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What would you do? (and I need to rant to people who get this)

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    What would you do? (and I need to rant to people who get this)

    Hey everyone,

    Hope all is well here on the forums. Quick update and segway into the reason for this post...I will be graduating with my Masters in Social Work next Friday after some intense personal and family struggles tried to knock me off course at times.

    I would like to participate in my school's commencement ceremony, however there will be barriers that significantly impact how I participate. The main concerns I have are the thick carpet throughout that is very difficult to push through, the steep (and not ADA compliant) aisles I would need assistance pushing up, and the fact that the only area of the auditorium that is flat ground for me to sit at is in the back and away from where the graduates will be sitting. The front aisle is sloped for me to even make my way to a stair lift to get on stage.

    Essentially, my options are 1) Do not participate or 2) Participate and require significant physical assistance making my way to the stage and back to my seat which is nowhere near my peers.

    I don't know which is worse. I do not have a power chair I can use. I have the thought I should suck it up and use assistance, but I really loathe looking more obvious and out of place then will already be occurring.

    I'm just curious what other people would do if in my shoes? No doubt I will be telling the Dean and other administration how inappropriate this venue is for people using wheelchairs.
    Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
    -Dorothy Thompson


    #2
    Congratulations to you on all of your hard work. The auditorium was the same way when I graduated in 1995. Our work around plan was for me to sit on the stage throughout the ceremony and then jump in line when my name was called. Once my name was called, I went across the stage and then exited the side of the stage and around the back and back to where I was sitting before my name was called. It worked out fine for me, though I was majorly stressed before hand. We did a walk through and all was comfortable by the time graduation came. Sometime we don't get the opportunity to have the ideal situation but there is usually a work around that can get us through those important moments in life. Good luck to you!
    DFW TEXAS- T-10 since March 20th, 1994

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      #3
      Relax and enjoy the moment! You earned it. I'd just get the help and have fun.

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        #4
        That's a long journey Ashley, you must feel very contented. Good luck in the years to come.

        As to the graduation, I skipped mine because nothing was accessible. A little worse than yours, but not by that much. But I was older, so it didn't really matter to me either way. In your case, you only get one of these and after the actual act of receiving your diploma, that's when the real fun starts anyway, and it'll be somewhere accessible. The rest is just process.
        Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
        Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

        Thanks!

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          #5
          Congratulations to you for earning your master's degree!!

          As for the graduation, I've been in a situation very similar to yours, many years ago. Looking back on it now, I wish that I would have spoken up more. Imo, you should be able to attend your ceremony, without any complications. Have you spoken to anyone about this? How difficult would it be for the administration to change the location to one that is accessible for everyone? I don't understand how a college that is accessible enough to have students attend and pay for classes, is not properly equipped to have those same students attend the ceremony comfortably. I hope that you are able to find some resolution to this.

          For the record, and for what it is worth, I am glad that I attended my ceremony, even though I needed help too.
          Last edited by Sugarcube; 9 May 2013, 7:23 AM. Reason: shortened..

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            #6
            Congratulations!

            Have you considered asking someone who especially helped you during your studies to assist you with pushing? The person would probably be honored by the request, and there is no way the administration could claim that it wasn't "reasonable accommodation" to have someone sit by you so you could sit with your classmates.

            I know that you might not choose one of your family, but a friend, mentor, or even a special professor are possible choices.
            Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

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              #7
              I have attended graduations where one student in a wheelchair and another with braces and crutches came out and then exited side stage when they were called. On the other hand, I was at a conference where they built a temporary ramp parallel with the stage that people in wheelchairs could go up. IMO both suck. You feel singled out from the rest of the participants.
              You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
              http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

              See my personal webpage @
              http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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                #8
                Congratulations on your degree. I can't believe they let the situation drag on for so long. If it were me, I would get rather obnoxious about it and ask them what sort of accommodations they are going to make. If they don't cooperate, and I suspect that they will, I would hire somebody in a bunny outfit to push me around.
                Tom

                "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by TomRL View Post
                  Congratulations on your degree. I can't believe they let the situation drag on for so long. If it were me, I would get rather obnoxious about it and ask them what sort of accommodations they are going to make. If they don't cooperate, and I suspect that they will, I would hire somebody in a bunny outfit to push me around.
                  Probably wasn't a good answer. I admit to being in a surly mood today. Perhaps just asking how you can work together to satisfy your desire to participate in the commencement.
                  Tom

                  "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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                    #10
                    The bunny suit was an excellent suggestion imo. Wish I would have thought of that way back when.

                    Originally posted by TomRL View Post
                    Probably wasn't a good answer. I admit to being in a surly mood today. Perhaps just asking how you can work together to satisfy your desire to participate in the commencement.
                    Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
                    Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

                    Thanks!

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                      #11
                      It is outrageous that your accessibility wasn't one of the first issues dealt with. You paid the same amount for your degree as your classmates and should have been approached months ago. Unacceptable.

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                        #12
                        Another alternative would be to have the presenter bring your diploma down to you and publicly apologize for not having an accessible facility in front of the audience.
                        You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
                        http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

                        See my personal webpage @
                        http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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                          #13
                          Congrats!

                          Yeah, I agree with the previous posters.

                          For my grad (back in 1979 mind you) I was brought in and "seated" first with a classmate. So I missed the procession, I didn't care. I was also the last to exit.

                          I'd say ask for the help, bitch about the lack of accessibility, inclusion, and enlightenment by the school admin (who should know better!), but mostly have a great time and celebrate your achievement!

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                            #14
                            First of all, congratulations!

                            If you want to attend, by all means, you should attend. We're always put the side, or in weird spots, so this is no different. The question really should be do you want to go? If so, go. After all, you earned it.

                            Oh, and get ready for loudest round of applause for graduating. HAHA!
                            Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

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                              #15
                              Just go.

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