New mobility devices and high performance wheelchairs make it possible for people with disabilities and injuries to lead fulfilling and challenging lives. Accessibility and mobility make it possible for them to be self-reliant, and to live and work independently. Inclusive travel choices and excursions mean that individuals are no longer limited by disabilities but have a range of leisure and entertainment activities to enjoy.
Living with disability and limited mobility
The number of wheelchair users in the U.S. over the age of 15 years is estimated to be 3.6 million. As many as 2 million new wheelchair users are added each year. Injuries, illness, age, and disability can make it necessary for individuals to use wheelchairs on a temporary or permanent basis. While this makes their lives challenging, both technology and legal developments have helped them to become self-reliant and to lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Since the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, more and more public spaces and transportation have become wheelchair accessible. This law required all new public and private businesses to ensure wheelchair accessibility. Existing businesses were also required to make renovations for accessibility. This law has had a major impact on the lives of people with disabilities, making it possible for them to live, travel, and work independently.
An active lifestyle
It is important for wheelchair users to have opportunities for exercise to counteract the problem of obesity. At the present time, about 98% of all public transportation, such as buses, trains, and aircraft are wheelchair accessible. Many local governments and businesses have made modifications to their facilities and services in order to serve the disabled population as well.
For example, the city of San Diego in California has made beaches and other facilities accessible to wheelchair users. This includes providing beach wheelchairs, adaptive surfing, boat trips, and sightseeing. Many private companies also offer inclusive travel and excursions, making it possible for people with disabilities to enjoy travel and cultural activities.
The future of the disability rights movement
The disability rights movement advocates for people with disabilities to continue to life self-reliant and independent lifestyles. Six types of disabilities are identified by the Census Bureau on the basis of questions regarding the respondent’s difficulty with the following functions: hearing, vision, cognition, walking or climbing stairs, self-care, and independent living. It is estimated that about 10% or one tenth of the world’s population is living with some form of disability.
Disability rights are defined as equal access to social, political, and economic life. This includes not only accessibility to physical infrastructure but also to tools, services, organizations and facilities. Internationally, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires signatories to provide full accessibility to disabled persons.
Technological and legal developments have made it possible for disabled persons in the U.S. to live in a self-reliant and independent manner. Many local governments and businesses have also made modifications so their facilities and services can be accessed by wheelchair users. Disabled persons still face many challenges in their lives but have the grit and courage to transcend these.