Inclusion during the Christmas Season

Wheelchair Inclusion during the Christmas Season

For most of you Christmas is a special time, full of lots of yummy food, festive celebratory times with loved ones, lots of carol singers, work and family end of year parties and hot chocolate with marshmallows. But for those in a wheelchair this time of year can be full of obstacles and limitations. Like everyone else, people in wheelchairs, simply want to embrace and enjoy life like everyone else. They wan’t to be included in the parties, public events and shopping sprees… but the limitations that they face everyday are heightened by this very busy time and inclusion is not often thought about during the Christmas Season.

Whether it’s the inaccessible venues with stairs, narrow corridors or uneven terrain and no lifts, or the festive decorations, and holiday displays in public spaces that can become obstacles for people in wheelchairs… this time of year can be particuraly challenging for those in a wheelchair. 

We have had many clients share with us how they would love to attend social gatherings but can’t due to a lack of accessible facilities or the assumption that they may prefer to avoid crowded spaces. Many of them are instead quite lonely and feel isolated during this time.

Hear from a real person in a wheelchair share his experience of Inclusion during the Christmas Season. 

So, as Christmas day is approaching we, at Wheelaway, think it is important to particularly consider the importance of Wheelchair inclusion during the Christmas Season. 

How can you help, you may be asking?

Well, in a world that is beautifully diverse, whilst the holidays present some cumbersome challenges for people in wheelchairs it is also the perfect opportunity to foster a sense of belonging and unity among all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.

1. Accessible Decorations:

  • Arrange decorations at various heights to ensure visibility for individuals in wheelchairs.
  • Avoid blocking pathways with large decorations or excessive clutter.

2. Wheelchair-Friendly Events:

  • Host events in venues that are wheelchair accessible, with ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms.
  • Ensure that event spaces provide ample maneuvering room for wheelchairs.

3. Accessible Transportation:

  • Arrange for accessible transportation options to and from events.
  • Clearly communicate transportation details, including wheelchair accessibility, to all attendees.

4. Inclusive Gift-Giving:

  • Choose gifts that are easy to open, considering any limitations in dexterity.
  • Opt for gifts that accommodate specific needs or preferences, such as accessible technology or adaptive aids.

5. Accessible Restrooms:

  • Ensure event venues have accessible restrooms with proper facilities for individuals in wheelchairs.
  • Clearly mark and communicate the location of accessible restrooms.

6. Weather Considerations:

  • Clear pathways of snow and ice, providing a safe environment for wheelchair users.
  • Offer assistance or alternative arrangements for those facing weather-related challenges.

7. Communication and Inclusivity:

  • Include accessibility information in event invitations, encouraging attendees to communicate their needs.
  • Promote a culture of inclusivity by assuring participants that their accessibility needs will be prioritized.

8. Adaptive Seating Arrangements:

  • Arrange seating to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs, ensuring they have a clear line of sight.
  • Provide a variety of seating options to accommodate different mobility aids.

9. Accessible Food and Beverage Stations:

  • Set up food and beverage stations at an accessible height.
  • Clearly label food items and consider dietary restrictions or preferences.

10. Volunteer Support:

  • Train volunteers to assist individuals with mobility challenges.
  • Ensure volunteers are aware of accessibility features and are ready to offer support.

11. Inclusive Activities and Entertainment:

  • Choose activities and entertainment that are wheelchair-friendly and inclusive.
  • Ensure that performance venues offer accessible seating options.

12. Create an Inclusive Atmosphere:

  • Foster a welcoming environment where everyone feels included.
  • Educate event organizers, staff, and attendees about the importance of inclusivity.

13. Accessibility-Focused Planning:

  • Include individuals with disabilities in the planning process to gain insights and feedback.
  • Conduct accessibility audits of event spaces to identify and address potential barriers.

14. Provide Information in Multiple Formats:

  • Share event information in various formats, such as written, verbal, and digital, to accommodate different needs.

15. Offer Quiet Spaces:

  • Recognize that some individuals may benefit from quiet spaces to manage sensory challenges.
  • Designate areas where individuals can take a break if needed.

If your in a wheelchair or your a support worker and your're looking for a wheelchair accessible vehicle to take your client out, give us a call on 1800 133 320

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