Happy Wednesday everybody! I hope you’ve had a great week since we last caught up and I hope you enjoyed last week’s blog on self care being ‘not so’ cliché!
So I’m sure you’ve been loving our blog posts from our ambassadors! They’re all AMAZING! However, there has been one ambassador in particular who has caught my attention recently and that’s Jarard!
Jarard has been writing about his journey using Rexbionics…and I’m fascinated by Jarard’s journey. You can read his story here.
I originally heard of ‘Rex’ back in 2010/11 when it was very new! It’s an exoskeleton machine that helps individuals with mobility impairments to walk.
When I mentioned using it to one of my friends at the time, I remember how negatively he responded. My friend is also disabled like me. I understand why he was concerned though. To him, it was because I used the exact same phrase as I used above – to be able to walk.
As disabled activists, we have fought hard to change society’s perceptions of disabled people. We actively talk and promote ‘The Social Model of Disability.’ This is the theory that society has a responsibility to remove barriers that disabled people face – both physical and attitudinal barriers. It’s once these barriers are removed so is disability. For example, what makes me disabled is when there’s steps to enter a building. It’s not my impairment itself. Negative attitudes also play a big part in this. For example, negative attitudes or a lack of willingness to adapt to somebody’s needs.
The traditional view of disability has been ‘The Medical Model of Disability’ and this is when the onus of fitting into society is placed on the individual with the impairment. It’s a very unhelpful view and this is where prejudices from other people come from.
So in short, I get why my friend was concerned. In me wanting to be ‘able to walk’ can be viewed as a Medical Model approach. It’s me fitting into society rather than society meeting my needs. And wanting to ‘fit in’ can cause all psychological distress because there’s that element of not accepting who you are.
I didn’t pursue Rex at the time. After researching into it, I realised that at the time, that it was more appropriate for people with Spinal Cord Injuries. However, after speaking with Jarard and doing recent research, I know Rexbionics have started to investigate how this could be used with people who have other impairments like mine.
So why do I want new legs? I don’t actually, but it was a catchy title! I like my legs. And I accept who I am. I actively empower others to accept who they are through my coaching business. And I challenge society’s perceptions on perceived capabilities.
But I am still keen to explore Rex. This is because I know that standing would have huge benefits for me. Even if it’s a little, being able to wait bare would help me sleep and reduce the stiffness in my legs. For me, it’ll be like the equivalent of working out at the gym, rather than being able to walk per se. I wouldn’t be substituting my chair for it, but I do think it’d help with a lot.
I know leisure facilities should do more and society in general to meet disabled people’s needs. However, I’m so excited about the possibilities of what Rex could bring.
If I’m being honest with you, it’s about artificial intelligence too. One thing I hate is to rely on others and rely on ‘accessible facilities’ for me to go to the toilet. I think being a disabled woman also brings its own challenges. I would love to use a device to help me be more independent myself and I know Rex can’t do this but it definitely shows hope for the way the future may go and I know this may be controversial but something that can offer more choice to people.
I’ll keep you tuned on my journey.
Until next time,
(p.s. you can find out more about Rexbionics by clicking here)
(p.p.s. fancy becoming an ambassador? You can by clicking here)