There are more than 22 million working-age people with disabilities in America, and today fewer than 1 in 3 has a job. This Labor Day, it is important to look beyond the headlines and see where there is hope for the future. Yes, people with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, across the country, there are professionals in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors dedicated to finding solutions and making the future of work better for Americans living with a disability.
Earlier this summer, leaders from across the economic and political spectrum gathered during RespectAbility's annual ADA summit to discuss strategies, emerging practices, and advancing inclusion for workers with disabilities. With the annual celebration of Labor Day, now is a good chance for decision-makers to reflect on what advancing opportunities for people with disabilities really means.
LABOR DAY: Traveling With a Physical Disability
With some of us making travel plans for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, our friends at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living drafted a few tips for accessible travel. These are just a few examples of things you can do to make traveling with a physical disability easier; we suggest googling your specific destinations and travel plans to get the best tips for your specific plans.
Restaurants: Sometimes when you arrive at a restaurant, it may appear that the facility is not accessible. Always call ahead to ask or check the website because an accessible entrance, while perhaps not as convenient, may in fact be available if not obvious.
Hotels: Hotels often have designated accessible rooms with a variety of accessibility features. Try to reserve this room when booking, and ask about the specific accessibility features you need. For example, many hotel beds have frames that do not allow for easy use of a Hoyer lift; if you use a Hoyer, be sure yours will work with the bed.
Air travel: Generally, changing flights is a hassle for people with disabilities, so nonstop flights are often better. However, you may want to avoid a long flight because you will not be able to use the restroom on the plane; in this case, multiple connecting flights might be better. Always be sure to allow for extra layover time if using connecting flights.
Car travel: Plan lots of breaks. While you may sit in the car frequently for short trips, longer car trips can get extremely uncomfortable for people with disabilities. Plan frequent breaks, and assess before you go how a long car ride will affect you.
There are many bloggers online telling their stories as travelers with disabilities. One such award-winning blogger, Cory Lee, recently toured Michigan. We highly recommend his site as he has traveled the world over and shares those experiences from a wheelchair user's perspective.