Eat healthier. Exercise more. Lose weight. Quit smoking. These are all common resolutions we make in our efforts to be better at the start of a brand new year. What if we could also commit to doing things that make life better for others, specifically people with disabilities?
The simple answer: You can.
We tapped our Accessibility and Inclusion community for ways everyone could help make the world more welcoming in 2020. Following are seven of their suggestions for things you can resolve to do to improve the lives of others while also enriching your own.
- Caption videos when posting online. Let those who are deaf or otherwise have a hearing loss in on the dialogue. Captions can also help people with cognitive disabilities to better follow along.
- Take a sign language class. Learn how to speak to someone without hearing … and make it easier for them to speak to you.
- Don’t use reserved facilities. Unless you have a disability or are assisting someone with a disability, don’t park in handicapped parking spaces or use handicapped restroom stalls. You have other options; people with disabilities do not.
- Be inclusive. Strike up a friendly conversation with someone with a disability. If you are at a gathering and see someone all alone, go up and say hello. You may have a lot in common with the person you meet.
- Get involved – volunteer. Volunteer at events that support athletes with disabilities such as Special Olympics, Best Buddies or with groups who offer therapeutic skiing or horseback riding.
- Resist the urge to pet a service animal. Do not pet or talk to service animals regardless of how cute they may be. This interference can make it harder for the animals to do their jobs.
- Ask before you assist. As well-intentioned as your help may be, the person whom you are assisting may not welcome it. Confirm that they want or need your help before you act.
Consider one or more of these activities for your 2020 resolutions and make the world just a little more open and inclusive. A small act can make a big difference.