Accessibility Week in Canada is from May 28th to June 3rd this year. In support of this initiative, we here at The Erb Group have decided to share information and different resources to help our team gain insight into what we can do to better help those who need it.
So, what exactly is accessibility? According to Accessibility Services Canada, “Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities.” This can include common barriers such as:
- A physical environment that is not accessible.
- Lack of relevant assistive technology (assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices).
- Negative attitudes of people towards disability.
- Services, systems and policies that are either nonexistent or that hinder the involvement of all people with a health condition in all areas of life.
A single person can help in various ways in their day-to-day life when educating themselves on disabilities and accessibility.
Learn the proper terminology. Make sure you use the correct terms when discussing people with disabilities. Specific terms that were once considered the norm are now outdated and can even be offensive in some cases. The first step to helping people with disabilities is educating yourself about the right words.
Communicate directly. Often, people with disabilities are assisted by interpreters, nurses, or friends during their day-to-day lives. It’s essential that, when communicating with someone with a disability, you talk directly to that person. Do not filter conversation through someone else.
Ask before providing assistance. If you see a person with a disability struggling with something, your first instinct may be to jump in and help. However, you may be doing more harm than good without knowing that person’s specific needs or intentions. Always ask before offering your assistance.
There’s also always the opportunity to volunteer your time, donate or help raise money for worthy causes such as some of the organizations listed here.
During this week-long accessibility campaign, we encourage you to challenge yourself to read, learn and become more aware. Seeking more information? Check out these resources on disability and accessibility to learn more about how you can support the community.