The situation we are experiencing in these days following the stringent restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus, leads us to reflect on the words that are used on various newspaper headlines, which are not already known.
Isolation, for example.
Because they are telling us from all sides, we have to isolate ourselves, stay home. Media campaigns are starting
For several years we have been dealing with disseminating information and implementing projects on the issues of inclusion and accessibility.
For this reason, isolation is a term that belongs to us for a long time.
Sensory disabled people are isolated much more often than you think, even among people.
Isolated because excluded.
A person with hearing difficulties feels excluded when in a group of friends everyone talks at the same time, perhaps not allowing to read the lip.
She/He feels excluded when the music in the room, in the bar is loud enough to completely eliminate the sound of human voices.
She/He feels excluded when the film is not subtitled.
She/He feels excluded when audio conferences are made at work.
She/He feels left out when the conference presenter does not use the microphone.
To exclude is to isolate.
A person with visual impairments feels excluded when the group of friends decides to be in a place that cannot be reached by public transport, when choosing a restaurant lit only by candles, when the conference presentation is full of texts written in small print or with little contrast.
To exclude is to isolate.
Now think of a person who has Usher Syndrome, and therefore the situations described above live them all.
And in this case 1 + 1 does not make 2. It is 3, because in a conversation even with two the deafblind does not hear the voice well and does not see the lip if the light conditions are not good.
It is very easy for this person to choose to stay at home rather than to feel isolated among “friends”
.It is very easy that this person is even unable to reach the meeting place independently.
And this applies to many blind, partially sighted, hearing impaired or deafblind people.
Not to mention all those who have difficulty walking and who have to face architectural barriers as well as social ones.
And then, quarantine or not, there are people excluded and isolated because of not their disability, but the attention that others have towards them.
Some disabilities would not even be considered as such if the information and places were totally accessible.
Because it is true that it takes an extra effort to include, but now that you too have tried and are feeling how hard it is to feel isolated, alone, maybe that effort, you will learn to do it.