July is an interesting month, especially given all the weather-related chaos in 2023. However, July is also Disability Pride Month, which is a less talked about event than LGBTQIA+ Pride in June.
Disability is a complex topic since it covers so many different conditions, reasons, circumstances, diversity groups, and more. In the United States, roughly 1 in 4 people live with a disability, so we all know someone.
Since so many folks live with disabilities, Disability Pride Month generally focuses on equal rights and access. For example, regarding rights, disabled folks cannot marry without taking a reduction in benefits, which can make living situations untenable.
Another significant point is the use of aids, such as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) or mobility devices. These devices should be welcome everywhere, readily available to those who need them, and not stigmatized as they are currently in many situations.
A third point is accessible spaces. From grandfathered buildings to poor design to manufactured sensory issues, many buildings just aren’t accessible. The fixes are often one-and-done, but there’s no way to compel people to make their facilities accessible, even if they should be under the law.
The thing is, accessible spaces and universal design benefit everyone. In commercial spaces, more people can access it comfortably, even if they don’t have what’s traditionally considered a disability.
Universal design goes beyond building layouts. It also addresses utility and folks’ ability to understand the spaces’ functions. Universal design also incorporates concepts like aging in place and space flexibility.
We can all advocate for accessible spaces every day of the year. However, during Disability Pride Month, there are options to learn more, read real experiences, and understand more about disability in general.
By understanding everyone in our communities, we can create events and spaces that include everyone.