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July is Disability Pride Month, celebrating individuals with disabilities as well as their contributions to the world. It also coincides with the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects people with disabilities from discrimination. The CDC estimates that 25% of adults in the United States have some type of disability, ranging from difficulty with mobility or cognition to difficulty seeing or hearing. There are many types of disabilities which require many different types of accomodations. Regardless of disability, however, it has become easier than ever to find support and community.
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This is also a great month to consider ways in which you can contribute to improving accessibility. Have you heard of the curb cut effect? After lowering sections of curbs to create ramps that made sidewalks accessible to wheelchair users, city planners found that the curb cuts improved accessibility for everyone, including delivery drivers with heavy carts, parents with strollers, and people on bicycles. The same effect has been observed in many aspects of life. For example, websites that have readable font and clear color contrasts appeal to everyone regardless of visual ability. When we design spaces and tools for disabilities, we end up benefiting everyone!
Disability Pride NYC Parade (cc) New York City Department of Transportation on Flickr