Modern media makes it increasingly important for businesses and other organisations to consider the needs of disabled people when providing products and services.
Whether you’re a shop, hotel, transport operator or whatever, you will find as the population ages that rising numbers of disabled people will want to spend their money with you.
Hopefully, if their experience of dealing with you is positive, they’ll write a nice letter to the local paper, or use online or social media to show their appreciation and signpost your business, rewarding you with more customers. But if you fail to offer an accessible service you are much more likely to be the subject of negative publicity, and that can carry a cost even if the story doesn’t reach the mainstream media.
Disabled people and their companions have access to any number of media outlets to share their experiences. Cases of extreme inconvenience can lead to claims of discrimination, with possible fines and costs compounded by having your failings highlighted to an audience of millions.
There are lobby groups to represent people with particular types of impairment such as the RNIB, Scope and Mind. There are others, such as Disability Rights UK, which campaign more generally to put disabled people’s priorities at the heart of public and private sector policies and practices.
All of them provide a vital service, and not just in terms of informing disabled people about issues relevant to their situation. They also help non-disabled person gain greater insight into the lives of disabled people, and develop a better understanding of how to provide support in a relevant and dignified way.
In promoting greater awareness, they help people work towards a more inclusive world.