everywhere. Some could print up to 24 inches in height. We also saw the printers in action and chatted with one of the staff members who assists students with working on projects.

Our tour was around one hour long, but we got to see much more than I imagined. I even met a student who was a power wheelchair user. We just happened to run into her. Everyone we met was welcoming and extremely inviting, almost like one big family. From that experience, The Design School at ASU is high on my list!

About Maddie Kasten: Maddie is a Q Roll Model for Quantum Rehab. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and enjoys participating in adaptive sports, playing video games and watching anime. Click here to learn more about Maddie.

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