In countries that have average life expectancies of over 70 years, many people end up spending around eight years -- or 11.5% of their lives -- living with one or more disabilities. Because of this, accessibility is crucial, although it is something that many people tend to overlook. To help you understand more about the importance of accessibility, here are three things you need to know that you didn't before.
1. People With Disabilities Are the Largest Minority
Depending on the exact survey, the number of people living with at least one disability is between 18 to 26%. This is larger than any ethnic group, and numbers tend to show that mobility difficulties are the largest cause of disabilities. Despite this, many places still remain inaccessible to those with mobility aids, and this oversight makes it harder for those already struggling to adapt to the world around them and live their lives to the fullest.
2. Society Has a Part To Play
Medical conditions that limit what people can and can't do aren't a disability in and of themselves. In fact, many of the limits come from barriers created by society. For example, there is nothing stopping someone who uses a wheelchair from living a full, active, and productive life. However, when places lack ramps or elevators, people who use wheelchairs are shut out due to mobility being the expected norm.
3. Accessibility -- Digital and Physical -- Is a Right
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility is protected as a right. This means that no person can be discriminated against based on a disability, and all disabled individuals are entitled to the opportunity to engage in the same interactions and take part in the same services. If accessibility is denied to anyone on the basis of disability, they can face strict legal action unless steps are taken to rectify the issue.
Disabilities come in many different forms, and not all are visible. However, the need for accessibility connects them all, as everyone, regardless of ability, is entitled to be able to live their lives freely and without discrimination. If you notice a lack of accessibility, either online or in your community, don't hesitate to speak up about it so that the problem can be fixed.