Sunday, January 31, 2016

1 Step Doesn't Equal Wheelchair Accessible


Welcome to the latest iteration of Cripple Please! This time, I'm going to talk to you all about something that I've heard all too often. Now there are lots of things that irk me in terms of what people who aren't totally familiar deem as accessible. I've even talked about a couple of them in one of my previous posts --HERE--. As usual, I'll expound on more of them in the future, but right now I'm going to talk to you about one of the more irksome of those.

What I'm talking about in this instance, is this irrational belief from some, that having one step still makes a place wheelchair accessible. In my position, I always make a point to make sure that any establishment, or venue, or whatever, that I plan on visiting, is just that. If I can't tell through reading or looking at pictures, I always call. "Hi. I'm planning on coming to your establishment. Is it wheelchair accessible?" So simple, and you'd imagine, just as simple to understand. Wrong. Totally wrong. Sure, most of the time when they get asked that, these places say "yes," and their "yes" is legit. I pull up to the entrance and life goes on. But there are far too many times when I'm given a "yes," only to arrive to the presence of a single step or sometimes two. Didn't I specifically ask about wheelchair accessibility?!? What the hell! After going off and calling whoever it is that I talked to a bunch of expletives, both in my own head mind you, I either call the place directly again, or I'm greeted by someone from inside. The whole situation is then usually compounded. The representative I usually talk to usually first informs me that the place is indeed wheelchair accessible, and that it's only one or two steps. So dumb. After I assure them that there's no way in hell for me to get up the one or two steps in my chair, they then usually offer to help me up the stairs. I don't think I've touched on that particular issue in the past, oh don't you worry I will, but no. I'm not going to trust some stranger to help physically lift my chair. Hell, I won't let most of my family help with that. I then just politely decline the offer, and make other arrangements.

The main point that I'm trying to make, is that one or two steps is in no way wheelchair accessible. That'd be like someone telling you that they have a door for you to enter, only to find out that what they actually have is a window that they'd have to boost you up into in order to make it in. On what planet is a damn window a door? And that's the same premise with steps. Sure, with some wheelchairs, in particular manual ones and a few specific power varieties, a very short, single step is no problem. But still, a step or two should never, and I repeat NEVER, be considered wheelchair accessible. These days, I make sure to relay that message whenever I run into this type of problem, in efforts to educate people who aren't very aware on this subject. I know some people just don't understand, thanks Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, but I'm hoping me saying something will ultimately adjust their thinking.

There are a bevy of other things that bother the shit out of me, but I will expound upon those in later posts. I just want to reiterate to anyone who doesn't yet get it, that if yours or a place you're in, has a step to get into it and doesn't have an alternate, more accessible entrance, it is not accessible. End of story. It might have wide enough doors, space to maneuver, and other features, but if I can't even make my way inside, quite frankly it doesn't matter. Stairs equaling accessible? Cripple Please!
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3 comments

  1. Someone somewhere has made note of the fact that paraplegics in manual chairs can stand their chairs on the rear wheels. This makes one step fairly easy. So In the traditional way of mankind, when a certain label, or similar, is placed on a group of people, then whatever is on that label applies to all in that group. I guess many labels spring to mind. When you put on the label that wheelchair users can get up one step (because of those paraplegics in manual chairs), then all people in wheelchairs can get up one step. It should be a mandatory death sentence for anyone in a chair to say "Yeah, I can do that!". Everyone should say they can't do this or that. Regardless of the truth. This benefits all others. Always set things to the lowest common denominator.

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  2. It was a inspiring post and it has a significant meaning too and thanks for sharing the information.Would love to read your next post too......
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