National Access Awareness Week

After his Man-In-Motion World Tour finished it was Rick Hansen that originally developed the idea of National Access Awareness Week, in an effort to make a positive impact in the lives of those with disabilities and bring to light the difficulties they face every day. Now from May 26 to June 1 we honour this week as an important step in improving the lives of those with disabilities, and encouraging Canadians to consider ways we can collectively improve conditions and break down accessibility barriers.

It is sometimes easy to take for granted the simple things those of us without disabilities are able to do without difficulty each day. During the day we do many things, from putting on socks to making breakfast, to having a job to go to, that those with accessibility issues face obstacles to complete. Accessibility awareness is all about having a frank discussion and asking sometimes difficult questions to truly understand what needs to change. Everyday accessibility is more than just the obvious, the wheelchair ramp, or extra parking spaces. It’s about equal and fair access to everything that makes living an average life in this world complete.

There are five types of barriers that threaten accessibility for those with disabilities: Attitudinal, Information or Communications, Technological, Organizational, and Architectural or Physical. These barriers encompass everything from discriminatory attitudes to disallowing service animals or support workers. Each of these barriers can be overcome with care, consideration, understanding, and effort.

Education is the first step on breaking down the barriers and working towards an easily accessible world for all. Use this week as inspiration to begin your journey to help by taking the time to research disabilities, dispel the myths, and learn what you can do to assist. The most important thing to remember is that a person with a disability is just as able, intelligent, and deserves the same respect that you would hope to receive.


Access Guide Canada: National Access Awareness Week
MCSS: Understanding Barriers to Accessibility

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