Accessibility Wish List
You know when you get an Uber to your favorite little cafe in the city before heading to the airport to catch your flight?
I wouldn’t because nothing in that scenario is accessible for me.
It blows my mind that we can have people floating around in space but we can’t make society accessible and inclusive for 20% of the population. How is that fair or acceptable?
The other wild thing is that people are so ignorant to just how widespread this problem is. No one really seems to think about it, and I get that it’s easy to look past things that don’t ever affect you, but it’s not like disabled people are quiet about it. We’re out here every day pointing out design flaws and basically begging for improvements. Hell, I’ve seen countless disabled people offer their services for free to try and get the ball moving.
I’m understanding to a point when people tell me they had no idea about inaccessibility being such a huge problem, but let’s be honest here. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Eventually, that card wears old, and it doesn’t take long either. Next week, there’s a house vote on a bill called #HR620. A bill which I’ve talked about before, but for those who haven’t heard of it – it essentially would make the ADA optional for business owners.
This would be an absolute disaster for disabled people.
The simple fact is that places aren’t designed with wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, crutches, or any mobility aid in mind. Blind and deaf people are just as much of an afterthought as wheelchair users are, and chronically ill people as well. The disability community, as a whole, is left behind from society in so many ways, and if inaccessibility is bad now, it will be much, much worse without the few incentives people are given to comply with the ADA.
We’re everywhere, guys. I hear the excuse ‘well, no one in a wheelchair ever requested a ramp/door/lift/etc’ all the time. I’ve been told people like me are ‘rare’ and that they just assumed there aren’t many disabled people where they live. Nah. You just don’t see them. There’s a reason why so many of us end up stuck at home, and it’s not because we want to be.
Can you imagine how different society would look if disabled people were given the opportunity to actually be a part of our local communities as freely as our abled friends, family, and neighbors are? We deserve that. We are owed that chance.
I know that people assume I sit around daydreaming about walking or running, but I don’t. I daydream about never having to worry about places, activities, or things being accessible.
I’ve thrown together a little list (still going strong with the list love) of things I think it’s time we have. Things we need. I’m putting them out to the universe, and you never know! Maybe we’ll see some of these soon. What a happy little surprise that’d be, huh?
Accessible vans are wildly unaffordable for so many people. The only reason my family has one is that we were able to work with a company who assisted us. But, our van is 10 years old and when it craps out on us… yikes.
Accessible taxi services are few and far between, and they’re so pricey they’re sort of an absolute last resort type of thing. We have an accessible transit system with the bus company, but they’re notoriously unreliable. If you have the option to use something like Uber or Lyft, I promise you have been taking it for granted.
This is silly and unimportant, I know. I’ve just always wanted a cute photo strip with my friends and I’ve never been able to because they’re never accessible for wheelchair users.
I really don’t understand why airlines haven’t figured out a way to let wheelchair users remain in their chairs during a flight. There has to be a way to safely lock down wheelchairs because again, we’re sending people into space. It can’t be that wild of a concept.
And for those that do transfer to a regular plane seat, wheelchairs need to be treated as priorities and extremely fragile. Wheelchairs can’t be lost for days like an insignificant suitcase, they can’t be tossed around like a $5 souvenir. I’ve read horror stories of what happens to chairs on flights, and it’s inexcusable.
Disabled people like going out, too! Lower bar counters and accessible seating isn’t asking for much.
I’m so jealous of people who find cute cafes and restaurants to hang out at. Most of the time, they’re too small and cramped for my wheelchair to comfortably maneuver, or they have steps, or my wheelchair doesn’t fit at the tables. There’s always something. Small, local businesses are usually notorious for not being accessible.
I love being outside and I love exploring. Most of the state parks (and even just nature trails/public parks) aren’t really accessible for me. Obviously, I understand that not all terrain can be made accessible, but if it’s possible to make a path for wheelchairs, make a path. I just want to go see the springs and manatees, okay? C’mon.
I mean, it’s the one place you’d expect to be a given, right? Nah. Waiting rooms are too crowded and exam rooms are damn near impossible to navigate. They consistently don’t have the necessary equipment for safe transfers or to weigh patients. It’d almost be funny if it weren’t so completely pathetic.
Nothing on my wishlist is anything extraordinary, and the fact that I have to put them on my wishlist shows just how much work we have left to do.