Hi2u 4 people with hidden impairments
Attempting to open doors for people with hidden voices.


Do we need the use of disability logos?

The wheelchair logo is probably the most well known logo throughout the world representing not just wheelchair users, however also representing a logo for general disability issues regardless of medical condition. This is interesting because it's highlighting disability at first four people using wheelchair. Giving society a powerful visual image that disability is "people needing to use a wheelchair". Perhaps this causes difficulties not just for those who are disabled people that don't use wheelchairs, but also doesn't provide a good image for wheelchair users too.

However logos are very valuable to have! They can provide a lot of information in one visual image that can be recognised instantly. Often used as a warning about danger! People can recognise the logo and understand its meaning much quicker than reading text that describes the danger! This is why we have traffic signs as logos on our roads.

There are also other needs for using logos! They may also provide a universal language for communication. Not just four people who speak different languages, but also for many disabled people who have difficulties reading and writing. Maybe they have dyslexia or/and other learning difficulties. I have a severe dyslexia difficulty and find logos extremely valuable. Including a universal wheelchair logo representing "disability" as this instantly lets me know that this is for "disabled people". So if I'm struggling to find information on paperwork about disability the logo can be a valuable help. If I'm needing help and support while using services within society the logo can also point me in the right direction to obtain help. Without this logo I had to keep asking lots of people which can be uncomfortable for me. So the logo gives me some independents when seeking support.

So perhaps I shouldn't have started this I asking if "do we need the disability logo" perhaps I should be questioning whether the wheelchair symbol/logo is the ideal logo for representing all disabled people. Maybe this is an issue the needs discussion by the disability movements and hopefully include people with dyslexia and learning difficulties.

So if you know a disability organisation that is avoiding the using of logos representing disabilities than perhaps you can tell them about this web page and give them something to think about!

Well this is written in December 2001 and at this time there are no disability logos on this site! Why not? Well this site was started to represent people with hidden impairments many people with medical conditions like ADHD and dyslexia don't think they are part of the disability community! They don't see themselves as "disabled people" even though there difficulties receive much discrimination from society preventing many from participating in society on equal terms. Perhaps because "disability" doesn't have appropriate image for representing all of societies members who are "disabled people"!

However this site will be introducing logos very soon as I try to integrate all disability issues within the "hi2u 4 people with hidden impairments" web site. Hopefully with the interest and involvement of all disabled people particularly those who haven't had their difficulties recognise by society and disability movements.

If you find this issue around logos interesting and would like to have your views shown on this web site then please e-mail me (Andy) with your views on this issue. Please make it very clear if you want me to display your views on this web site. Also let me know if you want your name and/or e-mail displayed on web page with your views, so that people can contact you directly.

Now I hope you have found this page of interest it was compose on December 15th, 2001. Using voice recognition software due to my dyslexia I may make changes to the text on this page perhaps to correct mistakes or to word things more clearly. If you find any mistakes I would be most grateful if you could let me know! Many thanks, copyright Andy Hayes.

Hi Andy, I'm writing about the use of Logo's. I know they are useful but can be misleading. Firstly I'd just like to mention that when I attended a " normalisational course some years ago, the use of logo's and anything which showed the person to have a problem was ruled out. I'm talking about the buses we all see with the name of special schools or institutions along the side. Some people with disabilities being allowed to wear badges. Ok I know they have their rights to wear what they wish, but it does make them stand out from the crowd. Logo's are ok if they are used as an informative symbol, but if they are used to make someone stand out from the crowd then they should be eliminated. You mention the wheelchair symbol. Well guess what. Although my daughter has mild CP and I have to attend to her in public toilets, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I was asked if I had a key to the disabled toilets. I know she is disabled but I just associated the toilet with wheelchairs and not general disability. I feel quite silly about it now. My son aged 8 and autistic could also make use of the toilets as he wears nappies when we are out and finding somewhere to change him is a problem. I surely can't be the only one who didn't click onto the use of the toilets for all disabled, can I?..Dot

20th December 2001

Hi Andy,

I stumbled onto your site as I am searching on the web for a t-shirt with the universal wheelchair logo for my 4-year-old autistic son. By the way, I can't find one. I'm looking for a t-shirt, with the logo on the back, for him to wear while we are travelling this summer. I truly wish I didn't have to resort to this, but after several summers of extremely rude comments in airports from cranky old ladies about my son's annoying crying and my poor parenting skills, I want an easier way out than having to explain my son's "not immediately apparent disability" to every assuming, all-knowing, self-appointed judge! If people know he's disabled up front, we can avoid the confrontation. 

Most people don't know what Autism is and wouldn't recognize an Autism logo. Everyone knows that the wheel-chair symbol stands for disability and most people probably now associate that symbol with many disabilities and not just "wheelchair disabilities". I like the new wheelchair symbol with the guy breaking the chains over his head. It makes a great statement. However, little old ladies recognize the old symbol and seem to have a personal empathy for it, as many of them have handicap parking permits with that symbol dangling from their car mirrors. Logos are an easy way to get instant recognition and, in our case, needed understanding.

