Monday, October 14, 2019 | ePaper

Persons with disabilities cannot be neglected

They should get access in public places

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Taslim Ahammad  :
This piece presents the basics of what people need to know with respect to disability accommodations in public places. Everybody has the right to access and use public places, such as shops, local authorities, restaurants, office blocks, educational institutions, sporting venues, libraries, parks, cinemas and so on. The equality right demands this duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Nonetheless, some buildings/places are constructed or fitted out in a way that can make them inaccessible to people with disability, excluding them from opportunities that other members of the community take for granted.
According to United Nations (2007), accessibility is about giving equal access to everyone and without being able to access the facilities and services; persons with disabilities will never be fully included. It is the ability to access the functionality, and possible benefit, of some system or entity and is used to describe the degree to which a product such as a device, service, and environment is accessible by as many people as possible. The concept of accessible design ensures both direct access (i.e. unassisted) and indirect access meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not).
Legislation; the disability rights movement advocates equal access to social, political, and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities which all pay for. While it is often used to describe facilities or amenities to assist people with handicap impaired mobility, through the provision of facilities like wheelchair ramps, the term can extend include other types of disability. Accessible facilities therefore extend to areas such as braille signage, elevators, and audio signals at pedestrian crossings, walkway contours, website design and reading accessibility.
National legislation, different countries have legislation requiring physical accessibility. In the US, under the Americans with disabilities Act of 1990, new public and private business construction generally must be accessible. In South Africa, promotion of equality and prevention of unfair discrimination Act 2000 has numerous provisions for accessibility. In Ontario, Canada, Ontarians with disabilities Act of 2001 is meant to improve the identification, removal and prevention of barriers faced by persons with disabilities. In Australia disability discrimination Act 1992 has numerous provisions for accessibility. In the UK, disability discrimination Act 1995 has numerous provisions for accessibility. In the United Kingdom, department for transport have mandated that each local authority produce an accessibility plan that is incorporated in their local transport Plan. A European accessibility Act was proposed in late 2012, this Act would establish standards within member countries for accessible products, services, and public buildings.
At work accessibility of employment covers a wide range of issues, from skills training, to occupational therapy, finding employment, and retaining employment. Employment rates for workers with disabilities are lower than for the general workforce. Workers in western countries fare relatively well, having access to more services and training as well as legal protections against employment discrimination.
Disability Management (DM) is a specialized area of human resources, to support efforts by employers to better integrate and retain workers with disabilities. Some workplaces have policies in place to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, however, many do not. In some jurisdictions, employers may have legal requirements to end discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Accessibility based planning is a spatial planning methodology that centralises goals of people and businesses and defines accessibility policy as enhancing people and business opportunities. Accessibility instruments are able to show what are the best accessible places or opportunities within a city or region, considering one or more specific modes of transportation, timeslots and target groups. In addition to this, the maps, which are produced as the instrument output, are considered as considerably useful when assessing the effects of new developments in a city.
Transportation; providing mobility to people with disabilities includes changes for public facilities like gently sloping paths of travel for people with wheelchairs and difficulty walking upstairs, or audio announcements for the blind; dedicated services like paratransit; and adaptations to personal vehicles.
Adapting automobile accessibility also refers to ease of use by disabled people. Automobiles, whether a car or a van, can be adapted for a range of physical disabilities. Foot pedals can be raised, or replaced with hand-controlled devices. Wheelchair hoists, lifts or ramps may be customized according to the needs of the driver. Ergonomic adaptations, such as a lumbar support cushion, may also be needed.
Urban design accessibility modifications to conventional urban environments have become common in recent decades. The use of a curb cut, or Kassel kerb, to enable wheelchair or walker movement between sidewalk and street level is found in most major cities of wealthy countries. The creation of priority parking spaces and of disabled parking permits has made them a standard feature of urban environments. Features that assist people with visual impairments include braille signs and tactile paving to allow a user with a cane to easily identify stairways, train platforms, and similar areas that could pose a physical danger to anyone who has a visual impairment.
Housing; most existing and new housing, even in the wealthiest nations, lack basic accessibility features unless the designated, immediate occupant of a home currently has a disability. However, there are some initiatives to change typical residential practices so that new homes incorporate basic access features such as zero-step entries and door widths adequate for wheelchairs to pass through. Occupational Therapists are a professional group skilled in the assessment and making of recommendations to improve access to homes. They are involved in both the adaptation of existing housing to improve accessibility, and in the design of future housing.
Education and accessibility for students; equal access to education for students with disabilities is supported in some countries by legislation. It is still challenging for some students with disabilities to fully participate in mainstream education settings, but many adaptive technologies and assistive programs are making improvements. Also, students may require adaptive technology to access computers and the Internet. These may be tax-exempt expenses in some jurisdictions with a medical prescription.
Make a complain Commission and if someone think discriminated against, disable harassment, victimised or vilified, may contact and talk about concerns to the commission. Also, maybe have free dispute resolution service, if they cannot help the victim, commission will try to refer to someone who can. Also, an accessibility plan sets out how each local authority plans to improve access to employment, learning, health care, food shops and other services of local importance, particularly for disadvantaged groups and areas.

(Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University)

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