3 Ways I Conquer Stairs

Roughly 80% of the time I am in my wheelchair. Whether it's my manual or power wheelchair I have immense appreciation for flat terrain, ramps, curb cuts, and low door thresholds. But of course this is not the reality of our world. I think it was around the time I was in the third grade that I began to mentally 'unfold' stairs in my head. Around that time it was a "cool" thing for the girls in my class to fold paper fans that we would then decorate and trade. As I folded my paper fans I used to wish that stairs, in the real world, could be just as easily collapsible and flattened.

But as a teenager and young person I began going to my friend's houses and around town on my own. Encountering stairs are inevitable, especially that ONE stair step in front of that ONE store you have to get into. What to do?!

Here are the 3 ways I have conquered stairs:

1. Climb up them. 
The first house I lived in had 1 flight of stairs. It was there, in the safety of my own home (and around the watchful eyes of my parents), that I perfected my technique for the climb-crawl. For each person this technique is going to be different. The one tip that I would stress is that if the stairs have carpet pads -- MAKE SURE those are securely fastened to the step themselves. There were a few times when those carpet pads came loose and I had a few close calls of what COULD have been an incredibly painful fall.

2. Tell THEM to come down. 
Around the time of middle school is when parents stop hovering around when their children have friends over. Whenever I went over to my friend's house my mom or dad would carry me to the front door. My friend's mom would answer the door, "Hey everyone!! Sandy is here!!!" She would holler up the stairs and a mad stampede of feet would come running down. This was never something that I had to explain to my friends, it was just understood that when Sandy is over we should all hang out downstairs.

3. Ask them to accommodate. 
There is a street in Boston that is notorious for its trendy shopping and eateries. Most of the stores are in brownstones, and many of the restaurants are tucked underneath them. My friends and I joke that I would become an instant millionaire if I were to sue the entire street for inaccessibility, but alas I have yet to act on that dream. In those instances I have done my shopping online, figured out what I want, called the store up and asked them to bring the item out to me. It's a little weird, I agree -- but it works! And a few times... I have gotten some pretty awesome discounts because they managers regretted their inaccessibility.

Side note: There is a CVS nearby that has ONE step into it. Every time I pass by it I think in my head: YOU CAN'T CALL YOURSELF A CONVENIENCE STORE IF YOU'RE INCONVENIENT! 

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