Thursday, January 21, 2016

Made To Measure

Image Description: A close up picture of a yellow strip of measuring tape.

Joe was busy measuring the width of my manual chair here at home while we waited for a woman to measure the width of a door in a training centre north of us. This all happened because I was due to attend training the next day in a room where a fellow staff member of Vita had just taken the day before. She called me to tell me that she thought a turn was really sharp and that the door might be a little narrow. "It might be best if you call them and check it out."

I thanked her and got on the phone.

When I called I spoke to the woman who's organizing our training there, she said that she'd head down and measure the door. As it turned out, there was plenty of room for the chair to both make the turn and clear the door.

What was great though was, even though I hadn't said anything, I always worry about the accessibility of any new place that I'm going. I worry even more if I feel I could be professionally embarrassed by having to deal with doors and wheelchairs and corners in front of people that I work with or people I am training. I don't like THAT kind of attention drawn to me - it's not the kind of entrance you want to make into a room.

So call or not.

I was concerned even though every piece of paper said that the site was accessible. I'd already had the person registering me ask questions about the bathroom, it was, they said accessible.

The call did it.

It was all checked out, I was good to go.

It was only later that I wondered why I needed someone to express concern about the accessibility before I called. I mean I had concerns about the accessibility, why wasn't that enough.

I think it was because I didn't want to be a bother.

But it was not bother.

And I was able to sleep without worrying about the next day.

I'm going to just do that from now on. I do it with hotels, I do it with lecture venues, why I haven't been doing it for work events I don't know.

But that's changed.



I got in just fine.


Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Many of us disabled folk don't want to stand out any more than we already do!

But we've been quiet too long, and don't make a fuss, and need to make the able-bodied folks pay attention to the concept of being accessible - which you do so beautifully.

Keep doing it, don't ever feel bad about speaking up - since you do it so gently, and realize you speak for thousands who don't stand up for themselves enough. (Hehe - stand up. We can take on language, too.)

PLUS you saved everyone a great deal of trouble had you arrived and NOT been able to get where you needed to go. So you're really doing them a favor, as well. THEY should automatically send 'disabled access' information to EVERYONE.

clairesmum said...

It wouldbegreat if the web sites for hotels had a page showing what the bathrooms and bedroomslook like and all relevant dimensions in the guest rooms. Also doorway dimensions and ramp degree of rise/number of turns,etc. Then you could compare it with your own needs and book online without so much extra work on your part!

Michael Bellefountaine said...

I'm a DSW student at Confederation College and this is the kind of accessibility problems that we are being taught to advocate against. I think the accessibility problem has gone on way too long and the process of making everything accessible is taking way too long as well. People should not have to wait this long to live a normal life, I really imagine a world one day where people don't have to worry about whether they will make it around turns, or make it through doorways. This is moving way to slow for my liking and you can be assured that I will being doing my best when I get out into the field to make this move faster and make a difference