While the gathering has always been open to all people with physical disabilities of all levels, as people get older and more people with disabilities want to gather, it becomes more important to address their needs and their problems with access.
The gathering is a back country experience with minimal modifications to the natural landscape, and all people who gather need to be prepared for rough conditions that vary from year to year. However, there is an abundance of helping hands to assist with needs as requested, and, as our family grows and changes, an increasing awareness of how we can assist our family when they are coming home.
People with strong backs and strong arms: Our brothers and sisters sometimes need help in getting from point A to point B, especially while carrying gear. Be alert, and if you see someone having difficulties, ask if and how you can help. When constructing all those wonderful Rainbow spaces, think about how someone in a wheelchair would get to and into it – or better yet, find someone in a wheelchair and ask what would be best.
People with special needs: Ask how to get to Handi-Camp, a place for people with mobility problems and other disabilities, with lots of folks willihg to help you make the most of your gathering experience. While the trails can be tough and the conditions can vary from site to site, there are usually a few friendly folk willing to assist you with the rough spots. Sometimes people bring cool things like rickshaws to help people get around.
People with ongoing medical needs: Bring your own personal supplies, like catheters, wraps, special chairs, diapers, cleanups, oxygen, other medical items). Bring your own attendant if you need assistance with personal care (like bowel programs, skin transfers, catheterizations, dressing of wounds), or with supervision or other issues (like mobility, access, or safety).
Everyone: Come celebrate our interdependence! Participate in the joys of helping and the joys of being helped.