Even though in the past years many steps forward were made towards an inclusive society for persons with disabilities, there is still much more to be done.
Treat as a valuable consumer
In recent years the media has been given more importance in featuring persons with disabilities in some commercials. This is a start to acknowledge that the disability sector is the biggest minority population in the world. Persons with disabilities are consumers like everyone else, so featuring them in would not only help social inclusion, but also boost sales in general.
Persons with disabilities have limitations, like the rest of the population. Employers need to look further when an interviewing someone with a disability and seek what the person can offer. It has been proven that some disabilities might actually enhance the person’s abilities to do particular jobs like repetitive tasks, routine chores and precision assignments. Luckily nowadays specific entities also exist which can help mentor persons with disabilities towards a successful work placement.
In this day and age, it’s unacceptable to still experience many obstacles due to places which are not accessible. Being it restaurants, churches, public entities or schools, accessibility should be universal and should not limit a person in any way. This applies also to air travel. Many people with disabilities are active business people with vibrant careers who are respected in their various fields. Many have faced unfortunate experiences at the airport or even in the air- left for hours without a chair, or access to a washroom. The level of disrespect and invisibility a traveller with a disability endures can be astounding and frustrating. Training the Special Services Request personnel would go a long way in promoting a more positive experience though the “just ask, just listen” approach. A better interaction would be to ask travellers with a disability what they need and act accordingly.
Social inclusion in schools
Our overall cultural consciousness on how we treat and interact with disability needs to change, beginning in elementary schools. We need to celebrate our peers for their differences. If this is taught at a young age, less discrimination and more social inclusion will occur. Having kids with and without disabilities learning side-by-side helps everybody appreciate the talents and gifts all kids bring with them. As a society, we have the responsibility to promote the inclusion of our differences.
Employing actors with disabilities in mainstream media
We have seen recently many movies addressing the subject of disability in many areas. Most of the times the actors who would be playing the roles of the person with disability would not have a disability. The movie directors would make a much larger impact by acknowledging the fact that also a person with disability can be a good actor and having them as the lead role, would not only open a new mindset but also make a greater impact on society.
Being in politics
Politicians represent different parts of society. Different backgrounds, schools of thought and ideas help in addressing particular issues and make relevant decisions. Having persons with disabilities in politics is the best way to have the best representation of this sector of society in order to help and draft concrete ways forward.
Realise we are all human
It’s interesting how we can see a person in one dimension and forget that he/she is a human being, intricate with multiple angles. When we see a person outside of their element, we tend to forget that a he/she’s life is a culmination of different sides and not just how we see them in an isolated environment. Sometimes people can forget that a person with a disability is first and foremost a human being with desires, talents, skills, heartache and loss, just like everyone else. At the basis of every person are the similarities we all share for being human, and that includes people with disabilities.