Congratulations to Kara B. Sheridan, of If the World had Wheels, for the recent publication of her article titled Women's Access to Health Care in New Mobility, The magazine for active wheelchair users.
"Considering the mountain of barriers blocking access to health care
services for women with disabilities, it's easy to become overwhelmed..."
And Kara, a big CONGRATS for earning that Masters Degree as well!
November is a transition time for sports. Baseball season is done and dusted, basketball is just getting started, and football season is rolling along.
More on that later. But first, speaking of transitions...
*This week's spotlight is on the great Special Olympic athlete Loretta Claiborne. Born partially blind and with a mild developmental disability, she was unable to walk or talk until the age of 4. Eventually, though, she began to run. And before she knew it, she had crossed the finish line of 25 marathons-- twice placing among the top 100 women in the Boston Marathon. She's carried the torch in the International Special Olympics, has won medals in dozens of its events, and also holds the current women's record in her age group for the 5000 meters (17 minutes). Today, Claiborne is a celebrated athlete who was honored in 1996 with ESPN's ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Her life is recounted in Walt Disney Productions' The Loretta Claiborne Story (originally broadcast on ABC-TV and now on videocassette) and in the biography In Her Stride published by WorldScapes. Considering all of Claiborne's achievements, these are just small steps in her life's mission to show that people with developmental and physical disabilities are equal to those without.
Claiborne was first introduced to Special Olympics by social worker Janet McFarland. She credits McFarland as well as her family, community, educators, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her own strong spirituality with giving her the confidence necessary to become a world-class runner. Running is not the only part of Claiborne's life. She holds a black belt in karate, communicates in four languages (including sign language), and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Quinnipiac College and Villanova University-- making her the first person with a developmental disabilty known to receive such honors (according to the Special Olympics organization).
However, Claiborne says the most rewarding part of her life has been her involvement with the Special Olympics and she wants to continue helping people with developmental and physical disabilities succeed. She advises them, "Find an opportunity and seize it. Be the best you can be, and never let anyone doubt you." Claiborne runs every day, often about 5 miles--even when she plans to go only three or four. She runs just for the joy of it-- the joy of the moment; it's how she lives her life. "I don't really look toward the future because you don't know what tomorrow will bring," she says. "You have to live your life for today."
The market is out there. They are traveling. They are spending. And they have much, much more disposable income as they wait for the right products.
There are four fundamental points to consider when developing travel products for maximum appeal.
This article examines the first.
· Visualize your market using the United Nations' definition of disability. · Evaluate your product against the Seven Principles of Universal Design. · Perfect your product locally. · Vary your product with modularity.
Start with in-depth knowledge of your market. Much of your homework on this market niche has been done for you.
Simon Darcy, Bruce Cameron, Eric Lipp, Canada's Keroul organization and the UN have produced some fundamental research that all travel writers, travel professionals, and hospitality managers ought to be familiar with. (See below.)
But you can misread the data if you start out with an anemic definition of the breadth of the market of travelers-with-disabilities.
Misunderstanding who you are serving, you can make unnecessary investments, overlook opportunities for low or no-cost solutions, fail to create collaborations, or not capitalize on what is called the "Curb-Cut Effect" - the unintended positive consequences of good design for temporarily able-bodied persons (all non-disabled persons are only temporarily able bodied.)
First published at Suite101.com in ”Defining the Market of Travelers With Disabilities”