A more inclusive society for those with disabilities


Srin Madipalli at an AbleThrive talk.

With a lot of recent talks about disabilities including the one held by AbleThrive (a platform for those with disabilities), Ageless Voice reached out to a former London lawyer Srin Madipalli, who launched an accessible travel website called Accomable, to find out about having a more inclusive society. Srin, 29, has spinal muscular atrophy which is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement and has confined him in a wheelchair for his whole life.

 

Do you think we still have a long way to go to become a more inclusive society for those with disabilities? Where are the shortfalls and what are some solutions?

I find the changes happening for those with disabilities are very exciting. As a disabled entrepreneur, I regularly meet people who are building new assistive technology, which can help people with mobility issues. Take AccessNow, a Canadian app which crowdsources information on accessibility or uberASSIST which enables wheelchair users to book accessible taxis. Lots of these changes are happening within the disabled community itself, which is incredibly inspiring. Things have also improved more generally, especially when it comes to travel. In the UK for example, there’s much more information on accessibility, whether you’re looking to use public transport or enjoy wheelchair-accessible city tours and coastal walks.

That said, there is still plenty of progress to be made. My personal bugbear was accommodation, and how many property owners would say their hotel room or holiday rental was accessible, only for me to find out it wasn’t when I arrived. Similarly I’ve travelled to places where disabled toilets are used as store cupboards, and there are still many attractions I cannot visit because of my wheelchair. I think government investment is always one major way things can improve – better infrastructure, like wheelchair-friendly walkways at tourist sites, and more training, so hotel owners know what is necessary to make a hotel room accessible.

Another way is technology. Technology can provide miraculous, life-changing solutions like Standard Cyborg, an incredible US company, which is working out how to build 3D-printed prosthetic limbs. But it should also be a source of useful, cheap everyday solutions too, that can make life much easier for those with disabilities, and also offer the same opportunities that everyone else has access to – whether it’s a dating website, an ‘uber-style’ taxi ride or an accessible hotel and vacation rental site.

 


 

You may also like reading:

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

You must be logged in to post a comment.