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Handicap accessibility needed in community

DEAR EDITOR:

I am writing to discuss the importance of creating a community that is accessible to all, including those who are disabled. The World Health Organization, WHO, describes barriers as being “more than just physical obstacles.” WHO describes these barriers as “Factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability.” Some examples of this can include a physical environment that is not accessible, lack of assistive technology in a given environment and negative attitudes from others towards those who are disabled.

Now, it is really easy for a business, restaurant or shopping center to throw up some handicap parking signs in the parking lot or a handicap button on their entrance. That’s not enough, though. How about even sidewalks for wheelchairs, canes and walkers to get from the parking lot to the front entrance safely? How about wheelchair seating of appropriate height at a table or booth, handicap accessible bathrooms, making stores and restaurants easy for a disabled body to maneuver through? This list could go on and on.

Having a sibling who is wheelchair bound due to Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I’ve seen just how inaccessible this world is first hand.

It is time to make a change. Those who are disabled must change their whole lives around on a day-to-day basis due to not being able to go certain places because they aren’t wheelchair friendly, not being able to run errands needed on their own, missing out on time with friends and family because of how hard it is for them to get from one place to another. It is time something be done to stop making the disabled feel like such a burden and unincluded from the world that able bodies live in.

CHAYLEE BENTLEY

Girard

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