10 Apr On crutches & wheelchairs around the faculty
After a horrible accident that happened during an extreme sport, I fractured my ankle (or maybe I just missed the last step walking down the stairs…). This resulted in at least four weeks of hobbling around on crutches. This gave me the wonderful opportunity to experience the accessibility of the faculty of science for those less fortunate in the walking department. I will describe the positive and challenging encounters I had hobbling from building A to G. What is it like to study with crutches and wheelchairs?
After my horrible accident, the hospital sent me home with a beautiful plaster cast and crutches. But this wasn’t going to stop me from getting to my classes! I am fit and young; surely I can walk all the way from my home (green flat next to Science Park) to the G-building!
On a beautiful Monday morning I took off, full of energy and motivation to learn. Half an hour later I reached the classroom; soaked in sweat and with blisters on my hands. I already regretted my trip, because it meant I also had to go back…
I learned from this struggle. The next time I took water and food with me and had a nice lunch stop along the way. Hobbling trough the faculty wasn’t as easy as I thought, but when you go prepared, it is possible.
- Most people hold doors for you (even if they have to wait)
- People offer to push the revolving door
- There are enough elevators
- The corridor floors are smooth; no (door)steps
- Someone even offered to carry my bag (though maybe he wanted to steal it…)
- Revolving doors when you’re alone and carrying crutches is… challenging
- The elevator entrance in the main building is very narrow
- The normal doors are suddenly very heavy to open
- The distance from the nearest bus stop and train station are suddenly very far
- The distance from building A to G is very far! (I needed water breaks)
After experiencing what it’s like to go around the faculty disabled I got curious about other facilities the university has. How do you get around in a wheelchair? The first thing I noticed is that it is extremely hard to find information about the accessibility of the faculty online (but calling provides you with more answers).
Since 2003 there is a law for equal (study) rights, also for people with a disability or a chronic illness. Among other things, this means that the buildings should be accessible for wheelchairs. The faculty of science at Science Park is a very modern building and therefore equipped with all the necessary facilities.
- Next to the revolving doors of the main building, another door can be opened for wheelchairs
- Every building has an elevator accessible for wheelchairs
- Smooth floors, no thresholds; for relaxed rolling
- Datanose provides information about the accessibility of the rooms
- There are accessible toilets
- Even the star dome can be adjusted so you can reach it by wheelchair
- The faculty is full of helpful people
All this sounds very promising, but I haven’t been able to test it out. So are you a student in a wheelchair? Or can you borrow one? Please let me know whether the faculty is as accessible as it should be!
Are you (temporarily) in a wheelchair or do you have another impairment ? Check what the UvA can do for you.