Ableism is the discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities, based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its roots, ableism is based on the assumption that disabled people are defined by their disability and require “fixing”
Accessibility is the concept of enabling access for disabled people. Being inclusive means thinking critically and doing your best to make sure people with disabilities have all their needs met.
When thinking of ways to improve accessibility, we have to consider all types of disabilities and ensure that we are being as inclusive as we can. There are many different types of disabilities:
Learning Disabilities: the reduced capacity to learn tasks and process information
Hearing Impairments: any degree of hearing loss
Visual Impairments: any kind of vision loss
Psychiatric Disabilities: non-apparent conditions, i.e. mental illness
Neurological Disabilities: damage to the nervous system that results in a loss of physical or mental functions
Every disability is different with varying challenges and needs, in addition to abilities and attributes. Disabilities can be invisible or visible and we should not make decisions about one’s capabilities based on what we can visualize.
Some ways we can all make our society more accessible include:
- Acknowledging everyone’s values
- Create inclusive solutions
- Update/modernise facilities
- Watch for the language that you use
- Share materials in multiple ways, i.e. languages
- Do not be a passive bystander; if something feels wrong, say or do something about it