Prairie Village resident Finn Bullers makes push to get NEJC cities to update disabled access signage

Finn Bullers at Prairie Village City Hall.
Finn Bullers at Prairie Village City Hall.
The traditional disabled access symbol (left), and the new symbol Bullers is advocating for (right).
The traditional disabled access symbol (left), and the new symbol Bullers is advocating for (right).

Finn Bullers, the Prairie Village man whose struggles to keep in-house assistance under KanCare became emblematic of problems patients have had with the new system, has set his sights on a new goal.

Bullers, who suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, is lobbying the city of Merriam – and perhaps the city of Prairie Village soon — to update the disabled accessible signage in the area to an image that better reflects today’s “active, engaged and connected people with disabilities.”

[pullquote]Finn Bullers on the need to update the symbol
Click the arrow to hear Finn Bullers discuss his efforts to push NEJC cities to update their disabled accessible signage.
[/pullquote]“Simply put, we want to replace the ubiquitous stick-figure access symbol seen on the right and used in parking lots, restrooms and other access points that many people in the disability community perceive as stoic, rigid and disengaged,” he wrote in a letter to the Merriam city council this month.

The symbol currently used on many accessible parking lots, restrooms, ramps and other facilities first came into widespread use in the late 1960s during the civil rights movement. Bullers said in the following half century, progressions in science have allowed people living with disabilities to be much more active than they were before.

“We’ve come a long way, and we want the symbol to reflect that forward momentum,” he said.

The symbol Bullers and fellow disability civil rights advocate Hector Del Valle, who is from central Florida, are proposing northeast Johnson County cities consider adopting shows the stick figure in the wheelchair leaning forward and actively pushing the wheels on the chair. It was introduced by the Accessible Icon Project in 2012.

Bullers is planning to introduce the idea to the Merriam city council at a July meeting after initially presenting it to a member of their city council who thought it sounded like a good plan. He says he plans to bring the idea to the Prairie Village city council as well.