PHOTO: Favarh Takes First Step to Change the Sign; Hopes the State Will Follow Suit and Change Attitudes

December 7, 2015

Hartford Courant

Favarh’s headquarters at 225 Commerce Drive, Canton, was the scene of a sign-painting ceremony, changing the ubiquitous blue and white handicapped sign emblazoned on the pavement of each of the agency’s parking spaces reserved for the handicapped. The change involved replacing the iconic logo of a stick figure in a wheelchair with a modernized logo showing movement. The idea is to demonstrate the capabilities instead of the inabilities of those with disabilities.

“This is all part of our campaign to convince the state legislature to change state laws concerning handicapped signs,” said Stephen E. Morris, Favarh executive director. “The purpose is to change the public attitude toward people with disabilities. By changing to the logo that shows movement we’re trying to demonstrate that people with disabilities are far from the static, helpless beings typified in the original handicapped logo; they are very capable people who should not be the object of pity.”

Morris was joined at the sign-painting ceremony by Augusto Russell, president of the Favarh Board of Directors; Todd Theriault, a Favarh self-advocate; State Sen. Kevin Witkos of Canton; State Reps. Tim LeGeyt of Avon and Canton, and Mike Demicco of Farmington; outgoing Canton First Selectman Dick Barlow; and Katie Zahara, representing Cigna, a major supporter of changing the handicapped signs nationwide. Each participant took turns spray-painting a section of the logo at the front of Favarh’s two reserved parking spaces.

Favarh began an online petition drive in September in an effort to persuade the state legislature to modernize the iconic handicapped signs during the upcoming 2016 legislative session. In addition to changing the logo, the proposal is to replace the word “handicapped” on the parking signs with the word “reserved.” For interior signs such as for rest rooms the word “handicapped” would be replaced with the word “accessible.” The proposal, which has received bipartisan support from legislators, is budget neutral, meaning that no extra expenditures will be needed. The new signs would be installed only for new construction or to replace old, worn-out existing signs.

To sign the petition, please go to

Founded in 1958, Favarh is a Canton-based non-profit