Disability Awareness Paper

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The disability simulation that I choose to do was to rent a wheelchair from the mall and spend an hour navigating around the mall in the wheelchair. The reason that I choose this simulation is because I thought it would be a great idea for me to experience what obstacles the people who are in wheelchairs have to endure on a daily basis in simple day-to-day activities. There are many things that people without disabilities, more specifically in this simulation people not in wheelchairs, do every single day without even thinking that people who are in wheelchairs have to make modifications or work harder to do the same thing. I felt knowing what people in wheelchairs have to go through on a daily basis would help me setting up a classroom to make it wheelchair accessible if I ever had to. I would want to make sure a student in a wheelchair had the same opportunity to learn just as much as any other student.

I went to the Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, NY on February 3rd 2011 at 11:00 AM to complete this assignment. Being in a wheelchair during my visit to the mall was definitely a completely different experience from when I usually go to the mall. I think one of the biggest obstacles that I had to overcome was when navigating through the stores a lot of the clothing racks were spaced very close together. This made it extremely difficult getting around in some of the stores or getting to some clothing racks located in the center of other racks. I know from previous visits to the mall that even without being in a wheelchair some of those racks are hard to go or walk through but trying to do it in a wheelchair wasn’t just an inconvenience, it was nearly impossible. Sometimes I enjoy going to the mall by myself but being in a wheelchair would make that normally delightful thing a very difficult and painstakingly thing to do. It is much easier having someone there to push you around and get you through the stores rather than trying to navigate the wheelchair solo. Due to going to the mall on a Thursday afternoon it was not very busy so there weren’t many other customers to worry about or try to move around. A wheelchair can be bulky so if it’s busy I can imagine people would get annoyed very easily trying to walk around me along with me becoming annoyed at trying to make sure I am not hitting people. That being said, it was not busy on Thursday so was not difficult but if someone in a wheelchair went to the mall on a Saturday or Sunday it would be very difficult to get around because the malls tend to be very packed on the weekend. Take account how busy malls become during the holiday season on just about every day of the week and Christmas shopping would be even worse. Another issue was going into the dressing rooms to try clothes on. Not all stores had handicap accessible dressing rooms, which meant small doors and small ally ways to get to the rooms. There is no way a wheelchair could fit in any of these ally ways or through the doors. What this meant was the stores that did not have handicap accessible dressing rooms I had to actually get up out of the wheelchair and walk into the dressing room instead of going right into the dressing room with the wheelchair. For someone that is handicapped to the point where they have the wheelchair due to not being able to walk at all, being able to try on clothes in one of these stores without help would virtually be impossible. If the person had a wheelchair but could walk a little bit, it still would be very difficult maybe even dangerous for even them to try on clothes in one of these stores. The food court presented many of the same problems. The tables are spaced closed together and pair that with many fixed chairs that cannot be moved made it very hard to find a table in which I could eat. I had to pick a table on the outside meaning two things. A person in a wheelchair has a small percentage of tables they can choose from meaning they’d have to basically stalk...
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