Twenty years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is finally a "tool kit" for non-experts to measure whether public facilities are in compliance.
"This is designed to meet the needs of anyone who is reasonably intelligent but not necessarily a techie," explains Denis Anson, director of research for the Assistive Technology Research Institute (ATRI) at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania, and the kit's developer.
The ADA-CAT (Americans with Disabilities Act - Compliance Assessment Toolkit) provides simple pass-fail assessments of ADA requirements. It comes in two parts: a physical kit with assessment instruments and a website which defines the features of an accessible and usable environment and provides "just in time" instruction on how to use the tools to measure features of the environment.
The kit costs around $500 and has been brought to market by the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Institute of Ohio and Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization. That cost includes one-year access to the website which is maintained by Misericordia University. After the purchase year, or for those who have not purchased the toolkit, a subscription to the website service costs $70 annually. Proceeds from the sale of ADA-CAT will be shared evenly between ATRI and the AAC Institute.
Mr. Anson says the market for the kit includes educators in the Occupational and Physical Therapy fields who teach others how to assess facilities for ADA compliance. It also includes managers of public facilities ranging from schools to independent living centers to public parks and county fair grounds. Disability support groups in communities could also make use of it.
Mr. Anson got the idea for the compliance assessment kits when he was teaching a course in environment assessment for Misericordia University's occupational therapy program.
"Some of the standards for facilities accessibili
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