Universal design as policy and practice

Logo of the APA - white text on a mid blue background.Universal design is commonly expressed using the seven classic principles – listing  and explaining them. But what about universal design policy statements? These are not as common. So it’s great to see a major organisation getting to grips with this. The American Psychological Association (APA) has published its Resolution on Support of Universal Design and Accessibility in Education, Training and Practice. It’s a detailed document and a useful reference for anyone tasked with writing a universal design policy.

For organisations that haven’t thought about a universal design policy, perhaps this document will get you started. Their rationale is well thought out and very well expressed. It shows how universal design is a way to create inclusive practice. An excellent piece of work. 

The APA has an overview and rationale of their position, and the policy document itself – Resolution on Support of Universal Design and Accessiblity in Education, Training and Practice. Both very useful documents and good to see mental health embracing universal design in their education and practice.  Here’s three snippets:

Psychological research has clearly demonstrated the negative impact of limited access, stigmatization, and discrimination. …There is a loss of valuable potential when individuals with diverse needs are not included in all aspects of the community, research, and policy making.

The benefits of full inclusion are not only experienced by those individuals not currently served, but also can be fully realized by the greater society as well. 

Psychologists are in a unique position to promote education on diverse identities and barriers to access and provide clinical services to meet the psychological and health needs of consumers. Therefore, it is important that psychologists have a model that incorporates universal design in education, training, and provision of services.


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