Barriers to Access

A barrier to access is anything inhibiting or preventing a person with a disability from access, including obstacles that inhibit performance of the day-to-day activities such as shopping, transportation, attending school, or going to work.Persons with disabilities face numerous and substantial barriers affecting all aspects of life.

All of the following types of barriers can impede access to: education, employment, healthcare, housing, transportation, products and services, and recreation for persons with disabilities.

Not all barriers are visible or apparent, and lack of awareness is the cause of almost all barriers.


Architectural & Physical Barriers

Structural features of buildings or spaces that inhibit, or prevent, access for people with disabilities.

Examples: Blocked aisles, narrow doorways, lack of ramps

Information & Communications Barriers

Unclear and inaccessible information and communications can seriously hinder understanding and comprehension for persons with disabilities.

Examples: Signs that are not clear or easily understood, Information that is unclear or unavailable in a variety of accessible formats

Attitudinal Barriers

The most pervasive and prevalent barrier of all, misconceptions, myths and stereotypes regarding persons with disabilities result in discriminatory or condescending treatment of persons with disabilities and prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in society.

Examples: Belief that people with disabilities are inferior or incapable, Belief that a person with a speech impediment also has an intellectual disability

Technology Barriers

Occur when a technology can’t be modified to support various assistive devices or requirements

Examples: A website un-supportive of screen-reading software, voice-mail or telephone systems requiring voice response or numeric keypad entry

Systemic Barriers

Organizational policies, procedures, and practices that discriminate and inhibit access to goods, services or employment for people with disabilities.

Example: Non-accessible hiring processes, off-site job required attendance at non-accessible locations

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