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To think the Disability symbol should be changed..

(20 Posts)
ButterCreamJam Thu 07-Feb-13 16:46:21

By which i mean the wheelchair symbol as it makes people assume it only applies to wheelchair users. Im aware that its used to make it clear somewhere has adequate wheelchair access but ive realised lately that a lot of people see the disabled spaces at shops etc and expect the person to be dragging themselves across the carpark, or harassing/judging users of disabled toilets as they dont 'look' disabled due to being or appearing to be able bodied. I think sadly the vast majority of people without experiance of disability think disabled = wheelchair user. Wouldnt a better symbol that encompasses all disabilities and SN regardless of mobility be better? signs showing wheelchair access could still be included.

I have a ds who has problems with sensory processing yet without dx and certainly not thought of as disabled by those around him as he appears NT but has many issues and when needs to use the toilet needs go immediatly, yet i avoid taking him into disabled toilets which as often closer after once being on the recieving end of abuse for him 'looking fine to me'

Of course there may be a reason why the wheelchair sign only is used so happy to be put right.

Cassarick Thu 07-Feb-13 16:48:48

And you suggest changing it to.......what?

IS there a symbol that you think would cover ALL disabilities?

How would you, say, project someone with autism, or Downs Syndrome?

It doesn't matter WHAT symbol you use, there will ALWAYS be someone who will think 'you look fine to me'.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 16:48:53

YANBU in principle but it's hard to know what the new symbol would be. The wheelchair symbol is instantly recognisable which is a good thing, but I totally get your problems with it.

Overall it would be more effective to push for greater education so ignorant cunts uniformed people would no longer harass people for "not looking disabled."

thereonthestair Thu 07-Feb-13 16:50:17

What would you change it too?

I am not necessarily disagreeing with your thought process but do bear in mind that those of us with children with mobility issues don't get to avoid the abuse.

Pendeen Thu 07-Feb-13 16:52:03

Interesting point but the sheer cost of changing all the millions of existing signs - especially parking bays - would be prohibitive.

I suspect most private property owners wouldn't bother and most public bodies couldn't justify the expense.

Besides which, a sign works best when it's simple and easily understod.

Trying to invent one which covers all disabilities would be a real challenge (interesting exercies though).

ButterCreamJam Thu 07-Feb-13 16:54:08

Honestly not really thought what the sign could be im not very imaginative tbh but i dunno even i triangle with a D in it would cover disablity in general (not great but you get what i mean)

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Feb-13 16:54:15

I think YABU. It's just an indicator, not intended to cover everything. It can't. And, as I understand it, the main problem is invidible disabilities - by definition, how would you portray one of those on a sign?

confusteling Thu 07-Feb-13 16:55:50

I actually thought about this quite recently.

Mainly because I run a radio show for disabled students.. I had to come up with a logo for it's facebook page. I eventually decided on using the standard black wheelchair symbol (added in hair, an ipad and ugg boots!!), then added in a symbol for blind people (black figure with a stick) and then added a further black figure with a question mark over his head ..

The trouble is that symbol is probably internationally recognised, could take a while for another symbol to catch on, plus it's a money saving thing etc.. It's also (usually) used in cases of mobility issues (e.g. blue badge parking, disabled loo etc) whereby the user that's not in the wheelchair etc is the exception rather than the norm.

Of course, noone should be so rude as to question your son's use of a disabled bathroom. Maybe these people need to remember the fact that just as the symbol for a lady does not dictate that all ladies wear skirts, nor should they believe that the symbol for a wheelchair dictates that all disabled people rely on them..

Ullena Thu 07-Feb-13 16:56:12

Maybe they could put up clearly worded signs around parking areas, toilets etc, advising people that many disabilities are unseen? And that harrassing or accosting anyone using said facilities is not allowed under any circumstances?

Pixel Thu 07-Feb-13 16:56:21

I understand what you mean, but the current spacehopper symbol is really a masterpiece of design, I haven't the faintest idea what it could be replaced with. Trouble is, if you put the question to designers now they'd probably come up with something unfathomable like that dreadful thing they did for the Olympics!

landofsoapandglory Thu 07-Feb-13 17:00:37

I totally get where you are coming from.

I am disabled too, I walk with sticks so it is quite visible, but I still get abuse and funny looks from people who think I shouldn't park in a disabled space and use a disabled toilet.

It is atttitudes and education that needs to change, not signs IMO?

MarmaladeTwatkins Thu 07-Feb-13 17:01:52


If the blue disability symbol did it's job of informing twats people that this is a facility for people with any disability, then it wouldn't need changing but as it stands, you are right and unless people can see someone using a wheelchair or struggling with a profound visible disability, then they are ripe for targetting by doofuses that don't "get" hidden disabilities.

AThingInYourLife Thu 07-Feb-13 17:01:54

I've often thought this.

The current symbol is really very inaccurate.

Although it has the fact that everyone is used to it in its favour.

weegiemum Thu 07-Feb-13 17:03:14

It's a hard one. I use my chair approx 1week in 4, but still use my blue badge due to distance from shop/venue entrance.

I object far more to the bathroom facilities. I'm no longer defined as a woman, but as a disabled person. Toilets are able-bodied men, able-bodied women, generic disabled. Disabled toilets are not often the cleanest, and I do suspect it's because they are shared. As an able bodied woman, would you want to share with men? Think not, but I have to.

I like the symbol when I am using my chair. I've seen the "looks" when I walk across the car park. It's an utter minefield.

AThingInYourLife Thu 07-Feb-13 17:04:26

"I am disabled too, I walk with sticks so it is quite visible, but I still get abuse and funny looks from people who think I shouldn't park in a disabled space and use a disabled toilet. "


I don't think a new symbol is going to help those people.

OMG, the stuff I read on here about parking in particular makes my hair stand on end.

AThingInYourLife Thu 07-Feb-13 17:06:45

"Disabled toilets are not often the cleanest, and I do suspect it's because they are shared."

Yeah, shared with the non-disabled.

I wouldn't mind sharing toilets with men.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 07-Feb-13 17:07:57

DS2 is absolutely certain that the disability symbol is not a stickman in a wheelchair. No it's a man sitting on a toilet.

DeepRedBetty Thu 07-Feb-13 17:09:18

I'm pretty certain the symbol is in use world wide. So finding and promoting a new one would be a pretty mahoosive job.

The trouble with the D in a triangle is that it will only work in countries where D is the first letter of the word. I know 'STOP' is an universal traffic sign, but that's had many many years of universal use to get into the psyche of all drivers.

LynetteScavo Thu 07-Feb-13 17:10:36

I can see why a different sign might be more appropriate. A D could work, but to change one sign would actually be a massive thing...

But the word disabled annoys me, because I think people are usually less abled.

When you disable an appliance you turn it off. Most "disabled" people are "less able", but that's just my opinion. And for that reason, a D in a triangle would annoy me.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 07-Feb-13 17:12:47

YANBU, but I don't think there's a workable alternative.

My DH has MS and uses disabled loos - he gets 'the look'. People can fuck right off, frankly.

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