When a local elementary school was installing an elevator, we overheard some grumbling: “Can you believe they are spending thousands of dollars for an elevator because of one kid with disabilities?”
Turns out that one kid has had plenty of company in the elevator.
Grandma, whose achy knees tremble at the stairs, rides that elevator to watch her grandson’s classroom performance. Teachers, students, and parents who’ve rolled an ankle, broken a leg, or had foot surgery are grateful for the lift.
When you make something easier for one group, my futurist friend Edie Weiner has taught me, you make it easier for others. When you design for the physically challenged, for example, you design for everybody.
Take curb cuts. They are intended to help wheelchair users maneuver across streets and sidewalks. But far more often, we see strollers, bicycles, and grocery carts rolling up and down the smooth dip. Life made easier for many.
Kids think handicap-accessible water fountains were made just for them, but dogs know otherwise.
Young moms head to handicap-accessible restroom stalls that double as family bathrooms when little ones have to go potty, now.
When your arms are full of groceries or deliveries, the push button on a handicap-accessible door is a welcome relief.
Medicines and vitamins designed for children, fruit-flavored in chewable, liquid and gummy concoctions, are a godsend for my adult daughter with special needs who cannot swallow pills.
My friend sings the praises of Uber – for her 86-year-old mother who no longer drives. Surely, Uber for the elderly is not the target market, nor the tagline, its creators had in mind. But it’s a happy accident.
Disposable diapers aren’t just for babies anymore.
Hemorrhoid creams smooth wrinkles.
And lush backyards serve lunch to suburban deer.
All living things benefit from accommodations, because everybody has special needs sometimes.