How Scott Rains Became An Accessibility Consultant

Editor’s Note: Dr. Scott Rains, another classic example of a person who started a business based on what he’d learned from being in a wheelchair, loved to travel. He had traveled the world and realized the problems of accessibility. He also recognized the positive economic impact that countries and venues like hotels, restaurants and destinations could experience from promoting tourism that included not only the disabled but also the very young and the very old. People from around the world began to seek his advice on how to make their facilities and countries a better tourist destination for physically challenged people. Dr. Scott Rains took inventory of his disability, his love of travel and his interest in making the world accessible to everyone, including people in wheelchairs, and turned his disability into an advantage and a consulting business. Part 4 of a 5 part series.

Scott Rains is passionate about making our world more accessible.

Scott Rains is passionate about making our world more accessible.

Some years ago, my wife and I were taking a trip for our anniversary. While driving, we discussed what our future might be. We both recognized that my disability always would be a part of our lives, and that the older we got the slower we would be. We talked about what kind of career choices I’d have that would include my disability and the fact that we always would want to travel. We both enjoyed writing and doing research. As we looked at how we could combine these likes, wants and talents, my wife said, “For years, you’ve been telling people informally how to make their facilities more accessible for people with disabilities. Why not take that talent, skill and knowledge, package these things into a more formal presentation and become a consultant.”

Scott rains decided to become a travel accessibility consultant.

Scott rains decided to become a travel accessibility consultant.

One of the first things I did formally was I spoke at the International Conference on Universal Design in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, – “Designing for the 21st Century.” I did a pre-conference seminar on universal design and tourism for the people from all over the world who were at this conference. I had several people helping me who were already working with universal design and also knew something about tourism. I’d been doing my research by talking with travel agents, gathering information on tourism as it related to the disabled and talking to writers. Then I began to work with other countries to help them design facilities to make them handicapped accessible.

Accessibility will make the world a better place.

Accessibility will make the world a better place.

Today I work with companies, businesses and countries that are interested in increasing their businesses and their bottom line profits by making their facilities more handicapped accessible. Right now I’m working with the Rick Hansen Foundation in Vancouver,Canada, and in May, we’ll be putting on an international conference – Interdependence 2012 Conference and Exposition – that will take place May 15 – 18, 2012, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen going around the world in his push wheelchair.

Rick formed a foundation that had two purposes – to work for a cure for spinal cord injury and to eliminate physical barriers for the handicapped. When Rick arrived home from his around the world wheelchair adventure, he discovered that his foundation had $26 million. This man had a big dream and started a program that not only benefited him but also thousands of others in wheelchairs and with spinal cord injuries. His wheelchair was the reason for his fantastic success. Half of this Interdependence conference will be doctors presenting information on the latest discoveries and cures for spinal cord injuries, and I’ll be helping with the second part of the conference, which focuses on tourism and accessibility.

To learn more about Dr. Rains, go to

Next: What Dr. Scott Rains Does To Promote Accessibility

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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One Response to How Scott Rains Became An Accessibility Consultant

  1. Julia Sikut says:

    I’d like to just point out that while this is a great article, nothing is mentioned on HOW he became an accessibility consultant. I’m sure there are many wheelchair users out there, myself included, who would like information on how to get into this type of field. I’m sure merely being disabled isn’t enough to qualify. Do you work for yourself? Are there companies out there looking to hire? More information true to the title would be welcomed!

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