On May 7 we are charged with breaking down obstacles on National Barrier Awareness Day. We are responsible for dissolving stigmas that keep people with disabilities from advancing in education. It’s an opportunity to tear down walls and build ramps that will help provide access.
Where there are misunderstandings, there is potential for the development of new technology that may bridge the gap. Policies that are antiquated and are preventing those with disabilities from accessing their full potential can be re-assessed. If there was ever a time to speak up about questionable treatment of a human being, National Barrier Awareness Day encourages us to do so now.
“Today some 36 million Americans suffer from some form of handicap. Eighty percent of Americans will experience some disability in their lifetime. That makes it necessary for all of us to understand and appreciate both the barriers they must surmount and the contributions that they can make to our society.
Many disabled people face financial, cultural, and physical barriers because of a lack of public understanding of their needs. We must become more aware of the barriers that prevent or inhibit so many of our fellow Americans from participating fully in the life of our society, and how much more they could contribute if those obstacles were removed….”
Visible and invisible barriers are equally difficult to overcome. With advocacy, education and awareness these obstacles can be lifted, empowering people with disabilities to live more independent fulfilled lives.
There is a long way to go in giving access to everyone. I suffered an anyuerism stroke and spinal cord cyst about 7 years ago. This has limited where I can go and what I can do. The limitations are financial as well as physical. There are lots of innovative products out there but, losing my job and becoming disabled has prevented me from regular insurance options.
The only alternative is Medicare and most of the products are not covered. I had to buy my own lift to help me in and out of bed and into my wheelchair. There are great products out there that would go a long way toward regaining my walking ability.
Things we take for granted, myself included until it’s no longer possible. Public spaces like stores, restaurants, malls, boardwalks, beaches and even getting in and out of vehicles is a major challenge. Most of us have to make further sacrifices to venture there. I thought the worst part of being disabled was what you have already lost. That was wrong the worst is how much more you might have to sacrifice to participate in a full, active, independent life.
I am pleased to see the addition of beach mats. As I live just a few miles from some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches, they are no longer as inaccessible as the moon…
HOW TO OBSERVE
Break the barriers and work toward eliminating all of the cultural, employment, legal, and physical obstacles that confront individuals with disabilities! Share your support using #BarrierAwarenessDay.
Proclamation 5472, signed by United States President Ronald Reagan, was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 8, 1986, declaring May 7 of 1986 as National Barrier Awareness Day. Since that day, many people across the country have continued to observe National Barrier Awareness Day each year on May 7.
See also World Password Day