The Hidden Mobility Disabilities Alliance (HMDA) Board of Directors came together in March 2017 to launch this non-profit out of a passion for ensuring that all people can participate in community life to the fullest. Hidden mobility disabilities are truly invisible, and we hope that we can engage the full range of relevant parties to join us in increasing accessibility for those with hidden mobility disabilities.
About Our Founder
This website and research has been started by Dr. Dorothy Riddle, a certified management consultant with a doctorate in clinical psychology and a doctoral minor in statistics and research methodology. Dr. Riddle grew up hiking in the Himalayan mountains of northern India and then the national parks in the U.S. and Canada. As her osteoarthritis progressed, she gradually had to cut back on her outdoor activities and ultimately had to use a cane in order to get around.
As a social justice advocate most of her professional life, she challenged Air Canada in 2004 for inadequate provision of wheelchair assistance and was successful in obtaining a Transport Canada ruling requiring better staff training and consistent implementation of the federal regulations regarding assistance to passengers with disabilities.
During the period of 2015-2016 as a frequent air traveller she became aware of the negative (and potentially life-threatening) consequences of airlines and airports contracting out the provision of airport wheelchair assistance to the lowest bidder. Her attempts to focus attention on the issue were unsuccessful.
In 2016, while trying to advocate for accessibility in public facilities, she became aware that no guidelines existed for accommodation of persons with hidden mobility disabilities. Regulations such as building codes focus on maneuverability for persons using wheelchairs or scooters but overlook the distance issues that are a primary barrier for persons with hidden mobility disabilities. As she contacted researchers and disability advocates groups and government departments responsible for disability research and accommodation of persons with mobility disabilities, it became clear that no detailed data existed on persons with hidden mobility disabilities and therefore there were no guidelines for accommodation.
After analyzing her own mobility limits (with the help of her physician) and interviewing others with hidden mobility issues, she launched this website to educate the public and policy makers about hidden mobility disabilities. She also commissioned the Survey on Hidden Mobility Disabilities.
Please encourage anyone you know with a hidden mobility disability to take the Survey so that we can continue to compile data to advocate for persons with hidden mobility disabilities.