Tag Archives: video learning

SPINALpedia through co-founder Britt’s eyes

My only concern when my dad was first injured was whether or not he would live. I was told pretty early that he had broken his neck, but I had no idea what that really meant. In my 12 year old mind, my interpretation was that one day I would help my dad walk again, but once I learned what paralysis really meant that image was shattered.

Having lost my only brother in the accident, I was left to figure a lot of it out on my own. I remember cleaning the screws from the halo bolted into my dad’s skull. I learned how to use a hoyer lift to help him get into bed. I even took shifts waking up at 2am to help turn him at night to avoid pressure sores. Transfers, cervical vertebrae, catheters and spasms became a part of my normal vocabulary.

My dad and step-mom were transitioning too—learning the ins and outs of life with paralysis. My step-mom connected with other spouses of quadriplegics, and my dad toiled daily in all kinds of therapy. One day he was struggling with a Velcro sleeve to hold an eating utensil, when another quadriplegic rolled up and said simply, “try this.” My dad watched him weave the fork through his immobile fingers, and it is how my dad has eaten ever since. I watched these things happen and saw how the power of connection and mentoring made such a difference in our lives and how much it expedited the adaptation process. However, I began to wonder, what would have happened if we lived far away from a big city? What if there were no mentoring programs or no one with similar mobility for my dad? I quickly came to realize how many people weren’t as lucky as we were, and I couldn’t accept that. Something needed to bring the entire community together—that something is now SPINALpedia!

SPINALpedia is a growing online community of people affected by paralysis—those paralyzed as well as the able-bodied supporters— who share their experiences to help others learn to adapt their lives more quickly and realize their potential. Searches are efficient—members specify details of their mobility and situation to filter relevant videos and members. Whether you’re a paraplegic aiming to transfer in and out of your car or a ventilator dependent quadriplegic hoping to use a computer again, you can filter content and find exactly what you are looking for. No more sorting through millions of YouTube videos and no more reading pages of text-based information which may or may not be useful. You can even search by your relation to paralysis, helping spouses find other spouses, parents find other parents, and friends find other friends. We have created a living, breathing, dynamic manual of life affected by paralysis, completely customizable to your needs.

Our mission is to give people the tools they need to redefine their lives and to free up precious time. As we help more people cut the number of years it takes to learn certain tasks and reduce the number of people unaware of their potential, we will slowly change the negative, condescending perceptions of paralysis, as more and more people are out, active and happy in society. We don’t have a say in the challenges we face in our lives, but we do have a say in how we move forward. Join SPINALpedia, learn from others, share your own triumphs and together we will redefine life in a wheelchair.

How will (or do) you contribute to SPINALpedia? What impact has mentoring had on your adaptation after a spinal cord injury? 

Getting hitched (on wheels) – A wheelchair wedding

Wheelchair-users get married everyday (despite most able-bodied people being shocked). No, we are not damaged goods; we are some of the most precious cargo around. What’s important is the love that’s shared between two people, not the car you drive.

These two wheelchair wedding videos – one giving advice on planning a wedding if you use a wheelchair, the other showing the coolest first dance I’ve ever seen a wheelchair-user do – prove just how awesome our weddings can still be. And what I love about these videos is that they’re not about a bride or groom walking down the aisle, the media‘s favorite subject of late (we get it already; people feel cooler when they walk!).

The first video comes from GetMarried.com, a mainstream wedding site, and they’ve created a video for wheelchair-users titled, “Disabled Weddings: Tips & Advice.” It covers nearly every aspect of planning a wheelchair wedding from the wc-perspective. How cool is that? I’ve never seen a thorough video before on this rarely-covered subject. Love it!

And it goes over every important aspect of the big day, from making sure the ceremony and reception locations are actually accessible (never take anyone for their word when they say something is “accessible” over the phone), creating a ceremony where both the bride and groom are at eye-level, to how-to choose a wedding dress (avoid beading under the butt!). The video interviews a beautiful paraplegic (and very knowledgeable) 40-something Asian bride.

The second video is titled, “A Perfect Wedding Dance – Bride in a Wheelchair,” and it shows the coolest first dance I never seen a wheelchair-user do. The bride Angie is a paraplegic and she hired a choreography company (that specializes in first dances) to create the first dance for herself and able-bodied groom. From start to finish, the routine is flawless.  It’s an up-tempo song (hip-hop) and she even throws a cute kick in there at the end. You gotta watch it.

Getting married and use a wheelchair? Don’t worry about it! These videos prove that the wheelchair is nothing but an accessory (that you can totally make work).

Have you hgd a wheelchair wedding?  What tips do you have? What was your first dance like?

Watch the Videos!

Disabled Weddings: Tips & Advice

A Perfect Wedding Dance – Bride in a Wheelchair – Angie & Joe – Las Vegas