Worldwide mobileWOMEN - India

by Amy Saffell
Sarmistha Sinha

I have a pretty sunny outlook on life, but, at times, I still find myself lamenting about certain aspects of having a disability. Accessibility issues, wheelchair malfunctions, healthcare, insurance, transportation issues, attitudinal barriers…there is a lot to deal with sometimes. I do try to put it all into perspective, and one of the things that I think about is how different my life might be if I lived in another country, particularly one where the resources for people with disabilities are scarce and the society’s views of people with disabilities aren’t positive. I’ve always wanted to know what life was like for someone with a disability living abroad, so I jumped at the chance to interview Sarmistha Sinha, a woman living in India with a spinal cord injury. Her struggles and the way that she has persevered have certainly left an impression on me, as I hope it will you.

Accessible Camping with KOA

by Rebecca Sanchez

Summer has at last arrived. My husband and I have been discussing where to take the kids on vacation for the last couple of days. We both know that picking a vacation spot also means spending time doing research to find out about accessibility for any trip we're considering. However, we have learned that it does not matter how much research we do because once we arrive at the destination, it may not be as accessible as was expressed to us by phone. For instance, one hotel described their bathroom as having grip bars, a shower chair, and an accessible shower. When we got there, there were no grip bars, the shower chair was not stable, and the shower was definitely not accessible. But setbacks like these don't stop my family and I from venturing out of our comfort zone to find new vacation destinations and ideas. 
Last Labor Day weekend we’d planned a family trip to San Antonio, Texas. My cousin had suggested that instead of staying at a hotel in which the kids would be cooped up, we stay at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) campsite. I had never heard of the KOA campsite and was weary about the idea of the bathroom being in a separate building than our cabin. Nonetheless, we gave the idea of camping a try!

Parenting with a Disability: Overcoming Society's Expectations with Love and Confidence

by Christinne Rudd

Being a mom is a challenging role for anyone. Add having a disability to the mix and the adventure has just begun. Getting to know how your limitations are going to affect your ability to parent and finding out what's available to help you get the job done combined are like solving a puzzle. Then once the baby arrives, you have to get adjusted to him or her at each stage of life, all the while finding ways to meet the everyday challenges of parenting.  

Even though these aspects of parenting may sound overwhelming, the role of parent can be lots of fun because it allows you the opportunity to have a hand in our society's future viewpoints. When it comes to the topic of our society's viewpoint in today's world, in my experience, people seem to automatically discount your ability as a parent just because of the physical limitations you exhibit to the rest of the world.

Beauty On Wheels

By Katie Rodriguez Banister

En guard mirror
I see you taunting me in my chair
So shiny and gleaming
The morning rise
I rub my eyes and peep into your flat form
I’ve seen enough!
I want to start my day rolling
In empowering ways
If I sit before you too long
I might not leave the house
You reflect my soul’s suitcase
A wheeler who rides
Let’s pimp that ride
Your response? 
“Not so much”
There’s another blemish
A new wrinkle there
And what’s with all the chin hair?
Tweezers to the rescue
Ouch! Hey! That hurt!
Sake of beauty
Sake of beauty
Be kind to me glass
Reflecting what is before you
The truth
There are days
I cannot and will not
Handle the truth!
Real beauty comes from the inside
Beauty’s form we cannot hide
I use to think beauty was skin deep
Facials and peels and a good night’s sleep
Ageing in my chair
Has taught me to think in different ways
No more riding the beauty craze
I turned off the TV
To see the real me
I looked in the mirror and a great surprise
I decided, “I’m not buying the media’s lies”
My skins not perfect and my hair can be a mess
But I now look into my mirror and roll on with finesse
Katie Rodriguez Banister, pictured with her husband Steve, co-founded and is a speaker, author, and actor who enjoys sharing her perspective with the hope to help and empower others. Katie has been a woman on wheels since an auto accident in 1990, at the age of twenty-five, who believes you may not always be in control of what happens but you can control how you react to it.  It’s not easy, but knowledge is power and please note; Katie’s a work in progress.