How to Make Programs Accessible
Making Programs Accessible
The ADA and Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive national mandate designed to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, breathing, working and learning. Examples include mobility, visual, and hearing impairments, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, psychological disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Programs are required to address the highly individualized needs of people with disabilities. Since there is no single all-encompassing description of a person with a disability, programs must address access needs on an individual basis. Listed below are suggestions to improve access for people with various types and degrees of disabilities.
• Include a general statement in all of your publications and announcements communicating to people with disabilities that they are welcome to your program. The statement may read "Access provided for people with disabilities. Call (person or office) by (date) for specific requests."
• For persons with limited or no vision, offer printed materials in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, audio, or electronic versions.
• Communicate the availability of Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) for people attending your programs. One common ALD, the FM system, is a small transmitter that amplifies the speech of the speaker while eliminating background noise. Call the Disability Resource Center to get information about reserving or purchasing an FM system if one of your program participants requests one.
• Advertise that a sign language interpreter is available upon request to provide access to people who are Deaf. Call the DRC to schedule the services of a staff interpreter for academic classes. For other events, call the DRC to receive information on locating a qualified freelance interpreter.
• Use captioned media when presenting videos. Captioning provides access to videos by displaying auditory information in printed form on the screen, giving participants who are Deaf or hard of hearing equal access.
• Relocate programs that are architecturally inaccessible. Contact Campus Reservations at (706) 583-8023 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in finding an alternate location.
• Secure accessible transportation for programs that use University vehicles. Contact the Automotive Center at (706) 542-7525 for assistance.