Eighteen months ago, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced much of the world to shut down, I suddenly found that the world had become much more accessible for me. In a world where all too often I feel left behind because of ableism and inaccessibility, I could finally participate more and gain a greater sense of independence. It was a strange feeling at first.
Opportunities such as remote work, remote schooling, and telemedicine abruptly became the norm for many people. These are accommodations that disabled people have to fight for and often are denied access to, even though they could benefit significantly from them. Having the ability to work from home levels the playing field for disabled people. Of all these accommodations in particular, for me, telemedicine has been invaluable.
For the first time in my life, I visited with my physiatrist, who works at Boston Children’s Hospital, from home. This meant that nobody had to bring me to the appointment. This is because cerebral palsy prevents me from driving. It made me feel empowered to attend an appointment with no help. I could see the same specialist right from my home.
When it comes to my ability to have fun, the pandemic has changed that for the better. In my first blog post, I discussed visiting attractions like The Louvre in Paris from my computer in my house. Paris is somewhere that I probably will never see in real life. I watched new movie releases like Tom and Jerry without having to go to the movie theater or wait for the DVD to come out.
Now that more people are vaccinated and the world is opening up more, my biggest fear is that these accommodations will not continue to be available even for those of us who could benefit from them. The world before the pandemic was more inaccessible for disabled people than it is now. The fact that I could go back to feeling left behind scares me. I think that these accommodations should continue to be available for those who need them.