You never realize how much emphasis our society puts on height until you cannot reach something that is for the general public or someone is towering over you. Height is often correlated with power and those who lack height are often seen as having less power. For someone who spends most of the day sitting in a wheelchair, height is a big barrier to not only independence but self-esteem. Having a power chair with the iLevel feature breaks down those barriers.
I have often stated that I would not be the working professional that I am today without iLevel. Here is how iLevel helps me be independent and gives me confidence in my workplace.
Being at eye level with coworkers and consumers
In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who is standing over or looking down at you, especially in a professional setting. Whether I am having a casual conversation with co-workers or teaching a lesson to consumers, I am using iLevel to remain at eye level with them. Being at eye level with others gives me confidence in what I am saying and knowing that what I have to say matters. When two people are not at eye level and one person is looking down at another, there is a power dynamic at play, but when two people are at eye level the power dynamic disappears.
Helping me project my voice
Due to my disability, I tend to be soft-spoken and get exhausted easily when I am required to project my voice. What are the odds that my job requires me to project my voice? Hint: VERY likely. As part of my job, I teach groups of people interpersonal skills that are needed for employment. With iLevel, I can elevate myself during presentations which also makes it easier for me to project my voice to a volume where others can hear me. iLevel not only makes me more confident during these presentations but also saves my lungs.
Being able to use the copier independently and reach objects higher up
We may live in a digital world, but the need for copies and faxes seems to never die. As Xerox machines get more advanced, it feels like they grow taller as well, making it difficult for one who utilizes a wheelchair to reach buttons. Luckily, with iLevel, I can use the Xerox machine effectively and independently. This may not seem like a big deal to some but to me, it’s everything. My first job was being a student worker on my college campus, and most of the duties consisted of me making copies for instructors within the department. Without the ability to elevate, I would have never been able to do the essential functions of this job. Having this job not only taught me the employment skills I needed to move forward in my career, but it also opened other doors for me.
Using iLevel just because…
Other times I elevate just because I can. The ability to be elevated and stroll down the hallway is one of the best feelings. I get to see the world from a new perspective. In reference to one of my favorite movies, The Dead Poets Society, “we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzy for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.