Articles, Newsletters, Podcasts, and Video

I Am Here, and That Is Enough

By Alyssa Silva / 2022-03-11
Posted in

As I prepare to write my first column in over a month, a nasojejunal tube is pumping food into my small intestine, reminding me I’m


Imagining a World Without Ableism

By Kevin Schaefer / 2022-03-08
Posted in

A friend and I were sitting in a dimly lit movie theater a few years ago when two guys in their 20s approached me. I


Wheelchair Sidewalk Obstacle Course Removed from Winter Paralympics After Every Single Athlete Fails to Qualify

By Miranda Elimpabeth / 2022-03-08
Posted in

A new event added to the upcoming Paralympic Games in Beijing has already been iced. Wheelchair Sidewalk Slalom is a thrilling obstacle course that pits athletes against the ultimate in rugged terrain: an average city sidewalk during the winter on garbage day.

Points are accrued by dodging car bumpers and overturned waste bins, and by staying upright on icy pavement that not one city planner or contractor ever considered making level. The excitement is heightened by a countdown timer letting athletes know that, should they fail to make it through the course on time, they will not catch their bus or get to the pharmacy before it closes.

The problem, as one official said, was that no athlete from anywhere on planet Earth managed to qualify. “We thought that maybe the Russians or the Canadians would have this on lock since this is how they live 99% of the time, but everyone ended up stuck in the snow, or slid onto the road and got disqualified. All of them!”

“I’m not very happy with my performance,” said Derek Reyes of Team USA. “But I have to say, they did a great job of recreating the neighbor’s truck blocking juuuuuust enough of the sidewalk to force some off-roading. It was very realistic.”

Sources say the International Paralympic Committee may be considering a different event for the 2026 Games, such as Slippery Parking Lot Ice Dancing or Competitive Winter Layering.

The post Wheelchair Sidewalk Obstacle Course Removed from Winter Paralympics After Every Single Athlete Fails to Qualify appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


Am I in Control, or Is My Chair?

By Ari Anderson / 2022-02-17
Posted in

Years before the pandemic, I was visiting a museum in Washington, D.C. A young child looked at me and my high-tech wheelchair. He then asked


A Year Later, I’m Still Wearing Old Shoes

By Brianna Albers / 2022-02-07
Posted in

Last January, I wrote about shoes.

At the time, I was gearing up to get a new wheelchair. Those who are familiar with wheelchairs will


Scandal! Leaked Security Cam Footage Catches Mannequin in Wheelchair Walking Around

By Nate Woogen / 2022-02-03
Posted in

Outrage erupted across social media after a leaked video showed a wheelchair mannequin standing up and walking around a JCPenney.

The clip shows that at 3:34 a.m. a mannequin wearing an argyle vest rose from their wheelchair, stretched, walked once around the men’s clothing section and then sat back down.

JCPenney, which has previously touted itself as inclusive to all mannequins, claimed that requiring mannequins to produce medical records would be a violation of HIPAA.

“It is not socially acceptable for mannequins to falsify their identity,” a statement from the American Society for Mannequin Equality read. “Why are we still putting able-bodied mannequins in wheelchairs?”

The employment rate for disabled mannequins is 43%, compared to 81% for able-bodied mannequins.

“Stores get away with hiring able-bodied mannequins and passing them off as disabled all the time,” said Model #X30283 at Macy’s, running their plastic hands over the wheels of their wheelchair. “So that inflates the employment rates, unless they’re amputee mannequins of course. Also, if you’re still reporting, there’s a sale on Bermuda shorts right now.”

The mannequin in the footage did not respond to questions, offering nothing but a blank stare.

The post Scandal! Leaked Security Cam Footage Catches Mannequin in Wheelchair Walking Around appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


Right to Repair Wheelchairs – Letter to the Colorado Legislature

By Steve / 2022-02-01
Posted in

Help the wheelchair users of Colorado (and elsewhere in the US) reclaim their right to repair their own wheelchairs by signing this letter to the Colorado Legislature.


There are more than 2 million wheelchair users in the US. Today, if they want to get their chairs fixed when they break, they have to go through the maintenance department of the company that built the chair.

Many wheelchair users’ livelihoods and lives depend on their chairs working properly.

While you can go to any car repair shop to get your car fixed, with a wheelchair, you have to work through the company’s maintenance department – which can be very slow and very unreliable (read more about MyChairMyRepair).

… and, if you dare to go elsewhere, you may void the warranties on your wheelchair – a serious threat as some wheelchairs cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

Colorado’s Right to Repair Your Wheelchair law is the first in the US and will give Colorado residents the right to get their wheelchairs fixed when they want by who they want at a competitive price (the free market at work).

The Letter

Senator Zenzinger, Representative Titone, and Representative Ortiz

Thank you for introducing the Right to Repair Wheelchairs Bill (House Bill 22-1031) into both houses of the Colorado State Legislature. It reflects well on you and the state of Colorado that you are the first state in the US to introduce such legislation and we look forward to its prompt passage.

We are proud to support your efforts to protect the rights of the wheelchair users of Colorado to be able to choose who, when, and where their wheelchairs will be repaired – just as we can for our cars and many other products.

The livelihoods and lives of many wheelchair users depend on the operation of their wheelchairs. Today, they are trapped by license agreements that prevent them from choosing who will fix their wheelchairs and, even worse, that their chairs will be fixed in a timely manner.

This bill will help ensure that the free market continues to work so that wheelchair manufacturers cannot stop people who have purchased their products from getting them fixed when they need to without concern that they may void their warranty.

We wholeheartedly support your efforts on behalf of the citizens of Colorado and that could have benefits for wheelchair users in the United States and beyond.

