5 responses to “Accessibility Is So Much More Than Ramps”

  1. codeman38

    People often seem to think that accessibility is something you add when someone asks for it, which presumes that people with disabilities will always ask for it, when instead, more commonly, we go ‘oh, that space isn’t accessible or there’s not clear information about accessibility, so I won’t bother attending that event.’

    Yes. This.

    I’ve encountered this sort of thing several times myself. On several occasions I’ve seen conference calls advertised, aimed at the disability community, with no mention of whether captioning would be offered for the call. The only way I even knew that was an option was because they gave an e-mail address in the announcement and I contacted them there. And if I hadn’t had the insight to do that, I would’ve just assumed it was inaccessible– because conference calls usually are inaccessible. (Ever tried joining a conference call via relay? It Is Not Fun.)

  2. PharaohKatt

    I really like that accessibility icon, so much more inclusive!

    This is so true. I’m working on a convention right now, and the organizational body has no accessibility policy. It was always assumed that because the hotel has lifts (which break down) and accessible toilets that that’s the end of it.
    So now I’m introducing them to things like Braille programs, tactile maps, audio equipment that can be hooked up to hearing aids, large print, chill-out rooms…

    Long battle, and often so frustrating.

  3. Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

    That assumption that we will ask for accommodations is a peculiarly ableist one. After hearing the word “No” in a myriad of forms, or just gotten that blank, uncomprehending look after making a request, I’ve definitely started choosing when to ask and when to forget about it. As a person with an invisible disability, it’s such a pain, because I look so, you know, not disabled, and then I have to work through that block before I can even get to the accommodations part. And there’s so little respect anyway for people who are describing disabilities invisible to the naked eye–as though we’re making it up, or could just overcome the disability with a little more work and willpower–that it’s often exhausting to even begin to engage the issue.

    It is, indeed, a long battle.

  4. mand

    And sometimes we’re just too tired to face getting a stranger’s attention and describing what we need.

    My personal gripe is disabled parking spaces allocated but too far from the building. If I’m in a wheelchair, it wouldn’t make any difference to me, but when I’m using my stick that extra few (or few dozen!) yards makes a HUGE difference. The difference between going round the whole shop / garden centre / museum, or just half of it.

    Often I end up using the chair when otherwise I wouldn’t have had to – and I prefer to see a shop (or etc) from my usual standing height, if I have the choice, but the mere positioning of the disabled spaces removes that choice.

    The assumption that wheelchair accessibility covers all kinds of disability is such a big problem for anyone who simply has difficulty with walking any distance, or with stairs.
    mand´s last blog post ..How to keep a career going if you have fibromyalgia or a similar condition

  5. Sasha Feather

    Great post! Thanks!

    Part of the mission of Access Fandom is to promote accessibility at events, so if anyone has questions, come to us– we have experience from WisCon. These principles can be applied anywhere, not just at science fiction conventions, and often for less money than you might think.