I was very dutiful. As the time for the assessment approached, I made a list of things that I'd really like to talk about. Then, I made a second list, 'inaccessibility in the apartment' and there I outlined the various things that were blocks to full accessibility. I had no idea what OT's did but I'd been told that they were experts in mobility aides and in adapting environments. At nine o'clock, I was ready, perched in my wheelchair waiting.
After a call explaining that traffic was bad, I put my lists aside and began doing some work here on the computer. Shortly she buzzed that she was downstairs and wanting to come up. While I had gone into many a family home for meetings and consultations over the year, no one had ever come to my home for the same reason.
She was a slight woman who spoke with a slightly Asian accent. She thanked us but refused the offer of tea and simply got about her work. We had to do the forms first, she quickly figured out that I 'got' forms and knew what they were for so we flew through those. Then that done, she leaned back and smiled, 'That's that done, now we can begin.' She asked me a lot of questions about my mobility, what worked for me, what frustrated me. What I needed, what I wanted.
With every issue she talked to me about adaptive devises, things I didn't even know were invented but seemed like they were invented specifically for me. Her list of items that would be useful for me began to grow. We were through her list and I glanced over at mine. There were two issues that I had starred. These weren't starred because of importance but because I'd decided that if she seemed half way human in her interactions with me, I'd ask them. They were embarrassing and personal questions but they were things I wanted to know.
I asked. We had a frank discussion about what possible adaptions could be made, where to look for resources ... it felt great to get this stuff out into the open.
I may know what it's like to be in a chair. But she knew chairs.
I may know what it feels like to face barriers in every day life. But she knew adaptions.
But what I really know is heirarchical voices and patronizing manner. Luckily, these were not in her skill set.
It was a long wait for this assessment, but it was worth my while. Over the next few weeks she is going to look at getting me set up with an electric wheelchair, she's going to magically make my couch more accessible (don't ask), and she has a few other ideas as well to do with issues a little to private to blog.
I am well and truly assessed and well and truly impressed.