Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wheelchair experience

Cierra Anthony 80 / 100 313-358-7056 Wheelchair Experience Feature Article October 20, 2015 Wheelchair Woes Wayne State University Students Experience life as a handicap person Journalism print major at Wayne State University, Paris Giles says she was nervous this morning as she rode around Meijer’s grocery store on eight mile and Woodward on a scooter that is used for handicap individuals. The 25-year-old senior says she had an assignment in her race, gender and culture class that required her to go to a mall or a major store and ride around on a scooter or a wheelchair, so she could experience the life of a handicap person. Giles says there were no wheelchairs available so she had to use a scooter. “I really just had to look around for them, but they were near the front and pretty easy to get to,” says Giles “I used a scooter “but there were only a couple by the time I got up there, so I felt a little funny using one in case someone actually needed one. They were also a little hard getting the hang of operating it,” says Giles. Giles says she was really nervous, because she didn’t want any negative attention from the staff or the customers. “ I was going to limp or try to act as if I was in need of a wheelchair or a scooter, but I just tried to be low-key, which made me nervous, because I did not want anyone to see me walking normal than get on the scooter,” says Giles. “I didn't want to be put on display or be the center of attention. I must admit I also didn't want to be embarrassed by people thinking that I needed a wheelchair. I didn't want the negative reactions.” Giles says the staff was not fazed by her being in a scooter, but one of them did help her with an item she wanted. “They were pretty unfazed actually. One lady did ask me if I needed assistance getting a box of Frosted Flakes off the top shelf, so that was nice. I really couldn't reach it, and I had to fight the urge to just say 'forget this' and stand up and get it, so she was right on time,” says Giles.” Giles says “initially” she did not know how to operate the scooter, but after a little time she said she figured it out. “ I only bumped into a few things,” says Giles “It took a bit of time getting the reverse function down and cornering the scooter. But it was worked properly from what I could tell.” Giles says this experience changed her outlook on life. “Well, it did give me a greater appreciation for what handicapped people go through. I realized that for some people this is not just a silly class assignment, its life,” says Giles “I learned that we take things for granted. We don't miss what we have until it's gone. I know it's cliché, but it's so true.”

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