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  Access Today: Spring 2000 issue

Access Today, Spring 2000

Inside this issue:

The NCA is moving

In order to better provide our services, NCA is relocating to the Indiana University Campus within a few months. Look for our new address and phone numbers in our next issue of "Access Today" coming out early summer.

The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability: Our Mission

by Brent Williams, Ph.D.

There is a clear consensus among experts in the field that physical activity is a key element in optimal health, and that inactivity is a serious public health concern. The Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health (1996) emphasized that physical inactivity is a major contributor to heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and colon cancer, and compared the public health risks resulting from inactivity to those resulting from smoking. Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives and the draft document, Healthy People 2010 Objectives list physical activity and fitness as major objectives for promoting healthy behaviors among the Nation's citizens. The Healthy People 2000 Objectives also noted that a clear opportunity exists for health promotion and disease prevention efforts to improve the health prospects and functional independence of people with disabilities.

Despite this consensus concerning the health promotion benefits of physical activity and fitness, people with disabilities have received little consideration. Commensurately, people with disabilities are likely to be at greater risk than the general population for developing secondary health conditions due to sedentary lifestyles.

A major constraint to creating specific exercise guidelines for persons with disabilities is the lack of scientific literature on this topic. A second major barrier is the fact that many health professionals currently do not associate terms such as wellness, exercise, and health promotion with persons with disabilities. There is a severe lack of data available on ways of adapting physical activity and exercise programs to meet the needs of persons with specific disabilities. Similarly, there is very little available information concerning how to integrate persons with moderate and severe disabilities into community-based fitness programs.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the scientific and practical information that does exist is poorly organized and spread over a wide range of scientific disciplines. As a result, researchers, practitioners, and consumers seeking information on physical activity and exercise for persons with disabilities have great difficulty finding the resources that they require.

To combat this problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded a four-year grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) - an internationally recognized leader in promoting health through research,education, and physical activity programs for people with disabilities - to develop the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD).

The new National Center on Physical Activity and Disability has established strong, collaborative relationships between the two constellations of individuals and organizations central to its mission: those that are focused on physical activity and exercise, and those that are focused on disability. To accomplish this end, NCPAD has established a strong cross-disability presence with a national representation of persons with all types of disabilities through participation with the Nation's leading disability organizations.

Funded and unfunded collaborative agreements with these organizations have been established to assure achievement of all the Center's goals and objectives. These partnerships include an ongoing collaboration with The National Center on Accessibility (NCA) at Indiana University, the Nation's leading information, training, and technical assistance center for accessibility to parks, trails, nature areas, recreation facilities, and related indoor and outdoor areas associated with physical activity and exercise. The enormous collective wisdom and experience of the organizations collaborating in this project guide the information gathering, synthesizing, and dissemination activities. The Collaborating Partners assist NCPAD in producing Fact Sheets, Bibliographies and White Papers and distributing this information through partnering organizations, as well as through NCPAD's own distance education programs.

As a clearinghouse for research and practical information, NCPAD's mission is to promote healthy lifestyles for persons with disabilities. NCPAD is, at present, busy gathering, organizing and synthesizing information related to fitness, physical activity, and disability. NCPAD has created and maintains a searchable, on-line database of information regarding all aspects of physical activity and disability.

Our website, www.ncpad.org, features this database as well as immediate access to NCPAD's Fact Sheets and Bibliographies on topics relating to specific disabilities and physical activity. Visitors to the website can conduct searches of the database by using our search engine, similar to other internet search engines such as Yahoo, Lycos, or Metacrawler. The database contains contact information for agencies and organizations, references to articles, books, and videos, as well as hyperlinks to websites and internet forums that provide information on physical activity and disability.

NCPAD's website also provides a national resource directory of facilities, programs, and events concerned with physical activity and disability. These directories contain listings of upcoming events and conferences, accessible recreation areas, organizations or groups offering accessible facilities for health and fitness activities, as well as suppliers of adapted equipment. NCPAD is, by design, responsible to the consumers it serves; so, whether you are looking for general information, have a specific request or a suggestion for our website, don't hesitate to call us and/or drop us an e-mail.

NCA Expanding Distance Learning Activities

Making accessibility information and training more available to more people is the goal of new distance learning initiatives currently underway. On April 7, NCA presented a half-day session over closed circuit satellite on; "What Recreation Therapists Need to Know About the ADA." The program was transmitted to seven sites over the Indiana Higher Education Television System. A total of fifty people participated. The transmission included the use of Power Point presentations, teleconference call, videos, and interactive presenter-participant discussions.

On September 27, 2000, NCA will be conducting a full day Satellite video telecast that will focus on the status and interpretation of the newly proposed accessibility standards for outdoor developed areas. This program is being sponsored and funded by the Employee Development Division of the National Park Service and will be transmitted to six to eight sites throughout the USA. The sites currently under consideration will be located within driving distance of thousands of NPS employees. The program will be by registration and space is limited to the capacity of each receiving site (generally twenty to thirty per site).

The day-long program will include both live telecast and on-site activities that will be facilitated by NPS accessibility facilitators. The program will consist of presentations by U.S. Access Board representatives and several individuals who were heavily involved in developing the standards. A combination of video, computer generated presentations, and discussions will be included. Problem solving activities and case studies will be presented and participants will have the opportunity to ask specific questions relative to the impact of specific proposed standards on their area of work.

