Blinded by the Lights


Last Tuesday I went back to Sarah Dyer Barnes Elementary and Johnston Senior High School to get my picture taken for the RHD Newsletter.  It was cool to go back and visit my high school. Getting my picture taken is not my favorite thing to do but it's a good way to get more publicity for Equal Access RI.  I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank Kevin and Ken for taking the time to come out from Philadelphia to work on the story about me for the newsletter.  I'm hoping that this is just the start of more great things to come for Equal Access RI. 

My Work of Art

On June 3rd I went to the Pawtucket City Hall to help supervise the setup for the ADA art show.  While setting up for the art show I assessed the city hall in detail.  I took notes and photos to document my findings.  There is a staircase upon entry, so they have installed a lift to get to the main floor.  I had trouble pressing the button to operate the lift and also needed someone to open the door upon arriving on the main floor.  The janitor was available to assist with the lift but if I had dropped by unannounced there may not have been anyone around to help.  The bathroom was hard to navigate and there was no button for the bathroom door, so I couldn’t get in or out on my own.  My chair wouldn’t be able to pull close enough to the sink to access it.  The handle on the toilet wouldn’t be easy access if I were sitting.  I didn’t have enough room in the elevator to turn my chair into position to reach the elevator buttons, however there were no problems accessing the buttons outside of the elevator.  Most of the issues I found were with the bathroom, other than that the building was accessible.  If I were to suggest an improvement to the building I would recommend installing a buzzer where the lift is so that if no one were around one could alert someone in the building to their presence.

ADA and Beyond

Next Friday I will be attending an event with Accessible RI to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA.  The ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990 its purpose is to protect the rights of all disabled Americans by providing guidelines and building codes.  Recently I met with a contact from the Pawtucket School Committee and gave her a business proposal that I have been working on.  She will present this proposal to the committee to try to get me involved in the district's plan for addressing issues of accessibility, health, and safety in Pawtucket elementary schools.  Hopefully more assessments are in my future.

Making Progress

New improvements to the handicap entrance at Graniteville Elementary have been made.  I suggested installing an intercom at the side entrance of Graniteville Elementary while working on my assessments of the Johnston Public Schools.  Special thanks to David Cournoyer for working with me to implement these improvements in accessibility.

From Hall of Fame to Hall of Pain

Hi everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the weather as much as I am...


Driving back from a fun day at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield Massachusetts, everything was going smoothly until we came upon the usually delightful Massachusetts Turnpike.  We heard a loud pop,and the next thing I knew, we were spinning, then I blacked out.  It turns out that one of the tires popped, and like a cross between Pong and Frogger the van spun across the highway, ricocheted off the guardrail, and spun back to the other side of the highway where it came to a halt in a ditch.  With the tire as flat as the Patriots deflated football controversy that week, I had to abandon the van and ride with the EMT's to my next destination, which happened to be a hospital, AKA, Hall of Pain.  With minor physical injuries, common for a hockey player, I was in better shape than my wheelchair and totaled van.

Although I'm happy to be alive, my mobility is extremely limited.  I am waiting for my chair to be fixed as well as the van to be replaced, and in the meantime I am stuck at home.  I am trying to stay positive through all of the legwork required to ensure that the wheelchair issue is taken care of in a timely and (dis)orderly fashion.  Not having a chair is like not having my legs.  Between the wheelchair company, insurance company, and police department, a lot of communication is required, and if there is miscommunication with one of those parties, it derails the whole process.  I am currently brainstorming ways that this process could be improved.  Stay tuned for a follow up post about this process.

On a lighter note, I am having a meeting later this week to discuss a fundraiser to raise money towards a new van.  More details to come, but whatever we come up with will be a lot of fun so check back soon, I will keep you posted.  I would appreciate any comments you would like to leave to keep me from going stir crazy while I'm still stuck at home.


My first post

Wellcome to the Equal Access blog!

I look forward to sharing my experiences and stories along the way. We're still in the process of putting the website together, and we've got a few projects in the planning stages as well. If you have any comments, questions, or feedback I would love to hear from you!

- Stephen