Introductory Module

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Conceptual Framework of “Disability” and “Accessibility”

Disability is ‘an evolving concept’. It results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Defining disability as an interaction means that ‘disability’ is not an attribute of the person. In broad terms, the concept of disability has been transferred from a medical to a social model”.

(WHO, World Report on Disability 2011)

Accessibility is included in several EU initiatives and it is one of the priorities of European Disability Strategy 2020-2030. However, a common definition of accessibility at European level is lacking.

Accessibility is about giving equal access to everyone. Without being able to access the facilities and services found in the community, persons with disabilities will never be fully included. In most societies, however, there are innumerable obstacles and barriers that hinder persons with disabilities. These include such things as stairs, lack of information in accessible formats such as Braille and sign language, and community services provided in a form which persons with disabilities are not able to understand”.

(United Nations, 2007)


PwDs abbreviation within the Module stands for People with Disabilities.




Before proceeding to the main content of the module, watch the video and reflect on the concepts of disability and accessibility…


Do you think European countries are accessible? To what extent they adapt EU policies?

How does your country address disability and accessibility issues?

Does your country have laws or policies about the access of PwDs to social life?

Think about a good practice!


Introductory Module
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