Imagine Carson in the Driver's Seat
Next time you board a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus, you may hear Carson say, “Hi!”
Carson loves to ride public transportation, and he especially loves to make friends with fellow commuters.
“He likes greeting everybody that gets on the bus and everybody that gets off,” says Carson’s mom, Cathyanne. “And when he’s on the bus, if he sees the red light, he’ll say, ‘Stop,’ or for the green light, ‘Go!’”
One of Carson’s favourite activities is to ride the bus to the subway, often stopping to grab a bite to eat along the way. Carson, who is nine years old, is already considering these rides practice for his dream job as a TTC bus driver. But not all parts of public transit are accessible to Carson, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
“Not everywhere has an elevator,” says Cathyanne. “Carson feels disappointed when a station is not accessible as he enjoys going for rides, even if there’s no destination in mind. If all subway stations were accessible, I imagine our journeys could be endless.”
To avoid inaccessible stations, Cathyanne sometimes drives Carson from point A to point B. And when they’re not on the road, Carson likes to pretend to drive his mom’s car. But before he gets his driver’s license, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is helping Carson get moving using a hand-powered electric wheelchair.
Carson is currently learning how to use his new power chair in practice sessions at Holland Bloorview’s clinical seating service.
“I like to drive,” says Carson.
“Using the power chair for the first time was exciting. It went better than expected,” explains Cathyanne. “The new chair helps Carson be independent, so he can go wherever he wants.”
Carson adds that the first place he wants to go using his new wheelchair is, “McDonald’s, for chicken nuggets!”
Holland Bloorview has played an integral role in supporting Carson’s independence, whether in terms of his new power chair, or through speech therapy.
Carson describes speech therapy at Holland Bloorview as “super awesome!” He loves how speech therapy is designed around all kinds of toys, games and activities, so that he has some fun while developing communication skills. And Cathyanne loves how she is involved in every part of the process.
“When he was younger, Carson was using a switch board where he hit buttons to communicate, and then I realized that he didn’t really need it anymore,” says Cathyanne. “His speech therapist has been working with us, and now Carson has been using his words more.”
Lately, Carson’s been using his words as an advocate for kids with disabilities. When asked what he imagines for a more accessible world, Carson shares his dream for a “cool, accessible house.”
“For Carson, a cool, accessible house is one with a really big washroom, and a pool that’s easy for him to get in and out—he loves the water!” says Cathyanne. “It’s a place where everyone is included, especially Carson.”
Inclusion is top of mind to Carson and Cathyanne, and that’s why they love the client- and family-integrated approach at Holland Bloorview.
“I love how Holland Bloorview has worked with us—with what we want and what we don’t want—rather than pushing us, or saying, ‘That’s what is best for Carson,’” says Cathyanne.
How Holland Bloorview creates a world where disability is included:
At Holland Bloorview, we provide world class, specialized care for kids and youth with disabilities that opens up a future of possibilities. Our clinical seating service team supports kids and youth with disabilities by providing assessment and education to children who use specialized seating, positioning or mobility equipment. We work closely with families to find the best solutions for their needs—powering their infinite potential and possibility.