Preventing Mobility Barriers to Inclusion for People With Intellectual Disabilities

Jean Sherman, Sarah Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Many disability advocates and professionals believe they will recognize community inclusion when they see it, yet "inclusion" is a nuanced subjective construct that may hold a somewhat different meaning for each person. A comparison of the disability movement and accessibility laws and policies reveals community inclusion to be an ideal repeatedly sought by individuals with disabilities and advocates alike. This article recounts national and international efforts toward inclusion and suggests some reasons why these have fallen short. Research has revealed that limited financial resources, inadequate social supports and transportation, and unwelcoming or negative reciprocal attitudes are important community barriers to inclusion. These barriers are significant to all individuals with disabilities but especially to persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). Regarding ID in the context of person-environment interactions, the authors suggest that other significant barriers to community inclusion may be found in the built environment and result from negative attitudes of the professionals responsible for its creation. Because the built environment plays a substantial role in community inclusion for individuals with ID, it is important to ensure the congruency of designers' attitudes with the philosophies that underlie accessible design and inclusion. The authors suggest that the negative attitudes of the creators of the built environment may be amenable to change through education. The authors highlight the need for an integrated and preventive interdisciplinary educational approach, particularly targeting design professionals, as one meaningful step toward creating truly inclusive and disability-friendly communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Barriers
  • Community inclusion
  • Disability-friendly communities
  • Intellectual disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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