Akim and Justice Ministry launch first accessibility logo for people with mental disabilities

December 3, 2014 21:23
1 minute read.

New accessibility logo for people with intellectual disabilities. (photo credit: AKIM)

The NGO AKIM – The National Association for the Habilitation of the Intellectually Disabled in collaboration with the Commission for Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities in the Justice Ministry on Wednesday launched a handicapped symbol for people with intellectual, emotional, communicative and learning disabilities.

The logo was issued as part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed annually on December 3 and marks the first logo for disabilities of this kind in Israel and in the world.

“Many times when the public thinks about accessibility it thinks of an elevator or ramp or maybe even a sound system for the hearing impaired or access for the visually impaired. The new disability regulations that took effect last year require public service accessibility also to people with emotional, mental, communicative and learning disabilities (unseen disabilities),” said Ahia Kamara, the commissioner for Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities in the Justice Ministry.

In view of these regulations, Kamara said, the world’s first accessibility icon for these populations was initiated in Israel so that places meeting the regulations for these populations could “signal and declare that it is in fact accessible.”

The symbols will be placed in public places such as museums, hotels, sports arenas and businesses to indicate that the places will cater to people with these disabilities, much like the wheelchair logo for the physically handicapped.

“For many years, people whose disabilities were not physical or sensory, such as intellectual disabilities, could not get service like everyone else, for one simple reason – a lack of access to them,” Akim CEO Sigal Peretz-Yahalomi said.

In recent years, as awareness for “unseen disabilities” has grown, Akim seized the opportunity to promote accessibility for this disabled population, she explained.

“We thought it would be right to brand accessible businesses for our people with an appropriate official logo,” she said.

Akim teamed up with the Justice Ministry and advertising agency Y&R Israel to develop the logo.

“The logo, it should be noted, was chosen by people with mental disabilities, people with autism and more, in the spirit of ‘Nothing about us without us,” Peretz-Yahalomi said.

“We hope that companies and businesses will use the symbol and will make available accessible services to people with disabilities, and as such will benefit from satisfied and loyal customers,” she said.

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