The world we live in is not accessible for disabled people! Disabled people are always having to workaround inaccessibility and it is really frustrating because some of the things we struggle with because of inaccessibility are not fair and would be so easy fix if we would just take the time to listen to disabled people! Some places don’t even try to be accessible while others just follow the standards of ADA thinking they are accessible but in my experience, the government has some pretty low standards so you may be less accessible than you thought you were. Everywhere you go is inaccessible to some extent and I don’t see anything changing anytime soon. There are many reasons why accessibility is such a problem today and it would be difficult to make it accessible for everyone since there so many different disabilities that require different accommodations but I strongly believe we could make it more accessible than it is now by doing one simple thing: start listening to disabled people and stop using the government guidelines as your standards! Accessibility is one of the biggest frustrations of a disabled person’s life and something that we can’t get away from because it’s everywhere we go. Disabled people shouldn’t have to struggle so much but we do because the world is inaccessibility and to improve on that here are a few things we could do to make the lives of a disabled person easier.
Listen to disabled people– One of the biggest reasons why accessibility is such a problem nowadays is because abled people are designing these buildings and just going by what the ADA tells them and no one is consulting with actual disabled people! There are so many different disabilities and what one person views as accessible another may not so you cannot have one size fits all approach but what you can do is talk to many disabled people with different disabilities and find out what they would need for your office to be considered accessible. In my experience, the ADA has some pretty low standards for what they consider accessible and some of them don’t even make sense and the only way we can fix that is to start talking to actual disabled people because they are the ones that truly know what it means to be accessible. If you are thinking that’s too hard to track down a bunch of disabled people and ask them questions about accessibility I am here to tell you in this day in age it’s not as hard as you think. Disabled people run businesses and many of them have written articles about accessibility so you have all the information you need at your fingertips. All you have to do is reach out!
Have working elevators– I can remember going to a restaurant with my family a couple years back and my mom calling and asking if they were accessible. One of the employees said yes we have an elevator but what she failed to tell us was that the elevator wasn’t working. When a disabled asks if you have an elevator they are not only asking do you have one but they are also asking if it’s working and it’s common courtesy that when your elevator is down to tell them that so we don’t make an extra trip. Disabled people rely on an elevator when they need to get to an office on the second floor because unlike an abled person when they elevator is down we can’t just take the stairs but we have to cancel our appointment when this happens. Make it a priority to make sure it works at all times because there is nothing more frustrating than having to cancel an important appointment. If you value the business of your abled customers you should also do the same for your disabled customers and the way you do that is by having a working elevator.
Lower registers– I can remember going into Forever Twenty One and the only register that was accessible for me was closed so I was forced to use a register that was incredibly difficult and I could barely reach. The employees were not very helpful but just got annoyed with me because I was so slow, well sorry maybe if you let me use the accessible register I’d be faster! A lot of disabled people have this problem when checking out at a store and the simple solution to this is to make registers lower and don’t close the accessible registers you do have because they help disabled people have an easier time when checking out.
Automatic doors- Some doors are just too heavy for disabled people to open and for some opening doors may not be an option at all. You can make it easier for a disabled by making all doors automatic so when you walk up to it, it opens! If you tell me that is too expensive to have automatic doors in all buildings then I will tell you that is a load of crap because that is an essential part of accessibility. Accessibility should not be optional and until you can see that disabled people will always struggle and never will they see you as even somewhat accessible.
Have lower buttons– Whenever Karly and I hang out and we need to go on an elevator I always have to hit the button for her because she has weakness in her arms and cannot lift them to push the button because it is a little too high. There are tons of disabilities that will have this same problem and in order to address this issue, we need to make the buttons lower so disabled people can reach them. One thing I learned from Karly is that if we put buttons in elevators that you could hit with your foot it would be extremely helpful. This is a great idea that we should totally do because it would give those who can’t really lift a whole lot the ability to take an elevator without needing assistance.
Always have assistance in stores– One of the most frustrating things, when I am shopping, is when I can’t reach something and there is no assistance! You have signs everywhere saying that you do have assistance but how come I can’t find anybody? I understand you cannot make your business one hundred percent accessible for all disabilities and no one is asking you to but what we do ask is you have someone available when we need assistance. Disabled people shouldn’t have to hunt down employees they should be easy to find and readily available. I have gone on many shopping trips and couldn’t reach something and had to forget it because I ran out of time which is sad because more often than not the merchandise I needed help getting I really wanted! Your disabled customers are just as important as your abled customers but sometimes disabled people don’t feel that way. You can simply change that by making them as much as a priority and assisting them when needed!
They’re so much the world could do to become more accessible I could not possibly put in all in one post. Changes need to made in order to make the world more accessible and I don’t see any being made and they won’t change unless we decide to start listening to disabled people and stop using the government as your standard. Everyone can learn someone new about disability (even disabled people) and until we reach out to people with these conditions and come to terms with that there will always be something inaccessible about your business. All disabilities are different and everyone has different standards as to what they consider accessibility and as soon as we stop treating it as a one size fits all approach and start designing these buildings according to what disabled people consider accessible it will be a true breakthrough! Everything will always be frustrating to disabled people to some extent as long as we continue to listen to the government’s standards so stop listening to them and do what you think makes sense and if you are unsure consult a disabled person to help make your business more accessible. Disabled people run businesses, blogs, and Youtube channels so you have all the information you will need to learn about accessibility at your fingertips. You just have to seek this information out and be willing to learn. How do you think the world can be more accessible please leave your thoughts in the comments below.