Staff from the National Center on Accessibility and the Eppley Institute have collectively worked with hundreds of park and recreation entities nationwide. Over the years, one of the top concerns of recreation professionals has continued to be, What do I do about accessibility? There are several key elements of a successful accessibility management program:
All federal, state, and local government entities are required* to appoint a person responsible for coordinating the administrative requirements of accessibility compliance and responding to complaints filed by the public. The name and contact information of the person responsible must be publicly advertised. *Applies to state or local government entities (ADA Title II) with 50 or more employees and any federal government agency (Rehabilitation Act Section 504).
Who is your Accessibility Coordinator?
Disability Awareness & Staff Training
Inclusion of all people—of all backgrounds and of all abilities—is considered a founding principle for building healthy communities. Providing training to staff, at all levels of an organization, in disability awareness, appropriate interactions, and etiquette, sets a critical foundation for welcoming individuals with disabilities and their families in park and recreation settings.
Are your staff trained in disability awareness concepts?
Check out the Eppley Institute’s Disability Awareness Micro-learning Series as part of the New Employee Onboarding package on provalenslearning.com!
Maintenance of Accessible Features
Maintenance is essential for all buildings, facilities, and outdoor recreation areas, but is especially important for accessibility purposes. Keeping accessible parking areas and routes clear of obstructions and debris, making sure that automatic door operators and elevators are functioning properly, and letting visitors know the location of accessible entrances and restrooms can make or break someone’s entire experience and perception of your agency.
How well are the accessible features of your indoor and outdoor areas maintained?
Community Engagement & Advisory Groups
Connecting with local disability services organizations, schools, advocacy groups, and others within your community can greatly impact the overall perception of your agency with regards to welcoming individuals with disabilities and their families. Some agencies have elected to form advisory groups, made up of individuals of varying backgrounds and abilities, with the goal of positively impacting the agencies’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.
What are you doing to welcome people with disabilities in your park and recreation areas?
To learn more about the professional development and partnership opportunities available through the Eppley Institute and the National Center on Accessibility, contact Michelle Cook, Accessibility Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-856-4422 and visit us online at ncaonline.org.