Wisconsin man creating app to help disabled people travel

CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Apple held their first special event at the new Apple Park campus where they announced the new iPhone 8, iPhone X and the Apple Watch Series 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

EAU CLAIRE — A 23-year-old Wisconsin man with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair is creating an app he hopes will make traveling more accessible for those with disabilities.

Gabriel Schlieve spent several weeks in Swaziland developing the “Rebel Traveler’s Guide to the World” app through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Reciprocal Exchange, The Leader-Telegram reported . The program aims to address global and local community challenges.

“We have so many great opportunities and great things to see in this world — no one should miss out on that,” Schlieve said. “We shouldn’t be told ‘Well, you have cerebral palsy, so you can’t do that.'”

Schlieve said he plans to first start adding accessibility information about Eau Claire, the Twin Cities and Chicago. He said groups in Swaziland are also continuing to collect data.

“The point of this app is not just for the physically disabled,” he said. “It’s also for people who have vision issues, who are hearing impaired, people who have bad knees or backs, whatever — but would like to travel and would like to know some tips.”

Schlieve said he also plans to incorporate GPS capability.

Schlieve said he first got the idea for app in 2005 after facing many accessibility issues while traveling. He said he regularly has problems finding information in guidebooks or online about accessibility.

His mother, Nancy Schlieve, said her son has been an advocate for people with disabilities for years.

“I think it’s really the people with disabilities who are the most effective advocates and are steering the bus,” she said. “Because other people don’t really know — they’re not experiencing it every day. If you don’t have a connection with someone with a disability, you may empathize but you don’t know how it really is.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.