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Building access for people with intellectual disability, dubious past, uncertain future

L. Castell,

Academic Literature


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on the under-representation of people with intellectual disability (ID) in Australian building guidelines. It presents a view about causes of this under-representation and offers opinion about the current status and future actions required to redress the situation. Design/methodology/approach – Electronic databases were searched to determine the extent of research about building access by people with ID and for references to both the historical treatment of people with ID and the nature of ID itself. Findings – The paper suggests the recently released Disability (Access to Premises) Standards and associated building code give no specific attention to the needs of people with ID. It suggests that poor historical treatment combined with difficulties with self-advocacy may have contributed to the lack of attention given to the needs of this building user group. It also suggests the need for evidence-based research to identify and substantiate inclusion of their needs in future building regulation. Research limitations/implications – There may be unpublished research and/or discussion covering the topic not retrievable through literature searches. Practical implications – While much has been written about adjustments to provide access for people with physical and sensory disabilities, more attention needs to be paid to the needs of those with ID to avoid inequities in building design. Originality/value – There is limited reference to building access for people with ID in literature and legislation. This paper adds to the literature and raises awareness of the ongoing need for greater inclusion. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Facilities

Domain/s: Education

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