Hiking With Disabilities
Kenneth R. Knight
Several months ago I was asked to give a workshop on hiking with disabilities at the 2003 ALDHA annual Gathering. Since I am legally blind but am an avid hiker I enthusiastically accepted the chance to share any insights I could. During the months that followed I talked with a variety of people, both with and without disabilities, and I slowly created a presentation that I felt would be beneficial to people with and without disabilities. My goal was to show that a disability need not prevent a person from doing what he or she wants to do. At the same time I wanted to speak to non-disabled people about how best to interact with disabled people.
To that end I created the handout that you can find by following the links below. The handout does not go into specific details of how a legally blind person might best go on any specific trip. Instead I focus my attention more broadly. While specific disabilities will require specific issues be resolved all disabilities have some things in common. Perhaps the most important hurdle to overcome is the belief that a disability must prevent you from doing what you want. While there is no doubt that there are some things a disabled person cannot do (for example, I will never drive to work) there are many more things the disabled person can do than perhaps even they believe they can.
I hope the handout below will help disabled and non-disabled people realize that there is more in life than either group might have thought.
There are two versions of the handout available. One version is suitable for web-based viewing and the other is a PDF* file that is suitable for printing.
Please feel free to share the handout. Please be sure to include proper attribution if you do this.
*PDF files can be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader. There are many other program that will let you read such files. Chances are excellent that if you are reading this page on a computer with a recent operating system you can view the file even if you do not think you have Adobe Reader installed (e.g., running Mac OS X, the Preview program will do).
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