Vanessa Lehnert has been severely disabled since a traffic accident in her childhood. But even with her limitations, she is not dependent on help – and for that very reason often has to fight for acceptance. She would like to see more understanding in dealing with disabilities of all kinds. How else she rolls, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Vanessa Lehnert Age: 23 City: Düsseldorf, Germany Occupation: Employee in public sector Impairment: Disability (GdB 60) due to a serious traffic accident in childhood
Vanessa Lehnert: For me, a good day always starts with a smile on my face. I start every day with positive thoughts.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Vanessa Lehnert: I am not dependent on any aids in everyday life.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Vanessa Lehnert: I wish for more acceptance and understanding for any kind of health limitations. My limitations are not immediately visible at first sight. People still don't realize that a person with health problems is not necessarily always dependent on help from others – people just don't think you can do as much.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Vanessa Lehnert: I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
Vanessa Lehnert published her autobiography "Two Days" under the pseudonym Franziska Steinfeld.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Vanessa Lehnert: I already had to overcome many challenges, so I could list numerous of them here. One very significant challenge, however, was to convince my immediate environment and humanity in general that after 17 years, now I have achieved absolute independence and the will to never give up, come what may. What helped me to achieve this? Myself! I alone am responsible for my happiness and my future!
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?
Vanessa Lehnert: More accessibility should be created. There are still so many things to improve in numerous places. Unfortunately, there are rarely people on the road these days who provide assistance to health-impaired people – be it holding doors open or in shops in general.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Vanessa Lehnert: I would like to meet so many people. On the one hand, Monica Lierhaus, so that I can have a general exchange with her. On the other hand, the German rapper Kontra K, because he writes the words from my soul. I even had one of his quotes tattooed on my upper arm.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Vanessa Lehnert: I often visited REHACARE when I was still in a wheelchair. I was always very amused by the attractions for the children.
What I wanted to say ...
Vanessa Lehnert: After 17 years, I finally decided to write a book about my stroke of fate. In this way, I have managed to touch people emotionally who can still empathize with what I experienced in childhood – or who have heard about it for the first time.