04 Dec Tackling Venue Accessibility
The most important aspect of attending an event for people with disabilities is venue accessibility. Because every disability is unique, and every person experiences his or her disability differently, accessibility needs vary. This means two things: first, that meeting ADA requirements does not mean an establishment is accessible to everybody, and second, that meeting accessibility needs for every single person is difficult because while one accessible feature may be useful for one person, that same feature could be a barrier to another.
For example, a ramp might be accessible to wheelchair users, but the gradient of the ramp may make it inaccessible to a person using an assistive walking device, who also has difficulties with stairs and steps. If the gradient is too steep, the ramp becomes inaccessible to wheelchair users, as well.
There is also the issue of equal access. For instance, specific viewing platforms for wheelchair users at concerts may seem like a way to improve accessibility, but the experience may not be equal to that of other concertgoers. The view from such designated areas can be obstructed or located much farther away from the rest of the crowd. This isolates people with disabilities, prevents them from socializing with other concertgoers, and creates an unequal experience.
It’s quite clear that we alone cannot make every single venue, establishment, stadium, or event 100% accessible to all. It’s an immense challenge, one that must be met with a collective effort. Therefore, we hope join the collective, contribute to the conversation, provide a platform for specific accessibility needs, and chip away at the accessibility obstacles people with disabilities face.
Tell Us Your Story
Disabled Spectator is taking on the challenge of making sports, concert, and theater events more accessible to people with disabilities. We will provide venue and event accessibility information in one place – opening public events to people with disabilities and helping venues understand a vast and underserved market.
To achieve this, we need your help. We want to hear from you.
Tell us about accessibility issues that you face, explain why they are problematic for you and what you would change. Share your accessibility stories – tell us about a time you were able to overcome inaccessibility. What was done to solve the problem? Tell us about unpleasant accessibility experiences that you’ve had. Why was it unpleasant? What was the outcome? And lastly, tell us about specific things you would like to see changed?
With your permission, we hope to share your stories and experiences with others. Through conversation and action, we hope to make the world more accessible.