May 18, a workshop dedicated to Accessibility Day was held at School of Business and Governance (SGB), organised by the ERS working group, on the path of a person with reduced mobility in SGB.
Our alumnus Tom Rüütel, an Unemployment Insurance Fund employer adviser, spoke about the work and learning opportunities for people with disabilities. Sven Kõllamets, the university's adviser for students with special needs, also took part in the workshop. Another good alumni and fellow thinker, Jüri, arrived late to the workshop as he had to wait more than 10 minutes at the door to enter the auditorium in his wheelchair. Unfortunately, due to the lively conversation in the auditorium, we couldn't hear his cries at the door either. Jüri doesn’t have any control over his arms or feet, so he is unable to knock or open the door. Jüri admitted that he could have announced his arrival in advance, so we would have consciously waited for him.
Some thoughts, however, for those who could not attend:
Disabled people want to feel on an equal footing with others, they don't expect leniency, compassion or belittling.
Be helpful, but don't rush in to help the person, ask and listen to how you can help them in the situation.
Some thoughts to pass on to the property management department:
When trying to get around in a wheelchair myself, my colleagues and I experienced that even small door jams between auditoriums and corridor doors are a big challenge for a beginner, even a healthy person. In addition, there is a high risk of being hit by a fast-closing door or getting stuck between doors. If you try to open an auditorium or office door with a card while sitting in a wheelchair, a shorter colleague may also get stuck. Wheelchair practitioners still complain that the disabled toilet is often locked in the SOC building. Why, I wonder? Another problem is that it is difficult to get into the university lobby in a wheelchair, let alone onto the stage.
The Dean's Office representatives were also given a number of ideas on how to better support and help students with reduced mobility and the lecturers who teach them, right from the start of their studies. Everyone counts!
Author: Merle Ojasoo