Yesterday I went with a friend of mine on a city tour of Spokane (um…). My friend is a tour guide and is being trained along with two other people to be professional tour guides for the city. On this particular run-through of the tour, the trainees were supposed to bring two people to act as an audience and I had the privelige of tagging along.
On our way to meet the bus, I asked out of curiosity if, at any time in her training she and her classmates had been given any instruction as to how to facilitate individuals with disabilities on tour. They had not.
As it turns out, the only audience consisted of myself, one other adult and two children. One tour guide took her turn at the microphone for her portion of the tour and, in an attempt to make things interactive for the kids said there’s this tower,” (blab la bla) “Now, I want the first person who sees the tower to put their hand on their head. Well, almost everyone, someone is obviously excluded so we won’t worry about her…” Wow, I’ve lived for 20 years with humanity’s lack of respect for diversity etc. Somehow, though, this bothered me more than I expected.
These are tour guides in training. A tour guide can make or break a vacation experience for an entire family (or more). So, to take a proactive approach, I was wondering if anyone has stories or suggestions about tours and individuals with disabilities. What have your experiences been? What could have made it better? Was it a walking or a bus tour? I would like to combine any information received in to a hand-out for my friend and so that she may distribute the ideas to her colleagues. And, in case you’re looking for a career change, there is obviously a serious need for actual training on facilitating people with disabilities in this field.
Thank you all very much.
(Cross-posted everywhere found even slightly relevant)