BARRIERS EXPERIENCED IN SPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Nearly everyone faces hardships and difficulties at one time or another. But for people with disabilities, barriers can be more frequent and have greater impact. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes barriers as being more than just physical obstacles. Here is the WHO definition of barriers:
“Factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability. These include aspects such as:
Often there are multiple barriers that can make it extremely difficult or even impossible for people with disabilities to function. Here are the seven most common barriers. Often, more than one barrier occurs at a time.
Attitudinal barriers are the most basic and contribute to other barriers. For example, some people may not be aware that difficulties in getting to or into a place can limit a person with a disability from participating in everyday life and common daily activities. Examples of attitudinal barriers include:
Today, society’s understanding of disability is improving as we recognize “disability” as what occurs when a person’s functional needs are not addressed in his or her physical and social environment. By not considering disability a personal deficit or shortcoming, and instead thinking of it as a social responsibility in which all people can be supported to live independent and full lives, it becomes easier to recognize and address challenges that all people–including those with disabilities–experience.
Communication barriers are experienced by people who have disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, writing, and or understanding, and who use different ways to communicate than people who do not have these disabilities. Examples of communication barriers include:
Physical barriers are structural obstacles in natural or manmade environments that prevent or block mobility (moving around in the environment) or access. Examples of physical barriers include:
Policy barriers are frequently related to a lack of awareness or enforcement of existing laws and regulations that require programs and activities be accessible to people with disabilities. Examples of policy barriers include:
Programmatic barriers limit the effective delivery of a public health or healthcare program for people with different types of impairments. Examples of programmatic barriers include:
Social barriers are related to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age – or social determinants of health – that can contribute to decreased functioning among people with disabilities. Here are examples of social barriers:
Transportation barriers are due to a lack of adequate transportation that interferes with a person’s ability to be independent and to function in society. Examples of transportation barriers include:
• Lack of access to accessible or convenient transportation for people who are not able to drive because of vision or cognitive impairments, and
• Public transportation may be unavailable or at inconvenient distances or locations.
What is Disability Inclusion?
Including people with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to have roles similar to their peers who do not have a disability is disability inclusion. This involves more than simply encouraging people; it requires making sure that adequate policies and practices are in effect in a community or organization.
Inclusion should lead to increased participation in socially expected life roles and activities—such as being a student, worker, friend, community member, patient, spouse, partner, or parent.
Socially expected activities may also include engaging in social activities, using public resources such as transportation and libraries, moving about within communities, receiving adequate health care, having relationships, and enjoying other day-to-day activities.
Disability Inclusion and the Health of People with Disabilities
Disability inclusion allows for people with disabilities to take advantage of the benefits of the same health promotion and prevention activities experienced by people who do not have a disability. Examples of these activities include:
Why is this Important?
Disability affects approximate 56.7 million, or nearly 1 in 5 (18.7%) people in the United States living in communities. Disability affects more than one billion people worldwide.According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people “with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory [such as hearing or vision] impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
People with disabilities experience significant disadvantages when it comes to health such as:
Although disability is associated with health conditions (such as arthritis, mental, or emotional conditions) or events (such as injuries), the functioning, health, independence, and engagement in society of people with disabilities can vary depending on several factors:
Disability inclusion means understanding the relationship between the way people function and how they participate in society, and making sure everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires.
· Gloria L. Krahn, Deborah Klein Walker, and Rosaly Correa-De-Araujo. Persons with Disabilities as an Unrecognized Health Disparity Population. American Journal of Public Health: April 2015, Vol. 105, No. S2, pp. S198-S206.
· World Health Organization, International classification of functioning, disability and health. Geneva: 2001, WHO. p. 214.