If you ask a large group of people with different kinds of disabilities what they want to be called, you will get a large number of answers. Some prefer “people with disabilities,” some prefer “disabled people,” some prefer their specific situation be called out, some would rather not mention it at all.
For this essay, I chose “people with disabilities” because it’s what my friends call themselves. As always, you should ask a person what the prefer, and respect them by using it.
If we make the choice to consider everyone “a person on the ability spectrum” instead of separating the “able-bodied” from the “disabled,” we stop treating people with different abilities as members of an out-group, and we start treating them as part of our own diverse in-group.
What I have seen here in Netherlands has baffled me. The country has done well in making sure the people with disability are able to move around, be it by trail, bus or just on the streets. A typical street in Amsterdam is busy, with people walking, others cycling and cars. But a blind person with a little training can make their way around, while being safe.
The streets are paved with a special kind of tile with groves, with different patterns guiding to the bus door, crossing points, turnings etc. The country has done more to ensure that there wheelchair users can have access to and from the city. If you are arriving in Schiphol by train or flight, you can book for wheelchair assistance prior to your travel.
When intending to use a train, getting around Netherlands, you also have to book for wheelchair assistance. A platform which is mobile will be lowered on the platform for you to wheel yourself into the train and when you reach your destination, somebody will be waiting for you, to do the same thing. In buses and trains, there are places reserved for wheelchairs.
There are many restaurants and coffee house who have also taken this seriously. I dont know if your favorite restaurant in Amsterdam is accessible by wheelchair but if its not, then its not favorite anymore. My few hours there I managed to spot a few in Amsterdam and Daan Hang too.
I have travelled in many cities in europe and before I arrived in Netherlands i was in Rome. If you have visited Rome you will agree with me that there hills and some obstacles for wheelchair users unlike in Amsterdam with a fairly level ground. In some cities, the infrastructure is not maintained, rendering it very unfit for use.