Inclusion, Accessibility and Assistive Technology at your Holiday Events


by MATP Staff Laura Hall

A Happy Holidays sign in red and white with a light blue background

The holidays are coming, as we are reminded by every third commercial on television.  These are times of family, gratitude, togetherness, and love.  Yet, what some people don’t know is that oftentimes they are a tremendous source of stress, conflict, and anxiety for people with disabilities.  Oftentimes, when holiday events are held in another person’s home, I have immediate thoughts of “how am I going to get in?”, “I don’t want to be carried”, “what if it’s crowded and I’m stuck in one area?”, “will I have to rely on someone else to get my food?”, “how will I prepare a dish to pass?”, and most importantly, “how will I go to the bathroom?”

These thoughts may seem a bit irrational but more often than not, people with disabilities claim that it is their families (ironically, the people that know them best) who seem to get it the least, and these issues often go unaddressed.  People with disabilities often end up putting themselves in uncomfortable situations, and without access to their assistive technology to appease their family members and the spirit of tradition.  Including and accomodating everyone at our holiday events may seem daunting, but really it’s just a matter of having frank conversations with the person with a disability about how to make them feel most comfortable.  This may mean having your event in a public accessible space, purchasing or borrowing assistive technology like grab bars (which can be temporary) for bathroom access, or rearranging furniture to allow for more space.  Although our holiday events this time of year are likely to be indoors, our recent webinar “AT for your Accessible Picnic” gives some great ideas for things to think about and ways to create inclusion. Worried about creating a dish to pass or want to include a family member into the meal prep?  Check out another fantastic webinar “Tools for Independence: Holiday Cooking”.

Family, togetherness, and love are the most important aspects of the holidays.  What better way to show your love and gratitude than to create an event that meets the needs and includes everyone?

Have a happy, safe, inclusive holiday season!


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