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  Access Today: Fall 1999 issue

Access Today, Fall 1999

Inside this issue:

In Memoriam

-Bob Fern-

Robert (Bob) Fern, the Coordinator of the Organizational Culture Change Initiative, a diversity program sponsored by the Department of Canadian Heritage, passed away on August 11, 1999, from complications of diabetes.

Bob Fern was active in the area of accessibility through his work with the United Nations, where he was able to have an influence around the world. Bob also taught access courses to an international group of students through the U.N.

Bob was a true fighter. One who faced great challenges, fought through them the way he knew he could, and helped so many others overcome their own challenges. Amazingly, he would always do so well with whatever confronted him and carried on living without holding back.

Bob was a very committed person towards his work, his family, and his friends. He was a professional in carrying out his work, respected nationally and internationally, with a vast experience in planning, partnerships, and disability issues. Personally, he would always contribute whatever he could and strongly supported others around him.

Bob was laid to rest in his hometown of Napanee, near Kingston, Ontario.

The University of Waterloo, in collaboration with the Canadian Paraplegic Association, announced the Robert A. Fern Memorial Award. One award will be made to an undergraduate or graduate student in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies who has made a significant contribution in either volunteer work with persons with disabilities or applied research which has relevance to the lives of persons with disabilities.

If you wish to contribute to this award, please make your check payable to: The University of Waterloo and send to:

Student Awards Office
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2L 3G1
Attn: Brenda Denomme

Also, the Department of Canadian Heritage has announced an award in memory of Robert A. Fern. The Deputy Ministers of the Department will award yearly recognition to an employee who has made a significant contribution within or on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage in the area of diversity.

NCA Completes United States Golf Association Foundation Funded Project

The NCA has completed the USGA study described in previous newsletters. An Executive Summary, Final Report, and booklet entitled "From Bag Drop to 19th Hole-Tips on accommodating golfers with disabilities at your golf course or facility" were produced. The reports have been submitted to the USGA Foundation. The booklet is expected to be distributed to all USGA member golf facilities sometime early next year.

The study found that the major barriers associated with including golfers with mobility impairments into the game were:

1. Lack of education of golf course operators and owners on people with disabilities;

2. Lack of knowledge of people with disabilities about possibilities and technologies that exist for them to play golf;

3. Lack of opportunities for people with disabilities to learn about the game of golf and how to play golf.

The study included interviews with forty golf course operators and owners and approximately twenty each of golfers with disabilities and organizations that provide instruction and other services to golfers with disabilities. For further information on this study, contact the NCA: 765-349-9240 or email: nca@indiana.edu.

Retrofitting for Accessibility Course Review

In September of this year, The NCA offered the course; "Retrofitting for Accessibility," in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The NCA was very fortunate to be able to utilize the facilities and NPS staff of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, thanks to the generosity of Karen Wade, who at the time was Park Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains. Karen gave participants a "Welcome to the Great Smokys." The NCA congratulates Karen on her new position as Regional Director of the NPS Intermountain Region. Many thanks also to Dale Brukiewa, Cades Cove Road Foreman who helped in presentations and on-site preparations.

This course was the first NCA training course offered since the report by the Federal Regulatory Negotiating Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas was accepted by the Access Board. This course was able to introduce the recommendations of the Committee to course participants.

The NCA exceeded our targeted number of forty-five participants in this training, with an actual total of fifty-six people attending the course. In our next Access Today issue we will recap the Universal Design Course which took place in Houston, Texas with 64 participants.

NCA Staff Update

Ray Bloomer has assumed the duties of the Director of Education in addition to his responsibilities as Director of Technical Assistance. His new position will be called "Director of Education and Technical Assistance."

Ray has been with the NCA since its inception in 1992 and has been an active presenter in all NCA training seminars. Ray will draw upon his past experiences to direct and coordinate the extensive training programs of the National Center on Accessibility.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Dedicates Accessible Duck Blinds

by Debbie Heller

The state of Maryland recently dedicated its first waterfowl blinds for hunters with mobility impairments.

The two accessible blinds were erected at the LeCompte Wildlife Management Area, which comprises 35 acres on Marylandís scenic Eastern shore. The blinds feature ramps, wide entrance ways and lowered fronts, and are camouflaged in switch grass. In the off-season, they can be utilized for wildlife observation and photography.

While Maryland has dozens of accessible hunting opportunities; these blinds are the first created specifically for waterfowl hunting. The blinds were designed by Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Habitat Manager, Donald Webster, with the help of seasoned hunter Stuart Hopkins (of Harmony, Maryland) who also happens to be a wheelchair user. The project cost approximately $70,000, and was paid for with a combination of funds from the state and numerous private sponsors.

