2. How to overcome barriers in our thinking about (dis)abilities

See the next website:  The conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities

Over the last few decades there has been a paradigm shift with regards to disability. This shift entails moving away from thinking about it through the lens of the medical model, and instead moving towards an interactive understanding of disability in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

As a consequence of this process, we have abandoned thinking about disability (associated with illness) as something that justifies the exclusion of an individual from everyday tasks and duties With regards the daily life of people with disabilities, the focus is shifting towards how environments are designed according to the needs of the dominant majority in mind. This process might ‘disable’ anyone who operates in a different way. Noticing this pattern equips us with tools that give us a chance to change the existing state of affairs and help promote inclusion for persons with disabilities.

These tools are: universal design and reasonable accommodation/adjustment.

Universal design means creating an environment where people function in such a way that no barriers are created for anyone. Such an environment must be flexible, simple, intuitive, safe and understandable.

A reasonable adjustment means a modification of space, rules, or the way of performing activities for the purpose of reaching a certain goal.

In the academic environment, there are still many solutions that may nonetheless constitute a barrier to access to knowledge for many people. The situation is changing with the consistent removal of architectural barriers, for example. However, there is still much to be improved that requires action on the part of academic staff.

Reflective activity - (Drag and drop)

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