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Joseph Holden

I certify that this assignment is my own work. I have not plagiarized any of
its contents, nor have I collaborated with other students in writing this paper.
Joseph Holden

Figure 1: Social Context


Indoor

Figure 2:
Wheelchair Simulation
Joseph Holden
RPTM 277
October 11, 2016
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Joseph Holden

Dr. Dattilo

Figure 3: Outdoors

Figure 4: Recreation Activity


The start of my wheelchair simulation began in the Ford building in
room 701. From there I left the Ford building and when down Allen road. I
then turned left at Curtain street and traveled to the Agricultural and Science
Industries (ASI) building. After spending a sometime there, I went back on
Curtain where I met with my friend. Next we went down Shortlidge road and
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then onto Pollock to the HUB. In the HUB we went to Panda Express for an
hour. After getting food we went down Pollock to and up Burrowes road to the
frat house Alpha Zeta. After hanging out there for a while we went to the bus
station where I got on the bus to head back to my apartment at The Pointe.
From there we played various sports including tossing a football around for
and playing basketball. After we tossed the football around we then went into
our apartment. I had to carry the wheelchair up the stairs to my room since
there was no elevator to get to my room. A similar situation in the article by
Kenneth S. Pope, where a girl was not able to get to the upper levels of a
library and had to get someone to bring the books down to her. (Kenneth
2004) This can be an issue that can be addressed to building that are not up
to code with accessibility After being in my apartment for a bit we then went
back outside and to the main lobby area at The Pointe to get a basketball to
play on the indoor court that they had. We played for about half an hour. The
experiment then ended after playing basketball.
While I was out traveling around I ran into a decent number of
environmental barriers. There were architectural barriers and ecological
barriers. Both hindered my ability to get around with ease. There were
various ecological barriers that I encountered. They will be mentioned in
chronological order of when they happened. Architectural barriers are the
absence of curb cuts, steps, and other architectural limitations. To start, I had
trouble getting through the door to get out of the RPTM student center. Once
I left the room I got into the elevator to go down to the first floor. The
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elevator was small and I had trouble getting in the elevator as well as turning
my wheelchair around so I would be able to get out. Then I had to go through
the two doors to get out of the building. They door frame was barely big
enough to get the wheelchair through. Most of the time I had to pull myself
through the door to get completely through. In the article on Entrances,
Doors, and Gates, it is mentioned that the minimum width of a door is 32
inches (2016). This does not seem like it would be enough room to easily get
a wheelchair through without smashing fingers on the door frame. The next
architectural barrier was the curb cuts. They allowed for a good transition
from the sidewalk to the road but not every curb cut has a smooth transition.
Getting back up on the sidewalk required a fair amount of momentum to be
gained so I would not get stuck on the road. This occurred a few more times
as I encountered the curb cuts. Once I got to the ASI building I had to go
around to the side of the building that had the wheelchair accessible ramp.
They ramp can be described as a two-part ramp where I would go up the first
part and turn completely around and finish going up the ramp. After making
it half way up the first part of the ramp the slope was at such an incline that
each time I pushed the wheels forward they front wheels of the wheelchair
would come up. This happened each time I moved forward getting up this
ramp. The turnaround part gave me difficulties due to the amount of space
given to turn around. The second part of the ramp seemed harder than the
first due to the incline. The door to the building once again was difficult to
get through. I then went upstairs to my moms office. The hallway had chairs
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and tables in it where there were a few students working. I had trouble
getting through them. When leaving the building, we left through the ground
floor and the doors getting out of the building were again a struggle to get
through. After waiting for my friend, we went to the HUB to get food at Panda
Express. The table and chairs that were set up in such a way that I had
difficulty getting through. Also, finding a table where I could sit at without
being in the way of others was a challenge. After leaving the HUB we went to
the fraternity house Alpha Zeta. I was not able to get into the house since
there was no ramp to get in. I had my friends pull me up the stairs to get me
in as well as leaving down the stairs. Next, we got on the bus and headed
