Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Active Disability

We all recognize the universal wheelchair symbol. And for the most part, it has served pretty well. However, the standard wheelchair symbol might be changing. TJMaxx and other stores are using an image of a person in a wheelchair that depicts them being active and independent. I hope all wheelchair symbols will be replaced with this progressive image.

In the first image, it is often assumed that someone else will push their wheelchair for them. In the second image, the self-agency of the individual in the wheelchair is clearly defined.

Some wheelchair symbols don’t even explicitly define the person’s arms, let alone the person using them. That typical image has a passive, inactive, and dependent quality about it. And as the typical wheelchair sign is the universal symbol for those in wheelchairs, unfortunately, those passive, inactive, dependent qualities are transferred from just a sign to an actual human, and to a diverse group of individuals.

No comments:

Post a Comment