Disability simulation activities are a mainstay in every edition of the SPD Ability Walk & Run to encourage experiential learning and increase understanding of the challenges persons with disabilities face. This year, we have enhanced the manual wheelchair experience course with professional inputs from SPD’s occupational therapist Sumit Saha.
Wheelchair users face accessibility challenges daily, such as manoeuvering uneven grounds, having to find alternative routes when there are kerbs and steps, and reaching for things on high shelves. Therefore, a new course will be introduced providing a more realistic view of the challenges beyond going around on flat even ground. Participants can try their hand at overcoming the following challenges:
Reaching from a Wheelchair
As wheelchair users are seated in their wheelchairs, they generally face difficulties when reaching for things in higher areas like kitchen shelves or wardrobes. It is also similarly challenging for them when trying to pick up something from the ground.
Going on Different Surfaces
Wheelchair users face difficulties moving about on rough surfaces such as roads and grass as more strength is required in wheeling due to the increase in friction. That is true too for uneven surfaces such as sandy or grassy places which give them a bumpy ride.
Overcoming the Slope
A ramp can be used to replace or complement steps so that an area becomes accessible to a wheelchair user. However, it takes more effort and control to move up and down a slope. It gets more difficult and even dangerous if the ramp or slope is too steep and there are no railings for the wheelchair user to hold on to.
A person’s disability does not last for a few minutes nor can they be turned off. Although the wheelchair course does not simulate a disability completely, we hope that this experience would make the difference between life with and without a disability more apparent to the participants, and thereafter to encourage others to be more patient towards persons with disabilities and be more willing to offer help when needed.
For more information on the SPD Ability Walk & Run 2019 or to sign up, please visit www.spd.org.sg/spd-ability-walk-run-2019 today. We hope to see you there!