Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Accessibility Features at US Airports

Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) require specific assistance be provided at American airports for persons with disabilities. The Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights describes the fundamental rights of air travelers. These rights apply to all flights of all US airlines, and to flights originating at or ending in the US by foreign airlines. Here’s how to access that assistance.

First, when you make your reservations early, advise the airlines of the type of assistance you will need. Will you need someone to guide you to the gate, or someone to push your manual wheelchair, or will you be using your power wheelchair which must be gate-checked? Remember to call and confirm your accessibility needs before you leave for the airport.

When you arrive at the airport, identify yourself to an airline staff member as a person with a disability who has pre-booked specific assistance. You should be provided assistive services that address your needs. If you are traveling with your motorized wheelchair, be aware that each airline has its own procedures for storage of such wheelchairs and wet-cell batteries.

To express your gratitude for assistance, it is polite to tip the airport accessibility assistant. They are often low-paid workers, and a small tip is usually appreciated. Their job is usually considered a tip-wage position by their employer, which allows them to be paid below the minimum wage.

Some of the rights passengers with disabilities have, in addition to assistance through the airport check-in and boarding process, include accessible airport facilities, priority aircraft boarding, assistance in getting to the onboard lavatory, and the right to travel with assistive devices and service dogs. Airline staff must have had training on how to properly assist a person with a disability.

What if you’re not disabled, but would find the long hike between check-in and boarding too strenuous? Can you request wheelchair assistance? Yes, you can, but the airlines may choose to transport you on a cart instead of in a wheelchair.

Have a safe trip and remember to book your accessibility needs well in advance of departure.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

July is Disability Pride Month

This is the month where disabled people and their supporters around the world celebrate the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The first official designation of Disability Pride Month was in 2015, marking the 25th anniversary of this ground-breaking civil rights legislation.

The Disability Pride flag has five colorful diagonal stripes, representing different types of disabilities, against a black background that stands for anger and mourning about neglect and eugenics that disabled people and their allies must fight against. The red stripe represents physical disabilities; the gold strip stands for neurodiversity; the white strip for invisible and undiagnosed disabilities; blue is for emotional disabilities and mental illness; and green for sensory disabilities.

The history of the development of disability pride is a long one, founded in the middle ages and beginning in earnest with accessibility protests in the 1980s. Certainly the disability community can be justifiably proud of the accomplishments of its champions and heroes:

and many, many more folks from all around the world. You can support disability pride by learning about these heroes and educating others about their accomplishments.

Another source of pride is economic. People with disabilities, their families, and carers spend an estimated $2 trillion annually in the US. Hiring persons with disabilities can have many economic benefits. Disability-inclusive companies have 28% higher revenue than do companies that are not inclusive. Disabled employees have a higher retention rate and lower absentee rate than non disabled employees. These are statistics to be proud of.

Not (yet) disabled? You can become a disability ALLY. Those letters stand for Acknowledge, Learn, Leverage, & Yield. Disability allies start by acknowledging and respecting the different experiences and abilities everyone has. They actively learn about different types of disabilities and how they affect a person’s daily life. They promote accessibility and community inclusion by leveraging their influence. And they yield to the lived knowledge of people with disabilities when identifying and working to eliminate accessibility barriers in the community instead of making assumptions.

The American Bar Association has established a 21-day Disability Equity Habit-Building Challenge that offers collections of readings and videos on topics such as ableism, intersectionality, guardianship, healthcare equity, eugenics, and many other important topics. Check out this excellent list of resources here:

Self-advocacy is a skill any disabled person can be proud of, and best of all, it is learnable. The Ability Toolbox lists 12 self-advocacy skills that all disability heroes employ. Best of all, these skills can help anyone be the best they can be. Educate yourself, advocate for yourself and others, and find ways to celebrate Disability Pride month.

Additional Resources:

Why and How to Celebrate Disability Pride Month (the ARC)

Everything to Know About the Disability Pride Flag and Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month and the Disability Rights Movement

Disability Social History Project

Center for Disability Rights

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Displays and Exhibits for Healthinfo Island for July 2024

You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs in this posting. In Second Life, click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set, and you will get a notecard that contains all the text of the posters plus descriptions of the images.  If you click each poster, you will get a private message with additional information and live links.

Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island
Check out the calming breathing exercise on the back wall!

There are lots of outdoor activities in July. Check out these poster sets for safety ideas.  Information on climate change is on poster set 2.

Safe Water Fun with pictures of people on or in water

1. Safe Water Fun

Lawn Mowing Safety with 4 pictures of lawnmowers

3. Lawn Mowing Safety

4. Use Sunscreen Properly