How Has Accessibility Increased for People With Disabilities?
Throughout the course of our daily lives, we require access to certain things in order to take care of our bodies, do our jobs, help family members, enjoy ourselves, and more. For example, in order to have food to eat at home, we must have access to a grocery store or restaurant where we can get that food. When we can’t access something that we need, it can cause problems.
While most people have reliable access to the things they need, there is still a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities (PWD). Accessibility can involve many different areas, but overall it entails anything that makes certain actions and tasks possible for people with disabilities.
In fact, accessibility is both a civil right and a federal law. Both the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are federal civil rights laws that make it illegal to discriminate based on disabilities.
Even though there is still more work to do, there has been much growth when it comes to accessibility for PWD. In this article, we’ll look at some of the recent ways that accessibility has increased for people with disabilities.
Recent Improvements in Accessibility for People With Disabilities
- Healthcare Services – Healthcare accessibility for people with disabilities has improved significantly in recent years. Many healthcare facilities have made efforts to become more accessible, such as installing ramps, elevators, and other necessary equipment. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of healthcare providers who have received training in disability-specific concerns. This has helped to ensure that people with disabilities receive care that is tailored to their specific needs.
There have also been efforts to increase the availability of telehealth services, which can make it easier for individuals with disabilities to access medical care remotely. Overall, the healthcare system has made significant progress in improving accessibility for people with disabilities, but there is still work to be done to ensure that all individuals have equal access to the care they need.
- Infrastructure and Transportation – In the transportation sector, there have been efforts to make public transportation more accessible for people with disabilities. This has included the development of low-floor buses and trains with wheelchair ramps, as well as the creation of paratransit systems for individuals who are unable to use regular public transportation.
There has also been a focus on updating infrastructure and making the built environment more accessible for people with disabilities through the use of universal design principles. This includes the creation of accessible housing options, such as adapting a home for disability accessibility with no-step entries and wider doorways, as well as the incorporation of accessibility features in the design of public buildings and spaces.
- Assistive Technology – One significant advancement in recent years has been the development of assistive technology, such as screen readers and text-to-speech software, which allow people with visual impairments to access digital information. There has also been progress in the design of physical spaces, with an increasing focus on making buildings and public spaces more accessible for people with mobility impairments through the use of ramps, elevators, and other accommodations.
- Education – In the field of education, there has been a push toward creating more inclusive learning environments for students with disabilities. This has included the use of assistive technology—mentioned above—as well as the implementation of accommodations such as extended time on exams and the use of sign language interpreters. Educational institutions have also started to prioritize accessible building design, infrastructure, and transportation in the same way that cities and governments have.
- Employment – Another area where there has been significant progress is in the area of employment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace, and there have been efforts to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities through initiatives such as disability inclusion training for employers and the creation of disability-inclusive hiring practices. Around 21% of all individuals with a disability in the U.S. are employed in the workforce, with that percentage continuing to increase each year.
- Video Games – One of the areas of accessibility that has advanced the most is video gaming. Video game accessibility for people with disabilities is an increasingly important issue in the gaming industry. Many people with disabilities face barriers that prevent them from fully enjoying video games, and experiencing the many benefits they offer. But fortunately, there are a number of ways in which developers and manufacturers are trying to make gaming more accessible for everyone.
One way in which video game accessibility is being improved is through the use of assistive technology. This can include hardware such as accessible video game controllers—known as adaptive controllers—that are easier to use for people with physical disabilities.
There have also been advances in software that allow players to customize their experience to meet their individual needs. For example, some games now include options to adjust the font size and color, add audio cues to help players navigate the game, various subtitle options, large text, text narration, high contrast mode, full controller remapping, and HUD scaling.
The inclusion of closed captions and audio descriptions can be especially helpful for players who are deaf or hard of hearing, as it allows them to fully understand what is happening in the game and enjoy the full experience.
Additionally, there are a number of organizations and advocacy groups—like AbleGamers—working to promote video game accessibility for people with disabilities. These groups often work with developers and manufacturers to ensure that new games are as accessible as possible, and they also provide resources and support for players with disabilities.
Overall, while there is still work to be done in the area of accessibility for people with disabilities, there have been significant advancements in recent years in a variety of areas, including assistive technology, education, employment, transportation, infrastructure, and video games. These efforts have made it easier for people with disabilities to participate fully in society and live independent lives.
At AbleGamers, our mission is to create opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. We know that video games can be the perfect gateway to community participation, lifelong friendships, and unforgettable shared experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure these experiences are developed with accessibility as a priority and inclusion as the goal.
We are working every day to make sure people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else for positive experiences through play. With our nearly two decades as pioneers in inclusive play, thousands of hours working with people with disabilities, and leading developers and engineers, we create opportunities for players to find inclusive places to play and connect with family and friends. Learn more about what we do here, or help continue our crucial work by making a monetary donation or purchasing something from our shop!