Definitions

“Disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Preamble)

Clear definitions are critical for a common understanding of the challenges we face in removing those attitudinal and environmental barriers for persons with HMD.

Accessible means that a person with a disability is, without assistance, able to approach, enter, pass to and from, and make use of an area and its facilities.

Barrier-free means that public spaces are designed so that they are accessible to persons with disabilities (including HMD) without serious health consequences.

Brief time standing for a person with HMD means 1-2 minutes.

Discrimination on the basis of disability means “any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”  (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 2)

Hidden mobility disability means that a person appears to be able to walk unaided and with no difficulty but in reality can only walk a short distance without health consequences or stand unsupported for more than a brief time.

Impediments to mobility include all factors that would make walking more challenging for persons with a hidden mobility disability – such as having to navigate a slope or rough, unstable, or uneven terrain – and the need to stand unsupported for more than one or two minutes (a “brief time“) without being able to sit down and rest.

Short distance means the distance that a person with a hidden mobility disability can walk comfortably without incurring severe pain and/or other health consequences, usually 35-50 feet (a standard school bus is 35 feet long).

Participation restriction refers to problems experienced by an individual with a disability when attempting to become involved in social or community activities. (World Health Organization)

Reasonable accommodation means “necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 2)