More than 10,000 Marylanders with disabilities have special permits, allowing them to hunt from a vehicle, and use a crossbow and telescopic sight. According to Bob Beyer, deputy director of DNR Wildlife and Heritage Division, two types of permits for hunters with disabilities are available -- temporary permits for hunters with a broken leg or other recovering injury and permanent permits for more serious, debilitating conditions such as stroke.

For more information on these blinds or other accessible Maryland public land facilities, please contact:

Debbie Heller, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator for the Maryland DNR, at: 410-260-8087 VOICE, 410-260-8099 FAX, or e-mail her at: dheller@dnr.state.md.us.

B.A.S.S. partners with P.V.A.

The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S) has entered a formal partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) to promote bass fishing for individuals with physical disabilities.

For more information please contact: Bruce Scott (PVA) 202-416-7733 or Craig Lamb (B.A.S.S.) 615-457-8205

National Organization on Disability announces over 550 congregations from fifty states have committed to welcoming people with disabilities

The Religion and Disability Program of the NOD announced that over 550 congregations have signed on to the 2,000 by the year 2000-Accessible Congregations Campaign. This interfaith campaign, which challenges Americaís congregations to welcome people with all types of disabilities as full and active participants, has received pledges from

congregations in all fifty states. The campaignís theme is "Access: It Begins in the Heart."

The goal of the 2,000 by the year 2,000-Accessible Congregations Campaign is to increase the religious participation of children and adults with disabilities. By joining the campaign, a congregation acknowledges that is has barriers, both physical and attitudinal, to the full participation of people with disabilities and commits to begin the process of removing them.

For more information contact: John Butler-202-887-0500, jbutler@witeckcombs.com

Designing for the 21st Century II; An International Conference on Universal Design

The conference will be held in Providence, Rhode Island, June 14-18, 2000. The conference will highlight practice, education and research in the universal design of environments, landscapes, information and products, featuring world-wide leaders from 18 countries. Invited speakers include:

Roger Coleman, DesignAge/Royal College of Art, Britain

Natascha Drabbe, Cultural Connections, Netherlands

William H. Hudnet III, the Urban Land Institute, USA

Satoshi Kose, Ministry of Construction, Japan

Patricia Moore, Guynes Design, USA

Adolf Ratzka, Institute for Independent Living, Sweden

Jim Sandhu, University of Northumbria, UK

Leslie Weisman, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA.

The conference is sponsored by Adaptive Environments Center in collaboration with leading national and international organizations, including the National Center on Accessibility. For more information call (617) 695-1225 ext 35 or look at:


Access Boardís Regulatory Negotiating Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas

The U.S. Access Boardís Regulatory Negotiating Committee on Outdoor Developed Areas concluded two years of deliberations in July and reached consensus on many issues related to the development of standards for campgrounds, picnic areas, beaches, and trails. The Access Board considered and unanimously accepted the report at its September,1999 board meeting. While several issues remain to be resolved, the board intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register after the comment period expires in December of 1999.

Since there is likely to be some confusion and need for further clarification and interpretation of the proposed guidelines, the NCA will be scheduling both a distance learning program and a symposium on this subject during the latter half of year 2000.

The final report has been published on the Access Board website www.access-board.gov

Aunt Ada

Dear Aunt Ada,

I am an interpreter at a historic site where tours are provided to the public. The building is a large two floor structure. As interpreters, we can choose the tour route. There is a stairway at each end of the building but only one elevator beside the stairs on the east side. Since we actually have a choice in the direction of our tours, shouldn't we always direct the tours towards the side of the building with both elevator and stairs? This way visitors who have a need to use the elevator could, and the rest of the visitors could use the adjacent stairs. When the visitors reach the second floor, they will then all arrive at the same place. As it is now, when interpreters use the stairs on the west side, visitors that need to use the elevator are told to go to the opposite end of the building, use the elevator, and come all the way back to the other end of the building to join the rest of the tour.

Aunt Ada, I could use your help in convincing my co-workers to reconsider their route.


Ellie Vader


Dear Ellie:

Youíre right on the mark. The planning of all tours and interpretive walks should always take into consideration the abilities of all the visitors. By doing as you have already suggested, several things will be achieved. First, you have pointed out the fact that attention would not be drawn to those who may not be able to use or easily use the stairs. In addition, by directing the tour to the stairs by the elevator, the group of visitors remain integrated to the highest extent possible, which is required by the regulations for Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Also, by minimizing the degree of "special" or "different" things that visitors would have to do while on the tour, we actually apply the principles of Universal Design to the planning and program process. (See more on a Universal Design training course in this issue).

