Christmas time for most of us is happy, fun and a time to be with family and friends.
However, we do often hear from our clients and members about the challenges for disabled people at this time of year.
For some it could be the feeling of being lonely whilst everyone around them is enjoying events and activities, Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and the preparations to make it the best Christmas yet.
Christmas shopping can be difficult for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues, and it is not just about accessibility. It seems people are so busy that it’s easy for become invisible and the space we need to manoeuvre our wheelchairs or other mobility aids becomes even smaller than usual. Add in a bit of bad weather, ice or snow and getting out and about feels overwhelming.
For many people with autism, the sensory overload is huge at Christmas, with crowds of excited shoppers increasing in volume in competition with Christmas music, which is no longer background music.
Shops can be crammed with goodies and bright colourful decorations with flashing lights, with no where to take a break.
So how can we make it easier to cope?
- Many shops are now offering a ‘quiet time’ shopping experience, check on their website, social media or give them a call to find out when.
- Online shopping is another way to manage without the crowds.
- Plan your trip, make use of town maps or shopping arcades maps – the arcade maps usually label accessibility options too!.
- But most importantly of all it’s that people are aware of how difficult Christmas can be for you, so make sure you talk to family and friends about your experiences, or maybe share this blog.
A bit of understanding goes a long way to making sure that everyone can have a fun and enjoyable Christmas.
By Diane Christopherson, Communications Officer