Travel, Accessibility, Anxiety, & Barriers, Oh My!

Disclaimer: The writer of this blog identifies as a quadriplegic operating a manual wheelchair. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer based on his experience. They are not meant to omit the experiences of other people with disabilities.

Written by Chris Mason-Hale, BSW

I have always loved a good mystery. I used to read Sherlock Holmes and Poe all the time. As a kid, I wanted to be a detective—looking for clues within heaps of papers scattered across the floor. I was always questioning, “What does it all mean? Where does it all lead?”
As a wheelchair user, I get to do the same thing, but it is a far more frustrating experience than the mystery books made it out to be. I am talking about travel, of course. But, like any good mystery, my detective work starts with a few questions.

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17.4 Million disabled adults experience frequent mental distress #AbleismHurts #MentalHealthMatters The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality

Exploring the Intersection of Disability and Mental Health

Author: Alexandra Wong

How does being disabled impact one’s mental health?

Image of Zandy Wong- she has shoulder length black hair, is wearing a green shirt and is smiling

As a person with a disability, it can be tough to mentally cope with the struggles of being disabled. For those newly disabled, there is sometimes a process of grieving what has been lost and what new limitations there are in their lives (Moser, 2022). On top of that, people with disabilities often face challenges accessing education, healthcare, and transportation, preventing them from accessing vital services that allow them to live a full life. These challenges include lack of captioning on videos, inaccessible entrances, and inaccessible medical equipment (Kapsalis et al., 2024; Pharr, 2013; USU, n.d.). Additionally, people with disabilities have trouble gaining meaningful employment in their communities. People with disabilities had an unemployment rate of 7.2%, twice as high as the rate experienced by people without disabilities (Andara et al., 2024). The reasons cited for this include difficulty finding a job that offers the accommodations to make it possible to work and the difficulties finding a job suitable for their skill sets (Andara et al., 2024). As a result, they lack a major method to make an income and live independently. 

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Maryland’s Open Captioning Bill Passed and Signed Into Law

by Jacob Leffler

Image of a red theatre with large red closed curtains and red seats. Text reads: This bill would be a huge step towards an inclusive cinematic experience for everyone."

It is truly a monumental achievement that on Thursday, April 25, 2024, the Open Captioned Movie Bill (House Bill 426/Senate Bill 92) was signed by Governor Wes Moore in Maryland!  The bill will become law effective October 1, 2024. This accomplishment happened because of the advocacy of a variety of groups, including: people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing; people with neurodivergent conditions, like autism and audio processing disorders; and people interested in increasing language comprehension. These advocacy groups partnered with the bill sponsors, Maryland Delegate Harry Bhandari, and Senator Benjamin Brooks in ensuring the bill made it across the finish line this year, after two previous unsuccessful attempts. This bill will be a huge step towards an inclusive cinematic experience for everyone.

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