Access Today: September 2010

DOJ Adopts Revisions to ADA Title II and III, Issues 2010 Standards

Long awaited, the U.S. Department of Justice has adopted revisions to Title II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The amended regulations were published in the Federal Register September 15, 2010.  These final rules will take effect March 15, 2011. Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design is permitted as of September 15, 2010, but not required until March 15, 2012.  Changes to the ADA regulations include DOJ adoption of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The 2010 ADA Standards have been harmonized with the Architectural Barriers Act. They also include scoping and technical provisions for facilities not previously addressed including recreation facilities, sports courts, amusement rides, golf courses, playgrounds, swimming pools, spas, boating facilities, and fishing piers. Read more >

NCA and NPS Renew Cooperative Agreement Focused on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Parks, Recreation and Tourism

The National Park Service has renewed its five-year cooperative agreement with the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University. This is the fifth time NPS has renewed its cooperative agreement with IU since NCA was created in 1992 and this is the second consecutive 5-year agreement. “We are pleased to renew and extend our relationship with the National Park Service,” says NCA Executive Director, Dr. Sherril York. “It demonstrates not only the National Park Service commitment to inclusion of visitors with disabilities, but also the agency’s commitment to training and research that can benefit the entire industry of parks, recreation and tourism.”

LEAD Pre-Conference Opens Discussion on Accessibility of the Cultural Arts to People with Visual Impairments

More than 100 professionals gathered in San Diego last week to discuss barriers, programmatic opportunities and technology innovations for people with visual impairments to access museums and the cultural arts. The event, hosted by the National Center on Accessibility, was a pre-conference session to the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference. Presentations were made by Beth Ziebarth, Director, Accessibility, Smithsonian Institution; Rebecca Fuller and Bill Watkins, RAF Models; Steve Landau, TouchGraphics; Larry Goldberg, Director of Media Access, National Center for Accessible Media; and Michele Hartley, National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center.

The LEAD Conference culminated the week’s events with a dinner and presentation of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts LEAD Award. Ray Bloomer, Director of Education and Technical Assistance at the National Center on Accessibility, was presented with the Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership (Individual). The WGBH Media Access Group was presented with Organization Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership. Other award recipients included Judy Litt and Courtney Egg who were presented with the Emerging LEAD-er Award.

Summer Heat Keeps NCA Staff Busy on the Road

A woman measures a ramp with a smart level while visitors look on.
Michelle Cook, NCA Accessibility Specialist, measures the slope of the ramp access route to the Pearson Air Museum at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Funny how when July rolls around, senior staff at NCA start joking about how summer used to be our “slow season.” That’s certainly not the case anymore. In fact, NCA staff is busy raking up frequent flier miles with the demands of several new projects. In June, NCA hosted its Accessibility Management in Parks and Recreation training course in Portland. While in the Pacific Northwest this June, NCA conducted comprehensive physical and programmatic accessibility assessments of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (Vancouver, WA) and Klondike Gold Rush (Seattle, WA). Assessments of the parks are a new project between NCA and the National Park Service Accessibility Management Program where 40 small, non-fee national parks will be assessed over the next two years. NCA staff has developed quite the expertise in park assessments following on the heels of a 12-park pilot assessment project with the National Park Service and other special projects such as assessment of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

During the June trip, staff focused assessment attention on historic Fort Vancouver along the Columbia River which was once the principal supply depot of the Hudson's Bay Trading Company. Further north, staff assessed the Seattle park unit that interprets the story of the stampede to the Yukon gold fields in 1897.

In California, NCA staff conducted an accessibility assessment of the Eugene O’Neil National Historic Site, the secluded Northern California home of the Nobel Prize winning playwright. Closer to home, NCA staff also assessed the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial to make recommendations to the park for improving physical and programmatic access for visitors with disabilities.

NCA Launches Survey on Golf Participation by People with Disabilities and People who are Aging

NCA has launched an online survey among people with disabilities and people who are aging concerning their participation in the game of golf. A number of important events have occurred in recent years such as the invention or improvement of assistive devices for use in golf; development of ADA guidelines for recreation facilities including golf facilities; and an increase in the number of organizations promoting golf for persons with disabilities. While one might assume that facilitators to pursuing golf have increased and barriers may have decreased, there is a need to determine the level of participation in golf by persons with disabilities, and what helps or hinders one’s interest in pursuing the game. The purpose of this study is to examine why someone does or does not participate in golf. In other words, what encourages or discourages a person with a disability or health condition to play golf. The study is being conducted under the leadership of Drs. Sherril York and Kiboum Kim at the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University, in partnership with the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation. Read more >

Call for Participants for Wheelchair Transfer Study

The Human Engineering Research Laboratories with the University of Pittsburgh is seeking individuals in the Chicago area to participate in a research study on wheelchair transfers. The research team will be in the Chicago area September 29 through October 1 in conjunction with the U.S. Access Board meeting. Participation includes completing a questionnaire, recording body measurements, and assessing strength, ability to reach, and transferring from the wheeled mobility device to a different surface. This study is funded in part by the U.S. Access Board. For more information, contact Clinical Coordinator Stacy Eckstein, ste11@pitt.edu or by phone at (412) 954-5287.