The holiday season is here, and for those with disabilities, it can be a difficult time. Familiar routines and coping mechanisms are disrupted, and family members may struggle to accommodate their needs.
Here are four tips for making the holidays more accessible this year:
Ask the person what they need
The person with the disability knows best what they need, so ask them! All you must do is say, “Is there anything we can do to make the event easier for you?” It’s also okay to ask specific questions like “How can we provide a comfortable place for you to sit?”
The disabled person will be more than happy to help you out!
Take disability requests seriously
When a request is made to accommodate a disabled person at your holiday event, take it seriously. They are not “high maintenance” or “difficult.” That request is made for a very good reason, be it that they must have their service dog present or a place to sit alone if needed. These requests help keep them safe!
Hold events in accessible areas
Accessibility isn’t often at the forefront of people’s minds when making holiday plans, but it should be. Whether your holiday event is held at home or a venue, make sure that it is accessible for those with disabilities that require aids like a wheelchair. Accessibility issues in these places can often be easily fixed by rearranging furniture and setting up portable ramps.
Be mindful of “reach ranges”
Holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving mean the provided food is often buffet-style, so keep “reach ranges” in mind. Most people with a disability want to remain independent and serve themselves instead of relying on others. So, ensure that all food is easily accessible or forgo buffet-style by pre-plating food.