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What do we mean by ensuring access for people with disabilities?

___According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “the term ‘disability’ means an individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities or there is a record of such an impairment or an individual is regarded as having such an impairment.”

Types of disabilities include:






Types of access include:

___Physical access

___Access to communication and information

___Access to services

___Access to employment

___Access to education

Why try to ensure access for people with disabilities?

___In many countries, it’s the law

___It’s a matter of fairness and respect

___Failing to do so wastes talent and energy

___It makes good business and economic sense

___Many people with disabilities already have a difficult life

___People with disabilities add to the diversity of the community, and that diversity makes everyone’s life richer

___Access for people with disabilities improves access for everyone

When should you try to ensure access for people with disabilities?

___When new public facilities are being designed and/or built

___When there’s an addition, renovation, or repair made to a public facility

___When a historic building is rehabilitated for a public use

___When a community group is working on improving or rehabilitating a public facility or space

___When an organization, institution, or agency that provides services or education is moving or renovating its facility

___When there are complaints about lack of access

Who should ensure access for people with disabilities?

___People with disabilities themselves

___Organizations concerned with disability rights

___Legislators other public officials

___Enforcing agencies



___Organizations that provide services

___The court system, when necessary

___Architects and planners


How do you ensure access for people with disabilities?

___Changing attitudes and educating the public, as well as policymakers, architects and planners, and others about the realities, needs, and rights of people with disabilities may be the most important step

___Demand reasonable accommodation for all types of access

___Tax credits can help make accommodations affordable

___Physical access means access to:

  • Public facilities
  • Federal, state, and local government facilities
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Public ways
  • Public transportation

___Know the design features that constitute physical access

___Access to communication and information means making accessible or providing

  • Signs, posters, and other similar features
  • Announcements
  • Telephones
  • ASL interpretation
  • Readers
  • Internet
  • Television
  • Concerts and theater performances

___In the U.S., people with disabilities cannot be denied access to services for which they’re eligible

___Reasonable accommodations must result in a service that’s equivalent to that which is offered to other eligible participants, although it doesn’t have to be exactly the same in all respects

___Employers cannot refuse to hire someone because of a disability if that person is the best-qualified for a job, except where the disability would make it impossible for the person to do the job

___An employer may fire someone with a disability because of poor job performance if other employees in the same situation would be treated the same way

___Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act guarantees every child ages 6-21 the right to a free public education that meets his needs in the least restrictive environment possible

___In both public and private post-secondary institutions, ADA requires non-discrimination in admissions and accommodation for admitted undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities

Advocate for the rights and needs of people with disabilities:

___Demand enforcement of existing laws and regulations

___Work with legislators, and their aides to pass laws that guarantee equality of access and opportunity to people with disabilities

___Work with architects, planners, developers, and interior designers to make them aware of the concerns and needs of people with disabilities

___Enlist the media to help change attitudes and expectations

___Call attention to lack of access whether you have a disability or not

___Keep at it indefinitely