Creative Living is the home to a variety of people with different types of disabilities. Kristin, to name the first, as she states, “was born this way”.
Having been borne with cerebral palsy and having utilized an automatic wheelchair since 1998, Kristin has a unique perspective on life, for as she states, “I have no idea what it feels like to walk without assistance, or complete daily living tasks without assistance.” This has always been her normal. She goes on to state, “if my body started working the way it was ‘supposed’ to tomorrow, I’d be completely lost”. If you think about it from her perspective it makes complete sense. Before my accident, I walked with my legs. After the accident I was FORCED to walk with my arms. For Kristin, the reverse would be just as scary, and for good reason!
Growing up in the 1980’s Kristin had difficulties. She had to fight the school board to attend school. Something we can all agree is the right of ALL children. She was singled out for requiring an aide with her to assist with human needs, such as food and restroom breaks to just name two. Unfortunately, Kristin was bullied by her peers and stated that she, “can count the number of friends I had in high school on one hand”. Kristin was the only wheelchair bound student in her High school until her senior year. Life was difficult to say the least, but Kristin had a support system like none other – Her father.
Until the age of 13 Kristin’s father was her primary care taker, and a tough one he was! Kristin was “expected to do well in school and go to college and make something of herself in spite of her circumstances” she stated. Guess what guys? She did! Kristin graduated from high school in 1998 and graduated from Wright University in 2006 with a degree in Education. She moved into Creative Living I in 2006 and has been living independently since.
Way to go Kristin!
Mr. Hehrer took measures to not only give Kristin a happy childhood but also the tools needed to survive. Kristin has memories of her dad that range from rigging hand controls on her Barbie hot wheels jeep so she could “run around the neighborhood with the other kids growing up”, to him teaching her at the age of 13 years old to “ hire and fire” her aides. Like any father, he worried and he wanted his daughter to have the tools and the VOICE to care for herself.
Personally, I think he did pretty darn well. Don’t you?
Kirstin grew up loved and has experiences some of us can only dream of. She has traveled to 14 different countries mostly between Europe and the Mediterranean. She has meet Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and was a DJ for a year while in college! I mean, what??
Her hobbies include, reading, movies, gardening, cooking, Zumba and dancing. Kristin LOVES ballroom dancing! This also was the influence of her loving father as she “grew up watching dad take lessons and then he’d end up teaching me as well.” She goes on to say that once she moved to Columbus, she looked up her father’s instructor and began to attend classes herself. And for those wondering how you make ballroom dancing adaptive Kristin has a simple answer, you “don’t concern yourself with movement below the waist and try to make the upper body as lyrical as possible”.
Since moving to Creative Living, Kristin has been enjoying her independence and maintaining her household as she sees fit. However, she appreciates the RA program’s presence when she needs help with transfers or requires bedpan assistance at night. The RA program also provides assistance for daily activities such as opening and locking her door, assisting with food, etc. Kristin is a funny, smart, and is always willing to share her delicious home grown vegetables every summer!
Let’s wish Kristin good luck on all future endeavors and maybe an exciting career change to ballroom dancing?? Kristin, what do you think?
Until next time, be safe,