What is Accessibility?
We all come in different shapes and sizes, some tall, some small, some young, some old and with different abilities
and disabilities. And we all want to be able to get to places and do things on our own. But this isn’t always easy
to do because of the way a place is built.
We are more alike than different, but we have different needs for getting around and for doing activities
based on our age, size, shape and abilities. Someone who is older may find it harder to walk up a long flight
of stairs or to walk from the parking lot to the building. And a mother with a baby in a carriage may have
difficulty getting into a building that has a lot of stairs at the entrance.
Some people have physical challenges and may need crutches or a wheelchair to get around; others may be blind
or have visual challenges or hearing challenges. All these people can get to places and do things on their own
if the places they go are designed and built to include everybody.
We call a building or outdoor space accessible when it is built so everyone can be included,
no matter their age or physical ability. Special equipment or changes may be needed to make older
buildings accessible. One example is a stair lift.
New buildings can be also be designed and made using the right information so that everyone can use them
without adaptations. This is called Universal Design.
There are laws in the United States that tell us that our schools and public buildings
must be accessible so people who have a disability can attend school and use the buildings.