Being incapable of using your legs in the traditional way and needing a wheelchair isn’t something anybody should be ashamed of. In fact, the difficulties people have in trying to overcome a physical disability are often directly tied to the lack of conveniences afforded to them by the government and society they live in.
Fortunately, more laws have been passed in recent years that have helped improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Most states require parking lots to have at least one wheelchair-accessible parking spot at the front of the facility, sometimes more if the parking lot is larger.
Wheelchair accessibility and auto insurance have become much less of an issue ever since the Americans with Disability Discrimination Act of 1990. We’ll talk about these things and several others to show the ways life is becoming more convenient for those in wheelchairs.
#1 – Positive Depictions in Pop Culture
The way people in wheelchairs and other people with disabilities are portrayed on television and in film has a lot to do with how the world perceives them. Sometimes seeing people with disabilities on television is the only way an audience can start to connect with them, and this is why it’s vital for writers and directors to create shows that are realistic in their depictions.
One of the best ways to change perceptions of people with disabilities is to show them as fully-fledged people instead of being defined by their disabilities, something that has been happening more in recent years. One great example of this is in the popular crime drama, “Breaking Bad”. Walter White’s son, Flynn, has cerebral palsy.
Despite his disability, he lives just like any other typical American teenager. The actor of the character, R.J. Mitte, also has cerebral palsy in real life. Choosing actors who can identify with their characters in this way helps to create a more realistic representation of people with disabilities and it could help with social development in viewers at home.
The way people with disabilities are treated on screen doesn’t have any bearing on how they live their lives, but it most definitely helps them to be treated with respect and dignity by others in public. As more people in wheelchairs and living with other disabilities start to integrate into pop culture, the stigma about disabilities will continue to disappear.
#2 – Auto Insurance for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Many people who need a wheelchair have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle so they can drive their cars and get to where they need to go just as anybody else would. This means people in wheelchairs need auto insurance for their wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
It should be noted, insurance companies aren’t allowed to decline a policy or charge more for a policy based on a customer’s disabilities or the customer owning wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This is mainly due to The Americans with Disability Discrimination Act of 1990.
Insurance companies will still assess other areas of your record to determine whether to increase your rates, no matter whether you have a disability or not. Things like age, gender, a brand of vehicle, criminal record, credit history, and more can affect whether your auto insurance is expensive or affordable.
People in wheelchairs are entitled to the same auto insurance discounts as those who aren’t. Many of these affordances weren’t possible before the 1990s. After the government helped to eradicate discrimination with The Americans with Disability Discrimination Act of 1990, life improved tremendously for those who need wheelchairs.
#3 – Motorized Carts in Stores
Sometimes people in wheelchairs can’t make it around the grocery store as efficiently as others because they can’t easily move around their shopping cart. Enter the motorized shopping cart, which has actually been around since the late 1940s, but didn’t expand in usage until the 1990s.
The motorized shopping cart allows people in wheelchairs to shop as anybody else would. With more funds distributed towards electric and motorized shopping carts, stores can continue to aid those in wheelchairs and help them to shop at their convenience.
If you’re not in a wheelchair but see an unplugged motorized shopping cart, tell the store management so they can quickly plug it in for future customers in wheelchairs.
#4 – Handicapped Parking Permits
The first disabled parking law was signed into existence in Delaware in 1955. Before then, people in wheelchairs were afforded no conveniences to make it up to the front door of a grocery store or another place of business, like their jobs.
Ever since the first disabled parking law, every state in the U.S. has added its own rules and regulations to help people in wheelchairs. Many of these parking permits only have to be renewed once every four or five years, meaning people in wheelchairs don’t have to concern themselves with constantly proving they need their permits.
One of the ways life can improve even more for people in wheelchairs is to enforce parking laws more effectively. Many people who aren’t disabled take these parking spots illegally, and sometimes there isn’t enough discipline for those who steal these spots.
#5 – Smart Technology for Wheelchairs
Technology has made so many things in our lives easier. Technology has shaped healthcare for a while now, and it’s also improving life for people in wheelchairs. Moving around in wheelchairs can be a difficult task when there are a lot of people around in a supermarket or if there are a lot of sharp turns around the house.
The smart technology system called LUCI is able to collect data using sensors and cloud computing to help people move around in their wheelchairs with assistance. The wheelchair with a LUCI system corrects movements before they go awry, resulting in fewer wheelchair crashes and less frustration.
It’s similar to the smart technology in many vehicles. Things like blind spot monitoring and lane assistance technology have helped correct driver mistakes before they cause accidents and get people hurt. It’s awesome to see technology used to save lives and improve people’s daily lifestyles in wheelchairs.
You can see it’s been a long process for society to accept and help people in wheelchairs and living with other disabilities. Having a little empathy for others is all it takes sometimes to help push society forward.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to educate people on the evolutions in wheelchair technology and how it’s helped society.