Thursday, February 18, 2010

Disability Awareness

My job working with rehabilitation specialists has educated me about the myths and realities about people with disabilities. In my short time in the blogosphere, I have come across quite a few people who are trying to share good information about the realities of living with disabilities and the things each of us can do to make their lives that much easier.

For example, Barbara Swafford wrote a post a while back at Blogging Without a Blog about how to make your website or blog more accessible to people with disabilities. A recent commenter on my blog, Lindsey, writes her own blog about raising five children with disabilities.

If you're following the Olympics in Vancouver this winter, you might not know that the Paralympics take place from March 12-21 in the same facilities.

I have also been seeing these wonderful ads on TV from Think Beyond the Label about promoting the hiring of people with disabilities. This ties in with my interest in helping Veterans return to "normal" life when they return from the war. Many returning Veterans have disabilities of one kind or another, and they deserve fair hiring practices that allow them to contribute to their country when they come back.

Many of us are currently buried under feet of snow. My particular city has neglected to clear most sidewalks in a high pedestrian area. Pedestrians have been killed by cars because they were walking in the street, the only place clear enough to walk. This is bad enough for those of us who can walk independently. Put yourself in the shoes of someone in a wheelchair and the problem is even more complicated. Public busses cannot get to the curb, so people using wheelchairs have a hard time getting on and off the bus. This is unacceptable, for everyone involved. Solutions are delayed by fights over who's responsibility it is to fix the problem instead of mobilizing the public to help everyone in a communal effort.

On a happier note, many companies are actively making efforts to accommodate people with disabilities. EA Games, a video game company, has taken strides to create settings that meet the needs of people with physical and developmental disabilities. EA Games has partnered with a company called VTree to do more of this kind of work in a project called Games for Good. A group called Able Gamers runs a website all about games and their accessibility highs and lows. This is a powerful group considering that one of their largest consumer bases is made up of Veterans.

As a side note, if you haven't come across Games That Give, check them out. Turn the time you spend playing games on your computer into money for your favorite charity. And it's free.

**Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with the companies, events, or websites listed above.**

6 comments:

  1. I love all the information in this post. Awareness is key to success. My step dad that was just like a bio dad to me had Polio from a young age. He was crippled and used crutches to walk until his older years when he surrendered to a wheelchair after his shoulders gave out.

    I remember going on trips and getting so frustrated when handicap hotel rooms were not available. Usually they were given to non disabled. I still see this happening as a travel agent.

    The voice of the disabled definitely needs to be heard. Stay warm Daphne!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Angelia - Thank you so much! It takes voices like ours to speak up and support people with disabilities, to improve awareness, and to end insensitivity. You have a great opportunity in your job as a travel agent to speak where people will hear you. Thank you for your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for highlighting the work of AbleGamers. Just so you know, AbleGamers is not just a website, it is also a nonprofit (The AbleGamers Foundation). http://www.ablegamers.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Daphne .. great that we're looking at things like this as bloggers .. and it will give us an edge if we can help others not as able. I think it's wonderful that people with disabilities can do so much more now, than they were able to do in the last decades - there are more facilities - but not enough.

    Barbara's post back in September was really useful and informative - and it's good to hear your views and ideas - snow and ice are a nightmare to anyone .. but especially the elderly and the disabled ..

    I met a kid, who had ADD or similar, with her Pom dog on the flight back from the States last year .. and was amazed to find you had PETS for the disabled allowed on the planes ..

    Hows the house hunting going? I suppose you're snow bound and that doesn't nelp?! Keep going and good luck ..

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ioo - Thansk so much for your comment and for clarifying that AbleGamers is also a nonprofit! I'm happy to share resources like this with my readers.

    Hilary - I really appreciate your comment. I agree that many things have improved significantly and I hope that they continue to do so. I'll be updating on the house hunting next week, hopefully. I have been able to get out of the snow so far and now things are starting to melt. I hope that's a good thing. Thanks for your support.

    Taylor - Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete

I welcome and appreciate your comments!