'I never thought of it, like how important this is and to see how inclusion makes someone feel in front of your eyes.'
A mother shared a beautiful video of her 8-year-old daughter using a special pool-friendly wheelchair in a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool. The video was posted on YouTube and shows Katrina Placzek's daughter, Dallas, using a wheelchair at Tiff's Place, a wheelchair-accessible vacation home in Chuluota, Florida, about 22 miles east of Orlando. "It was really cool to see the entire house [at Tiff's Place] was designed with wheelchair users in mind," the excited mother said.
Placzek told Good Morning America that she and her family were pleased by the wheelchair's inclusive design, adding that standard wheelchairs have parts that rust rapidly when exposed to water. She said, "We'd never seen a wheelchair like that before. It was made out of PVC." Speaking of the inclusive design of the place and the pool, she explained, "We sat Dallas in there and it just had a ramp and then you go around the ramp area and then it gets deep but there's a speed bump sort of thing at the bottom so you know not to go where it drops. So if you're a wheelchair user, you don't go and drop at the bottom."
In an Instagram video Placzek, the mom-of-four, expressed her excitement about the pool-friendly wheelchair. She asked in the text overlay in the video, "Have you ever seen an aquatic wheelchair at an accessible pool?" She continued, "They do not float & can be totally submerged. They have locking wheels and an anti-tip design. There is also a seatbelt for safety. Love this accessibility!"
Dallas, now 8 years old, was born prematurely at 28 weeks and has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy. The condition affects her arms and legs and makes walking difficult for her. Placzek explained that she began sharing Dallas' story and life on her Discover With Dallas Instagram and YouTube sites following a key experience with a wheelchair swing at their neighborhood park.
Previously, the family had stopped taking Dallas to parks as there were no accessible amenities for her to enjoy, but seeing and utilizing the wheelchair swing changed everything. Placzek said, "I never thought of it, like how important this is and to see how inclusion makes someone feel in front of your eyes. It was like, 'I think I need to show the world what this means for kids like her.' "
She added, "You don't really think about it until you're in a wheelchair because we don't live in that world and when you have a kid that can't go to a lot of places, you just stop going." Placzek's goal with Discover With Dallas is to focus on Dallas' journey and her career as an actor and model
She said, "The most important thing is just for people to think about disabled children and think about disabled adults when they're making a business, or they're designing a playground, or if the school is building a new, updated playground." Placzek's posts on wheelchair-accessible swimming pools have now taken off, and she has received great feedback. She hopes that the movement continues and that more locations and goods are created to be inclusive and accessible.