and Dealing: A Guidebook for Travelers with Disabilities
by Sue Maris Allen, MPH, MSW and The Reverand Barbara Ramnaraine
Trade Paper: 6" x 9", 144 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59663-796-2; 1-59663-796-X $14.95
Special Introductory Price $12.95
Wheeling and Dealing is an excellent resource for anyone with a disability. As physical therapists, our goal is to help people live their lives in the presence of a physical disability using any and all available tools. Certainly, the presence of a disability should not narrow one’s world or limit participation in travel activities. However, all too often, we hear stories from patients who choose not to travel for fear of overcoming the many associated obstacles, e.g. waiting in long lines, manipulating luggage in a crowd, getting through security, managing steps or moving walkways, etc. Whether people are living with a hearing, visual, physical, or other disability, this book provides useful and, at times, humorous approaches to help everyone navigate the world of travel. —Kathleen Ganley, PhD, Lisa TenBarge, PT, DPT
The heart of travel has always been beyond mere itineraries and “sight-seeing.” Similarly, Wheeling and Dealing is more than a mere “How-To Guidebook.” Written with hard-earned wisdom and wit, it offers readers nothing short of a first-class ticket to expanding their horizons, both inside and out. —Marc Nieson
I recently had an older adult client who experienced travel for the first time both as a widow (and therefore alone) along with a recent change in her general physical mobility. She was experiencing significant anxiety as she planned for a cross country trip to visit her daughter; in fact she almost didn't go due to her worries. On her return, the report of her challenges, fears and frustrations rang true with the issues presented in this book.
As a physical therapist working primarily with older adults in an out patient and community setting, I am pleased to be able to recommend Wheeling and Dealing as a resource to my clients. I feel the book is stated in simple terms and offers good advice. Although much seems obvious to seasoned travelers—the personal stories and down-to-earth advice make it user-friendly. (I know a few able-bodied travelers who could use some guidance such as this!) I appreciate the fact that the authors discussed much about mobility challenges as well as low vision since both are common in the older adult population. Thank you to the authors for seeing the need beyond yourselves and taking the initiative to provide guidance and relevant information for traveling with disability. —Kathryn K Brewer, PT, GCS (Geriatric Certified Specialist), MEd
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Sue Maris Allen, MPH, MSW
In 1999 I experienced two strokes that left me with partial paralysis of the right side of my body and impaired vision in my left eye.
I am a nurse by profession, receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Nursing, and a double Masters in Public Health and Social Work from the University of Minnesota. Applying the expertise of a persistent team of physicians and physical therapists, as well as my own medical knowledge, we charted my course of rehabilitation with the goal of resuming my favorite activities, including travel.
For inspiration in this challenging process, I recalled the indomitable spirits of two of my closest relatives. By her ninetieth year, my great Grandma B had been a survivor of multiple strokes but played games with me, told me stories and was a wonderful, active part of my toddler life. My father, too, became a wheelchair user resulting from a farm equipment accident during his last year of life. He refused to allow his disability to interfere with his interest and involvement in farm and home activities, especially in the lives of his four young daughters. My family’s tradition never permitted a physical limitation to impact their enjoyment of family, life and work.
The extent of my recovery could be deemed extraordinary. I regained most of my mobility. I did, however, have some permanent residual effects of the strokes that continue with me to this day: I walk more slowly and cautiously than I once did, and do not always see things if they are in my lower left field of vision.
Eventually the first opportunity arose for me to travel alone, flying to Arizona for a family celebration. Considering the positive response from the airline agent who made my reservations, I expected this flight to be no different than the many previous flights I had made in my life.
However, I had an unexpected awakening. Cabin and gate attendants greeted my requests for help (already noted in their computers) by sending me to wait at the end of the line. I felt surprise and dismay at the negative impact their attitude had on my feelings of comfort and confidence as a traveler. I had considered these changes in my physical abilities to be comparatively small. But, my need for a little more help or attention was met with impatience, or worse, disrespect.
Disillusioned, I shared my experiences with my friend Barbara, who has been blind for 40 years. She related similar experiences, and gave me some positive tips for future travel. I felt better, having the support of a more experienced traveler with a disability. I knew I was not alone.
Frequent legal discussions among the three lawyers in my family aroused my curiosity. What rights were available to me, a traveler with a disability? I began to study laws such as the Air Carrier Access Act. I realized that there were laws and rights that could be enforced to ensure that I was a respected valued traveler.
After advising many friends and relatives on these issues, Barbara and I decided to combine our resources and create the book Wheeling and Dealing.
Today I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota with my husband Richard who is semi-retired from the practice of law. I enjoy traveling as much as I did before my strokes. In the past year alone, I have traveled by plane, train, bus, and automobile to visit our children in California, Illinois, and Tennessee.Today travelers with disabilities enjoy travel, not only as a luxury, but as a well-protected right. My hope is that the many stories, laws, and facts in this book will empower anyone with a disability to embrace their right to travel, armed with knowledge and confidence.
The Reverend Barbara Ramnaraine, B.A.
Four or five years ago, my friend Sue and I began thinking about writing this book. We are both people with disabilities, we had both had bad experiences while traveling, and we had both become good advocates on our own behalf. While we believed that the book would take us four or five months, as you can see, we were wrong.
I was born in 1934, the oldest of three children. My parents were both doctors, though my mother never practiced after my birth. By the time I was eighteen months old, it was evident that I had limited vision. I had very thick glasses and even with them, I almost put my nose on whatever I wanted to see. I knew very early that I could not see like other kids. Thanks to my parents treating me just like any other child, however, I didn’t know that I was disabled until I was an adult.
The Minneapolis school system had wonderful special-education classes. We were mainstreamed before that word was invented some thirty years later. The only thing that I didn’t do in school was to play basketball and other sorts of ball games. The physical education teacher made me jump rope instead, and I hated being different.
Even in elementary school, I was fond of writing. This interest grew with the passing years. In high school, I was the editor of the editorial page for the school newspaper. By college I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I took creative writing and the first course in journalism my freshman year.
Then chemistry came along, and I forgot all abut journalism or creative writing. I graduated with a minor in education and a major in chemistry.
I married, had my first child, and taught in small schools in South Dakota and western Minnesota the first three years after graduating from college.
After that, for the next 25 years, I devoted myself to raising my three children. Writing was not lost, but it certainly was not on the front burner either.
In 1984, I embarked on an entirely new career. By that time, the little vision I had as a child and young adult had been lost. I was left with only a bit of light perception. I was ordained an Episcopal deacon on January 25, 1984. From that time on, sermons proved to be my primary writing. About the same time, I was invited to become a member of The Presiding Bishop’s Task Force on Accessibility. This was a group which set the course for disability ministry for the Episcopal Church nationally.
I have cherished the 23 plus years of my diaconal ministry and even more, being a part of making the church aware of the gifts and needs of people with disabilities. There has been enormous progress made in welcoming people with disabilities into the full life of the church. However, there is much more to be done, and I am glad that I am still a part of making that happen.