Pushing The Wrong Buttons – A Collection of Thoughts On Accessibility

I’ve seen many debates in news articles, and even on my Facebook timeline about accessibility issues. I think that discussion is a good thing, because it provides different prospectives.

However, I have been been sitting on something that happened for a while. I feel like I need to share my feelings about it in more detail — not as an attack, just a semi-educated opinion.

A few weeks ago, an able-bodied acquaintance made a blanket statement, that if you weren’t disabled, you shouldn’t be using the automatic buttons. Of course, people had several arguments for both sides. Again, this is not an attack. I myself have been caught in a similar argument about who should use wheelchair ramps. Even as someone with a disability, it’s easy to get caught up in your own perspective as the only lense to see things.

I will say the same thing I commented on the post: I really don’t mind who uses the button as long as you wait your turn and don’t get in the way of me using it.

There’s something l have learned after being on the wrong — not fully informed side of an argument. Accessibility measurements may have originally been intended for one group, but ultimately can help a larger one. That’s the right direction, and something I actively try to remember when I get impassioned.

I’m not writing this to discourage conversation, or to say that able-bodied people shouldn’t have an opinion on disability issues. I just wish that people would get behind the right things. I’ve had to pick battles for my entire life. While there are a certain number of people who are misusing accessibility buttons, there bigger fish to fry.

I write to the city yearly about its lack of snow clearing in the winter. The comment section is riddled with things telling me stay inside, or that I should be used to Canadian winters by now. Never mind the fact that I spend 4-5 months essentially trapped in my house.

I get a little bit of anxiety every time I accidentally forget my metal straws — in case I get the offhand comment that I’m “killing the turtles.” I don’t want to kill anybody — I just want to work together towards something that’s accessible for everyone.

I drank out of the newly designed Starbucks lid the other day. As someone with mild Cerebral Palsy, I still struggled to drink. I sounded like a kid slurping soup. By the end of the ordeal, the cup looked crushed by the Hulk.

We are headed in the right direction, but it would go a lot smoother if people actually supported the right causes.

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