We do not choose the bodies that we are gifted with. All of us come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes filled with blemishes and imperfections.
The great Stevie Wonder once said, “We need to make every single thing accessible to every person with a disability.”
All human beings are born and created differently; it is common to find many with various abilities and features that can lead to inhibitions caused by structures already constructed. These structures are normally erected without concerning those with disabilities.
Thus, it occurs where people with disabilities are obscured from performing an activity that is of essence to the workings of their day to day life.
- Areas that cannot be accessed by elevators have no ramps alongside the stairs built.
- Pieces of visual media that do not provide closed captioning.
- Software not present with auditory enabled (voice over) configuration.
How Many People have Disabilities?
In the United States alone, over 58 million people – or nearly 20% of the population above the age of 5 – identify themselves as having disabilities.
Globally, there is a population of 2.0 billion people with disabilities (PWD), constituting an emerging market the size of China. Our friends and Family add another 2.3 billion potential consumers who act on their emotional connection to PWD. This constitutes of 37.5% of the world population. Out of that population, 1.75 billion people suffer a disability that concerns vision.
466 million people have a disabling deafness and hearing loss. This represents 6% of the world’s population.
There are 25 million people in the United States with severe visual impairment and about 200 million people have an intellectual disability (IQ below 75). This represents 2.6% of the world’s population. 75 million people need a wheelchair on a daily basis. This represents 1% of the world’s population.
19 million people with a severe visual impairment are of working age, where the unemployment rate is nearly 70% of that number.
Globally, PWD and their families control over $8 trillion in annual disposable income
In the U.S, Friends and Family of the disabled represent another estimated group of over 120 million. In the United States, PWD and their friends and family have nearly $4 trillion of disposable income. (1.)Therefore, in context to the figures, we must take up certain steps to tackle the issues that affect accessibility.
What can we do to improve accessibility?
Government mandates including Section 508, WCAG, and DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) are all enforcing practices to standardize accessibility testing engineering in product development.
(2.)The disability rights movement advocates equal access to social, political, and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, services, organizations, and facilities as non-disabled people (e.g., museums). Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commits signatories to provide for full accessibility in their countries.
(3.) Along with this, it is the duty of private owners and proprietors to conduct an accessible environment and ensuring that there are no difficulties that arise.
The different areas where accessibility is put into use are:
Transportation is one of the most numerable activities conducted on a day to day basis. It is necessary that measures are taken to provide a comfortable transit from one place to another with those with disabilities.
Providing mobility to people with disabilities includes changes for public facilities like gently sloping paths of travel for people with wheelchairs and difficulty walking up stairs, or audio announcements for the blind; dedicated services like Para transit; and adaptations to personal vehicles.
Types of accessibility equipment through transportation are:
- 1.Automobile Accessibility or Adaptive Automobiles is the vehicle that can be transformed to fit the needs of those with disabilities.
- 2.A Low Floor is an architectural design that has a small distance between the curb and the train/tram/buses. In a low-floor vehicle, access to part or the entire passenger cabin is unobstructed from one or more entrances by the presence of steps, enabling easier access for the infirm or people with push chairs. A further aspect may be that the entrance and corridors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Low-floor vehicles have been developed for buses, trolleybuses and trams.
- 3.Modifications to conventional urban environments have become common in recent decades. The use of a curb cut, or Kassel kerb, to enable wheelchair or walker movement between sidewalk and street level is found in most major cities of wealthy countries. The creation of priority parking spaces and of disabled parking permits has made them a standard feature of urban environments. Features that assist people with visual impairments include braille signs and tactile paving to allow a user with a cane to easily identify stairways, train platforms, and similar areas that could pose a physical danger to anyone who has a visual impairment.
Media and Communication
The use of media; be it technological or otherwise, is of utmost importance in the modern world. It acts as a medium for the procurement of information and knowledge from various regions and places. Without any means of accessibility in the field of media, it creates a great complexity to understand it for those with disabilities.
