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Editor’s letter
Access for all

Our cover star this issue, Katie Price, has been outspoken in support of the rights of people with disabilities – especially children. We ask whether enough is being done to ensure access for all to attractions and what practical steps can be taken to improve things

By Liz Terry | Published in Attractions Management 2014 issue 4

In this issue, we ask our panel of experts how attractions can better cater for people with disabilities – how they can engage with them and enable them to enjoy the enhanced quality of life that comes from great days out with friends and family (see page 28).

Our feature was inspired by comments made by former glamour model Katie Price, who has a 12-year-old son with disabilities. Price is putting her fame to good use in calling for better provision of facilities for children with disabilities and their families.

Disabled people can be vulnerable to poverty, so provisions need to be made so they can both afford and access attractions. We’ve written before about Morgan’s Wonderland, the amazing US-based theme park built by Gordon Hartman – who’s contributed to our feature. Hartman made his theme park free for children with disabilities and their families. He has funded it by setting up an American football team and building a stadium next to the theme park, so the profits from the sports team subsidise the park.

There are plans for more Morgan’s Wonderlands and it would be exciting if this was the start of a new generation of purpose-built attractions that enable wider access.

Our experts raise important points about addressing the challenges of supporting and accommodating people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities. They discuss ways to help people with disabilities to feel comfortable and at ease and ensure their safety, while also avoiding segregation.

These include having dedicated staff, specialist training, targeted marketing and adapted physical environments. It’s a substantial challenge, but one we must rise to for a whole host of reasons – some practical, some ethical and some commercial – if real change is to be achieved.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says more than 1 billion people worldwide are permanently disabled – that’s around 15 per cent of the total population. The number is growing due to the ageing of the population, increases in chronic health conditions and – shockingly – war.

Although it’s tough to contemplate, the WHO says war is a cause for this number escalating: “for every person killed, many more are permanently disabled.” There are also millions who struggle physically but aren’t categorised as disabled: older people, or those whose challenges are less severe but still limiting and those who are injured or have a temporary challenge or disability. All need support, which gives operators the opportunity to develop an additional visitor stream, while offering assistance to groups who need it.

The WHO says attitudes against disability are the main barrier to people leading better lives, but that this can be changed through better education, training and integration.

As attractions grow across the world, we have the opportunity to make a contribution to what is increasingly seen as a basic human right by the WHO: a full social life.

Liz Terry, editor, twitter: @elizterry

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Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
Editor’s letter
Access for all

Our cover star this issue, Katie Price, has been outspoken in support of the rights of people with disabilities – especially children. We ask whether enough is being done to ensure access for all to attractions and what practical steps can be taken to improve things

By Liz Terry | Published in Attractions Management 2014 issue 4

In this issue, we ask our panel of experts how attractions can better cater for people with disabilities – how they can engage with them and enable them to enjoy the enhanced quality of life that comes from great days out with friends and family (see page 28).

Our feature was inspired by comments made by former glamour model Katie Price, who has a 12-year-old son with disabilities. Price is putting her fame to good use in calling for better provision of facilities for children with disabilities and their families.

Disabled people can be vulnerable to poverty, so provisions need to be made so they can both afford and access attractions. We’ve written before about Morgan’s Wonderland, the amazing US-based theme park built by Gordon Hartman – who’s contributed to our feature. Hartman made his theme park free for children with disabilities and their families. He has funded it by setting up an American football team and building a stadium next to the theme park, so the profits from the sports team subsidise the park.

There are plans for more Morgan’s Wonderlands and it would be exciting if this was the start of a new generation of purpose-built attractions that enable wider access.

Our experts raise important points about addressing the challenges of supporting and accommodating people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities. They discuss ways to help people with disabilities to feel comfortable and at ease and ensure their safety, while also avoiding segregation.

These include having dedicated staff, specialist training, targeted marketing and adapted physical environments. It’s a substantial challenge, but one we must rise to for a whole host of reasons – some practical, some ethical and some commercial – if real change is to be achieved.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says more than 1 billion people worldwide are permanently disabled – that’s around 15 per cent of the total population. The number is growing due to the ageing of the population, increases in chronic health conditions and – shockingly – war.

Although it’s tough to contemplate, the WHO says war is a cause for this number escalating: “for every person killed, many more are permanently disabled.” There are also millions who struggle physically but aren’t categorised as disabled: older people, or those whose challenges are less severe but still limiting and those who are injured or have a temporary challenge or disability. All need support, which gives operators the opportunity to develop an additional visitor stream, while offering assistance to groups who need it.

The WHO says attitudes against disability are the main barrier to people leading better lives, but that this can be changed through better education, training and integration.

As attractions grow across the world, we have the opportunity to make a contribution to what is increasingly seen as a basic human right by the WHO: a full social life.

Liz Terry, editor, twitter: @elizterry

 


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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
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