Instead of new assistive devices, Alina Esleben would like to see a normalization of accessible public spaces and transportation. On REHACARE.com she shares her thoughts on local production within the assistive technology industry and how she rolls otherwise.
Name: Alina Esleben Age: 30 City: Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany Occupation: Mom (Unfortunately, I could not find a job before, despite more than 800 applications during the past two years. This was mostly justified with my Personal Assistance). Impairment: Spinal muscular atrophy, type 3 and fibromyalgia
Alina Esleben: A good day is a warm day, where I have some energy and at best no pain. Preferably in the peace and quiet of nature with my family.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Alina Esleben: My power wheelchair, my car, and my Personal Assistance are my indispensable tools.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Alina Esleben: I wish that people would speculate less from behind your back and rather ask questions up front. And children are allowed to look at someone in a funny way or say/ask "embarrassing" things.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Alina Esleben: I don’t think that there is a need for new aids. Rather, it should be normalized to build ramps instead of stairs, to build toilets large enough so that everyone can use them, and to make buses and trains at ground level.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Alina Esleben: Hmmm, my biggest challenge... I think that is my life. I get help from my family, great assistants, and open-minded people.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Alina Esleben: What the auxiliary means industry should learn from Corona, is to produce locally. Even before that, the "Asian quality" was not exactly convincing. But Corona proved once again that long delivery routes in exchange for a lower price is the wrong approach.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Alina Esleben: If nothing was impossible, there are many things I would like to do, but no one in particular I would like to meet.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Alina Esleben: I have been to REHACARE twice so far, but both times I had too little time unfortunately. I was very happy that my wheelchair could be repaired at short notice. Test driving different wheelchairs and active-cars by PARAVAN and Zawatzky was the most convincing.