Guest Blogger: Stephanie Wilderman
Q. What is your name?
A. My name is Stephanie Wildeman. My mother is Sandra Kniffin.
Q. Tell us what type of disability impacts your life, or the life of a loved one.
A. My mother had a stroke and lost use of her left arm and left leg.
Q. Tell us about a time when you felt empowered.
A. My mother felt empowered when AID.org Foundation gifted her the electric scooter. The first day she received it she went out around the neighborhood was saying “hi” to everyone and just felt free. She’s able to get around now.
Q. If you could change one thing that all public spaces had to change to make life easier what would it be and why?
A. I say that all restaurants should have enough accessible parking. The tables should have room for someone with a wheelchair to sit, the aisles should be wide enough, the bathrooms should be accessible and have a few of them and not just one. They should also have wider entrances and exits. A lot of the doctor’s offices should also be accessible; I find it hard when I take my mother to her appointments because sometimes there is not enough room to get around.
Q. Tell us one thing you want people to understand about living with a disability, or being a caregiver for someone with a disability.
A. I want people to understand that it takes patience. People assume that us as caregivers have everything under control but at times that is not true, it is very overwhelming. People with disabilities need constant caretaking. We as caregivers are also individuals. Yes, we are caretakers but we also are like everyone else.
Q. Tell us what can society do today to stop discrimination against those with disabilities?
A. Businesses should take in mind that people who have a disability want to be normal. They want to be like everyone else. Yes, they have to do things differently but they are still human. We want to be able to go into your business and enjoy our time with our families, be able to not worry about being discriminated because a table, counter, entrance or bathroom isn’t accessible.