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Wheelchair obstacle course educates public about ADA Act

At the Hot Wheelzz Obstacle Course Friday, those young and old experienced the everyday challenges of using a wheelchair.

\"The little bumps are hard,\" said one man.

\"It was harder than I thought,\" said Nicholas Oliverio. \"Like that part where I had to go on a rug, was really hard. Imagine having a carpet floor and you have to go over that all the time.\"

Wally Dzewia has a brother who is paralyzed from the waist down.

\"I have to push him a lot so I've got quite a bit of experience with that,\" he said.

So, he's volunteering his time at the obstacle course to educate the public.

\"Trying to teach people to do that tight turn, back up without hitting cones and how fast the wheelchair stops when you do hit a cone,\" he said.

\"Occupational therapy plays an important part in everyday life especially when you're in a wheelchair,\" said Alex Thorpe, Mount Mary student.

Thorpe is one of many occupational therapy students at Mount Mary University who designed the course. It includes shooting a basketball, going over bubble wrap to simulate bumpy surfaces and finishing with an inclined ramp.

\"When you're in a chair your sense of balance is different and it's a little more complicated,\" said Kris Mungovan, Mount Mary occupational therapy instructor.

It may be small portion of reality for people who use a wheelchair, but organizers hope it opens the community's eyes and changes their mindset.

The official 25th anniversary of the ADA Act is July 25. There are a number of events scheduled in Milwaukee to mark the occasion.

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