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Discrimination in Disability Exists in Local and Federal Parks
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
Tenafly, NJ
Thursday, February 9, 2023

Disability Accessible Parks

Disability, the word that has replaced handicapped, is still seemingly an open definition for far too many people. Who has a disability? Parks are being touted as having accessible activities and areas for the disabled, but how have they defined disabled? There seems to be a major gap between the idea of disabled and the rest of the people who have disabilities and this is a major blind spot that denies all disabled people's access.

One park, for example, that is being seen as the model for new park construction and that is "disability accessible," is actually designed for wheelchair access. Are all disabled persons in wheelchairs? Obviously not, but whoever designed the park was using that visual image of "disability" with that in mind. Aren't ALL disability signs showing a person in a wheelchair further impressing that as the standard for disability?


 Disabled persons have a number of physical and mental disabilities, but who is attending to their needs and their access when parks are being designed? The blind require braille or other physically sensory tactile means to enjoy the park. What about persons with autism? How will the park be designed for them?


I've written a recent small E-book (Amazon pub. date February 22, 2023) on national parks and their disability accessibility (The Disability Accessible US Parks in All 50 States: A Comprehensive Guide, Amazon), but even here we don't know how they have defined disability or how they accommodate the disabled..

The information the parks provide is minimal, often, and anyone wishing to use the park for a disabled person would have to go to the website, which often does not have sufficient information, or call the office on the phone. The greater number of national parks are in the western part of the United States.


So, it basically comes down to who is a disabled person and how do we best accommodate everyone with a disability, not only those who have obvious physical disabilities and require wheelchairs, walkers or other types of physical assistive devices?

The gap exists and the mindset over disability and accommodation is waiting to be defined with greater accuracy. Who will do that as millions of dollars are being spent on building "disability accessible" parks?



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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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