Masks - They do just that, they mask our facial expressions, i.e. the movement of our lips and jaw, and the curves of our mouth with the rise in our cheeks, that signifies a word or a smile. Not being able to read lips can lead to frustration for sure but also add to the feeling of isolation, due to the added challenges of communication, during this pandemic. Innovation helps all of us navigate these troubling times and this article speaks of a wonderful innovation. This article also informs that in Canada an estimated 3.2 million people are considered hard of hearing and 357,000 are deaf. The chances of encountering someone with a hearing problem are different for all of us. Having a mask that allows others to see your expressions and words, will welcome a more effective and enjoyable conversation, for all.
National Access Ability Week - May 31- June 6th, 2020
On Sunday May 31, to June 6th 2020, we had National #AccessAbility Week! This designated week provides Canadians with an opportunity to focus on sharing stories about the accomplishments of persons with disabilities and learning more about Accessibility. This year COVID -19 has taught many of us what it feels like to experience barriers to free will, freedom of choice, unsafe environments, loss of personal connection and challenges with navigating personal space. Many people have commented that they feel down, frustrated, and isolated. Many now recognize that in day to day life pre COVID-19 they enjoyed many freedoms. Persons with disabilities often experience barriers to free will on a day to day basis and are limited by unsafe and inaccessible buildings and urban spaces, inaccessible features on websites, uneven and/or low contrast surfaces, poor signage and wayfinding, limited access and hours for transportation, and lack of hearing loops in theatres and community buildings. Let's take this time now to feel and think, and in the coming year, let's make it an priority to help persons with disabilities by remembering how we felt during this time. We can work together towards removing barriers to free will, for all. Ask persons with disabilities who you meet to tell you their stories and ask how you can help. Let's dedicate this coming year to thoughts of removing barriers, making connection, promoting inclusion, welcoming diversity, creating safety, exuding respect, and improving accessibility in Canada. As we have done during this unprecedented time, we can work together in the future, for the health, safety, and quality of life, for all.