Nowadays, mobility for many people with disabilities means being able to be self-determined in their own car. One prerequisite for this is a driver's license. Which detours and obstacles Sascha Scholz had to overcome to get his license, where he went on his subsequent European tour, and how he rolls otherwise, he tells us on REHACARE.com.
Sascha Scholz: Waking up healthy and without pain next to my partner is already a very good start. If we are then still on vacation and in another country I am already very happy.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Sascha Scholz: First and foremost, I guess, is my wheelchair. I have a manual wheelchair (Ottobock) for at home and an e-wheelchair (Permobil) for outside, as I am no longer able to walk. Therefore, my wheelchairs provide me with mobility and independence. As I live in the village with my partner and local public transport is poorly connected, I continue to rely on my converted car (VW T6) to get to work or generally into town or for shopping. My shower chair is essential for my daily hygiene and my banana board is indispensable for the transfer from the wheelchair to bed.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Sascha Scholz: I believe that interaction has improved considerably in recent years. People have become more tolerant and understanding. I am very lucky to have met and found many great people in my life who accept me and my disability as I am. For my friends and colleagues, I as a person come first and not the disability. I would like to see more of society being more mindful. Too often it happens that parking spaces for wheelchair users are blocked by non-disabled people or that people use the elevators and you have to wait as a wheelchair user. I think that many people don't understand or want to understand that wheelchair users rely on very mundane things and that every wheelchair user would be only too happy to take the stairs if they could.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Sascha Scholz is happiest when traveling to foreign countries. And he likes to share that on his blog.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Sascha Scholz: The biggest challenge was probably my driver's license. There was no suitable driving school in Rostock or anywhere here in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The nearest driving school was in Quickborn. I had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and take the public transportation to Quickborn to complete 4 hours of practical driving lessons and then drive half a day back home by bus and train. From bomb threats at the main train station in Hamburg, to people on the tracks, to broken elevators and non accessible stops, I have probably experienced every horror scenario for a wheelchair user. What helped me was the thought of the possibilities that would be possible with a car and a driver's license. And it was definitely worth it. In 2020 my partner and I went to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Nice and Venice by car. You can read about the trip (in German) on our blog www.rollendumdiewelt.de.
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? Sascha Scholz: On the one hand, I am well supplied with aids and on the other hand, we have survived the Corona pandemic well. Therefore, I can unfortunately not make any recommendations here.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Sascha Scholz: I don't really care much about celebrities so it's hard to choose a person for me. I think you could certainly have a lot of interesting conversations with inventors, erudite people or politicians from the past. But you certainly have interesting conversations with people who are still alive, too. If I had to choose one person, it would be the soccer player Lionel Messi, because for me he is the best soccer player in the world and on my bucket list is that I would love to see him play live one day.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Sascha Scholz: Unfortunately, we have not been to REHACARE yet, but we definitely plan to visit it in 2023.
What I wanted to say ...
Sascha Scholz: Before we received the request for the interview, the column was unknown to us. We then immediately looked at and read through the other people who had already introduced themselves, full of excitement. At this point we would like to thank the whole REHACARE team for this section and also the possibility to introduce myself.