Ten Top Tens Day 2
Day 2 of “Ten Top Tens is: Ten reasons why your business should be ready for a wheelchair user.
You want your customers to feel that they are welcome to your place of business. Meaning if you do no have a clear path for your customer he or she will not be able to get around without moving something. Trust me, we do not like shopping it an obstacle course. It can also make the wheelchair user stand out (and it's not like we don't stand out enough, already).
Accessible parking. Most places have reasonable accessible parking. The requirement for accessible parking is in the yellow lines can't have any other vehicles because vans that have ramps that come out will not have enough room to come out. For example when we were at a school event a few weeks ago we were on our way out and a car was parked in front of where the ramp was supposed to come out. We ended up having to move the van out a little bit so I could get into the car. So if you see a van in an accessible parking spot please be considerate of others when you park.
Plan out your space for easy access. When I enter some stores there is very little space for me to get in. Once and a while we will have to move stuff around just so I can get in. Other times (and this happens once in a blue moon) we will not be able to get in because of the width of the door or a ledge in the doorway. In this case we can not even enter the building; this gets very frustrating for me because I don't want to not go in because of my chair.
If you have a step up entrance please make sure you have another way to get in with a ramp. Where I live, we have a lot of little shops with a step up to get in. And it is very hard to find a place in the back entrance with at least a stair lift or a ramp. A few months back my brother and dad were in for a hockey skate fitting and me and my mom figured we would go into the commons and look around; well we entered in the back because we knew there was an elevator. Once I got in the elevator would not turn on so my mom had to leave me at the bottom of the stairs to see if someone could turn it on. They simply explained to us that the elevator is not working and we will have to go around to get in. Me and my mom ended up going back to the car because there was still snow on the ground. So if you have a step up entrance please make sure you have a safe and accessible way for wheelchair users to get in.
Have a working elevator. For the most part businesses have a working elevator or lift. But in some cases. Usually when there is a working elevator it is either blocked or it is not on. So again if it is just me and one parent I will have to stay at the elevator while my mom or dad finds someone to turn it on and then do the same thing to leave: one of my parents will find someone to let me back down. When an elevator does not work my dad will have to carry my chair up flights of stairs. It's not so bad in my manual chair but with my 450lb power chair with an extra 55lb me in it is not possible. So please have a intact elevator in your business.
Displays in the middle of the aisles. A lot of wheelchairs are at least 32 inches wide. So if you look at a store aisle there is at least a little more than double that in an aisle, but imagine if you put a store display in the middle of that. That would be blocking at least 50% of that plus other people in that aisle it would be very tight and our fingers are on the outside of our wheels so we are more likely to get our hands pinched in all of that. So if you have a display in the middle of your aisle please keep in mind that we wheelchair users need to get around things, too.
Remember that there are people in wheelchairs that have the same rights as everyone else. Parking for instance, when my family was at a pancake breakfast when we were trying to park there was no parking in that area by the entrance. There was however handicap parking around the corner. So my dad had to drop the three of us off at the entrance and go and find a spot for the van and come all the way back and then to the same thing when we left. This was really frustrating for us because it was also pouring rain. At the gate we were telling the person that there should be handicap parking by the entrance because I have a powerchair and it was really hard to get in, then we were told that it is just the way the world is and we would have to deal with it. So please be considerate of others and remember that wheelchair users have all of the same rights as you.
Accessible bathrooms. This is not usually a problem unless someone is using it that is not in a wheelchair. There isn’t really much to say about this except for you should have at least 2 accessible stalls and if you are not a wheelchair user please do not use it unless you have reason to need it (I realize that some needs are invisible to others).
I know I have already touched based on this before but it is really something that needs to be said.
If you ever have any questions for me I would be happy to answer them! Just drop a question in the comment box and I will be happy to answer it with the best of my ability! See you all soon!