07 Oct October is Diversity Awareness Month
Disability Awareness Month:
October is Disability Awareness month. What does this mean to YOU? – It means we all are able to make things, places and social activities accessible for all citizens with disabilities. How can you become a part of the solution? By being open to change and changing negative thinking. As a person who has sustained a disability caused by the negligence of a truck driver, which has left me paralyzed and having to use a wheelchair for mobility, I am well aware of the matters people with disabilities and their family members have to face daily. Although attitudinal barriers are worldwide and affect us all, it is the #1 matter all persons with all types of disabilities encounter even more.
A matter as insignificant as a curb cut is a big issue for those who are trying to access a sidewalk, so they are able to enter a building; being able to open a door which is too heavy to open without the assistance of an automatic door opener; catching a taxi cab and hoping the driver doesn’t mind placing your wheelchair or scooter in the back of the vehicle; or being able to go to a social event without physical barriers, which impede participation. All these are types of attitudinal barriers of people with disabilities. Attitudes can be changed by those in charge noting challenges and working towards making changes for everyone’s participation, access, and inclusion in all situations.
Disability Awareness Month is about awareness, it should not be limited to October, but every day and in every situation. As a member of the Unity Commission as Liaison for the Hampton Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities and the President of Connections Access Consulting Services, LLC, I charge myself responsible to educate society on the many issues/matters all citizens with disabilities face, and hope the majority adheres to the message and begins to do what is necessary to make changes possible for everyone. Although this is the twentieth year of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there is still a lot of work to be done in our country, to make our communities, society and nation a land of opportunity for all, which includes those who just happen to live with a disability.
You can help and make things happen by lending a hand when it’s needed, take notice of things around you and how they can become more inclusive, place yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask yourself: What would I do or need if it were my situation? Change is a choice we all make, but inclusion and access should be made for ALL!
Disability Awareness + Sensitivity = Attitudinal Change
NOTE: Ellen is a trusted associate of The Lett Group and offers seminars and keynote speeches on the subject of Disability Etiquette.
You can reach Ellen at email@example.com