Handicap Sign

After the success that the active Handicap sign got with its integration into New York’s signage use, another advocacy emerges to ask for further changes to be made to such signs. This time, a group in Ohio is pushing to have the word “handicap” removed from handicap signs. This comes at a time when people are becoming more open to new ideas regarding these signs and advocates see the need to update old signs that do not really depict people with disabilities accurately.

The move is being made in both Columbus and Franklin counties in Ohio and is geared at new signs that are put up for accessibility and compliance purposes. Advocates are pushing for this change in Ohio and are also suggesting the use of the same active handicap symbol that New York is now using on its own handicap signage. They are also requesting that the word “accessible” be used in place of the word “handicapped” on these very same signs.

This same group is behind the removal of the term “mental retardation” from records of county and state agencies in Ohio in 2009. This group, the Self-Advocate Advisory Council of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, is pushing to have the term “handicap” stricken from new handicap and ADA signs because it sounds like a word that is often used to ridicule those who have disabilities. The use of the active handicap symbol is also aimed at changing how people view people with disabilities.

Some areas in Ohio have agreed to this change, with a few of the signs used to show accessibility options and parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities now sporting the new symbol and without the word “handicapped” on them. While the going is kind of slow when it comes to getting this change adopted by the entire state, the fact that changes are occurring is encouraging to the people who are pushing for this alteration.

To date, a lot of other cities and states in and around the US have adopted this active symbol and the omission of the “handicap” term from their signs. Texas, New York and Massachusetts have integrated this new symbol into some of their signs, and even Western European territories and Canada have done so too. It is only a matter of time till this advocacy catches on and the rest of the country (and the world, for that matter) adopts this change and uses these on their signs.