Striving to remove barriers that prevent us from building Vibrant, Diverse, Inclusive, Accessible Communities!



When Do People with Disabilities Get the Respect and Services They Deserve?

Those with physical disabilities aren’t invisible, and yet we fail to adequately plan for their needs and ability to contribute to our society.

Physically disabled people don’t all travel in wheelchairs or use motorized lifts to put them into pools or baths. Many will walk right past you in the street, and you won’t know they have a disability until something happens and you find they are deaf, Blind, or have Low Vision or even have one or more other invisible Disabilities.

Perhaps the cloak of invisibility these disabilities provide may furnish a greater ability to navigate our society as they wish. Those who are dependent on wheeled or motorized rides or braces are hard to ignore, but ignore them we do.

Think about it for a moment. If you had to ring a bell each time you wanted to have someone come to open the door to a local community center, how would you feel? Oh, you’d be OK with it? Suppose no one came? How would you feel if it were the dead of winter or raining hard or the wind was blowing your coat open as you waited in vain?

What if, when you had to use the lavatory at that same center, you encountered a “courtesy” or “modesty” panel once you managed to get the first door open? Or what if you went into the Accessible stall and found yourself trapped, yelling for help, and no one came? How helpless and maybe even embarrassed would you be? You’d be OK with that, too?

Both of these situations happened to a person who serves on a local committee to respond to the needs of the town’s disabled citizens. What was the response to this individual’s situation? The group dismissed it because someone would come to open the outside door—no need for one of those expensive automatic doors where you push a large plate to open it.

And surely, the lavatory needed that modesty panel, and someone did come to help the person in need after they yelled. But help didn’t come immediately, and there was no way other than yelling to signal a need for help. They failed to see how either situation could be demeaning to someone’s self-esteem. And this is a committee that was formed to advocate for the disabled.

Non-disabled people fail to understand the many barriers between a physically disabled person and any pursuit, be it a restaurant, a bus, a theatre, or an athletic competition. People with Disabilities are often not considered in too many designs for buildings, transportation, communications or event planning.

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Striving to remove barriers that prevent us from building a Diverse, Vibrant, Inclusive, Accessible Community!

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