My name is Bert Visscher. I was born on April 29, 1968, in The Netherlands. I have Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele at level L1, so I cannot feel the lower parts of my body nor can I move my legs or even stand.
I’ve worked for a local organization that audits the accessibility of buildings. We’ve even done a course to make sure we’d cover all the bases. After all, persons in wheelchairs are not the only ones we need to account for. While working for this local organization, I began to realize just how much was missing in our approach. We went from place to place, and from building to building, collecting information about what accessibility problems needed resolving. We never found out if this information was passed on to the architect of the building, let alone if any architects could learn from this.
From this grew Accessibility In Mind (AIM). I remember watching something about Second Life on TV, and coming up with the idea of starting AIM there, getting some land and having examples there for how to build with...well...accessibility in mind.
I found and joined Virtual Ability, a Second Life group for people with disabilities, but my idea had a slow start, and even a failed attempt at having some land to show models of buildings on. It didn't really go anywhere until I was encouraged to present my idea at the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference.
Having presented my new approach to accessibility at this annual conference in 2013, I really felt like I had found a goal in my life, especially when I felt how interested people were. Little did I know that, in that same year, I would find love with the arrival of a new member to Virtual Ability; Cori.
Cori's situation gave me a new goal to strive for. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with her, but the new goal I now have is bigger than the two of us; bigger even than both of our families combined. Please follow the link below to read all about my, or our, new goal.