International Symbol of Access. The perception of disability
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The International Symbol of Access (ISA) is one of the most recognized in the world and for last 45 years has been used to show the boundaries of accessibility. Arguably ISA has become a symbol of disability and not of accessibility. ISA’s unrepresentativeness for all forms mobility impairment can suggest that any person using these designated areas of access must also require the use of a mobility assisting device or be subject to a process of validation based on stereotypical assumptions and preconceived notions surrounding disability. The misconceptions regarding disability shape the perceptions and expectations of society about physical disability, which leads to the questioning of whether or not an individual is actually disabled. To understand if the perception of disability is influenced by symbolism, a qualitative methodology was used to capture and record the immediate responses when viewing an image of ISA. The results of this study revealed that a majority of the participants envisioned an individual who is dependent or weak and rely on the use of an assistive mobility device.
- MA in Policy Studies