We enjoyed our first ever Fourth of July in the USA last week.
Taking a weeks holiday on the way home from the Society for Disability Studies annual conference in Orlando, Florida we got to experience some wonderful times with great people both in Orlando and LA.
In true form we didn’t miss the opportunity to “pimp” Mac’s wheelchair – he was well and truly ready to celebrate in style with the rest of the USA. A couple of flags some cut up plastic tablecloths woven to represent the USA flag on his wheels and his chair was right to go.
The exciting part was we actually got to participate IN the local parade with our friends and their friends who also had international visitors staying. We helped decorate a ’66 Ford pickup, decked ourselves out in flag shirts from Old Navy and sat back and enjoyed the ride.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
My mindset is changing. I am starting to see more and more new opportunities for Mac to be exposed to more auditory information because of his significant vision impairment.
I have always tried to remember to tell him where we are going in the car – but do forget on a fairly regular basis.
On our recent trip away we borrowed my Dad’s ‘Navman‘ (GPS device) because I was driving in unfamiliar territory (and a city) so I was needing to just concentrate on the roads & traffic.
I am so impressed by how fantastic these devices are and, as an aside, am sure the divorce rates will decrease significantly if we mandate for one in every car.
But what I really loved is the feedback this device provides Mac (maybe anyone with a vision impairment).
Danny (our chosen voice) the Navman tells where we are going and what we are doing. When he says “in 200 metres turn right” Mac gets the idea we are still going straight ahead for now. Then, in a short timeframe we generally come to a stop, Danny says “turn right” and Mac is exposed to the vestibular sensation of turning right. When Danny says “continue on the freeway for 358km” Mac will soon learn we have a fair distance to cover.
I had never anticipated this ‘bonus’ to these GPS devices. I had always thought I wanted one so I could find accessible toilets in unfamiliar towns, or accessible routes when on foot & wheel – I am not 100% sure if these options are available – I guess they might be on the ‘higher end’ products.
Provided I can tolerate Danny’s ‘yapping’ I could use this on any trip, (school, town, shops etc) and Mac will be exposed to heaps of information I hadn’t anticipated. It doesn’t even need to be in the front with me on the basic trips we do – it could be back with Mac. I can use it as a prompter/reminder to teach him about so many different aspects of road use/travel/transport. And, because it is in the car it will remind me to tell him where we are going and what we are doing.
So, I guess a ‘Navman is in our future’. Now just to save up… unless Santa decides to drop one in Mac’s Xmas stocking this year, hmm I might have to discuss this with Mac.