The Waterstone Village shopping mall in Somerset West found that many of their able-bodied customers were taking advantage of the designated parking bays for the disabled. So to address this issue, Waterstone Village teamed up with a non-profit organisation working with the differently-abled, to come up with a simple yet effective solution.
To demonstrate how selfish it is to park in a bay for the disabled, the shopping centre filled prime able-bodied parking spots with walking aids and wheelchairs. Stuck to each piece of equipment was a sign printed with a commonly heard excuse, such as “be back in 5” or “I’m just drawing money.” The message really hit home. Read more here
While not parking in a bay for the disabled as an able-bodied person is one example of how to support those with mobility challenges, here are 5 other ways in which you can create a more inclusive society:
- Ask first and follow their lead
Don’t assume that someone in a wheelchair needs help. Rather ask if there is anything you can do to make things easier for them.
- Speak directly to people
Don’t lean over a person in a wheelchair. And, if you know you will be talking to him or her for some time, rather sit down so that they won’t hurt their neck to look up at you.
- Be aware of personal space
People who use a wheelchair, walker or cane, often see these aids as part of their personal space. Don’t touch them or lean on them. Not only is it unsafe to do so, but it may also feel like an invasion of space. Likewise, never push someone’s wheelchair without first asking permission.
- When setting meetings, check accessibility
If you are organising an appointment, a lunch or a meeting, make sure that the venue is wheelchair-friendly.
- Be flexible to family members of people with disabilities
All too often, a disabled person’s primary caregiver is forced to quit his or her job to take care of their family member. If employees can offer increased flexibility (e.g. shorter working hours, or working from home), more people can hold down a job, which in turn generates income and a better quality of life for the family concerned.