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Physical Disability and the Environment
Types of Physical Disability
- Tetraplegia (Severe spinal injury may result in paralysis of all four limbs.)
- Paraplegia (Both legs are affected by spinal injury.)
- Hemiplegia (When a stroke interrupts the blood supply to one side of the brain, the other side of the body becomes paralysed.)
- Amputation (Accident or disease may result in amputation.)
- Alternatively movement (Limited in the hands and fingers, or other joints.)
Aids for Persons with Mobility Difficulties (PMDs)
- Artificial legs and arms
- Walking aids of various sorts
- Hoists (Persons with a diverse disability can be assisted to transfer between beds and wheelchairs by using hoists.)
- Wheelchairs (In addition to hand-propelled wheelchairs, there are power–driven models.)
- Wheelchair user cannot get through too narrow door, door width should not be at least 800mm.
- Door threshold is a barrier to entering, cannot higher than 20mm.
- A foldable metal hinged ramp or one section of floor can be raised to the level of the other, eliminating the step.
- Handle cannot be placed too far into the corner. The opening side of door must be away from the side wall or obstructive furniture at least 330mm.
- A concertina door/ a sliding door takes less space and is easy to operate.
- A lever door handle is the easiest to operate. A horizontal pull-handle is also helpful.
Toilet and Bathroom Facilities
- Handrails on side and back walls are helpful. A hinged handle can be folded up when not in use.
- A washbasin in which the wheelchair user can rinse his hands before returning to the wheelchair.
- Special taps for PwDs such as sensor type and lever type should be used.
- In a shower, a bench is useful. Also, rails are added for both wheelchair and ambulant PwDs.
- Shower bench should be sited where it is accessible by wheelchair user.
- A kerb is acceptable provided that wheelchair user can transfer to the bench. If the shower is used from a shower chair, the kerb must be omitted.
Requirements in Height
- For washbasins, there are conflicting requirements in heights for ambulant PwDs and wheelchair users. A compromise height is 800mm.
- Power socket and switch should be placed at height between 500mm to 1000mm.
- Steps are an obvious problem for the wheelchair user.
- The ideal width and gradient of ramp is to be 1:12 and 1200mm respectively. A long ramp must be interrupted by level landings as a single ramp should not be more than 10 metres long.
- A dropped kerb should be provided on a footpath or pavement to accommodate the change in level towards vehicular areas. Adequate visual and tactile warning should be provided.
- Stairs without a landing are exhausting.
- Tread and riser of staircases should not be less than 225mm and 175mm respectively.
- Step nosing with protruded edge may cause potential danger and shall be avoided. Chamfer-edged nosing is more convenient.
- Corridor must be wide enough to be accessible for a wheelchair user, or for someone on crutches. Width shall be at least 1050mm.
- Space at least 1500mmX1500mm shall be provided for manoeuvring wheelchair. Larger manoeuvring space is required foe powered wheelchair.
- A space not less than 1500mmX1500mm shall be provided within 3500mm of every dead end and corner for manoeuvring wheelchair.
- Doors must not be too narrow
- For more than 3 lifts in a building, access shall at least 1 lift having minimum internal car dimensions of:
- Doors should not close too quickly.
Other Provision for Persons with Mobility Difficulties (PMDs)
- Automatic Teller Machines for wheelchair user.
- Carparking space for PwDs.
- Handrail for PwDs.
- Computer aids for PwDs.
- Graphic, signs and etc…