Creative Thinking

After reading about a condominium association that refuses to allow a wheelchair user to walk her dog in and out the front door (residents are required to use an alternate route that includes a stairwell), and a school that has turned down a student because “her wheelchair would restrict the movement of other children in the crowded corridors”, it was nice to read this in a letter from the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte:

At the ASC we meet people every day who are redefining what it means to have a disability. One such individual is Katie Doderer, a charming and determined young girl who was born with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, a disorder which requires her to be connected to a ventilator 24 hours a day.

Last winter, Katie skied for the first time with ASC Instructor Jacob Wagner, who carried a 23-pound backpack while teaching her to glide down a snow-covered mountain. The backpack contained Katie’s ventilator, supplemental oxygen and a five-foot long blue tube that connects to the center of Katie’s throat. The ventilator is literally Katie’s lifeline—without it, she is unable to breath on her own. That said, Katie, with the help of ASC, doesn’t let the ventilator get in the way of her having fun.

A little more “let’s figure out how to do this” and a lot less “no, we don’t do that” would go a long way.


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