Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tips for making life easier for people with disabilities

Yes even in this day and time those of us living with a wide range of disabilities can face many challenges. This is a simple fact that we all come to accept at one point in our lives. To be honest it is a fact that those who have no clue about the issues those with disabilities face, have no idea about the struggles or issues we may face in life. Unfortunately at times these are the people who unintentionally end up creating barriers for those of us living with disabilities. Thankfully we do live in a time when people are willing to learn more about how they can have a positive impact on the lives of others. Now when it comes to those of us living with disabilities, there are actually just a few simple things that you can do to help make our lives easier. So here is my list of things you can do to make life easier for those of us living with a disability.

Top 5 tips for making life easier for those with disabilities:

- If you are a business owner please don't let the fact that someone is in a wheelchair or that they may have a disability keep you from hiring them. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about workers with disabilities when in fact many are very talented people, who when giving the opportunity will prove themselves as an asset to your company. So the next time someone with a disability applies for a position within your business it would be a great idea to simply give them a chance. I am sure you won't regret it.     

- If you are a home owner during the winter months it is very important to take care of the property surrounding your home - especially those with sidewalks in front of their homes. As you know during the winter it doesn’t take long for snow and ice to build up. This can cause all sorts of problems for those with disabilities especially those of us who use wheelchairs, as ice and snow covered walkways & even driveways severely limit our ability to get around safely. You see when you clear away ice & snow from your property it really goes a long way in making the communities we live in more accessible.  

- When it comes to accessible parking please don’t make the mistake of assuming that these spaces are strictly reserved for seniors or those with visible disabilities. The facts are that disabilities come in ever shape and form and can affect those young and old. It also must be known that you can’t always tell who has a disability, in some cases it is very hard to tell. To me it is truly sad that some people have no clue about what a disability is or what it looks like. What people need to understand is that disabilities can affect anyone, even those who still have the ability to walk. So they next time you see someone parking in one of these spaces, who in your eyes doesn't appear to have a disability please just leave them alone.

- Continuing on the accessible parking theme this one's for permit holders. Please Do NOT under any circumstance EVER park over the crosshatching space between two accessible parking spaces. It is extremely ignorant to park between any two vehicles already occupying accessible parking spaces. This area was created to provide drivers and passengers with disabilities the room they need to exit their vehicles safely. When you park in this way you make it harder for those of us who need this extra space. This is why it is important to leave this area clear for those who need to open their doors all the way, it is especially important for those who use wheelchairs that need to put a ramp down. It also MUST be known that an accessible parking permit does NOT give you the right to park this way. If you park in this area your vehicle can still be ticketed and towed.

- Why not consider getting involved in supporting a local charity that benefits those in your community living with disabilities. There are many organizations that have been created to help those in need of wheelchairs and mobility aids. When you make even the smallest donation it can go a long way in improving the lives of people within your community. Each year I join the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in an effort to make a difference in the lives of other's affected by MD. The facts are it usually doesn’t take a lot of your time or energy to support local charities.  

The hope behind this very unique "How to" list is to encourage people who aren't already doing so to get involved in playing an important role in improving the lives of those of us living with physical disabilities.

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