30 Things People With Mobility Challenges Want You to Know on the 30th Anniversary of the ADA
People with mobility impairments represent the largest group among all disabilities, impacting 1 in 7 adults in the U.S. Beyond the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) efforts, here are 30 things people with mobility challenges and their caregivers wish you knew to help advance inclusion for this community.
This list came directly from The Driving Force, a group of people with mobility disabilities and their caregivers who are part of the BraunAbility Drive for Inclusion. This is a movement to elevate the voices of this community to help advance inclusion for all.
What Does Mobility Inclusion Mean to You?
1. Being able to participate, without feeling as if it is a burden to others.
2. To have the same services available as everyone else.
3. The ability to be a part of the family and community.
4. To be visible.
5. To fit in. To live a normal life.
6. To not be denied access.
7. Not being treated as different or inferior.
8. To be included as an individual with a wheelchair, not defined as a wheelchair.
9. Considered a whole, capable individual who has a voice, can use it and can participate in a manner similar to those around me.
10. It means somebody cares.
What Are Some Challenges to Mobility Inclusion?
11. My voice or presence isn't always acknowledged.
12. Many places are not accessible. It only takes one barrier.
13. People who are able-bodied don't understand how limiting it is to navigate inaccessible facilities.
14. In so many cases it is obvious that a wheelchair individual was not consulted.
15. ADA standards have helped a great deal, but sometimes problems arise just because someone is thoughtless or insensitive (or inexperienced) at dealing with the issues.
How Can Businesses, Organizations & Government Help Advance Mobility Inclusion?
16. ADA compliance and enforcement.
17. Listen first. Generally there is a way for us to join society in activities, but people need to hear our needs in order for that to happen. Get input early in the process!
18. Make sure (accessible parking spaces) are properly painted and marked.
19. More inclusion in the workforce.
20. Train people without disabilities on how to communicate with and include people with disabilities.
How Can Individuals Help Advance Mobility Inclusion Right Now?
21. Remember us. Invite us.
22. Always talk to a person in a wheelchair like you would talk to anyone else.
23. Look people with disabilities in the eye when you’re speaking with them.
24. Don’t assume someone with mobility challenges isn’t smart.
25. Recognize that people with mobility challenges sometimes feel awkward socially because they are treated differently.
26. Get the community to watch Crip Camp.
27. Respect accommodations, like bathroom stalls. It is not okay to misuse accessible parking spots.
28. Sometimes people are afraid to ask what someone with a disability needs for fear of insulting them. Not all people need the same accommodations. It’s important to communicate openly.
29. Write a letter or contact the people making the decisions (about ADA compliance/enforcement).
30. Specifically during shelter-in-place: Being isolated is very lonely. Call. Bring a meal. Put flowers on their porch. Ask if they need anything. Just be a friend.
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