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What It's Like, #3
What It’s Like is a series launching for Dalhousie Accessibility Week, one that provides members of the Dal community with an opportunity to share their first-person perspective on living with a disability. People are welcome to share with their name or anonymously.
Submitted by Anonymous:
Tell us a little about yourself and your role here at Dal.
I am a student who is also a wheelchair user.
What do you wish people knew about your disability?
That just because I am in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I am not able to live independently. In fact, I do more in my day to live independently than I did before being injured. Now, a task that had three steps may have eight now but through rehab and practice I can do it on my own (ex: Getting to class).
Lastly, if I need help, I will ask. For example, many people assume I need help when getting in and out of my car (which I appreciate the concern) but the thought process is confusing; because if you weren’t there how did you think I planned to do this today?
What accessibility changes would have the biggest impact on your experience here at Dal?
A more open-minded environment and culture around disability. Most of the barriers I face are from those within the institution.
Additionally, many accessible pathways on campus have been restricted to staff or via Dal card access. This means I have to advocate just to get to my classroom because someone did not think about accessibility.
- The accessible pathway from Killam Library to Life Sciences Centre (LSC) is through the staff area on the first floor.
- Getting to classroom L10 in the Tupper Arc has two elevators to the floor but one side has a restricted lab space and the other side is through the Communication Disorders office space (requiring specific Dal card access).
- In my third year, I needed to go through the Killam Library to get to my classes in the LSC because it was the flattest route (hills and I don’t get along). Unfortunately, the accessible pathway to my class had been turning into a “staff restricted zone” many years ago. I was told I couldn’t use the accessible pathway as I would be a danger to other staff since I am in a wheelchair. I didn’t go to my class for the rest of the semester and just did my best to catch up via Brightspace.
Previously in this series:
You can find all entries collected here.
Interested in sharing your own experiences?
We'd love to hear from you. Please take a look at our questions below and how to submit them. Please note that you can choose to remain anonymous if you wish. (Note: names will be visible to individuals receiving submissions by email).
Our questions for you:
- Tell us a little about yourself and your role here at Dal. (Note: If remaining anonymous, this prompt can be skipped — or, simply share as much detail as you feel comfortable doing).
- What do you wish people knew about your disability?
- What accessibility changes would have the biggest impact on your experience here at Dal?
If you’re interested in sharing your experiences navigating university life with a visible or invisible disability, please contact us at email@example.com with answers to the above questions or to set up a short interview.