Power to the People

Upwardly Mobile

Mobility Management is an industry magazine, which means you won't find us on the newsstand at Barnes & Noble.

However, just because consumers don't subscribe to MM doesn't mean they don't find us. This week, I heard from a wheelchair user who recently bought a ticket on an "accessible" cross-country train, only to find himself unable to visit the dining car.

Other notes have come from parents of children with special needs, caregivers who bought vans with doorways too narrow to admit their loved ones' wheelchairs, and a son who wanted to know how to disconnect the alarm from his father's new POV. (They were both annoyed by the beeping when the vehicle backed up.)

In addition to letters that arrive out of the blue, we also hear from end-users when we attend consumer events, including the Abilities Expos, for which we produce our annual consumer edition. At our booth, we distribute magazines and hear an array of questions: "Is there a baseball league for special-needs kids?" "We're new foster parents to a child who uses a wheelchair — how can we make transfers in and out of the bathtub easier?" "My mother needs storage space on her scooter — any suggestions?"

Some questions we answer on the spot, but some we have to research. And if we're getting this many questions — when we don't even have a retail storefront or a rehab business — we can only imagine the questions you must get.

So let us help!

Our new MobileNation column — on the last editorial page, opposite the inside back cover — has information your customers can start using today, from Web site resources to support groups to community heroes. In the months ahead, MobileNation will talk about events, organizations and people who are educational, inspirational, zany or nearly unbelievable. Cut out the pages, collect them and before long — you'll have your own consumer library.

MobileNation is the realm of associate editor Elisha White, who tells me she'll take requests. So the next time a client suggests someone should start an organization for drummers with disabilities … e-mail Elisha at ewhite@stevenspublishing.com, or give her a call at (972) 687-6731.

By the way, Elisha tells me the answer to the last question is www.disableddrummers.org.

This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Mobility Management.

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