Nearly every Manitoban either has a disability, knows someone with a disability, or will have a disability in the coming years.

Persons with disabilities have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their participation on an equal basis with others.

A person can have a disability that is visible, non-visible, permanent or one that occurs only at certain times. You can’t always tell when someone has a disability. For a variety of reasons, an individual may not identify as having a disability, but face the very same barriers.

A disability, aging, an injury and other life events may temporarily or permanently affect:

  • Mobility
  • Dexterity (use of hands)
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Communication
  • Understanding
  • Mental health

Focus on Barriers, Not Disabilties

Some people see disabilities as barriers, but that is not the case. Example: Sarah has low vision and has a hard time reading some restaurant menus. Her low vision is not the barrier. It is the small print on the menus. When a restaurant gives Sarah a large print menu, she can read it and place her order independently and barrier-free.

To improve information, spaces and services, it is not necessary to know the details about the disability. Instead, focus on how to create spaces, interact with or serve individuals in a way that meets their needs. When in doubt, ask: How can I help you?

There are many types of barriers that can be avoided with some planning. Learn more