back to my apartment. Once we got back to our apartment I could not get
into my room since my room was on the second floor with no way of getting
up there besides the stairs. With all these architectural barriers, I
encountered I was surprised on how often I had to struggle with simply
getting into a building. Along with the architectural barriers there were
ecological barriers that included hills, weather, and natural environmental
obstacles. These obstacles will be listed in chronological order. After I left the
Ford building and made my way to the ASI building, I realized that going up
the smallest hills required a fair amount of effort. I had to be careful going
downhill since I had to keep my hands on the wheels to prevent myself from
going too fast down the hills. I found this our while traveling down to the HUB
to get food. After the HUB we went to Burrowes road where I had to have my
friend push me up the hill. I was too physically exhausted to put any effort
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into getting up that hill. Traveling on the flat areas around campus put my
physical strength to the test more than I would have thought. Once I got
back to my apartment complex I had to have my friend push me all the way
back to my apartment since there was a slight incline all the way to my
apartment. These were the ecological barriers that I encountered while
conducting this experiment.
When I was conducting this experiment, I encountered verbal and nonverbal reactions from the people I interacted with and some that I did not
interact with. These reactions are in order of which they occurred in the
experiment. When I began the experiment, I encountered several non-verbal
reactions. These reactions were glances from the student that would be
walking by. I continued to get these looks throughout the entirety of the
experiment. I saw that when people looked at me and I looked back at them
they would often look away quickly as if they did not want me to notice them
looking at me. While going to the ASI building I noticed that people would
willingly move out of the way for me compared to if I was not in the
wheelchair. When I got to the building I was going past a female student who
said Hey to me. I found this interesting because I normally do not get
females to say anything to me if I am just casually walking by. Did she feel
obligates to say something to me since I was in a wheelchair? As I attempted
to enter the building I was struggling with the handicap button and the guy
standing nearby offered to open the door for me. After I got into the building
and made my way to my moms office I encountered a barrier with the
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students at their desks in the hallway. When they noticed me, they
apologized for the inconvenience and moved their stuff out of the way for
me. Once I left the ASI building and was making my way down to the HUB I
got more non-verbal reactions such as staring and an occasional head turn. I
was surprised when I was at the HUB I did not receive the amount of nonverbal and verbal reactions that I thought I would get. When I was at Alpha
Zeta I received a various amount of questions about why I was in a
wheelchair. I then went to the bus stop where I received a numerous amount
of reaction while I was getting on the bus. The bus driver had to go out of his
way to lower the ramp for me. He then had to strap me in next to the seats
in the front of the bus. This took approximately five extra minutes that
probably inconvenienced several students on the bus. I could feel all the
eyes on that bus were focused on me the entire ride back to my apartment
complex. Then the bus driver had to go through the same steps but in
reverse to get me from the bus. When I went to the main lobby at the Pointe
I had to interact with the people there about getting a basketball. The guy
mentioned to me that I could not play basketball. I proceeded to tell him that
I would give it a try. I predicted that most of the verbal and non-verbal
reactions would happen but there were a few that took me by surprise.
An ethical issue that I had encountered while doing this experiment
that that I deceived people into thinking I had an actual physical disability. I
am sure if someone who was confined to a wheelchair with a disability saw a
student preforming this experiment would most likely have mixed emotions.
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Some would say its a great idea to allow more people to step into their
world. But some might think since we are not physically disabled that we
might be sending the wrong message. During the experiment, I did my best
to stay in the wheelchair the whole time. There was one time where I had to
get out of my wheelchair to use the bathroom in my apartment that was on
the second floor. Besides that moment I had professionally while only stating
what the experiment was about to those who asked. Personally, I do not have
anyone that I know that is disabled to a wheelchair but being able to be put
on their shoes for a few hours has given me a new perspective on how
