March has come again, which means I would like to take a few minutes of your time to discuss Disability Awareness Month. I have a lot of passion for Disability Awareness, as it impacts my family on a daily basis. My long-time readers are aware of this, but those of you new to the blog may not. My wife has Multiple Sclerosis and I am her caregiver. Accessibility is a personal passion of mine.
- In February 1987, President Ronald Reagan officially declared March as National Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement and opportunities that help individuals with disabilities lead productive and fulfilling lives.
- In my home state of Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb designated March as Disability Awareness Month in Indiana to celebrate and recognize people with disabilities and come together to promote equity and inclusion.
Please be respectful of those with disabilities, even ones that might not be easily visible upon first glance. I cannot tell you how often we struggle with handicap parking spots being taken by non-accessible tagged vehicles, taken by a motorcycle or scooter, or full of shopping carts, or full of snow piles. We need those parking spots to be able to safely access our destinations. We are challenged by handicap accessible bathrooms being out of order or too small for a wheelchair. There is also the challenge of people not even seeing my wife in her wheelchair. People try to jump over her feet, bump into the wheelchair when they are not looking, or completely ignoring my wife in her wheelchair and talking over her to me when they are asking questions about her. I ask you to take the time to notice those around you with disabilities and provide them the respect you would like to receive.
Websites to assist with understanding disability and accessiblity:
As you can see, with just a little effort, you can really include those with disabilities. Please, make the effort to be aware of those around you. From obvious accessibility challenges such as wheelchairs and walkers, to more invisible issues such as chronic fatigue and pain, your efforts and respect can go a long way to making the lives and experiences of others so much better.
Have there been people or organizations that have really made the extra effort toward accessibility awareness? Please thank them personally and perhaps give them a little praise here in the comments for others to hear the story.