Different types of media for those with disabilities are:
1. Web Accessibility is the inclusive practice that ensures that there are no obstructions that prevent accessibility to, websites on the World Wide Web by people with physical disabilities and situational disabilities. When sites are satisfactorily designed, developed with optimization and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. 2.. Blissymbols board or similar device; electronic speech synthesizer for those with communication impairments. 3. Closed Captioning [CC] for those suffering from hearing problems. Closed Captioning is the process of highlighting and spelling out the actions and words made by those in the piece of visual media. 4. Page-turning device; adaptive keyboards and computer mice (pointing devices such as trackballs, vertical mouse, foot mouse, or programmable pedal) for those with mobility impairments. 5.Voice recognition software, refreshable braille display, screen reader for those with Physical or mental impairment and learning disability. 6. Talking textbooks and Virtual keyboards for those with Perceptual disabilities. 7. Modified monitor interface, magnification devices; reading service, braille script, voice over software .e-text, Braille note-taker; Braille printer; screen magnifiers and optical scanner for those with visual impairments..
Housing and shelter is a human necessity that has been around since the dawn of man itself. Thus, it is of great injustice when people suffer from consequences that they have no control of in regards to their safety and security. Those with disabilities are prone to be living unsuitable conditions due to their inhibitions and problems. Therefore, observations and priorities must be set to enhance accessibility when houses are built for those with disabilities.
Examples of accessibility in housing are:
- 1.An accessible building entrance on an accessible route, 2.Accessible common and public use areas, 3. Doors usable by a person in a wheelchair, 4 Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit, 5 Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars, and 6 Usable kitchens and bathrooms. 7. Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls that are
This is mentioned in the 1988 Amendments to the Fair Housing Act which added people with disabilities, as well as familial status
Under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with parties are bound to assure accessible elections, voting, and voting procedures. In 2018, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities issued an opinion that all polling stations should be fully accessible. At the European Court of Human Rights, there are currently two on-going cases about the accessibility of polling places and voting procedures. They were brought against Slovenia by two voters and the Slovenian Disability Rights Association. As of January 2020, the cases, called Toplak v. Slovenia and Mrak v. Slovenia, are on-going. The aim of the court procedure is to make accessible all polling places in Europe
Accessibility of employment covers a wide range of issues, from skills training, to occupational therapy, finding employment, and retaining employment. Such activities are done so for the all-round development of the soon to be an employee so that he does not suffer from any difficulties while on the process of completing a job activity
Brief of such accessibility instruments that need to be put forth in offices and conference rooms are:
- 1.Wheelchair accessible transportation - see Persons with reduced mobility 2. Reserved parking 3. Barrier-free meeting rooms / restrooms / podium/speaker's platform 4. ADA Compliant Ramp Access to businesses and public places 5. Accessible lodging
1.Advance copies of papers 2. An assistive listening system 3. Sign language interpreters 4. A quiet place to gather for social conversation (a quieter space that is still visible to others should be reserved at social events or dinners so that people who are hard of hearing may go there to talk with their colleagues.) 5. TTY access or Internet-based TRS
1. Large print/braille copies of the program and papers 2. A student volunteer to guide and describe the artwork, computer work, etc. 3. A tech to help with assistive devices and screen readers (e.g., JAWS). 4. Gloves to touch three dimensional works (where permissible).
1. Notices asking participants to refrain from allergy-producing problems (e.g., perfumes) 2. Inform food providers of food allergies (e.g., peanuts, shellfish, etc.) 3 Referral information for local personal care attendant agencies. 4 Referral information for veterinarian care for service animals. 5 Access to a place to rest during the day (if the conference venue is far from the lodgings)..
I would like to conclude by saying that every human being is entitled to a chance of equal living and opportunity. Those with disabilities should not be face trials and tribulations because of complacency in infrastructure and manufacturing by those who do not know the perils of such disabilities. An equal world of opportunity that is not brought down by the travails of disability is a world that I would want to live in..