New England ADA Center
at the Institute for Human Centered Design
Since 1996, the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) has operated The New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center The Center meets the growing demands and the complex challenges of providing outreach, training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and capacity building through ADA network services. These services are tailored to meet the needs and preferences of people with rights and people with responsibilities under the ADA including information and training products for individual, business and government needs at the local, regional and national levels. We have 15 years of expertise and capacity providing ADA network services and a commitment to tackling new priorities in service and target populations.
Twenty-one years after the passage of the ADA, there has been important progress. But the goals of ‘maximum community participation’ are far from met. People with disabilities continue to face daily barriers in their lives. Despite comprehensive ADA network services in New England, there remain ADA knowledge gaps. We propose capacity building among priority audiences through fresh strategies that are informed by the experience of the Center and of IHCD. The New England ADA Center proposes to expand ADA network services beyond the core services with the following initiatives: to publish a set of new digital and interactive information tools that integrate recent ADA changes (Title II Action Guide, Title III Action Guide), build five new distance learning courses in the format of the first two very successful web-based multi-media courses, create new in-person training packages related to accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
We also propose to address persistent gaps in the field in a collaboration with the IHCDstudio that include: Field-based Training for Cities and Towns, an ADA Accessible Design 8-unit comprehensive course for architects and designers, a hands-on training for people with disabilities and other accessibility advocates on how to read an architectural drawings to check for compliance.
IHCD’s New England ADA Center employs three signature practices:
- learning by doing, based on the experience that people absorb what they learn interactively.
- engaging people with disabilities as ‘user-experts’ to advise on strategies and review products.
- designing and tailoring information so that it fits into the typical context of each target audience. If it’s embedded into daily norms for the mix of stakeholder audiences, it gets used.
Target population: The profile of disability has changed over the years in terms of types of conditions for both children and adults, cultural and socio-economic patterns of disability, and the implications of an aging society. In addition to our existing target populations, we intend to broaden our reach to populations that include emergency management personnel in the public and private sectors, youth especially those within the spectrum of prevalent learning, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions, veterans and older workers, increasingly likely to remain in the workforce into their ‘70s, people with disabilities from multi-cultural communities and low income communities.
Project benefits: Through every action, build capacity in New England to use the ADA to support the full participation of people with disabilities in the community.
Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) under Grant # H133A110028