How can we arrive in an inclusive world? Tobi Kroll has a few suggestions, because he is always thinking about barriers – both structural and social. But he also has some ideas about how society can accommodate people with disabilities. Who he would like to discuss our society with and how he otherwise rolls, he tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Tobi Kroll Age: 28 City: Herborn, Germany Occupation: Industrial manager Impairment: I am paraplegic.
Tobi Kroll: Being healthy, when my loved ones are well and the feeling of having been productive.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Tobi Kroll: Wheelchair, catheter, my transfer board and a height-adjustable bed. They are my basic supplies. What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Tobi Kroll: People with disabilities must mirror part of the image of society and structural barriers must be a thing of the past. Only then can the barriers in the mind be loosened. Then we will have arrived in an inclusive world.
As a wheelchair user, I am primarily disturbed by structural barriers and when people are constantly made aware of the limitations of people with disabilities. How are they then to be normalised in society? The wheelchair is not visible to me, only to those around me. People with disabilities are not worth more or less, nobody is better or worse. But we are not all the same either: people are unique, but we are all human beings. I wish for humanity, charity and mutual respect for every human being.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Tobi Kroll: An ultrasound sensor for the bladder with connectivity to an app to display the level of the bladder.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you to do so?
Tobi Kroll: Getting my life back on an even keel after my road accident. It helped me to see the people by my side happy because I fought my struggle.
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?
Tobi Kroll: The assistive technology sector and society as a whole is currently feeling what it means to be restricted: quarantine, limited opportunities for leisure activities – for many people with disabilities, this is everyday life.
Due to the pandemic, more cooking is being done at home, but the assistive technology sector of household aids is not looking so good. Unfortunately, many everyday kitchen utensils still have to be purchased for expensive money, even though they are necessary for people with disabilities. There are some, but there is still a lot of room for improvement – household aids must be part of the basic supply.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Tobi Kroll:Friedrich Nietzsche for a coffee, with croissants and jazz in the morning, to philosophise about our society today and its development.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Tobi Kroll: My trusted medical supply store, in cooperation with the manufacturer of my wheelchair and the manufacturer of my auxiliary drive, developed a special construction solution for my wheelchair: The SmartDrive MX2 on a rigid-axle wheelchair with a one-hand drive – mine was the first in Germany. An experience that would have cost some more time without REHACARE.
What I finally want to say...
Tobi Kroll: Thank you for your work and stay healthy!