INDIANAPOLIS (July 25, 2020)—Thirty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, but the needs of people with mobility disabilities continue to be overlooked and unheard, according to the new BraunAbility Drive for Inclusion Report Card. In fact, only 15% of the mobility disability community surveyed are satisfied with the current effectiveness of ADA laws. And, nearly half still feel excluded from full societal participation most of the time because of their mobility impairment.
People with mobility impairments represent the most common type of disability in the United States, affecting one in seven adults. That number could continue to grow as the general population ages into different levels of mobility.
As a manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and lifts, BraunAbility set out to shed light on the state of inclusion for the mobility disability community with the intent of furthering diversity and inclusion. BraunAbility surveyed both the general population and The Driving Force, the company's online community of people with mobility impairments and their caregivers.
The 2020 Drive for Inclusion Report Card revealed:
- While 68% of the general public believe people with mobility challenges are fairly accommodated and included in most aspects of society, only 23% of The Driving Force agree with that statement.
- According to people with disabilities, the No. 1 barrier to achieving inclusion is the lack of involvement of people with mobility issues while mobility accommodations are designed and developed.
- 40% of The Driving Force believe mobility challenges are rarely considered when organizations and governments develop programs or accessibility accommodations under the category of "diversity and inclusion."
- The general public cited people who use wheelchairs as second only to immigrant populations in terms of marginalized groups that have the least input on decisions that impact them; less than women, aging populations, or any race or religion.
- After having experienced restricted mobility and isolation under shelter-in-place orders, nearly 70% of the general population expressed having a greater willingness to understand and accommodate others who experience isolation or challenges because of a mobility impairment.
Solution: Nothing About Us Without Us
Respondents from The Driving Force said the best opportunity to solve for the lack of inclusion is to simply include people with disabilities in the design and development of products or places.
"The ADA has made tremendous strides toward advancing life-changing access and inclusion for those of us with mobility impairments, and all people with a disability," said Sam Schmidt, a wheelchair user himself, former IndyCar driver and member of BraunAbility's Drive for Inclusion Advisory Board. "But we also recognize that to continue advancing access and inclusion for the next 30 years, it's imperative that the very people who need and use the accommodations are consulted early in the process. Being part of the BraunAbility's Driving Force is a first step in seeing this become a reality."
BraunAbility launched Drive for Inclusion with the ultimate goal of amplifying the voices of people with mobility challenges and their caregivers. The Driving Force online community provides invaluable insight and feedback through online surveys. In turn, BraunAbility amplifies their voices, helping bring mobility disability-related issues to the forefront.
"At a time when the pandemic is challenging us all to create new accommodations, and society at large is seeking heightened awareness around social justice, it's imperative this new level of empathy extends to those with mobility challenges," said Staci Kroon, president of BraunAbility.
BraunAbility's vision is to recruit those living with a mobility disability and their caregivers to share their voices and insights by joining The Driving Force online survey community at braunability.com/thedrivingforce.
To review the entire 2020 Drive for Inclusion Report Card and to learn more about Drive for Inclusion, visit driveforinclusion.com.