Mobile Disco Wheelchair
I have cerebral palsy and being a wheelchair user I got tired of people staring at me and so I decided to transform my power wheelchair into a mobile disco to give them something to stare at! Going out and about in Manchester with flashing lights and a boombox attached to me means I have gained a lot of attention from members of the public but I am happy to say that it has been positive.
Through my life I’ve had a lot of prejudice against me, people not treating me like a human being and only seeing my disability. I hope to raise awareness that disabled people still have a individual personality and like to have fun like everyone else.
My condition affects my speech as well as muscle control. This means I move differently to other people and suffer uncontrollable sporadic movements. Despite what some people assume my mental capacity is entirely intact. I still have all the same needs and desires as everybody else.
Generally the negativity comes in people staring as I pass but what gives me more trouble is when people infantilise me due to my difficulty speaking. Often speaking down to me or ignoring me by talking to my assistants rather than me.
The main point I want to put across really is don't let society dictate on how you live your life, be proud of who you are. If people are that ignorant to stare then use their ignorance to your advantage, make them see you in a different way.
I had just got tired of people staring at me, so figured I’d do something to give them a positive reason to stare.
I also did it to hopefully inspire younger people with disabilities and have confidence issues, to help them feel live their life their way without feeling shy, it's a great icebreaker to start a conversation.
The best thing is that the chair seems to break down the initial barriers to beginning a conversation. People can feel uncomfortable to approach me and make a judgement based purely on my Cerebral Palsy, the disco chair make people look at me in a different light and feel easier about coming to chat. Music brings people together, and I hope my chair will help people think about disabled people in a different light.
What do you think of Lee's chair? Do you find people treat you differently because of your impairment? How do you think we can change people's perceptions of disability?