* This post is kindly sponsored by Able Eyes. *
Imagine travelling with your child who is on the Autism Spectrum, a parent who uses a wheelchair, or a loved one suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some of their biggest challenges stem from visiting an unknown environment, encountering factors they cannot change, or feeling unprepared. Because of this, getting to the destination is often one part of a very long process. Yet most people don’t have to consider any of these things before leaving their home.
For example, parking and entry options. The exact location of exits. The proximity and height of tables. Available quiet areas. The size of bathroom/restroom stalls and whether such facilities are accessible. Transportation options etc. These are only some of the many issues people living with disabilities must consider before going anywhere. Something I’m sure the AYL community can truly resonate with!
In 2017, I (Meegan Winters, now the CEO/Co-Founder of Able Eyes), stepped out of my role as an Assistant Principal to help solve some of these issues relating to community access. Together with my experience in teaching children with Autism, paired with my best friend who was a wheelchair user and now an angel, the idea behind what is now a worldwide business was ignited. Helping people access the community with confidence and comfort.
Now you’ve learnt about the company’s history, you might be wondering how our life-changing platform works? Well, the Able Eyes website was specifically designed to support people living with both physical, mental, and invisible disabilities, by providing and hosting virtual walk-through tours of public spaces across the world. Such as restaurants, schools, doctor's offices, rehab centres, shopping centres and more. Providing people of all abilities with an opportunity to explore places, evaluate accessibility, and decrease anxiety from the comfort of their own home.
For businesses, Able Eyes virtual tours provide a creative way to support customers, get added to the Able Eyes database, and gain access to a powerful marketing tool that ensures their website and social media platforms are inclusive to all. Best of all, businesses that already have a virtual tour, can still be added to the internationally recognised database.
For any of AYL’s trusted partners who may be wondering why it’s important to join our database? Because saying you are an “Able Eyes Accessible Business” shows people living with disabilities that you care about their needs. Something that is all too often overlooked by many public service providers.
Finally, whether you regularly utilise AYL’s online community, or have recently discovered their website, I highly recommend checking out Able Eyes FREE website and resources! Your days of getting physically stuck in an inaccessible public bathroom or becoming mentally overwhelmed in a small space are over. Instead, you can now assess all these important access features before leaving the house. Simply enter a zip code/postcode on our website to access the virtual tours in that area.
Just remember that this is NOT a resource that rates or judges’ accessibility but provides a tool to help people feel more comfortable, which in turn promotes community involvement, independence, and awareness. To learn more, explore tours, or get involved, check out our useful links and social platforms below!