Disability Access Symbols: What Are They and What Are Their Meanings?

Disability Access Symbols: What Are They and What Are Their Meanings?

What Are Disability Symbols?

Disability access symbols are an important part of society as they have allowed for certain spaces, entrances and parking spots to be designated for only those with disabilities. If a person is disabled, they may struggle to get around as any normal person would. Though there have been great strides taken in creating technology to help those with impairments, handicap symbols help ensure that certain areas are designated specifically for those who are impaired, helping them to gain more freedom and make their lives easier. Knowing what disabled symbol vectors are and which ones are specifically designed for certain people who are impaired can ensure that you are not using facilities that are designated for certain individuals! 

Handicap symbols represent certain physical and mental impairments, with different ones used for different areas of life. If you are unaware of what these disability symbols mean or who they have been designed for, you may run the risk of using facilities that have not been designed for use by you. A common example is a disability symbol on a bathroom stall. Certain bathrooms in commercial spaces have been specifically designed to be used by those with impairments that could restrict them from using other bathroom facilities. If you are an individual without a disability and are using these facilities, you could be restricting a person who actually needs them from being able to access them. 

What Are The Most Commonly Used Disability Symbols?

There are many handicap symbols that mean different things and are relevant to different individuals with certain disabilities. The International Symbol of Access (ISA), a square symbol with a blue background and white wheelchair, is the international symbol for wheelchair accessibility. This sign means that only those who are wheelchair-bound are allowed to use the specific facility. These disability symbols are often used for designated disability parking spaces and for certain bathrooms in commercial areas! When it comes to parking spots, only those who are disabled may use the designated spot and you will have to look into getting the relevant permits to be allowed to park in these spaces! 

What Do The Handicap Symbols Mean?

Knowing the different symbols for disability can ensure that you are following the designated guidelines when it comes to specific facilities only being used by certain handicapped individuals! The following is a look at three different disability signs and symbols and their unique meaning! 

International wheelchair symbol

  • International wheelchair symbol: The international disabled wheelchair symbol, also known as the International Symbol of Access, is a specific handicap symbol that restricts anyone who is not a wheelchair user from accessing specific facilities. These symbols are used to differentiate between disabled parking spots and will also inform you if a public restroom is only allowed to be used by an individual who is wheelchair-bound. It is important to look out for these disability symbols when using public spaces and facilities as they inform you as to whether or not you are allowed to use these public entities or whether they are reserved for wheelchair users! 
Intellectual disability symbol

  • Intellectual disability symbol: This symbol ranges between different countries and is not as commonly used as physical disability symbols. Most have the image of the head of an individual to indicate that an area or facility is only for the use of those who are intellectually impaired. Along with indicating specific facilities that can only be used by these individuals, these signs are often used to inform others that those with intellectual impairments are using a space. These symbols are not as common and it is important to look out for them when interacting with people! Many homes for those who are intellectually disabled will have a few of these signs and symbols up to indicate that those with intellectual disabilities are using a space. 
Visual impairment symbols

  • Visual impairment symbols: These handicap symbols are used for those who are unable to see or for those who struggle to read or use devices with small lettering. This symbol is often used on computers in public spaces where brail or keyboards with large letters are used. If you see this sign located on a computer, be sure to avoid using the device as these are specifically designed for those who are visually impaired! 

Are Accessibility Symbols Universal? Are They Used in The Same Sense Everywhere?

There are a few international disability symbols that are used in nearly every country across the globe but there are also a few signs that will be uniquely designed for certain areas. The International Symbol of Access, for example, is a symbol that is used all over the globe to indicate that certain areas are for wheelchair users. It is important to be able to recognise these signs and ensure that you understand the meaning behind them as this will help you avoid situations where you are using facilities that are designed for those who are impaired. 

While some handicap symbols and signs are the same all over the world, others are not. If you see a sign that looks similar to something that is meant to be a disability symbol, it may be important to either look up what that specific symbol means or ask someone nearby if they know what it may mean. Doing this will help ensure that you are aware of what certain symbols are and why they are being used, even if they are not something you have ever seen before. 

Being aware of handicap symbols is an important part of allowing those who are disabled to live a normal life. Taking away opportunities for these individuals to use these facilities and spaces may impact the freedom that they have. By being aware of the handicap symbols and signs that may be used and learning what they mean, you can help those who are disabled live a better and less challenging life! 

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