Furthermore, it only makes sense to avoid making those visitors that have the most difficulty walking or endurance from having to go the length of the building to use the elevator and back again to join the tour. Ellie, I hope your fellow interpreters will see this and consider your sage advice.

Sincerely yours,

Aunt Ada

Work Continues with National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

This summer the NCA was chosen to partner with the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to develop the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). The NCPAD mission is to encourage people with disabilities to participate in regular physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles and to prevent development of secondary conditions.

The NCPAD website has been activated and is continuously being updated. Information available at the website includes: (a) a research citation database; (b) recent media coverage; (c) online distance education opportunities; (d) papers, reports and other printed materials; (e) and slide presentations. The website address is: www.uic.edu/orgs/ncpad

To date, NCA staff have answered technical assistance questions, written fact sheets, initiated publicity, and begun extensive research addressing the leisure and recreation needs of people with disabilities. This is just the beginning of a three-year project, watch future issues of this newsletter; "ACCESS TODAY", for updates as the grant progresses.

To contact NCPAD: (800) 900-8086, Fax: (312) 355-4085.  Address: 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago Il 60608-6904  Email: ncpad@uic.edu Internet: www.uic.edu/orgs/ncpa

Nationwide Study of Inclusive Outdoor Programs

(The National Inclusive Camp Practices (NICP) Study-1997-2000)

The Institute for Career and Leisure Development (ICLD) is collaborating with Portland State University (PSU) and the American Camping Association (ACA) on the National Inclusive Camp Practices (NICP) study of youth with and without disabilities attending organized outdoor school and camp programs that are inclusionary. The study includes administrators, instructors/counselors/staff, and approximately 1,000 subjects (youth), 50% with and 50% without disabilities, ages 7-18.

The NICP study, represents Phase II of a continued national effort by the ICLD (in collaboration with PSU and ACA).

Preliminary findings (from summer of 1998) show that campers with disabilities who attended inclusive camp programs made significant gains in their level of social interaction with peers. Their level of active participation in camp activities also significantly increased between the beginning and end of one-week camp sessions.

Major findings and recommendations of the National Inclusive Camp Practices (NICP) study will be presented at the ACA National Conference 2000 in Albuquerque, NM at 9:45, Saturday morning, February 26, 2000; "Letís Include Kids with Disabilities in Our Camp Programs: Researchers and Practitioners Provide Evidence and Suggestions for Inclusive Camp Administration and Programming."

Steve A. Brannan, EdD

NICP Project Director

Portland State University

Upcoming Courses...

The NCA is in the process of scheduling these courses for 2000-2001:

"ADA Assessments and Self-Evaluation/Principles of Access"

  • Feb/March 2000: New Orleans Area
  • May/Late Spring 2000: New England
  • September 2000: Pacific NW

"Distance Education"-

  • 5 Varied locations to be determined

"Retrofitting for Accessibility"-

  • Late Sept/Oct 2000: Colorado/Utah area

"Historic Sites and Interpretation"-

  • December 2000: New Orleans Area or Charleston

"Universal Design"-

  • Spring 2001: Las Vegas

Symposium: All dates to be determined

"Outdoor Developed Areas/Trails/Picnic/Campground"-

  • Cincinnati/Lexington KY area
  • Santa Cruz or Sacramento 
  • New England or Adirondacks


  • Chicago Area

NCA Receives Distance Learning Award

The Employee Development Division of the National Park Service has awarded the National Center on Accessibility a $30,000 grant to conduct a distance learning program for NPS employees that specifically focuses on standards/guidelines for outdoor developed areas (campgrounds, picnic areas, beaches, and trails). This program will be transmitted to a minimum of five NPS sites nationally in September of 2000 and will also include the development of extensive Internet based training-learning activities which will assist park personnel in understanding the proposed regulations.

1998-99 NCA Research Fellows

    Dr. Larry Allen, Clemson University

    Mr. Peter Axelson, Beneficial Designs

    Dr. Michael Bender, Johns Hopkins University & Medical School

    Dr. Terry Brown, University of Michigan

    Dr. Charles Bullock, University of Nevada

    Dr. David Compton, University of Utah

    Dr. Alan Ewert, Indiana University

    Dr. Edward Hamilton, Easter Seal Society of VA

    Dr. Barbara Hawkins, Indiana University

    Dr. Seppo Iso-Ahola, University of Maryland

    Dr. John Kennedy, Indiana University

    Dr. Leo McAvoy, University of Minnesota

    Dr. Lois Silverman, Indiana University

    Dr. Miguel Albarran, University of Puerto Rico


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