Bonnie Downey's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Massanutten, Virginia, but anywhere.

Near the end of 2017, Bonnie was spending the day with her family and had an unexpected encounter with a rotten apple at a local orchard. She stepped on the apple, slipped, and broke her left ankle and her left wrist. During her recovery, she had her first experience with using mobility devices and needing to be dependent on others for help.

She gained a greater understanding at just how frustrating her home and community can be when she isn’t functioning at 100%. She also shares some great advice for those designing things, and highlights the need for collaboration.

Location: Massanutten, Virginia, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

I am a first grade teacher… this is my 35th year of teaching.

Well, having been a very independent, even at my age I’m a very independent person, I like to have all ducks in a row. I’m very controlling, I like to have everything just right and I have had to learn to depend on other people.

It was very hard because I couldn’t get out of the house so I was
the first couple weeks I would just go to the front door and open the front door, and just sit there and just take in fresh air, because it was so it was so hard not to be able to get out and get fresh air, so that was you know that’s how I ended up out “outside” just being able to sit at the front door and enjoy just watching the leaves fall or something.

I play golf and I play volleyball. I haven’t been able to do either of those.

I also think that a lot of people are willing to help out a lot. They are willing to come pick you up they’re willing to take you places, but being an independent person that’s difficult. So, I do know for instance going to the
football games, it’s been a blessing! They have a an accessible bus, they raise the wheelchair right up on the bus, they drop you right off, they have elevators to go up to the game, so I have been able to participate in that. You can trade your tickets in for accessible seating. So, there are components in the community that have been helpful.