Shopping can be stressful for disabled people. These 6 tips can help immensely.

Shopping for that perfect outfit can be an ordeal. But for a lot of disabled people, it can be downright hellish.

In fact, many folks will opt to shop online because of the inaccessibility and ableism they often encounter in-store.

In 2014, Trailblazers, UK-based disability rights campaign, interviewed a group of 100 disabled people between the ages of 16 and 30. According to the report, three-quarters of the respondents said they feel coerced into shopping online due to the limited accessibility at stores. In fact, two-thirds said that a place's physical accessibility determines whether they will visit it or go somewhere else.


But it's not just accessibility that makes a shopping experience unpleasant for disabled: About half of respondents say retail workers' attitudes dissuade them from returning to a store.

Millions of people around the world are physically disabled, which deserves better attention and awareness.

On June 26, Frances Ryan, a disability rights journalist, took to Twitter to address some of the obstacles people with disabilities deal with just to go shopping. "What would make clothes shopping more accessible for you?" she asked. "Are there any shops you particularly love for getting it right?"

Her tweet received hundreds of replies. Here's a few of their suggestions:

1. Make fitting rooms accessible.

A lot of disabled people either use wheelchairs and/or need a relative or caretaker to help them try on clothes. Larger fitting rooms would give the space they need to figure out whether that sundress or trousers are worth buying.

In addition to creating more space, some simple adjustments could also be made: hooks to hang canes on, grab bars, and/or more seats, to help prevent toppling over when trying on things like jeans.

2. Lower the checkout counter.

High checkout counters can make a simple purchase extremely difficult for wheelchair users. Some stores have recognized this issue and made adjustments: The UK clothing company Primark, for example, offers a checkout counter for disabled shoppers.

3. Keep the sales floor clear of clothes or accessories.

This is something able-bodied shoppers and retail workers can help out with. If the floor's covered with dropped clothes or boxes of product, it gets in the way of shoppers who use wheelchairs, canes, motorized shopping carts, or any other mobility device. That's an added — and completely unnecessary — hassle.

4. Offering at-home try-ons for online shoppers.

Making online purchases can be anything but fruitful, since clothes often fit awkwardly or are the wrong size altogether. The return process can be hectic and stressful, too, when there are limited time periods for returns and refunds.

One way retailers can minimize this frustration is to follow MM.LaFleur's example: Ship items for an in-home try-on before purchasing.

5. Include disabled models in advertisements and online stores.

While inclusivity is important, featuring both ambulatory and wheelchair-using disabled models provides a realistic depiction of the items available for purchase. Beyonce's "Formation" athleisure line featured a wheelchair user in her online store — that's how it's done.

6. Offer more detailed descriptions of items.

Many blind and low-vision people navigate the internet using text-to-speech apps or screen readers. Providing more details — from the specific color to the style of a dress — would allow them to make more well-informed and accurate purchases.

These are just a few ways that stores can make shopping a little bit easier for disabled shoppers.

But the onus is not just on companies and retail workers. It's easy for able-bodied people to take the little things for granted, but speaking up and advocating for accessibility is something that we should all take part in.

Whether that's by writing letters to theaters to screen movies with subtitles or suggesting a store manager add seating and grab bars in the fitting rooms, every bit of help can go a long way.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture