Friday, 13 February 2015

Access All Areas: Michelle's Melbourne Adventure

International Access Symbol (white wheelchair symbol on a blue background) created with crochet by Jodiebodie using a freeform technique to create the shapes and finished with a white crab stitch border.
International Access Symbol
crocheted by Jodie

In the aftermath of Stella Young's untimely death, I am pleased to see active discussion about disability issues continuing around me.

I discovered that my blogging friend, MichelleWestlund of Crochet Between Worlds, is also a wheelchair user who has experienced exclusion from public spaces when using her wheelchair. This affected one of her (able-bodied) friends so profoundly that he wrote an article about it:

"The Ups and Downs of Ramps and Stairs" by Matthew Dunn. 

The author kindly allowed his good friend Michelle to republish it on her blog:

Matthew Dunn's article was originally published in Voiceworks magazine (details in the reference list below). His article is sensitively written yet still highlights the basic access problems that exist in our built environs.

I hope that everybody reads it, both those with disability and those without, and that everyone thinks carefully about the issues raised because we can all play a part in effecting change for the better.

Many thanks to Michelle Westlund for chasing up the article and sharing it on her blog and giving Lupey Loops a kind mention; also to Matthew Dunn for sharing his story. 

How would you navigate your daily life with a wheelchair?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences, questions and ideas on Lupey Loops and Crochet Between Worlds

I am keen to revisit to see what you think.


Crochet Between Worlds, blog, 2013–2015:

Dunn, Matthew, "The Ups and Downs of Ramps and Stairs"
originally published in Voiceworks magazine, <> Issue 92 'Thing', Express Media, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000,  5 April 2013:
republished on Crochet Between Worlds, blog, 20 January 2015:

Lupey Loops, "Access All Areas: Stella Young", blog entry, 9 January 2015:

Westlund, Michelle, "The Ups and Downs of Ramps and Stairs" blog entry, Crochet Between Worlds20 January 2015:


  1. I am glad this article gets notice. It is wo important for people to understand!
    I am lucky that i don't have to use a wheelchair but when i walk longer distances i need more breaks. Some people can't undertunderstand that ("come on, it is not that long. You can do it"). It is nice that people try to encourage me to go further but it really isn't about motivation. I do want to walk further... i just can't!

    Tale care

    1. You have explained very well that there's a difference between attitude and physical capability. People don't always understand the detrimental effects of pushing beyond one's limits. While people are well-intentioned, they often don't realise the distress it can cause when they continue to 'encourage' when what is actually needed is acceptance of your judgment and physical capacity. Urging you on when your body has reached its limit is quite disrespectful really. I am so glad you can go on walks. I am currently unable to do that and I miss it!

  2. I remember having to use a wheelchair one summer because I couldn't walk or stand without pain. It was interesting how many people wouldn't look me in the eyes, and would look away when I attempted eye contact. That was surprising.

    1. That's very common I'm afraid.

      Only last month I had a supermarket till operator absolutely ignore me! She was putting my groceries through on the conveyor but kept addressing the woman standing in the queue after me. My fellow shopper told the operator they were not her groceries but the people before her (I was with my children) and the operator continued to address her and the person after her!!! The operator didn't even address my children. I sat and watched all this bemused to see what would happen but eventually I put the other shoppers out of their agony by saying very loudly "EXCUSE ME!" and then the operator looked shocked and spoke to me as if I were a child. This sort of thing is NOT ON. I can't believe that this still happens in this day and age, especially from someone who is expected to deal with customers! How to lose business very quickly.

      I am sorry that you experienced social isolation too. How is your pain these days? I use my chair to manage pain and fatigue but also when I am too weak to walk without falling over. I hope your pain levels are more manageable now so you can enjoy walking again. xx