February 25, 2017

Travel Considerations For Disabled Individuals

Most do not stop to think about their daily tasks, and ease of accessibility when traveling outside of the home. On weekends, we may travel to shopping centers, gyms, churches, and other organizations where we can easily get out of the car and walk into. We have the comfort and accessibility to get into the car, drive where we need to go, complete our daily tasks, and travel back home. Depending upon what the activity is, it may take a few minutes, or several hours if it's a longer task to handle.

Do we stop to consider the accessibility options available to families with a disability? Have we thought about some of the challenges that other families might face when enjoying a day outside of the home while caring for a child with a disability? There are a few things we should consider when we are out and about this weekend, and ways we can be more considerate of others with special needs. Here are a few things to think about:

Traveling

For some disabled individuals, a wheelchair or motorized scooter may be required to transport themselves from place to place. With this in mind, it's important to consider how these individuals are able to transport themselves from place to place. Since most average cars are not equipped with options such as ramps and devices that lower platforms to the ground, it makes traveling difficult unless specialized equipment has been installed within the family vehicle.

Most city transportation options have the ability to accommodate those with special needs, allowing them to travel around town with more ease. However, it's important to consider the location of bus or transit stops in relation to the home of the special needs individual. Not to mention, the amount of time waiting for a bus or transit service to pick up an individual. It's not as easy for special needs children to hop into a car and get to where they need to go.

Travel Companion

Most individuals with special needs do not have the means to operate a vehicle by themselves. Even if they were to take public transportation to get to where they need to go, the chances that they are able to travel without the assistance of another individual is very slim. As a result, traveling and getting out and about can sometimes be difficult because of the busy schedules of the caregiver. Planning a trip ahead and ensuring the caregiver has a suitable amount of time to assist the special needs child is a requirement in order to plan a successful trip out.

While Out

After the caregiver has assisted the special needs child with getting out and about, there are additional obstacles that must be considered. The location of the store, event, or activity can play a big factor when considering the safety of the special needs individual. Traveling in an area with a high amount of traffic can easily become unmanageable and dangerous. As a result, avoiding public facilities where large amounts of people or cars are is usually avoided.

Most public places feature accessible options for getting into and exiting the building. Ramps can be of big assistance when pushing a scooter or wheelchair. However, areas with steep inclines, bumps, or narrow areas pose a big challenge for someone in a wheelchair. It may be nearly impossible to travel through these areas, and even harder to travel into buildings that have even a few minimal steps.

What Can Society Do?

As you can imagine, special needs children face many obstacles when they are traveling outside of the home. It requires the practice, patience, and love of his or her caregiver to ensure they are safe and remain safe outside of the home. For the average individual, we should respect and remember these challenges when we come into contact with an individual with special needs. Ensure you are moving to the side to allow for extra space can be a big help when you see someone in a wheelchair. Additionally, offering assistance to caregivers who may be struggling to push a wheelchair can help. A lending hand can always help and will be greatly appreciated by the caregiver. Furthermore, one of the most important things we can do as a society is shown respect, and a genuine smile when we see a special needs individual out. A simple smile and compassion can make a big impact on the individual's day, as well as the caregivers. Consider spreading a smile this weekend when you are outside of the home!

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