Accessibility is a mult-dimentional issue concerning designers, decision-makers and professionals of several sectors; aiming at creating inclusive spaces and in extent inclusive cities. According to the World Health Organisation Report in 2011, several researchers have already identified the physical as well as the social aspects of disability. Physical disability is the physical condition that affects a person’s mobility, physical capacity, stamina, or dexterity. Although a disability can appear in any period of time to a person with a permanent or period duration, it is not the only factor that defines the status of disability. Disability as mentioned by WHO, also is affected by the social environment in which the person lives, works and socializes and most importantly by the attitudinal barriers that exist in a personal as well as societal level. This condition is described by WHO as the shift from the “medical model” of a disability to a more “social model” in which people are viewed as being disabled by society rather than by their bodies.
In fact, attitudinal barriers are behaviours, perceptions and assumptions that discriminate against persons with disabilities. These barriers often emerge from a lack of understanding, which can lead people to ignore, to judge, or have misconceptions about a person with a disability; creating in some cases inaccessible and not friendly environments for people with disabilities. Attitudinal barriers are considered as the greatest obstacles to accessibility and at the same time as the most difficult to overcome as barriers defined by social norms and structures and also beliefs and stereotypes deeply established in a person’s attitude and behavior towards people with disabilities.
Overcoming such attitudes and creating conscious communities on the issues of accessibility should be a priority and at the same time a complementary aspect when it comes to inclusive planning and policy directions. Such an issue is a great concern in ACCESS4ALL training programme incorporating in several modules the issue behavioral attitude as a main accessibility factor that need to be taken into consideration by each interested party. Indivacelly, in module 3: Module 3: Principles of Accessible Municipalities; Sustainability and Disability, a dedicated section on inclusive participatory planning is included; while tips on how to successfully integrate people with disabilities in the decision – making process are provided (Fig. 1). In addition in Module 6: Emotional Intelligence; Abilities for successfully addressing the persons with disabilities and their needs; Active listening/ Communication Abilities, information and examples are presented focusing on how to develop and enhance emotional intelligence as a skill to better understand the world around us while important examples through videos and descriptive text are provided to present in a more informative way how emotional intelligence and understanding is a key aspect to achieve accessibility in all levels of human lives.
Figure 1. Dos and Don’t towards inclusive pl;anning practices, Source: ACCESS4ALL Module 3
The e-learning platform with all the available material will be soon announced! Stay tuned and get trained to get a certificate from the ACCESS4ALL training program! Till then follow ACCESS4ALL Team to the following social media for more information and feedback on the project activities:
Council of Ontario Universities. Understanding Barriers to Accessibility. Available online at: https://www.uottawa.ca/respect/sites/www.uottawa.ca.respect/files/accessibility-cou-understanding-barriers-2013-06.pdf, access 11-11-2021.
World Health Organisation, (2011). World report on disability. Available online at: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241564182, access 11-11-2021.
AKEA. Attitudinal Barriers are the Greatest Obstacles to Accessibility. Available online at: https://www.akeaweb.com/attitudinal-barriers-are-the-greatest-obstacles-to-accessibility/, access 11-11-2021.