Editor's Note

Commentary: What I Love About CRT & Accessibility

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, so while my editor’s notes are often about topics that make me cranky — prior authorization and continuous need for repairs?!? — this column celebrates just a few of the many things I love about the Complex Rehab Technology and accessibility industries:

Three red helium heart-shaped balloons tied with red ribbon are floating against a blue-white sky.

I love how wheelchair riders look like they’re driving their power chairs by magic, because they’re so seamlessly adept at using alternative driving controls.

I love how wheelchair securement systems are becoming sleeker and less obtrusive at the same time they’re becoming easier to use.

I love when a pass is broken up by one or more defenders who would’ve been charged with assault had this happened on the street, but it’s a wheelchair football game, so spectators just yell, “Great play!”

I love seeing tiny kids in power chairs or ultralightweight chairs outpacing their parents, who trot after them and yell, “Stop right there for Mommy! Don’t go any farther! Wait for Daddy!”

I love visiting a seat cushion booth at a tradeshow and “trying out” the cushion display to give my feet a break.

And I love when manufacturers wink and tell me it’s best to sit on these display cushions for a while to truly appreciate their immersion and envelopment properties. (Thank you!)

I love that some of the best conversations at conferences take place in elevators, in the Starbucks line… and in restrooms.

I love that ultralightweight wheelchair rider Katherine Beattie is a writer/producer of top-rated TV show NCIS while also being an extreme athlete.

I love when service dogs encounter civilian dogs, and the civilian dogs start barking and doing normal dog things, and the service dogs don’t react because, “Dude, I’m a professional and I’m working right now.”

I love how anterior tilt makes it possible for powered seating users to move forward and closer to the action, if only to say, “You talkin’ to me?”

I love that wheelchair-accessible vehicles include SUVs, trucks, and other designs I couldn’t have imagined not too many years ago.

I love that wheelchairs in wheelchair fencing are secured to the ground. So hard core!

I love that wheelchair riders are calling airlines out for breaking/losing their wheelchairs, and adding that a $300 “courtesy voucher” doesn’t even start to make things right.

I love seeing power-assist systems rolling through convention centers, parking lots, malls, airports, everywhere life is happening.

I love that when someone mentions that seating and wheeled mobility are tied to better outcomes, function, and quality of life, and someone else says, “Can you prove it?”, the industry can increasingly say, “Yup.” (Thank you, researchers.)

Most of all, I love the energy, creativity, resourcefulness, intelligence, and determination displayed by the seating and wheeled mobility professionals, accessibility professionals, consumers, and caregivers in these fields. I admire how hard you work and how determined you are to support independence and quality of life.

Thank you for letting me report on your industries.

—Laurie Watanabe, editor

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

Seating Benefits Podcast with Ride Designs