The ADA law was designed to protect the disabled from discrimination in public buildings and one of those ways is an accessible entrance. This law is a big reason why I can live an independent life, go to school, grocery shop, or have a job. But what protects my accessibility in my private life? What happens if I want to go to a friend’s house that isn’t totally accessible? If you look at your own front/side door or porch — literally, go check right now –there’s probably at least a step or two required to enter the house. Unfortunately, steps don’t really work great with wheelchairs. Now, if you’re in a manual chair, you might get away with one or two steps by being lifted for clearance. If you are a power chair user, that’s not exactly the case. I am always presented the assumptions of, “we can just lift you and the chair, right? “ Absolutely not (and I actually dislike/hate this assumption). Not only does my power chair weigh 400 lbs, but there are no sturdy places to lift the chair. Everything moves on my chair, my armrests, foot rests, and head rest which means I’m not going to risk breaking it.
Here’s what I’m getting at — your house is most likely inaccessible for wheelchair users but I have a solution. I always carry portable wheelchair ramps in my van. They are with me 24/7 in case I ever make last-minute plans to hang out at a friends house. These ramps don’t always work but 99% of the time they do. In the back of my van, I have a long portable ramp, a short portable ramp, and two pieces of plywood. I use the long portable ramp for houses that have two – three steps of entry, the short portable ramp is for one step, and the pieces of wood are used in case the threshold is too high (because of the attachments under my chair). I cannot set up the ramp or wood, but my friends know how and always help.
I highly recommend bringing both ramps because you never know what predicament you’ll be in. I’ve been caught in situations where the front porch was not long enough and needed the longer ramps for the first few steps and the short ramps for the last step. This combination of portable ramps will guarantee your access in almost any situation
Here is what I use:
The Multifold Titan Aluminum Ramp is great for transport in the back of a car or van because it folds two ways. It is 7ft long and can basically provide access across any steps. This ramp also comes in bigger and smaller sizes but the longer the ramp the more steps you can clear. It is a little pricey at $230, but worth it for the size and storing ability.
The Ruedamann Aluminum Folding Ramp is great to clear one step. It is 2 ft long and just under $70. Keep in mind there are other ramps for this need. However, also remember if you are stuck in a situation where you need both ramps, if it is a shorter like this ramp style, the easier it is for porches that are not wide enough for your chair.
If you have more questions about portable ramps, please email me through the contact tab above. I’d love to help you with your accessibility!