I have been making a list of the accessibility issues I have faced throughout my time at university. Here are a few I have noted and the changes I would aim to implement: - Inaccessible lecture theatres – I usually look up the accessibility online due to previously being allocated to rooms that are unsuitable. Many of these rooms have inaccurate/missing/ or just confusing descriptions online which does not help my stress. Updated pictures and descriptions are a must. Before I was a wheelchair user, I would research the layout of a room to help my anxiety, therefore this is not purely a mobility-related issue that needs addressing. Additionally, I would work with timetabling to ensure that their understanding of what makes an accessible room aligns with the needs of disabled students. - Inefficient services – Whilst it is great that there are many places of support and resources, keeping tabs on where to access them can be its own challenge. I would be interested in streamlining services (as much as it is possible with the different teams), to ensure finding support is not another stress. For example, whilst I personally do not have issues navigating the various web pages, I find it challenging to locate some of them and often give up due to it being more stressful than I deem worth it! Additionally, I know many people struggle to know where to go for support. Due to the various sources, people often get passed from pillar to post, which can be frustrating and overwhelming. - Heavy doors – As a wheelchair user, these are part of my nightmares! They often zap a lot of my energy and are sometimes a health and safety issue. Therefore, I aim to investigate the possibility of more electric doors and propping open doors that can be, due to fire safety. I believe signage is also important when leaving doors open as they are often shut due to people not understanding. - Inaccessible seating - Yes, I do come with my own wheely seat, but finding a desk I can sit at properly is often a challenge, for example, the entry-level of B46. Comfy booth seating has recently been installed around the only desks that were my height on this level – now I love a comfy seat as much as the next person, but this presents me with a problem due to limited space. Some people may prefer to transfer, however, due to the nature of my disability, it is often safer to remain in my chair which can limit my options. This could be addressed by ensuring disabled people’s voices are heard in design processes. I would encourage as many people as possible to give their input as I am only one person, and many people will have different requirements that I may not see! - Disabled bathrooms that are not really fit for purpose – For example, I have seen broken red pull cords that appear to have been out of action for a while, facilities that are small and lacking equipment, and heavy doors. I believe it would be useful to complete a survey of disabled bathrooms across the campuses to identify potential problems, adopting a proactive approach. Again, everyone’s feedback would be greatly received! - Unable to find many disabled bathrooms – this could also be achieved by listing them on the MySouthampton app like showers. This is a huge source of anxiety for me and I’m sure I’m not alone. This is especially important when disabled bathrooms double as the baby changing facilities and/or a shower as many people who need these facilities cannot wait. Implementing adequate signage throughout buildings would also be a solution. I often cannot go hunting around different floors to find a free disabled bathroom, therefore clear signs/maps showing other bathrooms around the building would be helpful. - B44 lift – I would love to know what the permanent solution is to this issue. It causes a nuisance for me and I’m sure I’m not the only one! A map, that is easy to locate digitally or on campus, demonstrating a viable route with a description of the terrain would be a good starting point. - High hedges – now I might sound like I’ve lost the plot, but this is a source of frequent annoyance. It often means I come close to running peoples’ toes over when turning corners due to not being able to see them (I promise I’m not speeding around!) Additionally, students who have visual impairments or are hard of hearing may struggle with high hedges. I would aim to lower the height of hedges whilst not impeding too much on existing wildlife. Please let me know if you have changes you would like to see, I will always be open to listening to other individual’s perspectives!
This question was only asked to LaurenAnswered by Lauren on 16/05/23 20:06