Reply To: Using the word “accessible”

  • Chris G Veitch

    August 11, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Well Josh, I think you have touched on a really crucial issue here.

    As has been observed by others here, accessibility and our understanding of it is subjective and totally personal, it is just like quality, what you might think is great quality I might think, ‘well it’s okay, but they could do better”.

    My initial response to this question is that when people write about their personal experiences then the accessibility has to be framed in the aim of the service provider to be accessible and offer an inclusive service and to reflect if it worked personally for you the writer, bearing in mind that people with the same impairments often have very different lived experiences. What is accessible for one wheelchair user does not automatically make it accessible for another.

    This is perhaps why the term inclusive might work better, but put in a context of the aim of the business to be inclusive and accessible. To understand the full accessibility is only achieved through detailed information e.g an Access Statement together with photos or videos, but the description is best described I think as an aim to be accessible, which has a very wide context. For example with the helicopter, how accessible might it be for a deaf person who also uses a wheelchair? They might be able to board, but if they are unable to communicate with the crew easily isn’t the accessibility for them reduced and it has become less accessible a service or experience. We need to consider that many people have more than one impairment, so the fitting of a ramp and handrails does not necessarily always equate with full accessibility, but is accessible for some people.

    This is a really difficult topic I think, which is great that you have raised it. While I have given a view I know that I certainly don’t have all the answers and some might challenge this, quite understandable, but I think we might all agree that how you convey accessibility easily and in a brief description for it to be accurate and meaningful, is a real challenge as the experience is so very personal.

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