The Accessible Icon Emoji

Recently, a new emoji was added to the Apple iSO10 update, and the Accessible Icon team was very pleased to learn that the accessible icon was included for the social media world to use on a daily basis. With the new icon emerging into the digital world, people who were unfamiliar with the project wanted to know more about the icon that represents people with disabilities as active and engaged. In more detail, I wrote an article about the story of the accessible icon that was published here: Please take the time to read why a group of people identify with the more active looking symbol and be sure to look out for the accessible icon on your phones!

iPhone update, symbols, disabilities, technology

Symbols and Signs

While touring Germany, Italy, and Spain, I was highly interested in the symbols each country used to signify basic street information. Here in the states, there has been much debate about if the Accessible Icon is legal since it has not been officially adopted as the symbol of access by the DOT or DOJ. While almost everyone will agree that the symbol represents movement, some argue that a new symbol is not needed or can cause confusion. Since I am now interested in exploring the different symbols that exist, I took pictures of the different symbols I came across while traveling.

 Accessible Icon Updates: 

  • DOJ (Department of Justice) verbal approval of the icon during the National ADA Symposium. Read here (May 2015)
  • New York State announcement of a slow phasing in of the symbol. Read here (August 2014)
  • New Jersey bill in progress. Read here ( September 2014)



Big News for the Accessible Icon Project: DOJ Approval

We are very excited to announce that members from the Department of Justice officially acknowledged the Accessible Icon as meeting ADA regulations (a long debated topic that prevented some people from moving forward with the symbol) at a recent conference. Kate Thurman,  Disability Project Coordinator for Cambridge Commissions for Persons with Disabilities who attended the National ADA Symposium provided us with the following information:

As you saw on Twitter, I attended the National ADA Symposium in Atlanta, which ended yesterday with a Town Hall Meeting. I have pasted below my notes on the conversation during this meeting about the use of the Accessible Icon. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to hear from DOJ that the use of the icon is permissible under the ADA!

Accessibility Icon

Please read the article with statements from various DOJ members here: Although DOJ and ADA are slow to announce in writing, we believe these public statements reflect a decision that will eventually be announced formally through their social media sites.

At the conference, all 50 states, in addition to Canada, Gaum, and the Virgin Islands were represented and part of the discussion.

As of May 28, we know of over 35 states using the icon, and over 10 countries. New York State is the first state to legally adopt the icon, and New Jersey, Michigan, Kansas, and Pennsylvania are following suit. Needless to say,  our team was thrilled when we heard the news.

Accessible Icon Project: Projects from around the world

One of the best parts of being on the Accessible Icon team is to regularly hear how people use the icon to create other advocacy projects and ideas. I recently was sent this animation video made by Shaheen Sheriff for a class project promoting the International Symbol of Access and the Accessible Icon Project.

I personally love how this animation highlights the movement of the icon and the different ways people with disabilities can be active and engaged in their lived environments.

New Jersey is next to adopt the Accessible Icon Project

I have been working with Assemblyman Ron Dancer to help New Jersey be the second state to legally adopt the Accessible Icon. Back in September, I emailed him with the proposed idea and he quickly responded stating the he would support this legislation in New Jersey.

Now, the bill is created and is ready to be shared among the public. Please consider asking your local Assemblyman/woman and Senator to co-sponsor the bill linked below. Your support is needed! 

Our next step is to bring this to Governor Christie!

Art Therapy: The Accessible Icon Project in Philadelphia

Hi all,

Through my work with the Accessible Icon Project, I have come in contact with the Einstein Healthcare Network, a non-profit that has been helping the community for 150 years. Their speciality ranges from working with patients with mental health, addictions and eating disorders to patients who have been severely injured or paralyzed. A previous winner of the “Premier Award for Quality” by the Premier Healthcare Alliance highlights all the centers dedication to patient health and wellness.

Recently, MossRehab, a nationally recognized medical rehabilitation facility with in- and outpatient services, switched their parking lots to the Accessible Icon and decided to have their art therapy program patients celebrates the use of the new icon. Each patient expressed through paintings and drawings how they felt about the new icon and what it specifically meant for them.

Their work will be featured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s annual community exhibit “Bridges: Accessible Programs Builds Partnerships” Wednesday, August 27th through Sunday, September 28, 2014. Here is a sneak peak of their artwork.

In you are in the Philly area, please be sure to check out this exhibit. Even though I reside in New Jersey, I am planning on taking the trip.

Be well,


A Shared Vision of Access

The president of my school, Dr. Michael Lindsay, recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post commenting on The Accessible Icon Project and Beyond Disabilities Week, the focus week I hosted at my college. He explained his understanding of  “shared vision” and wrote how Gordon College  from its beginning has always been a place that valued access and opportunity.

The recent focus week has generated a lot of conversation that concentrates on how society views individuals with disabilities. These conversations, which have been informally held in the cafeteria and dorm rooms, have also taken an academic approach through various research papers presented in class. Many professors have also started hosting conversations in their classrooms and have been assigning reading materials that get students to think about access, ability, and disability within the context of education and society.

Please join the conversation by reading my President’s article here: A Shared Vision of Access.


Will you join us? Beyond Disabilities

For the past year, I have been organizing a week at my school focusing on the topic of disabilities. With the events quickly approaching, I invite all to share in the many talks and forums we will have at Gordon College on the week of February 17.

Please reference for a copy of week’s schedule.

Beyond Disabilities Week, Gordon College, Leah Serao, Temple Grandin Keynote

Ms. Wheelchair America in support of the Accessible Icon





While presenting the Accessible Icon Project during the Abilities Expo at the Boston Convention and Expo Center, I was able to meet Ms. Wheelchair America. She was very excited about the project, and wanted to take a picture in front of our booth to show her support. It was such a pleasure to meet this incredible lady!
Accessible Icon Project Accessible Icon Project