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'''Accessibility''' is a general term used to describe the degree to which a system is usable by as many people as possible without modification. It is not to be confused with [[usability]] which is used to describe how easily a thing can be used by any type of user. One meaning of accessibility specifically focuses on people with disabilities and their use of assistive devices such as screen-reading web browsers or wheelchairs. Other meanings are discussed below.
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{{About||the related design concept |Universal design|the logical notion|Accessibility relation|accessibility on the internet|Web accessibility}}
   
Accessibility is strongly related to [[universal design]] in that it is about making things as accessible as possible to as wide a group of people as possible. However, products marketed as having benefited from a Universal Design process are often actually the same devices customized specifically for use by people with disabilities. It is rare to find a Universally Designed product at the mass-market level that is used mostly by non-disabled people; Oxo Good Grips housewares are continually held up as an example.
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{{Disability}}
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[[Image:Curitiba 10 2006 05 RIT.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Universal access is provided in [[Curitiba]]'s [[Rede Integrada de Transporte|public transport]] system, [[Brazil]].]]
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'''Accessibility''' is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity. The concept is often used to focus on people with disabilities or special needs (such as the [[Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities]]) and their right of access to entities, enabling the use of [[assistive technology]].
   
==Disabilities==
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Accessibility is not to be confused with [[usability]] which is the extent to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.
The [[disability rights movement]] advocates equal access to social, political and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, organisations and facilities which we all pay for.
 
   
[[Image:Handicap reverse.svg|thumb|200px|A typical sign for wheelchair accessibility]]
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Accessibility is strongly related to [[universal design]] when the approach involves "direct access." This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not). An alternative is to provide "indirect access" by having the entity support the use of a person's [[assistive technology]] to achieve access (e.g., [[screen reader]]s).
'''Accessibility''' is about giving equal access to everyone.
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==Disabilities==
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The [[disability rights movement]] advocates equal access to social, political, and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities which we all pay for. Article 9 of the [[United Nations]] [[Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities]] commits signatories to provide for full accessibility in their countries.
   
While it is often used to describe facilities or amenities to assist people with [[disabilities]], as in "[[Easy Access|wheelchair accessible]]", the term can extend to [[Braille]] signage, [[wheelchair]] ramps, audio signals at [[pedestrian crossing]]s, walkway contours, [[website accessibility|website design]], and so on.
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[[Image:Handicapped Accessible sign.svg|thumb|This is the [[International Symbol of Access|internationally recognized symbol for accessibility]]]]
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While it is often used to describe facilities or amenities to assist people with [[disabilities]], as in "wheelchair accessible", the term can extend to [[Braille]] signage, [[wheelchair]] ramps, [[elevator]]s, audio signals at [[pedestrian crossing]]s, walkway contours, [[website accessibility|website design]], [[Accessible publishing|reading accessibility]], and so on.
   
Various countries have legislation requiring physical accessibility:
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Various countries have legislation requiring physical accessibility which are (in order of enactment):
*In the UK, the [[Disability Discrimination Act 1995]] has numerous provisions for accessibility.
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*In the US, under the [[Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990]], new public and private business construction generally must be accessible. Existing private businesses are required to increase the accessibility of their facilities when making any other renovations in proportion to the cost of the other renovations. The [[United States Access Board]] is "A Federal Agency Committed to Accessible Design for [[Americans with disabilities|People with Disabilities]]." The [[Job Accommodation Network]] discusses accommodations for people with disabilities in the workplace. Many states in the US have their own disability laws.
*In the US, under the [[Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990]], new public and private business construction generally must be accessible. Existing private businesses are required to increase the accessibility of their facilities when making any other renovations in proportion to the cost of the other renovations. [http://www.access-board.gov/ The U.S. Access Board] is "A Federal Agency Committed to Accessible Design for [[Americans with disabilities|People with Disabilities]]." Many states in the US have their own disability laws.
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*In Australia, the [[Disability Discrimination Act 1992]] has numerous provisions for accessibility.
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*In the UK, the [[Equality Act 2010]] has numerous provisions for accessibility.
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* In South Africa the [[Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000]] has numerous provisions for accessibility.
 
*In Ontario, Canada, the [[Ontarians with Disabilities Act]] of 2001 is meant to "improve the identification, removal and prevention of barriers faced by persons with disabilities..."
 
