Importance of Accessibility – Disabled Access Day 2019


Experiences / Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Accessibility Is Important

As its disabled access day is next month I felt it would be a good idea to talk about the event in celebration. I also felt this was the perfect opportunity to emphasise the importance of accessibility for myself and others alike. The day itself will celebrate the accomplishments made to making society more accessible for disabled people. Throughout the years I’ve felt the disappointment of inaccessibility in my life. People have invited me to events, asked me to go places which I could not access. Unfortunately, this meant I had to cancel on other people. However, truth is that safety and independence is what is important when considering access. In this post I discuss my own experiences with accessibility and why it’s important for disabled people like me.

Part of Life

Accessibility is an essential part of my life so when I can’t access something because of something minor like a small step or lack of information, it’s disappointing. In a modern world, there is still so many services inaccessible for disabled people without the support from somebody else. As someone with muscular dystrophy, this is a hard thing to swallow as it shows as my condition gets worse, so will my ability to get access to services independently.

Out and About

While out and about accessibility is important. Driving my car, catching public transportation and venues are very important to my day-to-day activities. Small steps, inaccessible buses and lack of information has left me unable to enjoy experiences at local services. What makes it worse is that I never know what is accessible. It is like a free for all out there, where some venues are helpful and others aren’t. As more disabled people live independent lives, there will be more need for accessible services. Making them more accessible would help me spend the money I’ve earned at your shop.

Changing Places

Many campaigns are ran across the country for services like changing places toilets. These toilets are essential for a good bathroom experience. Some have had to be changes on the floor in distasteful accessible toilets. I’ve had plenty of times toilets were unsuitable in inaccessible to me but when it came to changing place toilets I had a much plesant experience. A disabled toilet should at least be the size of a normal parking space with enough space for turning, etc. However, I have seen a lot a progress on this movement. Disabled access day aims to celebrate this event. It’s important that movements like this keep going as it has improved my ability to have a decent bathroom experience tenfold.

Accessibility Experiences

Festivals

When it comes to accessibility and fields that could easily become muddy, accessibility can be a problem. However, no matter the weather, it’s the music that counts! I’ve gone to a couple of festivals myself. Slamdunk, Download, Leeds and many other festivals in regards to university and concerts. I’ve found myself able to get access to all these events and while the toilets weren’t great, the work that goes into ensuring accessibility is considered is great to know. Right at the end of Leeds last year, I was asked about the access and how it could be improved allowing me to communicate ways to make festival more accessible. If you would like to read my review on Leeds Festival, please feel free to click here to read it. However, I do feel there is limited options for camping, at least when wet weather and powerchairs are in the mix.

App That Makes Fueling Better

Smartphones have become better for helping people access services otherwise inaccessible. Fuel stations for an example has been a hassle for me, especially when you can’t necessarily open your automatic ramp to get out, hold the hose and fuel up. If I’m honest, this is something that makes it so difficult to do alone. Fortunately apps like fuelService provides the perfect solution for this problem. The experience I had with this app was outstanding and the service what I had expected, taking away the hassle of fueling up. Staff members were cooperative and happy to help me get what I needed from the station. For anyone who wants to fuel up independently or struggles with fueling up because of a form of disability, get this app. I will have a more in depth review in the future after using the app more.

Taxi!

For taxis, I have seen apps for ordering taxis better than previous years. With the likes of MyTaxi offering accessible taxi options is great. I can now go out at night or in the day with easy knowing a taxi is at my finger tips. They are also great for ensuring you don’t get overcharged for a taxi you can get on the street. I appreciate small apps and features like that in my day-to-day life.

Smart Technology – Accessible Life

Within our homes, smart technology is getting better and more helpful. For myself, this has been a great stepping stone for accessibility. We can now run simple things like lights, our music and other technology to control our home and with that comes more independence. By using our own voice, we are able to automate a lot of our daily tasks that would be difficult or near impossible to complete. They also enable disable people to add safety to their home, with apps live Hive allow easy control of heating. Applications like Hive mean to stay warm I rely on someone else. However, while these do help, security is something being considered at the moment. Hopefully as smart technology improves, more smart technology will be created. With that also comes hope that our lights won’t be flicking because of security flaws

Improving Accessibility

Communicate

It’s important that disabled people talk to venues and people about their accessibility experiences. By sharing these stories, we are doing our part at improving how accessible our services and venues are for us to enter. Talk about your experiences with event organisers, friends and even family and get your opinions on accessibility known. Alternatively, you could join an online forum, start your own blog and join in on local events to express your concerns or positive views on accessibility in various ways. I’ve typically only talking about my experience with access with other people but haven’t really attended any events yet. If you’re interested in joining an event, there are plenty you can find on disabled access day by clicking here.

Venues too…

Venues should also communicate accessibility information clearly. A lot of venue pages on Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc. are not clear on if their venue is accessible or not. Previously I have found myself having to physically go to the venue to find out or look for pictures of the entrance. Sometimes venues have no pictures nor information on accessibility. I waste so much time messaging the pages, ringing places up and visiting the venue just to be disappointed when I get to the door. All that is needed is a clear piece of information that states whether it is accessible or not. This option would make research much quicker and in turn save me time planning my day.

Mind The Gap

Transportation is a difficult area to discuss for disabled people. While applications are still getting better, there is still limitations to travel. There are limited bays on the bus, trams and planes make you go away from your powerchair whilst in flight. If there was a way to improve transportation to make it more convenient and less of a obstecle that would be nice. Alternative with taxis, there needs to be safer ways to get in one and go. Side access is convenient for the curb but not so much safe for my head if an emergency stop is needed. I’d prefer to spend an extra minute getting into a taxi if it means not having a sore head.

Understanding – Common Sense

Those who may not rely on accessibility won’t feel the same frustration as being unable to get access to a venue. Whether it means you get separated from your friends or have to lose out on a worthwhile experience, it’s not a nice feeling. Exclusion is one thing but I often hear people making out lifting you in is an easy option. To be quite frank, it’s always a bad idea. As a Powerchair user, I often had to explain the fact it was dangerous. Some understanding on safety and common sense will be handy or else your just sounding bizarre.

Hopefully by reading today’s post you know more about disabled access day and why it’s important we consider accessibility more. Please check back regularly on the Dynamic Double blog for the latest experiences, updates and more!

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