A disability is either physical or mental condition of the body that limits an individual’s movement, senses, or activities. It makes it more difficult for the person in such a situation to do certain things and they cannot interact with the world around them in a normal or natural way. Globally, about 1 billion people which translates to 15% of the world population are estimated to be affected by this disorder (World Health Organization, 2021). Additionally, this number is increasing steadily owing to the rise in chronic health issues and the rapid growth in the number of elderly people. In the United States of America, nearly 61 million people equivalent to about 26% of the citizens live with one type of impairment or another (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). These humans face exclusions, hardship, and barriers such as the physical environment that is not accessible, a lack of relevant assistive technology, and negative attitudes of people towards disability. Additionally, they witness discrimination in terms of policies that impede their involvement in most areas of life.
In order to correct this, there is the need to include disabled persons in everyday activities. Their inclusion encourages them to have roles similar to their peers who do not have disabilities. It requires tailoring policies and practices of governments, companies, and organizations to be user-friendly for various individuals with different impairments (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). Further, incorporating the disabled leads to their increased participation in all human life roles including work, education, sports, business, and having families. Therefore, this essay will discuss the future inclusion of persons with disabilities in the US in terms of design of facilities and products, accessibility of services, assistive technology, living independently, and technologically empowered employment opportunities.
Disability Inclusion Overview
People with disabilities in most cases experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as less education, poorer health outcomes and lack of employment, lower-level jobs, and higher poverty rates. Other challenges include inaccessible physical environments, transportation, non-adapted communication modes, unavailability of assistive devices, and prejudice within society. However, progress in disability is taking effect with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities promoting the full integration of the disabled into the communities (United Nations, 2022). The UN is driving this program amongst nations to enhance the rights of those who suffer from body disorders. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was signed three decades ago is founded on outcomes of full participation, equal opportunities, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency (The White House, 2021). It banned discrimination against the disabled on the basis of accommodations, employment, transport, and community living. The federal government has taken many steps toward realizing the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of human life.
Universal Design of Facilities and Products
It is the design and composition of all physical facilities and environments so that they can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people. The intention is to make life simple for everyone by ensuring that products, communications, and the surroundings are usable by all categories of people with much ease and at no extra costs. This development must be guided by the need for equitable use, where the facilities are useful and marketable to people with diverse capabilities (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). For example, ensuring doors of buildings have sensors at the entrances that are convenient to those with different impairments. Secondly, the amenities must be flexible such as to accommodate a wide array of individual tastes and abilities (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). For instance, banks should create ATMs that have improved looks, feels, or sounds so that the visually disabled or the deaf will be able to use them with ease. Thirdly, the products in the future need to be simple and intuitive in the sense that easy to understand, regardless of experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
Further, communication gadgets should in the future allow perceptible information to be able to convey the message efficiently to the user. For example, there should be an alarm that can both be seen and heard, irrespective of the light, visual, or sound conditions or the person’s capacity to read, see, or hear. Additionally, the facilities should be designed such that the disabled can access them using minimum physical effort and without straining much (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). Doors, counters, and windows should be low enough for all to reach including those in wheelchairs. Buildings in the future must have curb cuts or sidewalk ramps that can be used by all but are convenient for those on pushchairs.
Accessibility of Services
The federal and state governments and their agencies must strive to make their services easily accessible to the disabled. Products and systems must be built or modified so that those with various disabilities can access and use them with ease (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). For example, in hospitals and health clinics, providers, professionals, and all staff must be trained to use sign language or have assistants who could aid in communication. Further, reasonable communication accommodation should be the order in all offices both public and private (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). Organizations and government agencies should incorporate and make it mandatory that sign language interpreters form part of their policies and are available during meetings and presentations.
In the future, the United States as a society must invest in advanced Assistive technologies (ATs). This equipment is capable of making people with different impairments challenges to engage in full life activities (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). They increase the functional freedom of those with disabilities and make it easier for them with the help of aids to travel, communicate, learn, work, and participate in sports and other recreational tasks. The US society as a whole must invest in advanced and sophisticated devices such as magnifying glasses, and computers that help people communicate (Centers for Disease Control, 2020). In addition, there is a need effective for wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters to enhance mobility. Further, future smartphones should include features that could assist individuals with vision, or hearing problems to be able to communicate well with rest of the society.
Advanced assistive technologies must be integrated into the teaching and learning processes across the US to help students with various physical and mental challenges to overcome the obstacles. These devices could help improve the participation of disabled children as their normal peers (Maza, 2021). Technology is very important in assisting the students to connect between cause-and-effect relationships in subjects, thus, making them feel in control of their education. Students could benefit from activity boxes that help them strengthen their motor skills which increases their capabilities to do their assignments at school and at home.
Disables Living Independently
Independent living is the ability of any person with a disability to have the freedom to choose what is good for them and have control over their day-to-day lives. For example, the government, its agencies, and other organizations concerned should create policies, programs, systems, and environments that allow individuals with body disorders to do their house chores. They should design programs with tools, resources, and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect (ACL, 2022). The aim should be to improve the living conditions of the disabled so that they do not depend on or are not forced by circumstances to stay with their relatives, communities, or nursing homes. Federal and state governments of the US and organizations must support strategies that will empower people with disabilities to dress, bathe, eat, and do all other things like normal persons without assistance.
Technologically Empowered Employment Opportunities
Technological access is important in advancing the employment success of people with disabilities. There is a need to invest in artificial intelligence to boost workplace gains for the disabled by eliminating likely biases in contemporary jobs that have been inaccessible for those with impairments (Sheehy, 2020). Employers must in the future with help of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) through partnerships on employment and accessible technologies create a workplace environment that supports all including those with body challenges (Sheehy, 2020). There should be a collaboration among tech companies, entrepreneurs, learning institutions, and government agencies to come up with a future workplace and job opportunities that do not prejudice mentally or physically indisposed Americans.
Physical and mental impairments affect many people in the United States of America. These individuals face exclusions and barriers such as their incapability to access facilities, lack of assistive technology, and discrimination. This calls for deliberate inclusion strategies championed by both federal and state governments, and private organizations to enhance disabled participation in everyday life activities like other normal persons. The future of this inclusion is already supported by a legal framework called the Americans with Disabilities Act that reinforces full participation, equal opportunities, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those who are incapacitated. Against this background, the federal government has taken many steps towards the future realization of the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of human life.
In the future, facilities and products should be designed to make life simple for everyone by ensuring that commodities, communications, and the surroundings are usable by all categories of people with much ease. Additionally, the amenities must be flexible, simple, and intuitive such as to accommodate a wide array of individual tastes, abilities, user’s experiences, and language skills. Services should be made easily accessible through building and modifications so that those with various disabilities can obtain and use them with ease. Technological advances must increase the functional freedom of those with disabilities and make it easier for them with the help of aids to travel, communicate, learn, work, and participate in sports and other recreational tasks. Further, the focus should be on designing programs with tools, resources, and support for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect. Lastly, there is a need to invest in artificial intelligence to boost workplace gains for the disabled through the elimination of biases in contemporary jobs that have been inaccessible to them.
ACL. (2022). What are centers for independent living? Administration for Community Living. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Disability and health promotion. Web.
Maza, L. (2021). Examples of assistive technology in the classroom. Enabling Devices.
Sheehy, J. (2020). NDEAM 2020: Building a future that works. US Department of Labor Blog. Web.
The White House. (2021). Fact sheet: Advancing disability inclusive democracy in the United States and globally. Web.
United Nations. (2022). Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD). UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Disability. Web.
World Health Organization. (2021). Disability and health. Web.