*In Ontario, Canada, the [[Ontarians with Disabilities Act]] of 2001 is meant to "improve the identification, removal and prevention of barriers faced by persons with disabilities..."
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===Assistive technology and adaptive technology===
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[[Assistive technology]] is the creation of a new device that assists a person in completing a task that would otherwise be impossible. Some examples include new computer software programs, and inventions such as [[assistive listening devices]], including [[hearing aid]]s, and [[traffic light]]s with a standard [[color code]] that enables [[colorblind]] individuals to understand the correct signal.
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Adaptive technology is the modification, or adaptation, of existing devices, methods, or the creation of new uses for existing devices, to enable a person to complete a task. Examples include the use of remote controls, and the [[autocomplete]] (word completion) feature in computer word processing programs, which both help individuals with mobility impairments to complete tasks. Adaptations to wheelchair tires are another example; widening the tires enables wheelchair users to move over soft surfaces, such as deep snow on ski hills, and sandy beaches.
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Assistive technology and adaptive technology have a key role in developing the means for people with disabilities to live more independently, and to more fully participate in mainstream society. In order to have access to assistive or adaptive technology, however, educating the public and even legislating requirements to incorporate this technology have been necessary.
   
 
==Transportation==
 
==Transportation==
In [[transport]]ation, accessibility refers to the ease of reaching destinations. People who are in places that are highly accessible can reach many other activities or destinations quickly, people in inaccessible places can reach many fewer places in the same amount of time.
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[[Image:Curitiba 10 2006 04 RIT.jpg|thumb|200px|Accessibility to all [[autobus|buses]] is provided in [[Curitiba]]'s [[Rede Integrada de Transporte|public transport]] system, [[Brazil]].]]
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[[Image:Mascarello Gran Via - Solemar Expresso.JPG|right|thumb|200px|An [[adapted]] bus in [[São Luís]], [[Brazil]] .]]
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[[File:Protram205 ramp.JPG|right|thumb|200px|Wheelchair-access ramp in [[Protram 205 WrAs]] tram]]
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In [[transport]]ation, accessibility refers to the ease of reaching destinations. Academics have disputed how the term "ease" should be defined and measured. People who are in places that are highly accessible can reach many other activities or destinations quickly, people in inaccessible places can reach fewer places in the same amount of time.
   
 
A measure that is often used is to measure accessibility in a [[traffic analysis zone]] ''i'' is:
 
A measure that is often used is to measure accessibility in a [[traffic analysis zone]] ''i'' is:
   
 
<math>
 
<math>
Accessibility_i = \sum_j {Opportunities_j } f\left( {C_{ij} } \right)
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Accessibility_i = \sum_j {Opportunities_j } \times f\left( {C_{ij} } \right)
 
</math>
 
</math>
 
where:
 
where:
* i = index of origin zones
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* <math>i</math> = index of origin zones
* j = index of destination zones
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* <math>j</math> = index of destination zones
* f(C<sub>ij</sub>) = function of generalized travel cost (so that nearer (or less expensive) places are weighted more than farther or more expensive places).
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* <math>f\left( {C_{ij} } \right)</math> = function of generalized travel cost (so that nearer or less expensive places are weighted more than farther or more expensive places).
   