09 May 2002

Yes, I agree, I have a rare bladder disease with several symptoms, and I am so tired of people not recognizing it. Do we have to walk with a cane or ride in a wheel chair to be recognized as disabled?  I get disability checks.
With them being invisible it makes it much harder on us. I saw on Oprah, about Alzheimer's it seems when famous people get it then it gets the attention it needs, which is great however what about the rest of us? Any how, a lady explained the same as this lady here, frustrated with people not understanding her sons autism, she suggested having business cards made up, explaining on them, that he has this autism and pls. excuse us.
Hope this idea helps.

20th July 2004


Hi, I think some logos can be quite confusing. I come across this site by accident whilst looking for information on logos on a package I have. I know you said that logos are great as they provide ways for people who have difficulty reading to figure out what is meant but there are quite a few logos out their that are very misleading. I think the wheelchair logo is also very misleading. I'm autistic (Asperger's Syndrome) and also incontinent and there have been a number of times when using disabled toilets to change in I have been confronted by people asking me if I'm disabled. This really annoys me and makes me think about the wheelchair logo. So just because I'm not in a wheelchair does that mean I can't use these toilets, would the council rather me leave my pads in a standard waste bin in the gents (other problem being male is that they don't put sanitary bins in male toilets as they don't seem to see that men could have a problem that would require the use of sanitary bins - actually I also know of a number of disabled toilets without adequate disposal for incontinence products, I think this proves that not even people who provide these toilet facilities care to think about people with hidden disabilities.) I recently noticed in Asda (UK) they've started implementing a new "disabled" logo on their toilets, but I think this logo is still as inappropriate as the wheelchair one. The new ones in Asda show a man with walking sticks either side (but this just seems to mean that they've modified the toilet for people with mobility disabilities - not problems like incontinence)

Anyway the logos that are causing me some confusion are on the side of my pads I have for incontinence, I've often looked at them and wondered what on earth do they mean - a 2 in a circle with a line going through it? a letter I shown diagonally with lines underneath it, 2 arrows in a circle interlocking, and something that looks like a big drop of water or a flame (flammable maybe or keep away from water?). If anyone has any idea what these logos are for maybe they could tell me.

Darren Forster

Email: darren@forster99.eclipse.co.uk

Received on 23rd January, 2005

Yes, I understand your views but how can else can we inform people either these are for use of the disabled i.e. Toilets/car parking spaces.

Craig Walter
Email: bradford1983@fsmail.net

Received on 10th of January 2006

I am currently undertaking serious and comprehensive research into the issues surrounding disability, mainly focusing on the sterotyping that occurs within society. This research is designed to help me formulate a design solution that will in some way serve to break down the sterotypical barriers that I have found to be present. I have deducted that a rebranding of the 'disabled logo' would be essential, as despite the logo being conceived to represent wheelchair access facilities, it has become a standard for disability in general. This I feel is detremental as it reflects the entire disabled community as wheelchair users, whilst also serving to put across quite a negative representation of the disabled demographic. I feel that it also serves to create more of an 'us and them' approach through the use of using a fairly negative symbolic representation of a person, helping to lump every disabled person into one category.

My proposal would be to rebrand disability, and !
turn it into something positive. Why does it need to represent a minority, and personify such a large and diverse area such as disibility? Who does this benefit? Don't get me wrong, signage needs to be implemented to prevent confusion and highlight facilities, but surely this could be done in a more positive and thoughful fashion. Besides, If disabled facilities were widespread and incorporated everywhere, there would surely be less of a hangup about disability. Take for example toilets - you have a male, female and a separate disabled facility. Why not incorporate disabled facilities into both? Therefore you lose the segregational approach to disabled facilities. This may also have a positive benefit in terms of removing the physical and therefore social segregation. I have found all posts very valuable towards the ongoing research side of my project, and would welcome any posts responding to the issues that I wish to tackle. Comments with regard to stereotyping !
and the disabled badge (and a plausible link between the two) !
would b

David Waters
Email: davewaters_84@hotmail.com

Received on 22nd February 2006

I agree we need a better disability logo. The problem is there are more "invisible disabilities" than visible ones. I have a young son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism for short, but not to exclude the gentleman above with Asperger's) and Cerebral Palsy (Mild, so not easily detected). Since the disabilities are "invisible" it is difficult to create a visible logo to represent this growing population. I have a few ideas since I have become very proactive for my son and his rights. But who will listen to us and work with us to develop this new and necessary logo?

In response to Dana and Sue above; I make the t-shirts, cards, stickers for the car, and general merchandise you are looking for to keep people safe and promote awareness. I started making the shirts because we were at a theme park and a streetmasphere personality was shouting at my son to get out of their way; of course my son did not move, he had no idea what was going on. The cards I started making for the exact reasons stated by what Sue saw on Oprah; people judge before they get all the facts. I also take it one step further with cards I created for waitstaff (these are positive cards thanking them for the understanding they exhibited when my son does "act up" in the restaurant). On the backs of the cards I put some educational stats so they understand a little more and hopefully pass on the information they learn to others. I figure this is at least a start to educate the public that not all disabilities are wheelchair related. If I can be of any assistance in getting the logo revised and implemented please e-mail me. Also-- if anyone would like a brochure of the merchandise I make, please e-mail me (I do not have a website).


Email: pauline71300@hotmail.com

Received on the 27th March 2006



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Do we need the use of disability logos?


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