difficult it is get around in a local environment and throughout buildings. The
main ethical challenges I had was the fact that I thought the people around
me knew that I was not actually physically disabled. It also felt wrong to me
that I was taking up time with getting on the bus and getting around the
campus because I was not actually disabled. Also, it seemed to me that I
looked like I did not have the full understanding and familiarization of the
wheelchair. This could have made people suspicious on whether that I was
physically disabled.
After graduation, I would like to be in the field of outdoor recreation.
Somewhere along the lines of a park ranger or wildlife conservation officer.
This experiment has given me a few hours to step into the world of someone
who has a disability. I can apply this to my career in outdoor recreation by
providing accessible accommodations. Examples of this could be, easy
access to hiking trails, providing trails that allow wheelchairs to go on
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without disturbing nature, allowing for those who have a disability that
confines them to a wheelchair to be able to go hunting and camping as well
as providing them with the same experience as everyone else has. As
mentioned in John Dattilos book, Inclusive Leisure Services, it says that
inclusion allows people of the same community to experience to be a part of
that community by valuing their differences (Dattilo, 2012, p. 11). This
experiment prepared me for a situation that I may be put in where I have a
hunter who wants to go on a hunt. I would have to find a place where they
will be satisfied with the service I provide to them. I would make sure that
they are given the same opportunity to experience the hunt just the same as
another abled hunter. I would find flat grounds to where they would be able
to take their wheelchair. I would also have to ensure that if they came in a
handicap vehicle that the vehicle would be able to get in and out of the
woods if the weather was harsh. The International Center for Disability
Resourced on the Internet has an article about elk and antelope hunting for
people who are disabled. These hunts have a 100% success rate (Sullivan
2016). These hunts allow those who are disable the chance to get the full
experience of a successful hunt.
A few suggestions that some might make to better the lives of those
who are disabled would allow easier access to the handicap buttons, lower
inclined ramps, and giving others the opportunity to have the same
experience we did. An example of an improvement for those who are
handicapped would be to install small elevators in place of the ramps. This
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would be more efficient for the user of the wheelchair since I had trouble
getting up some of the ramps like the one at the ASI building. Other
implications would have the handicap button close enough to the handicap
door as well as allowing the door to open for a sustainable amount of time
for the user to get inside. Another example would be making a certain set of
doors when going into building wide enough so the wheelchair and the users
hands can fit through without hurting their hands. Another advocacy
implication would be to allow more students to participate in experiments
like this so more people are aware of what people with disabilities go through
daily. Or you could hold an event on campus where students have several
difficult obstacles that they must maneuver around to give them an idea of
what someone who is in a wheel chair experiences. Another implication
would be that Penn State goes through every building and update their
buildings to satisfy the ADA.
My final thoughts for this experiment that it is hard than it looks to get
around in a wheelchair. It takes more time out of your day than you think.
Going across campus may take fifteen minutes walking but in a wheelchair, it
may take half an hour. I learned from the environmental barriers that not
every place is well suited for a wheelchair to go without difficulty. The social
reactions that I received varied from some of my predictions. Overall this was
a great experience that put me in the shoes of people with disabilities to see
what can be changed on and off campus to make life easier for those who
are physically handicap.
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References
Dattilo, J (2012). Inclusive Leisure Services (3rd ed.). State College, PA:
Venture Publishing, Inc.
Kenneth S. Pope (2004). Disability, Accessibility, and Ethics in Psychology:
3 Major Barriers. Journal of Ethics & Behavior, . Retrieved from
http://www.kspope.com/ethics/accessibility.php#copy
Sullivan, D. (2016). Elk and Antelope Hunting for people with Disabilities . , , .
Retrieved from http://www.icdri.org/Sports/NMDisabilityHunt.htm
(2016). Chapter 4: Entrances, Doors, and Gates . United States
Access Board, . Retrieved from
https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-andsites/about-the-adastandards/guide-to-the-ada-standards/chapter-4entrances,-doors,-and-gates

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