I delivered a training session today for a media company who are making a documentary about Tourettes.
Often when I’m training people on issues relating to inclusion and equality I talk about the need to reduce ‘faff’ around disability. My experience today has been a vivid example of exactly what I mean.
As a disabled person my arrival somewhere often creates a stir, and it’s not just because of my vocal tics. It can also be because people aren’t familiar with accessible routes, procedures and equipment, or because they are super-keen to be helpful.
Here’s a drawing about my experience today illustrating the ‘faff’ involved in me getting to the training room, compared with a non-disabled person getting there.
The scenario these images describe happens almost daily, and often several times a day. It’s frustrating every single time, and cumulatively has a big impact on my energy and on how welcome I feel when I eventually get to where I’m going.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing faff. We all need to think about what people with different access requirements might need, whether it’s where we work, or volunteer, or go to school, or anywhere else. This can mean, for example, knowing where the lifts or the accessible toilets are, making sure there’s a folding ramp for a step, giving a little extra space when laying out tables and chairs, using large print for all information, or ensuring that everywhere is kept clear of unnecessary obstacles.
Perfect access is never going to be possible everywhere, but we can all make sure everything works as seamlessly as possible wherever we are so that massive unnecessary faffs like today’s occur much less frequently.