June 8, 2015

Accessibility Promotes Participation

Girl standing with her grandmother sitting in a wheelchairAccessibility features of public and private spaces ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in life activities.  Researchers at RTC: Rural have been studying accessibility in the context of events and other community settings to see how people with disabilities are included in all the activities a community has to offer.

While the need for hospitals, grocery stores and schools to be accessible is widely recognized, we don’t always consider the accessibility of the places in which people recreate.  Participation isn’t just limited to the basic necessities of daily life such as medical visits and shopping.  Opportunities for socialization and outdoor recreation are just as important.

Now that it’s summer, many people are planning trips to national parks and other vacation spots.  For people with disabilities, this can sometimes be challenging.  While national parks and recreation areas must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the process of making park features accessible is a long one and most national parks and other recreation areas are not universally accessible.  In order to make sure family vacations are fun for everyone, it’s important to plan in advance and find out more about the accessible features and amenities of your vacation destination.  To find out about a specific location’s accessibility features, go directly to their website.  For example, Glacier National Park here in Montana is a popular summer destination.  Their website has information on accessibility and you can find more detailed information and photos in the Disabled Traveler’s Companion.

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