Accessibility Tip of the Week

It depends on your perspective.

  • Summary: Become aware of how you think about people with disabilities. Follow disability advocates to learn and reflect on how your perception and their perception varies.
  • Who it helps: This helps you become more inclusive and understanding, which in turn helps you better connect with and support people with disabilities.
  • Additional benefits: Being better informed improves your confidence when communicating with the disability community.

Another important part of engaging the disability community is to make sure you have considered their point of view. We all see the world differently. The best way to connect with people with disabilities is to take the time to learn about the world from their perspective.

The model of disability that you use affects how you interact with accessibility challenges. Two popular models are the medical and social model of disability.

  • The medical model of disability focuses on what needs to be fixed in the individual’s body to make the individual “normal”.
  • The social model of disability focuses on what barriers need to be removed in the environment to allow everyone to participate.

Jeremy Andrew Davis created a fun video that explains the difference with the Social Model of Disability .

What can I do?

Watch the following videos (which will take about 15 minutes total).

Ask yourself what your immediate reaction is when you encounter someone with a disability:

  • Pity: “I’m glad I am not them.” or “I can’t imagine living like that.”
  • Inspiration: “It’s amazing what they’ve overcome.”
  • Interaction and Opportunity: “How can I engage with this individual?” or “How can this individual engage with my organization as an employee, a customer, a member, or a supporter?”

Our culture often creates bias towards pity or inspiration. Outreaching to people with disabilities is to be aware of that unconscious bias and begin to change it. Focusing on your interactions is the key to helping your organization become accessible.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    .

If you are promoting accessibility within your organization or community, sending out easy-to-understand tips can be a helpful addition to your strategy. You are welcome to share the tips here under the mentioned Creative Commons license, as long as you cite Accessible Community as your source.