I got my author’s copy of Kids on Wheels today.
To be honest, I pretty much put the whole project out of my mind after I submitted my contribution, so receiving the finished copy was a real treat. It has been a long time in coming.
Jean Dobbs (managing editor for New Mobility) first contacted me over two years ago and asked me to pen the accessible travel chapter for this title. It sounded like an interesting assignment, but to be honest most Emerging Horizons readers are in the grandparenting (rather than the parenting) stage of life. So I had to meet and interview a whole new crop of travelers; parents who travel (or have traveled) with their wheeler kids. That in itself was interesting as it allowed me to look at accessible travel from yet another perspective.
And since I was on the “kid track” I decided to make my research do double duty (hey we live in a multitasking world today). In the end I also added a “Taking the Kids” chapter to the next edition of Barrier-Free Travel (out in Spring 2005). I have to admit this is something I would have never thought of doing had it not been for Kids on Wheels. So it was a very productive experience all around.
But I digress. Back to the book. In a word I feel Jean’s effort is groundbreaking, as her new work actually addresses disability issues from a kid’s point of view. Yes, there is also a resource volume for parents (in fact that is where the accessible travel chapter fits in) but the focus of volume 1 is on kids talking to kids about disability issues. It’s truly a peer-to-peer volume.
All of the other resource material available today either addresses disability parenting issues or focuses on disability from a strictly clinical standpoint. Neither approach helps kids very much (although I do admit there is room for both parent and clinical resources in the literature). The point is that this book talks to kids, not at kids. I know it took a lot of work on Jean’s part and I applaud her for her efforts.
The finished product is an excellent resource (and it makes a great Christmas gift- hint hint!). Three cheers for Jean!