7 March 2018
Accessibility – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Suzanne Eustace
We all experience some degree of limitation with regards to our mobility at some stage our lives. It can be as simple as a broken limb, surgery, or back ache that requires us to use crutches, a walking stick or even a wheelchair. We briefly experience how frustrating it is to access our environment such as getting into our favourite coffee shop, getting out of the car, using the shower and walking any distance. These are everyday frustrations for a person with disability, even walking down the main street to go shopping can be fraught with problems as the pavements can be uneven, access to some shops have steps and the doorways may not be wide enough to access with a wheelchair.
In reference to our built up environment, it should be barrier free and adapted to fulfill the needs of all people equally. All people with disability should be able to commute between home, work and other destinations without having to navigate dangerous obstructions.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) specifies the design requirements applicable to new building work to provide access to people with disabilities. Particular reference is made to continuous accessible paths of travel and circulation spaces for people who use wheelchairs, access and facilities for people with ambulatory disabilities and access for people with sensory disabilities.
Current areas being examined are signage, street furniture, pathways, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings and parking.
Some modifications you may have seen around our local area are ramps, railings and handrails, wider doors, auditory warning at pedestrian crossings, automated door openings, adapted door handles and small ramps at entrances.
Other modifications include visual indicators on glass doorways, tactile ground surface indicators to warn people with visual impairments that they are approaching a hazardous situation such as a set of stairs, a ramp, highlighted nosings on stairways, non-slip strips and coloured stripes on the edge of steps to indicate the edge of the step.
One of the latest access inventions is the wheelchair trax which enables the person with disability to move over gravel, snow and sand thus allowing the access to areas that open up new leisure activities.
All our facilities at Interchange Australia are accessible for people with disability. Our buildings are level access, ramped and have grab rails. Our bathroom facilities are also equipped for disability access.
Interchange Australia is an approved provider of occupational therapy supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Following an initial assessment, our Occupational Therapist in collaboration with the client works on individual and environmental abilities to improve the quality of the person’s daily life. This includes working with the client to identify their needs in the modification of their work or home environment, the validation of new equipment, review of existing equipment and evaluating the whole person.
If you would like to learn more about how Interchange Australia can assist with any accessibility issues you may have, please call us on 1300 112 334.