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They may be differently able, but some two million Sri Lankans are shut out of public places, as the able bodied fail to understand their needs, a new disability group said Tuesday. They may be differently able, but some two million Sri Lankans are shut out of public places, as the able bodied fail to understand their needs, a new disability group said Tuesday. They are physically, or mentally disabled, but these less fortunate people are also stigmatised and excluded from society due to stereotypical attitudes, says Access for All, a consortium of disability organisations.

“It’s all in the mind,” says Thanuja Navaratne, Attorney-at-Law, attached to Access for All as a Project coordinator.

‘A mental block’ by the remaining 17 mn people, is holding back developments in vital areas like building architecture, schools, hospitals, job opportunities and even legislations.

The Urban Development Authority, for instance, is ‘handicapped’ by legal guidelines to enforce disabled needs into buildings or make it mandatory for future constructions.

“Our Act includes basic guidelines like wheelchair access, ramps, special toilets and so on for these people, but we need some leg