Taking Pride in My Ride: How Podiums Convinced Me to Get iLevel® Technology

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 01, 2019 # Assistive Technology, Mobility

When it comes to Disability Pride, I am absolutely oozing with it. I love my disability, I love my wheelchair, and I never want to be cured or changed. I see nothing wrong with using a wheelchair and when I cannot access something because I use a wheelchair, I do not see it as my problem; I see it as society’s problem for being inaccessible. For this reason, when I was initially offered the option of getting iLevel® technology on my wheelchair, I declined. I did not think I needed a wheelchair with a seat that raised up to ten inches (now twelve inches), because I felt that as a proud wheelchair user it was my duty to work to make the world more accessible and have things lowered rather than have technology that would raise me higher.

Then I started going to court. You see, I am a lawyer. In law school, I was on the Moot Court team and I also represented clients in our law school clinic. It was through these experiences that I first learned that as a lawyer, I would be using a podium a lot in courtrooms. Actually, I learned that everyone else would be using the podium, but I wouldn’t be because I was not able to reach it from my wheelchair. Because I could not reach the podium, I was forced to present my cases by sitting next to the podium. This meant that while every other lawyer could look professional by bringing their papers to the podium where they are neatly hidden from others, I could not do that. I had two options: I could have my papers on my lap and look sloppy and unprepared, or I could memorize everything about my case (and I mean everything), in order to look professional and prepared. Neither of these options were appealing because I certainly did not want to look sloppy but memorizing every single aspect of my cases was not only exhausting but sometimes it was simply impossible!

This is when I decided that I wanted iLevel technology on my chair. As silly as it sounds, I knew that I was at a disadvantage as a lawyer because I could not use the podium in the courtroom, which meant my clients were at a disadvantage as well. While my work as an attorney should not be judged on whether or not I have notes on my lap, the reality is, that is exactly what was happening. However, when I got my iLevel, I immediately noticed a change in the courtroom and in other places too.

Now that I have a Quantum Edge 3 with 4.5 mph iLevel, I use every podium I can find – just because I can. But I’ve also found a million other ways that using iLevel has made my life easier, like putting the dishes away or cooking on my stovetop. More importantly, I’ve come to realize that I can still be disabled and proud while sitting twelve inches higher, and I can still work to make businesses more accessible by having counters lowered even though I am able to reach the higher counters now.

It’s so important to know what you need in a wheelchair and not to hesitate to get the chair that meets your needs best. Looking back, I cannot believe that I thought I had to choose between being a proud advocate and having access to cutting-edge technology that would meet my needs. I am excited that we live in a world where we can benefit from the progress of technology while still advocating to make our communities more accessible and disability friendly.

This blog was created in partnership with Quantum Rehab.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.