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Peter Foxhoven Explains Why Designing for Disabilities Opens the Door for Everyone

Friday, April 22, 2022 8:30 AM
Advantages for Administrators

Inclusion allows more people to participate, providing more options for more people, says Peter Foxhoven.

DES MOINES, IA / ACCESSWIRE / April 22, 2022 / People living with disabilities often struggle to do some of the things most people take for granted. For example, a wheelchair-bound person may not be able to enter a building without a ramp, even if there are only a couple of short stairs at the entrance. Peter Foxhoven is passionate about improving options for people with disabilities. His daughter was born with extensive physical disabilities, opening his eyes to a different world of new possibilities and unexpected limitations.

The United Nations has reported approximately one in ten people live with a disability. The US Census reported that 12% of Americans have a disability of some form.

Peter Foxhoven says that designing for disabilities often helps everyone. Examples of this include:

Automatic Doors

While these doors are extremely helpful for those in wheelchairs, automatic doors cut down on energy waste by opening and closing only when needed. Without people touching the doors, there is also a reduced need for cleaning the doors. This invention has also made it easier for people with full carts to leave without the hassle of opening the door first.


New York City currently has 108 elevators to improve accessibility to subways and recently announced plans for another 26. While elevators are needed for people with walking disabilities, they are also very helpful for women pushing strollers, people with rolling baggage, and older people who struggle with stairs.


Most buildings have ramps to help with any entrance elevation. While this is extremely important to those in motorized chairs and wheelchairs, they are also extremely helpful for delivery people who are rolling large boxes on a dolly.

SMS Communication

SMS was invented by Matti Makkonen, Seppo Tiainen, and Juhani Tapiol as a way for deaf people to communicate on the phone. However, this solution also offered an unobtrusive way to communicate while saving telecom bandwidth. Now, many younger generations prefer text over phone calls.

Closed Captioning

The ADA required captions to assist those with hearing disabilities. However, this useful tool makes it easier to watch films in foreign languages. Not only can you watch shows and films that haven't been dubbed by English-speaking actors, but you can also use subtitles to help you learn a new language.

Peter Foxhoven explains that including those with disabilities makes the world a better place. "You don't even realize what opportunities are out there if you don't explore new ways of doing things," he says. "Sometimes, stopping to create a solution for the minority actually helps the majority."

He hopes to see more disabilities represented in workplaces, politics, and the school history curriculum as well. "There are so many incredible people who have made important contributions despite a disability," he says. "We need to see more of those stories in real-time and throughout our history so we understand what is possible. The more light we shine on people with disabilities, the more we lessen the stigmas and benefit in ways we couldn't have imagined."


Caroline Hunter
Advantages for Administrators

SOURCE: Advantages for Administrators

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