The right to education applies to everybody. However, a very small minority of children with currently access education in most developing countries. This has huge effects on development in general, as well as the global mainstreaming of disability issues. Schools are obligated to accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions, according to the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, para 3)

UNESCO reports that many children with disabilities are being left without any education and that inclusive education has not yet been fully accepted in schools and society. Barriers to inclusive education include accessibility to school buildings, special materials and equipment, training of regular teachers and support workers, differentiated curricula and assessment strategies that suit the child’s individual needs.

The Symbol

We created the original International Symbol of Access in 1969

By the late 1960s, as the disability movement grew, the need for a symbol to designate accessible facilities was being discussed in a number of countries. Different access symbols had already popped up in France, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. As former RI Global Secretary-General Norman Acton recalled, “several of us could see a messy situation developing with multiple symbols – so there was some urgency.”

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The RI World Congress 2021 took place in Aarhus 7-9 September 2021.

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