Living life with a disability can be challenging. As per a study, over 2.5 billion people globally are affected by some kind of disability and need assistive devices for a better life. The number shows the enormous size of the assistive devices market. The demand is vast and projected to multiply in the next few years. The disabled and elderly need special care and inclusivity to normalize their lives. However, regularly, we might see disabled people facing challenges with limited accessibility in public places, workplaces, or even sometimes in their homes. This includes navigating transportation hubs like airplanes and train stations, where accessibility issues can pose significant obstacles to their mobility and independence. Let’s see how we can create a disability-friendly environment that supports the disabled community with better access.
Ramps/lifts – It is difficult for people with movability issues to access the upper floors or specific corners in a multi-storeyed building. Often, the escalators or lifts for public usage are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Also, staircases are the biggest nightmare for the disabled, expecting mothers, elderly or sick people. Rail stations, airport terminals, convenience stores, and other public buildings are opting for ramps and lifts specially meant to give easy access to disabled people. Additionally, many homeowners recognize the importance of retrofitting ramps to their existing homes to provide accessible entrances for family members or guests with mobility challenges.
Wheelchairs – In crowded public places and establishments, wheelchairs are provided along with human assistance. These services are mandatory for organizations under the Disability-Friendly Act to comply with. People can avail of these services free of cost and quickly move around.
Signage – In universities, office buildings, streets, sidewalks, or other public areas, signs must be installed to guide disabled people for better accessibility and assistance. It also creates awareness among the ordinary people and passersby.
Assistive technology – Braille books are still in use and are stacked in libraries and other public places to aid visually impaired people. Screen reading software like Microsoft Narrator, a free tool for blind and visually challenged users, is developed using assistive technology. Robotic arms, prosthetics, motorized wheelchairs, and other mobility aids are gaining popularity worldwide. The hardware and software based on AI and other modern technology that improves the functioning and movability of disabled people are termed assistive technology. With advanced technology, mobility aids are making significant improvements, making lives more manageable.
Human assistance – In most establishments, skilled personnel are appointed to assist the disabled and elderly people. In educational institutes, scribes are allowed for disabled students. Additional time is allotted to students suffering from a disability. Moreover, support groups and community organizations are crucial in providing emotional and practical support to individuals with disabilities, helping them connect with others who share similar challenges, and offering valuable resources for navigating daily life. This personalized support ensures equal opportunities and empowers individuals with disabilities to excel in various aspects of life, fostering a more inclusive and diverse society.
Disability-friendly washrooms – To comply with the disability-friendly act in multiple countries, barrier-free washrooms are designed for disabled people, ensuring easy accessibility. Public places, workplaces, and educational institutes all come under this particular act. This is a necessity that every establishment must provide for easy accessibility.
Emergency buttons – Alarms or buttons must be installed in buildings to get immediate support from skilled personnel for disability care to handle the emergency.
Knowledge center – There should be a separate resource center for disabled people where all information is available. These knowledge centers should have books, journals, and computers with the necessary software, gadgets, and information on helpline numbers, disability communities, groups, etc.
It is essential to create a friendly and inclusive environment for the disabled and elderly people. The ‘no one left out’ theme should be embraced across various social platforms. Businesses and big establishments should adopt accessibility-friendly measures and open their doors for better participation from the disabled community. It will not only give disabled people a chance to regain productivity but also help ease the financial burdens. Laws and policies should be amended from time to time with changing needs. People with disabilities comprise a significant portion of society, and properly utilizing their skills could lead to robust economic growth. Thus, promoting a comprehensive and inclusive environment for disabled people is the need of the hour.