Alain Zanchetta is a fighter. He would have to overcome difficulties early on, but he has gained a lot of strength and confidence as a result. As a designer, he develops inclusive design products himself to help other people. At the same time, his job offers him the security and perspective he craves. At REHACARE.com he tells us how he rolls otherwise.
Alain Zanchetta: Days when I can dedicate time to my physical and "mental" health, exercise and meet friends.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Alain Zanchetta: Fortunately, at the moment I do not need any aids to cope with everyday life.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Alain Zanchetta: Fortunately, society is already more sensitive than it was in the past, but I wish people would judge less by appearance. Having a physical disability does not automatically mean that we are also cognitively impaired. It would also be nice if people were less shy about asking "what we have".... I'm not talking about the people for whom the disability doesn't matter, but about those who would naturally like to ask, but don't dare because of shame or fear to offend someone. Often it is up to us to make the first step and "solve" the situation with a joke.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Alain Zanchetta: Very difficult question. This would probably depend on the person.
Alain Zanchetta would like for other people to be more comfortbale and open to address people with disabilities, so that the first step of rapprochement is being made.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Alain Zanchetta: The biggest challenge I overcame was to survive. I was born when my lungs were just developing. The love of my parents and the care of the nurses were probably crucial. I still carry the fighter nature and confidence of the little person I was. These enable me to overcome the challenges of life. Each age period brings different challenges. The ones overcome seem smaller in retrospect, so it is difficult to answer the question. The last big challenge was finding a steady job that would give me perspective. Family, friends and contacts were crucial in overcoming this.
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?
Alain Zanchetta: The pandemic has forced us to be more creative when it comes to solving problems and dealing with constant change. We have been pushed out of our comfort zone. That's what I'd like to see for the auxiliary means industry. That it becomes more creative, that it moves out of its comfort zone, that it meet its audience, that it listens to them. The attitude of "we do it this way because we've always done it this way" is no longer enough nowadays. Creating a sense of belonging and participation through the products offered is very important to create an inclusive society that leaves no one behind. Many small labels and companies are already engaged in this sense, and I hope that more and more will follow.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Alain Zanchetta: I would love to go out for pizza with Mick Jagger or have a glass of wine with Tina Turner.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Alain Zanchetta: Unfortunately, I haven't been there yet.