Accessibility barriers are factors in an individual's environment that limit their functioning. There are several different types of accessibility barriers and solutions. At NIU, we seek to collaborate with university and community partners to address and/or remove accessibility barriers on campus. We encourage you to report any accessibility barriers you encounter.
Architectural and physical barriers involve aspects of a space or building that obstruct access to everyone.
Example: A meeting space located on the fourth floor of a building without a functioning elevator.
Possible solution: Locate meetings on lower levels or within buildings that have fully operational elevators.
Attitudinal barriers involve a consistent focus on a person's inabilities rather than their abilities, strengths and positive characteristics.
Example: Assuming a reasonable accommodation request will be costly and won't increase a person's performance on the job.
Possible solution: Engage in a strengths-based discussion about the request with a disability expert and identify skills, attributes and tasks that are essential and in which the employee performs well.
Informational and communication barriers involve the distribution and receipt of communications that aren't accessible to those with sensory disabilities such as sight or hearing loss.
Example: Sending out PDFs to all staff without regard to those who use screen readers and similar technology who cannot function well with this format.
Possible solution: Check that disseminated information is in a format that's accessible to everyone.
Systemic barriers involve unequal treatment as a result of policies, procedures or practices in place.
Example: Having a diversity and inclusion hiring policy that does not engage individuals with disabilities to apply for openings.
Possible solution: Be clear and specific in policies. Use a lens of inclusivity and inclusion to create policies.
Technological barriers involve devices or platforms that are not accessible to everyone.
Example: Offering only one method of contact.
Possible solution: Provide multiple channels for individuals to contact you.