While presenting at the Grammys, Stevie Wonder took the opportunity to call attention to the needs of people with disabilities. “I want to say, before I say the winner, that we need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability,” Wonder said to rousing applause.
Positive strides are being made as it relates to access and availability for persons with disabilities. Companies and organizations are grasping on to the idea and becoming leaders. Target is one of these companies. Brian Britz’s 2-year-old daughter cannot sit in a regular shopping cart because of health issues and developmental delays. That means shopping is a family affair with one parent pushing the medical stroller while the other pushes the shopping cart. To alleviate the difficulties that parents like Brian face, Target said that by March 15 the majority of stores will have at least one Caroline’s Cart, and many will have more, depending on guests’ needs.
Nemours Children’s Hospital is also leading through its “REACH” program (Respecting Each Awesome Child Here). This program aims to eliminate unnecessary stimulation for kids who have autism spectrum disorder or other behavioral and developmental conditions. “Studies have shown that the emergency room environment can be agitating for children with autism,” said Cara Harwell, a nurse practitioner at Nemours emergency department who developed the REACH program. “It’s not that if you go to the emergency room in other hospitals they’re not aware of autism. It’s just that they say, ‘OK. I understand.’ But this was different. Everyone was more involved. They weren’t afraid of approaching the child. They reached out more. They were more animated. There was no line they were afraid of crossing,” she said.
Like Target and Nemours, we can lead in our own unique way. Through leading, it not only enhances access and availability for others…it also creates opportunity and inclusion for all.