Why We Should Care About Disability Accessibility Before It Affects Us


It’s funny how a changed perspective can suddenly shift what we care about.

Before we went to Florida with my parents, I described what the condo was like to my daughter Namine, who was born with multiple physical disabilities. I told her about the pool area, and about the boardwalk down to the beach. I told her what I remembered (and after so many years of visiting every July, I remember it so clearly) — steps leading up to the boardwalk, and steps from the boardwalk to the beach.

My parents had told me they’d rented a beach wheelchair, so Namine wouldn’t need to be carried everywhere. What they hadn’t told me — which I discovered to my delight — was that the stairs on either side of the boardwalk had been replaced with ramps.

Although the ramps’ existence was a happy thing for us, the reason for them appearing was not. Something had happened to someone in the owners’ family, and now that person uses a wheelchair. Out of this circumstance came the need for accessibility, which would have otherwise been (as it had always been in the past) ignored.

I have often heard it said, “There is no longer any excuse for a business to not accommodate accessibility.” But the unfortunate truth is that we humans tend to ignore what does not pertain to us. Even with laws meant to enforce it, many owners do nothing to improve the accessibility of their property.

The need for wheelchair accessibility used to not pertain to the owners of the condo. Now it does, and they changed it accordingly. But the fact of the matter is, under normal circumstances, they would not have done so.

We need more accessibility — and not just for wheelchair users, but for other disabilities as well. But before that can happen, we need more awareness and accountability. Because we’ve obviously proven as a society that we aren’t going to take care of it, until it affects us.

This story was originally posted on eichefam.net.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Disability

Brad Cohen.

What I Learned About Inclusion From My Assistant Principal With Tourette Syndrome

As I passed through the entrance of the school and walked down the hallway of the office of my next potential employer, I heard Mr. Brad Cohen’s vocal tics off in the distance. My special education supervisor had mentioned that the assistant principal had Tourette syndrome, and while I have had brushes with people who [...]
Disability job question.

When a Job Application Asks If I Have a Disability

As my current job search wears on, I am faced with a never-ending array of job applications and personality tests. I hope in vain that they don’t get lost in cyberspace and will get picked up by an actual human being who will take the time to read them. I type and type, pecking at [...]
Concept of simple letton of child at school with copy space

A Letter to the Teacher of a Sibling of a Child With Special Needs

As another school year begins, I know you are busy preparing your classroom, mapping out lessons, attending faculty meetings and anticipating the new faces that will enter your classroom and your life. It is a busy time — a little overwhelming and so very exciting — for you, for the kids, and for parents like me. Ever [...]
Woman sitting and looking on the landscape

What Gets Left Out When We Talk About 'Quality of Life'

“Let’s talk about your quality of life.” I think this one of the most widely-known quotes within the disabled community. I can’t count the amount of times on all of my fingers and toes how often I’ve heard this phrase, and for some reason, much to my surprise, the quote “Let’s talk about your quality [...]