We have gone for centuries with racism and sexism controlling the structure of our world and then revolutions and protests happened to help create recognition and change to these social issues. Did you know this is similar for ableism? Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. There is an entire market for persons with disabilities. Despite that the percentages seem low for the specific amount of people with a disability, the actual numbers are substantial enough to push the case that persons with disabilities are underserved and in need of different types of assistance. For example, a Google study that drew from data from theWorld Bank and CDC.gov found that there are more hard of hearing users in theUnited States than there are individuals for the entire population of Spain!
Furthermore, there are more users who are blind and low-vision than the entire population of Canada, which is 37.06 million as of 2018. AbiliTrek seeks to help public institutions, like businesses and universities, become more accessible to ALL users, including those who may be new to the area or a visitor. Additionally, when individuals with disabilities are in the process of travel, particularly by air, there is damage done at least 701 wheelchairs and motorized scooters in a single month, according to the U.S. Department ofTransportation. It wasn’t until December 2018 that airlines had to formally report to the public how many customers’ wheelchairs or scooters they broke or lost.AbiliTrek allows travelers to get ahead of their travels by providing them with reviews that are consumer-based and provide the opportunity for more business in public places that are reviewed as being adequately accessible.
Putting an advocating voice behind the population of persons with disabilities, and including them in on the conversation, helps build a language for all people to use. Those who do not have a disability can be provided with the vocabulary and consciousness that is a part of coexisting with those who may have a disability. AbiliTrek helps businesses become more accessible which creates a better market base for the business and then encourages good PR and the cycle of people going into businesses that are promoted as more accessible. Through AbiliTrek’s own website they have a function titled “Accessibility Consulting” where business owners can find links to resources to help them with events and provide education to everyone who enters their business about the accessibility that they provide.
AbiliTrekalso helps to expand the definition of ‘accessibility’ beyond the Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA) thus helping include more people and bring in more business to owners. Making life accessible isn’t only addressing those with a disability, it’s about educating those who may not have a disability about what kinds of supplemental elements are needed to include everyone. This especially applies to help individuals with invisible disabilities.
National Public Radio (NPR) did apiece in March of 2015 that recognized the amount of people with an invisible disability through a discussion about a woman named Carly Medosch who has had Crohn’s disease since the age of thirteen and was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She discusses how the struggle isn’t the monitoring of her illness, but rather her living with it on a daily basis. “Washing my hair, blow-drying my hair, putting on makeup—those kinds of activities can exhaust me very quickly.” She describes the idea of “passing” as a normal, average person but living with a true challenge that she faces daily.
AbiliTrek calls to action for the world to be more Universally Designed, meaning all individuals who do and don’t live with a disability can coexist within a system that allows for access to an equal opportunity. The market base will increase when the call for accessibility is answered adequately for everyone involved in the success of a business, customers and owners alike.