Action Kit: Educators


Help educators ensure that educational facilities are barrier-free for persons with HMD and that courses that address design of public spaces and/or environmental issues, as well as human rights and other social justice issues, include content on access issues for persons with HMD, including the ability to use cars in order to be mobile.

Main message:

Millions of people have functional limitations in the distance they can walk and the time they can stand unsupported, but these issues have been invisible both within educational curriculum and in the organization of community interactions. the primary access issues for persons with HMD are:

  • Short distances to walk:  35-50 feet, but no more than 70 feet.
  • Brief periods to stand:  1-2 minutes, but no more than 5 minutes.

Types of accommodation needed:

  • Educational facilities need to be designed around, or modified to conform to suggested accommodation guidelines.
  • Person with HMD need to be able to park cars close to academic buildings or there needs to be very frequent surface transportation from parking to academic buildings that involved a minimum amount of walking or standing.
  • Course material needs to include research findings on the lived experience of persons with HMD and the implications.

“If not for my car, I would never be able to get out.”

Sample email:

Because of [the reasons for writing], I’m writing to share with you highlights of research on the lived experience of persons with hidden mobility disabilities – those who are able to walk but only a short distance and able to stand unsupported but only for a short time. The specific findings, which are detailed at are that:

  • Short distance = 35-50 feet, or at most 70 feet
  • Brief time = 1-2 minutes, or at most 5 minutes

Requirements to walk further or stand longer have serious health consequences and prevent persons with hidden mobility disabilities from engage in community activities.

Please share these findings with colleagues and other interested parties. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what changes you can effect to improve the ability of persons with HMD to participate fully and effectively in community life, particularly with regard to [the specific changes you are requesting].

Resources to use:

Examples of people to target:

  • Heads of local school systems
  • Student services offices
  • Faculty responsible for curricula on urban design and environmental studies
  • Faculty responsible for public policy, gerontology
  • Faculty responsible for inquiry programs
  • Faculty responsible for curricula on human rights and social justice issues
  • Politicians responsible for educational systems