Words are powerful!
Chances are you, or someone you love has a disability. Join Rick Hansen in changing the conversation around disability.
Let’s take a minute to think about the word “disability.”
In a recent Angus Reid poll, Canadians reported that they don’t like to use the word “disability” when describing their own health challenges. Instead, we prefer phrases like “I have a mobility challenge” or “I have problems with my eyesight” – to name a few.
That’s because our society has long-held negative attitudes and assumptions about disability. And many of us connect disability with a limited quality of life.
The reality though is that more than 4 million Canadians have at least one form of disability – physical, visual, hearing or cognitive. That’s 1 in 7 Canadians. These disabilities can be visible or invisible. They can be temporary or permanent. And with our aging population, the disability community will continue to grow.
By 2030, over 9 million Canadians will have a disability.
And we’re not ready. Many buildings, public spaces and transit systems aren’t accessible for those with mobility, vision and hearing challenges. Our local restaurants, theatres, and stores aren’t accessible. And that limits what 9 million Canadians and their friends and family can do in their daily lives.
You can help change the conversation. Imagine a Canada where each of us asks “How accessible is my community?” and the answer is “We’re accessible!
Canadian icon, Paralympian and disability leader Rick Hansen and his Foundation team are developing innovative programs to make that conversation a reality. And you can be part of this change!
Rick Hansen Accessibility Specialists, a talented team of people with disabilities, are piloting an exciting program to help businesses welcome customers of all abilities by becoming more physically accessible and create awareness about barrier-free design. As the program grows, the Accessibility Specialists will assist government and other organizations to ensure physical spaces are accessible.
How do they do this? Our Accessibility Specialists visit each business site (from restaurants to public parks) and provide an accessibility audit. The audit shows if the physical buildings or public spaces are fully accessible for people with mobility, vision or hearing challenges. With partners like you, we will expand this program across Canada.
Why does accessibility matter? Why should we strive to be an inclusive society?
I’d like to share a supporter’s story to show you why: “A friend attended an event recently where all the chairs and tables were set at bar height. This arrangement would make it impossible for people with mobility challenges who use canes, walkers, scooters or wheelchairs to be a part of the event. When my friend asked the event coordinator if she considered accessibility, she replied: ‘Oh- no, those kinds of people aren’t attending this event.’”
You can change stories like this one by changing the conversation!
Please consider making a donation today. You’ll become a key partner with Rick Hansen and his Foundation team in creating solutions where everyone has an equal chance to participate fully in life.