Thank you.

You can sign two ways

1. Just fill out this form and we’ll add your name to our letter and follow along as we work to get the Right to Repair Wheelchairs bill passed (first in Colorado).

    2. Feel free to cut and paste and use this letter to contact state Representatives and Senators in Colorado.

    … Next Steps

    1. Please consider sharing this letter on social media and emailing to at least one person directly. Your voice really matters in our Democracy.
    2. If you don’t live in Colorado, contact your state representatives to persuade them to introduce similar legislation in your state (or country).
    3. … or do both.
    4. You can also schedule a meeting with your representatives. Your investment in time can make a big difference.



    ‘Have You Tried Being Less Disabled?’ Asks Medicaid Employee to Man Requesting More Caregiving Hours

    By kwschaef / 2022-01-31
    Posted in

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Medicaid employee Victoria Smith bit her fingernails and fumbled with the pencil on her desk as she contemplated a request from her newest client. 32-year-old Tyler Garrison, who has spinal muscular atrophy, came into Smith’s office in his power wheelchair on Monday to ask for additional caregiving hours. Knowing that this would be a difficult request to get approved, Smith immediately tried to think of an alternate solution.

    “Have you tried being less disabled?” she asked Garrison.  

    Garrison was diagnosed with SMA at age two. He requires someone to transfer him to the bathroom and empty his catheter throughout the day, in addition to assisting with numerous other physical tasks. Not satisfied with the current 15 hours a week he currently receives with a personal care assistant, he tried to explain.

    “With 15 hours a week, I have to meticulously plan out each day,” he said. “If I have someone for 30 minutes in the morning to get me out of bed and dressed, I don’t have time to shower. I have to have my PCA dump some Dasani water bottles on my head and call it a day.”

    While Garrison has trained several of his co-workers to empty his catheter, he finds himself with fewer options on days when he works from home.

    “I tried training my landlord to do it, but he broke the latch on the bottom and made a mess on the floor. Then he wanted me to clean it up, and he raised my rent.”

    Though Smith recognized the legitimacy of Garrison’s situation, she also wondered if his disability might just be in his head.

    “I mean, have you ever just given walking or moving your arms correctly a try? Decreasing the level of your disability would be a lot easier than going through a million bureaucratic loopholes to get you more PCA hours.”

    Before Garrison could leave, Smith’s eyes lit up as she looked at her computer screen.

    “Aha, I solved it! Joel Osteen has a new book about overcoming your disability and how it’s all in your head coming out in May. I’ll pre-order you a copy right now!”

    The post ‘Have You Tried Being Less Disabled?’ Asks Medicaid Employee to Man Requesting More Caregiving Hours appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


    Woman Trying to Hold Door Open for Wheelchair User is Actually Blocking Doorway with Her Foot

    By Steven Verdile / 2022-01-26
    Posted in

    “Oh, I got that! Let me make this easy for you,” she said. She did not, in fact, make this easy.

    Stacey Rubin had been trying to help manual wheelchair user Brian Warth at a local coffee shop.

    Warth had recently secured his drink in his wheelchair’s cupholder and started moving towards the exit. As he neared the door, Rubin saw him. She leaped out of her seat with the enthusiasm of a golden retriever puppy and jogged over with speed and precision, avoiding spilling even a drop of her hot coffee.

    “Let me help you with the door,” she told him. Warth was fully capable of opening the door and exiting on his own, but he accepted her offer out of politeness.

    As she cut directly in front of him like a speed-boosted Mario Kart racer, she blocked his exit and grabbed the door. As it pulled open, she propped her foot within the already narrow doorway, keeping the door ajar but blocking Warth and his wheelchair from getting through.

    “Go ahead, after you!” repeated Rubin. Warth gestured towards her foot and she realized the conundrum. “Oh, uh, um, let’s try this.”

    She began a strange tango of sorts, flailing her limbs and swinging her coffee cup in large swoops before fully maneuvering to the opposite side. She leaned across the doorway and held it open with her outstretched arm, creating a sort of human limbo game for Warth to roll underneath.

    He ducked down beneath her elbow, escaping the store and Rubin. Or so he thought.

    As he finally crossed the invisible boundary, he realized it was only the first in a double series of doors. He and Rubin looked at the second door, and then locked eyes. A new race had begun.

    The post Woman Trying to Hold Door Open for Wheelchair User is Actually Blocking Doorway with Her Foot appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.


    Right to Repair Wheelchairs – MyChairMyRepair

    By Steve / 2022-01-20
    Posted in

    It’s your wheelchair, you should have the right to get it fixed.

    Today, you can’t.

    Let’s change things.

    Colorado’s working on a law (Consumer Right To Repair Powered Wheelchairs – HB22-1031)

    . Let’s get it passed… 1 at bat, 49 states to go.

    Actions to take

    You can sign this Open Letter to the Colorado Legislature to support the bill today.

    Follow and contribute on social media; #MyChairMyRepair


    When you own a product, you should be able to repair it yourself. That’s why I included support for the “right to repair” in my Executive Order.

    President Joe Biden

    Responsible regulation such as “right to repair” can enhance consumer choice while at the same time people are educated in just how vast are the benefits of allowing innovation and freedom in the economy.

    John FundRight to Repair: A Consumer Movement That Left and Right Should Agree On (National Review)

    “Both Republicans and Democrats are pursuing laws to make it easier for people to fix cellphones, cars, even hospital ventilators. In Europe, the movement is further along.”

    If you are a Colorado resident, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is looking for stories about problems with wheelchairs and other DME (durable medical equipment) and volunteers to help.



      Right to Repair Europe


      US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG)

      Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition