Preliminary insights from Motorised Mobility Devices research

Preliminary insights from Motorised Mobility Devices research – University of Wollongong and ATSA

The year 1981 was proclaimed the International Year of Disabled Persons by the United Nations. It called for a plan of action with an emphasis on equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

It is now 40 years since Australia took part and based on the some of the preliminary findings, we are still a long way from inclusion and addressing some of the most basic needs for users of MMDs to get around.

To date, the University of Wollongong has interviewed 50 people using wheelchairs or scooters. The initial common themes from respondents coming through is:
• The lack of infrastructure continues to create difficulties for respondents to participate in everyday activities these include broken footpaths, cars parked across footpaths, steep gradients, no ramps. This in some cases, forcing MMD users to take risks such as using the road as a passage to
get around.
• Evidence is emerging that due to the approach to design spaces for standing and walking bodies this attitude is contributing to real emotional – fear, frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, and shame as people encountered situations that caused interruptions to their journeys. These emotional
intensities may accumulate over time and work to prevent people from living the lives they want to live.
• Mobility is inherently related to independence and positive emotions such as happiness, love and joy at being able to move freely. This is reinforcing the importance of social and material infrastructures that can support the free flow of sitting and wheeling bodies.

If you have trouble accessing the survey or would like further information please email Dr Theresa Harada at the University of Wollongong or phone 0423 383 113 and leave a message.

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