Accommodation Customization Personalization

Last week I got a new manual wheelchair (TiLite Aero Z) but that's not what this post is about. It's about something that, depending on your perspective, is much more minor or broader than getting a new piece of awesome equipment.
It was roughly three months ago that I was being measured so that my new wheelchair would be "customized to be personalized and accommodate" me the physical therapist said. Throughout the fitting for the new chair she continued to use the words almost interchangeably:
"you'll want side guard accommodations to keep your clothes clean.."
"have you picked a color yet? Here are the personalizations that are available to you."
"the type of seat cushion you want can be customized to your body." 
"they can customize the angle of the seat to accommodate the way you sit." 

By the end of that appointment I was excited by these new ultralight wheels that had been accommodated, personalized, and customized to me! Could I have told you what part was an accommodation, and what specifications of the chair were customized? Nope. Now that I'm sitting in the chair and actively using it, I'm not sure that I still could! But after some too-much-thinking on the differences between each of these words, I thought that I'd write what I now *think* each is supposed to mean.

As a legal term this is the easiest to recognize and differentiate. It's a contract between two parties in some kind of disagreement. Accommodation is also meant to mean a favor versus the common misconception of an accommodation being simultaneous with 'a right' that someone wields. Laws are in place to enforce accommodations, but on their own an accommodation holds no binding or accountable legal responsibility. Enough with that jargon though, here are real-life examples... when I ask for an accommodation it is usually in the context of getting some assistance in order to complete a task that my peers are also doing. "I'd like preferential seating so that I can read the lips of the speaker, to accommodate my hearing-loss." "Theaters and concerts have accommodated seating for wheelchair-users as designated by the the wheelchair symbol." "Public transportation has accommodated accessibility features even though not every train operator knows how to use them.." 

I think many O.I.'ers will understand when I say there is standard accessibility and then there's O.I. accessibility. While I can only speak for myself I can say that most 'standard wheelchair accessibility' features are not necessarily appropriate for my size and abilities. That grab bar in the standard-accessible wheelchair stall is ridiculously too far away from my arms reach. The lowered sinks usually require me to still stand on top of my foot rests or seat to turn them on. I think of something as being customized when the shoe literally or figuratively will fit only my foot. I generally also view a customization as something that can be quantified: "My house is customized to me because they measured how tall I am before installing the shower head." "The blazer I just bought was customized by the tailor." "They customized how much push my joystick requires in order for the chair to move." "My desk height is customized so I can slide my wheelchair underneath it, but still be able to comfortably type at the computer." 

Of the three terms I think that this one represents freedom in choice and options the most. It's also an idea that most people will be able to relate to the best; simply put when something is personal or personalized it resonates with our feelings and personalities. When I was in pre-school I personalized all of my belongings by opting to own things in bright pink, or stuck Lisa Frank stickers on top of everything. Personalization happens when I request something because I either like or dislike something. Now that I'm older I do not request things in bright pink, in fact I make every effort to avoid the Pepto Bismol color! "I'm thinking about getting LED spoke lights for the wheels, in blue of course - so my wheels can be personalized in my favorite color." "I wish my horn could be personalized to play my favorite Green Day song like a ring tone." "Yesterday's post was about how I'd like to further personalize my wheelchair this winter..." 

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