For billions of people around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in unexpected restrictions. However, for many who were restricted by disability, the world has become more accessible, creating more opportunities. What they had long awaited was finally here. They are now able to work, access health and education, socialize, and get a lot more done all from the comfort of their homes.
People living with disabilities make up 15% of the world’s population. They have long campaigned for accommodations that would help them live their lives. Many of them have missed out on job opportunities and much more because these adjustments were not made. However, when the entire world went into lockdown, there was a shift to a world where work, schooling, and business are now more efficiently done on online platforms.
Most jobs usually require physical attendance, which has been unfavorable for people who cannot always show up at the office or workplace. Disabled people, like non-disabled people, are usually not allowed the option to work or apply for jobs from home. As people are now working from home, it has created chances for people living with disabilities to get jobs. They can now hand in applications online and get accepted without having to leave the house for interviews, which are now done online too.
Schooling has also shifted to online platforms. This change has enabled students living with disabilities to get access to education. Before the pandemic, some students with disabilities had to drop out of college because administrators and professors may not have been accommodating about on-site attendance whenever their disabilities flared up. They are now able to get an education in a more flexible and comfortable environment.
Another way this pandemic has made the world more accessible for people with disabilities is through social media. For those who wanted to go to concerts but couldn’t, the concerts have now come to them through live streaming of events on Instagram and other social media platforms. Cultural institutions like museums and art galleries all over the world have gone online, enabling people to tour the world without having to leave their homes.
Last but not least, disabled people can now more conveniently access health services online. The world can also see the impact of isolation on mental health. As a result, measures are being put in place to make mental health a priority.
Even though there are many ways this pandemic has opened up the world for people with disabilities, there is still room for more to changes that will enable them access to all services like the rest of the population.