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OPDs, Barriers, Accessibility and Assistive Technology
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OPDs, Barriers, Accessibility and Assistive Technology

Organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and CRPD, barriers, accessibility and assistive technology

The Organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) should be rooted in and committed to the CRPD and should fully respect the principles and rights that it affirms. OPDs must be led, directed and governed by persons with disabilities. A clear majority of their memberships should be persons who have disabilities.

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Barriers are factors in a person’s environment that hamper participation and create disability. For persons with disabilities, they limit access to and inclusion in society. 

Accessibility affirms the right of persons with disabilities to enjoy “access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. 

Accessibility is a precondition of inclusion: in its absence, persons with disabilities cannot be included. Universal design is an approach that advocates that “the design of products, environments, programs, and services [should] be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”. The principles of universal design facilitate accessibility, including for persons with disabilities.

Assistive technology, devices, and mobility aids are external products (devices, equipment, instruments, software), specially produced or generally available, that maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, participation, or overall well-being. They can also help prevent secondary impairments and health conditions. Examples of assistive devices and technologies include wheelchairs, prostheses, hearing aids, visual aids, and specialized computer software and hardware that improve mobility, hearing, vision, or the capacity to communicate. 

Image credit: CEFutcher

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