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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Malone

Barriers to Inclusion - PT3

Several types of barriers exist that prevent people with disabilities from being able to completely participate in society.

Attitude is the number one barrier to participation of people with disabilities, and often more difficult to spot. Since there are several types of negative attitudes, recognizing and changing these beliefs is often a difficult process. Eliminating attitudinal barriers creates an inclusive atmosphere. It is easier to solve problems when the heart and attitude are correct.

“Communication barriers are experienced by people who have disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, writing, and or understanding, and who use different ways to communicate than people who do not have these disabilities.”  

Physical barriers are the most obvious hinderance to inclusion. Lack of ramps, accessible bathrooms, wide doors, and isles are some examples of barriers that prevent people with certain types of disabilities full access to a building.

Barriers involving programs, policies, services, and activities can be easily overlooked. Policy barriers are frequently related to a lack of awareness or enforcement of existing laws and regulations that require programs and activities be accessible to people with disabilities. Programmatic barriers limit the effective delivery of a public health or healthcare program for people with different types of impairments. Social barriers are related to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age – or social determinants of health – that can contribute to decreased functioning among people with disabilities.

To be welcoming and inclusive, organizations should examine their policies, programs, activities, and opportunities. People with disabilities should be able to participate in all that the company, government entity, or community offers.

Transportation barriers are due to a lack of adequate transportation that interferes with a person’s ability to be independent and to live, work, learn, and play in their chosen environment.

Overcoming each of these barriers leads to eventual inclusion. When we have a clear picture of the barriers that exist, we can plan to eliminate them. The result will be inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of society.

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