VI. The Independent Living Movement 1970 to Present D. Continuing Struggles 2. Dana Watten: Challenge Rather Than Accept the Status Quo
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Dana Watten: Challenge Rather than Accept the Status Quo
as Recorded by Mary O'Hara Anderson

DANA WATTENDana Watten outside
of Seward Square

Dana Watten was born in August of 1936. On July 15, 1954 at the age of 17, Dana had a diving accident that left him a quadriplegic. At that time Dana lived with his mother and stepfather. He also had an older brother who no longer lived at home.

Dana's mother Marie worked outside the home for two years after the accident. Dana still has stretchmarks under his arm from the position he had to be in all day while his mom was at work. He could not have the head of the crank style bed up while he was alone because if he had a spasm, he would fall out of bed. When his mom came home from work, Dana would get up in his manual wheelchair, and people would push him around the neighborhood.

Manual wheelchairs and crank hospital beds were all that existed then. When technology advanced, Dana was one of the first to get an electric hospital bed. However, the controls were located at the side of the bed, so he could not control the bed himself.