A Discovery Made that Impacts Her Digital Life and More

Life Stories
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
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  • How do we realize we are unique, and when does it begin impacting our lives? 
  • Despite having cerebral palsy and using a power wheelchair at the age of seven, it takes a trip to Shriners Hospital for Carrie to realize part of her uniqueness is a disability. 
  • It wasn't until she saw other children who don't quite walk, talk, or move like most of the kids at her school she realized they are different and so is she.

Meet Carrie

Digging through the piles of dirty and clean clothes on the floor I was doing my best to find clothes that were cool and clean to wear to school.

I knew I had to leave for school pretty soon. I was waiting for my mom to come into my room and tell me to hurry up, so we were not late.

But she didn't understand. I had to find a cool outfit. I wasn't a little kid anymore. I was almost seven.

I didn't want Dora the Explorer. So, I found a clean tie-dye top and some pink leggings.

My mom was whispering on the phone. 

I heard her use my nickname Monkey. Only my grandma called me Monkey. That must be who mom was talking too.

She was trying to talk quietly but not quite whispering. I heard her say something about going to the mall.

Wait a minute, I'm not going to school? 

As I poured my cereal without milk. I never put milk on my Lucky Charms. The milk makes the marshmallows feel funny.

Today could be awesome! I'm not going to school, and I'm going to the mall. I asked my mom if this was true. "Eat your cereal. We are in a hurry”, was her response.

I was for sure we were going to the mall.

My mind was spinning. I was coming up with fantastic scenarios of how my parents and I were going to spend a glorious day skipping school.

I picked all the marshmallows out of my cereal and ate a few of the other pieces. As soon as I was done, my dad hurried me out the door and my mom was right behind us.

This was weird, my mom always took forever to leave any time we were getting ready to go. But not this time. 

As we got in the car, I was getting more and more excited. I wasn't going to school. Not to mention, I was living out all those awesome fantasies in my head.

I asked where we were going. My mom told me we were going to the mall. I could tell she was trying to stay calm and hide the excitement in her voice.

This was going to be a great day. Clearly, she has something exciting planned for us.

My mom asked my dad if he knew how to get there and reminded him, we didn't want to be late.

We go to the mall all the time, of course my dad knows how to get there.

I could see the mall getting closer out the window. I was getting more excited and more excited. The kind of raw, innocent excitement kids experience when they're getting ready to tear into their birthday or Christmas presents.

Dad missed his turn. We were going to have to turn around.

We didn't turn around. 

We kept driving until we got to a big white building with a big circular garden in the parking lot.

There were lots of kids going in and out the big sliding doors at the front of the building.

These kids didn't look like the kids at school. They looked like me.

The last thing I remember before going into the building was hearing my mom say, “Going to need to learn to cope with her disability.”

Real World Impact

There's no doubt Carrie has had to develop Highly unique techniques and approaches when it comes to getting dressed and her morning routine. For Carrie, the challenges and need to adapt and overcome don’t stop there.

She has most likely made annotations to home life and environment at school. Being only seven years old. She may have incorporated these approaches into her everyday activities without realizing she was doing something unique.

This aspect of Carrie's story speaks to our passion as accessibility technologists and accessibility advocates. Our goal when creating accessible digital environments is to have equality. We want everyone, from someone without a disability to those with disabilities to enjoy shopping, looking up information and binge watching on their computer, laptop, and/or mobile phone.    

Something that sets us apart is we want to make sure those with disability have the same user experience as those who don’t have disability.  To do so we our solution suite ensures it happens while for the companies who choose to do so capture the opportunity that achieving and maintaining digital accessibility creates.  

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