Wikipedia defines accessibility as the following:
“Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” and benefit from some system or entity. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities or special needs and their right of access to entities, often through use of assistive technology.”
The dictionary has an interesting definition of accessibility:
1. Easily approached or entered.
2. Easily obtained: accessible money.
3. Easy to talk to or get along with: an accessible manager.
4. Easily swayed or influenced: accessible to flattery.
Both have offered a very broad, general definition. What does accessibility mean for you?
For many people who live with disabilities, accessibility can mean the difference between being able to get out of the house to attend to the daily chores/outings/events and things typical for many people, or NOT being able to get out or get to many places to do what many take for granted, go to work, go shopping, visiting, etc…
Accessibility means different things for different people. We all need to have accessibility to some extent. You may be thinking, “I don’t have a disability!”. Disability or not, we all use things everyday that help make things ‘accessible’ to us. Think about it. Can you think of 3 things you use every day that help you do things and get places?
How many times have you used the automatic door openers to enter buildings? That’s accessibility! How many times have you chosen to take the ramp instead of a few stairs? That’s accessibility! Have you ever used a ‘jar gripper’ to help you open jars and other lids difficult to open? That’s accessibility! Do the taps in your kitchen or washroom have ‘lever-like’ knobs instead of the usual ’round’ ones? Believe it or not, that’s also accessibility!
More and more I think about how things are looking and how they will be, accessibility-wise, with regards to my son. Where can I take him that will be accessible? What if he wants to go places with his friends more as he continues to get older, and it’s not accessible? My thoughts already go to even just the simplest things like going to family dinners. Not everyone has an accessible place. At 14yrs old, he is too big to be carrying on my own. Even to do a 2 person lift, how many doorways are wide enough to accommodate?
1 in 7 people in ON have a disability and that number will increase as our population ages. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was passed in 2005. Its goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Through province-wide accessibility standards, they will improve accessibility by identifying, breaking down and preventing barriers to accessibility.
In the near future, I’m going to take a look at accessible housing to begin with. How many homes are actually accessible? What does the market consider accessible? (Yes, it will be different for each person’s needs, but in general, their definition) Are the accessible houses affordable for those who actually need them?
I’m also going to look at transportation. It’s availability; it’s cost and is what’s in place working? Is it enough?
If you know someone in either of these areas that would be interested in meeting with me, discussing this and even possibly giving me a ‘guided tour’ to see what’s out there, please contact me, I’d be pleased to meet you.
I will be writing about the information I find for articles and for my blog.