The symbol of accessibility

simbolo di accessibilità S3A

The S3A pictogram, created by the French association Unapei (national union of associations for parents and friends of people with mental disabilities) is the symbol of Welcome, Support and Accessibility.

As there is an international symbol which indicates those places that are accessible to people with limited mobility, S3A pictogram has been created in order to easily localize places, services and products accessible to people with mental disabilities.

A symbol of commitment

For Unapei, the display of the S3A pictogram means undertaking tangible actions in favour of the accessibility and:

– making an effort for everyone’s citizenship

– being pioneers in the implementation of the French law

– being able to adapt to the needs of people with mental disabilities, in order to offer them the right support

– more in general, helping people with understanding, communication and time-and-space orientation difficulties.

Unapei prepared the Practical guide on accessibility which outlines the actions to implement in order to make the access to places, services and products easier for people with mental disabilities and therefore to be entitled to display S3A pictogram.

Where can we find it?

In France there are already several bodies and structures committed to accessibility which have been awarded with the S3A pictogram .

In Italy and in Germany, in the framework of the SuperMAN project, the pictogram S3A have been awarded to those supermarkets that carried out an ad-hoc training for their staff (in particular the clerks at the priority checkout counters and those in charge of the customer care service) and offering welcome, support and accompany people with mental disabilities and/or with intellectual, cognitive and interpersonal difficulties.

At the moment, all the partners are thinking about the possibility to expand the project towards a total accessibility of structures and bodies like hospitals, post offices, public administration, banks, means of transport, tourist places etc. will be evaluated as is already happening in France.

History and meaning

The S3A pictogram is the result of a competition launched by Unapei in 1998 in cooperation with the Advanced Institute of Estienne. The pictogram was designed by Simon Gouesnard.

The symbol shows two faces side by side: the white one represents the person with mental disability and the blue one the person who welcomes, supports and listens.

The symbol was registered by AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation) in May 2000.


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This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein


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