Our goal in occupational therapy is to break down barriers so that people can do the things they need and want to do in life. Those barriers are different for everyone, and can include many things, but our community accessibility team is focused primarily on making sure that people with a disability can gain easy access to the places and spaces where they need and want to go.
This work closely aligns with an ongoing research program at Washington University, led by Dr. Jessica Dashner. Within this research lab, the team has spent years examining the various factors that influence community participation and engagement by people with disabilities. They've collected and analyzed data from thousands of study participants and locations throughout the country to best understand the contributing factors that either inhibit or promote participation for those with a disability. As a result, they have identified best practices regarding building structure, facilities management, design and layout, and many other factors found in homes and businesses in the community.
Our team uses those best practices to examine places of interest in order to provide recommendations and suggestions for improvement that will best enable participation for our clients and persons with a disability. They look at the existing data from research, government regulations, and person-specific factors including:
- limitations caused by mobility impairments
- exercise and physical health
- family member assistance and support systems in place
- existence of secondary health conditions, and
- utilization of assistive technology.
Whether someone is at home, work, or out in the community, environments should be as accessible as possible. If you’ve got questions or concerns about accessibility, let our team help. We’ll use our expertise and experience to help identify and eliminate barriers so that everyone is granted the accessibility they deserve.