Additionally, the NCA Internet site will add several activities associated with the September training program. These activities will be designed for self-learning and will be interactive to increase usability and to provide immediate feedback to the learner.

NCA is also in the process of seeking funding for further Internet site development, including the use of video streaming technology that will provide visual support for written learning activities related to recreation accessibility.

Department of the Interior to Convene Disability Rights Summit Meeting

By Dave Park, Chief, Accessibility Management Program, National Park Service

The Department of the Interior will convene a Summit Meeting to discuss the status of its efforts to provide equal accessibility for individuals with disabilities in all of its facilities, programs, and services. The meeting, entitled, "Beyond Awareness: Equal Opportunity for People with Disabilities in the Department of the Interior in the New Millennium," was held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on April 25-27. The purpose of this meeting was to identify the current status of accessibility for individuals with disabilities within the Department, determine desirable accessibility goals, and develop recommendations for how to more effectively attain those goals. The expected outcome will be the beginning of a Departmental Action plan that will outline strategies to address the issues identified.

In a memorandum to all of the Assistant Secretaries, Heads of Offices, and Bureau Directors, Minnejean Brown-Trickey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Workforce Diversity, stated:

"We are required by Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, to ensure that our facilities, programs, and services are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. We are also required to affirmatively recruit, retain, and develop individuals with disabilities and to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities of our employees. All of our offices have taken steps over the past several years to accomplish these goals. However, we must continue to reach out to the estimated 54 million citizens who have a disability."

This meeting focused on four specific issues that relate to ensuring equal opportunity:

  • Employment Practices
  • Architectural Accessibility of DOI buildings and facilities
  • Programmatic Access to DOI programs, services and opportunities
  • Access to information resources such as web sites and other electronic information

Each Bureau and Office Director has been asked to identify two individuals in each of the four issue areas outlined above to participate in this important meeting. Their role will be to help identify barriers and challenges that inhibit DOI's ability to provide optimum levels of access, and to help in the development of potential solutions to those challenges. During the course of the meeting, participants heard presentations about the four issue areas from top level experts from the Department of Justice, the United States Architectural Barriers Compliance Board, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Residents Commission on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, and the Presidential Taskforce on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. Following the presentations the participants met in small work groups to outline the issues and challenges that hinder the Department from providing optimum access and to outline action steps that need to be taken to ensure greater progress.

Disability Awareness Course

By Lynn Boone, USDA Forest Service

The National Center on Accessibility presented a one-day course in partnership with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. The course was held in Roseville, California with fifty-three participants attending. This course was coordinated by the USDA Forest Service for Forest Service Commercial Special Use Permit Holders to address attitudes towards people with disabilities and correct terminology to use when speaking with or about people with disabilities. Session topics included:

  • Attitudes and Terminology
  • Understanding the needs of people with visual impairments, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people with physical impairments
  • Legislation summary of the ABA, the 1973 rehabilitation Act, the role of the ATBCB, and a summary of Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Accessibility Standards Overview

In January of 1999, NCA had previously hosted a three-day educational program for Forest Service employees who had accessibility responsibilities in their forest. Session topics included those listed above, with the addition of:

  • Discussion of the principles of universal design, state-of-the-art designs, and issues tied to retrofitting for accessibility
  • Discussion of current proposed accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas, unique recreation environments and options for provisions for historic site access
  • Considerations for comprehensive planning for accessibility improvements

In order to provide quality customer service to all users, it is the Forest Service's responsibility to ensure that partners are knowledgeable about current issues and laws pertinent to people with disabilities.

Both of these sessions were well-received. Two more one-day sessions are scheduled for concessionaires and special use permit holders. The first is scheduled for October of 2000 in Reno, Nevada. The second will be in March of 2001 in the Los Angeles, California area. Contact Lynn Boone of the Forest Service (lboone/r5) at 707-562-8843 for further information.

Principles of Accessibility

Location: Hastings Conference Center

Address: 85 Sigourney St.
Address: Hartford, CT 06105
Phone: 860-727-4200
Toll-free: 800-569-4115
Fax: 860-727-4507
Hotel Cost: $85 per night
Dates: June 19-21, 2000
Course Cost: $325.00 per person
Class Size: 50 people

Registration: Deadline for registration is May 22nd. Late registrations will be accepted as space allows. A $150 fee will be assessed for all cancellations after June 5th.

Registration forms can be:
faxed to 765-342-6658,
emailed to nca@indiana.edu
called in to 765- 349-9240 or
access our website at:

This course is designed to introduce park and recreation professionals to the fundamentals of physical and programmatic accessibility.

Principles of Accessibility will provide the foundation for understanding the characteristics and needs of people with disabilities. This course will be particularly useful for accessibility coordinators or other professionals whose primary responsibility is the support of accessibility programs.

In addition, there were be discussion of accessibility compliance responsibility, including regulations and standards.


  • Attitudes and Terminology
  • Understanding the Needs of:
    • people with visual impairments
    • people who are deaf or hard of hearing
    • people with physical impairments
  • Principles of Universal Design
  • Accessibility Standards and Guidelines
  • Access to Historic Sites
  • Program Access
  • Recreation Products and Resources
  • Overview of Guidelines:

1) Recreation: fishing and boating, campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, golf, sports facilities, play areas
2) Standards: Revision of ADAAG/UFAS



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