• leelagershenson

What we are learning about accessibility during Covid-19

Updated: May 28, 2020

Something that I have recognized in working with individuals with physical disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic is how different many of their experience is from others I speak to. In fact, many are thriving.

Since March of this year, most organizations have been forced to find new ways to accommodate and adapt in order to survive. Schools are held virtually, trainings are being held online, counselors are using telehealth and insurance companies that don’t normally pay for telehealth are temporarily covering it, companies that don’t usually offer delivery will drop off items at your home, friends and families are connecting on online, concerts are being held online, etc…

Well, imagine if you had a physical disability that limited your ability to go out in the community. Maybe you are immunocompromised and need to limit exposure to others, you have a physical disability, etc… Your dream job may say they provide reasonable accommodations, but they aren’t willing to allow people to work from home; you want to attend concerts, but the venue isn’t accessible; you want to go attend conferences but they all require flights and hotels, etc… Now, all of these and more are accessible.

I should mention that I am an advocate of the Social Model of Disability.

This means that it is not the job of the individual, but the role of society to accommodate the needs of the people. Using the social Model of Disability, people with disabilities should be given accommodations needed to engage in all activities and we should work to develop a society that is inclusive of everyone. Although there have been improvements in accommodations, there is a long way to go. Seeing how many adaptations have been made, proves what is available and what we could be doing. I believe that we need to evaluate what our values are and if that is accessibility and inclusion, we will see the value in making necessary accommodations.

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