Attitudinal Barriers are one of the lesser considered, but most detrimental, accessibility barrier types on both an individual and societal level.

Attitudinal Barriers are the assumptions made, stereotypes held, and stigma perpetuated about people with disabilities. Often unintentionally, due to a lack of understanding and awareness. Two examples of widespread misconceptions:

Misconception: “Blind people don’t or can’t use the internet”

How might this misconception impact decisions made in the development of an e-commerce website?

Truth: People who are blind and low vision can, and do, use the internet. Many of us also abandon our online orders if we can’t complete them due to inaccessibility.

Misconception: “All people who identify as d/Deaf require sign language interpretation as the sole accommodation”

How might this misconception impact decisions made in the facilitation of an event or meeting with d/Deaf attendees?

Truth: Many d/Deaf folks may request sign language interpretation (which is not universal – there are more than 300 different sign languages used worldwide). However, many might request captioning services, transcripts, or other forms of accommodation.

Attitudinal barriers act as a catalyst for all other accessibility barriers (architectural, technological, systemic, etc.). As designers, decision-makers, and service providers we build and shape society based on our own understanding of human needs, abilities, and experiences.

Continuously educating ourselves is the only way to get it right.