For a non-motorised [[mode of transport]], such as walking or cycling, the generalised travel cost may include additional factors such as safety or gradient.
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For a non-motorized [[mode of transport]], such as [[walking]] or [[cycling]], the generalized travel cost may include additional factors such as [[safety]] or [[gradient]].
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[[Transport for London]] utilise a calculated approach known as [[Public Transport Accessibility Level]] (PTAL) that uses the distance from any point to the nearest public transport stops, and service frequency at those stops, to assess the accessibility of a site to public transport services.
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Automobile accessibility also refers to ease of use by disabled people.
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{{Expand section|date=May 2008}}
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===Accessibility planning===
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In the [[United Kingdom]], the [[Department for Transport]] has mandated that each [[Local authority#England|local authority]] produce an Accessibility Plan that is incorporated in their [[Local Transport Plan]]. An Accessibility Plan sets out how each local authority plans to improve access to employment, learning, health care, food shops and other services of local importance, particularly for disadvantaged groups and areas. Accessibility targets are defined in the accessibility plans, these are often the distance or time to access services by different modes of transport including walking, cycling and public transport.
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Accessibility Planning was introduced as a result of the report "Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion".<ref>Office of the Deputy Prime Minister&nbsp;– Social Exclusion Unit: "[http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/cabinetoffice/social_exclusion_task_force/assets/publications_1997_to_2006/making_transport_2003.pdf Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion]". February 2003.</ref> This report was the result of research carried out by the [[Social exclusion|Social Exclusion]] Unit. The United Kingdom also has a "code of practice" for making train and stations accessible: "Accessible Train and Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice".<ref>Department of Transport & Transport Scotland: "[http://www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/rail/railstations/accessiblestationdesigns/cop.pdf Accessible Train and Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice]". July 2008.</ref> This code of practice was first published in 2002 with the objective of compliance to Section 71B of the Railways Act 1993, and revised after a public consultation period in 2008.
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====Accessibility in urban design====
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Accessibility modifications to conventional urban environments has become common in recent decades. The use of a [[curb cut]], or [[kassel kerb]], to enable wheelchair or walker movement between sidewalk and street level is found in most major cities of wealthy countries. The creation of priority parking spaces and of [[disabled parking permit]]s has made them a standard feature of urban environments. Features that assist people with visual impairments include [[braille]] signs and [[tactile paving]] to allow a user with a cane to easily identify stairways, train platforms, and similar areas that could pose a physical danger to anyone who has a visual impairment.
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Urban design features that may appear to be simple conveniences for persons without disabilities are often essential to anyone who has a disability. The loss of these features presents a significant barrier. For example, sometimes a lack of prompt snow-clearing on sidewalks of major Canadian city streets means that wheelchair and walker users cannot reach pedestrian crossing buttons on crosswalk posts, due to snow bank accumulation around the posts, making the crossing buttons inaccessible. Public services must take into account the need to maintain accessibility features in the urban environment.
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====Accessibility in urban public services====
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Making public services fully accessible to the public has led to some technological innovations. [[Public announcement]] systems using [[audio induction loop]] technology can broadcast announcements directly into the hearing aid of anyone with a hearing impairment, making them useful in such public places as auditoriums and train stations. Australia's government has supported the creation of the [[National Public Toilet Map]], to enable users to locate public toilet facilities throughout the country. [[GPS]] is also included as a feature. The service assists people with continence issues, which is estimated to be up to 18% of the population, including the elderly and families with young children.
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===Low floor===
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:''"Low floor" redirects here''
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{{See also|Low-floor bus|Low-floor tram}}
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A significant development in transportation, and [[public transport]] in particular, to achieve accessibility, is the move to "low-floor" vehicles. In a low-floor vehicle, access to part or all of the passenger cabin is unobstructed from one or more entrances by the presence of steps, enabling easier access for the infirm or people with [[Baby transport|push chairs]]. A further aspect may be that the entrance and corridors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Low-floor vehicles have been developed for [[bus]]es, [[trolleybus]]es and [[trams]].
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A low floor in the vehicular sense is normally combined in a conceptual meaning with normal pedestrian access from a standard [[Curb (road)|kerb]] height. However, the accessibility of a low-floor vehicle can also be utilised from slightly raising portions of kerb at [[bus stop]]s, or through use of level boarding [[bus rapid transit]] 'stations' or tram stops. The combination of access from a kerb was the technological development of the 1990s, as step-free interior layouts for buses had existed in some cases for decades, with entrance steps being introduced as chassis designs and overall height regulations changed.
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Low-floor buses may also be designed with special height adjustment controls that permit a stationary bus to temporarily lower itself to ground level, permitting wheelchair access. This is referred to as a [[kneeling bus]].
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At [[rapid transit]] systems, vehicles generally have floors in the same height as the platforms but the stations are often underground or elevated, so accessibility there isn't a question of providing low-floor vehicles, but providing a step-free access from street level to the platforms (generally by [[elevator]]s, which are somewhere restricted to disabled passengers only, so that the step-free access isn't obstructed by healthy people taking advantage).
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==Housing==
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Most existing and new housing, even in the wealthiest nations, lack basic accessibility features unless the designated, immediate occupant of a home currently has a disability. However, there are some initiatives to change typical residential practices so that new homes incorporate basic access features such as zero-step entries and door widths adequate for wheelchairs to pass through. [[Occupational Therapist]]s are a professional group skilled in the assessment and making of recommendations to improve access to homes.<ref>Occupational therapy research on assistive technology and physical environmental issues: A literature review, Fange et al. (2006), Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy</ref> They are involved in both the adaptation of existing housing to improve accessibility,<ref>Changes in accessibility and usability in housing: an exploration of the housing adaptation process (2005), Fange and Iwarsson, Occupational Therapy International</ref> and in the design of future housing.<ref>Accessibility and usability in housing: construct validity and implications for research and practice (2003), Fange and Iwarsson, Disability and Rehabilitation</ref>
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In Canada, Flexhousing<sup>TM</sup> is a concept that encourages homeowners to make renovations that modify their house over time to meet changing accessibility needs. The concept supports the goals of enabling "homeowners to occupy a dwelling for longer periods of time, perhaps over their entire lifetimes, while adapting to changing circumstances and meeting a wide range of needs"; Universal Housing in the United States and Lifetime Homes in the United Kingdom are similar concepts.<ref>{{cite web|title=What is Flexhousing(TM)?|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/flho/flho_001.cfm|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|accessdate=August 26, 2012}}</ref>
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Great Britain applies the most widespread application of home access to date. In 1999, Parliament passed Section M, an amendment to residential building regulations requiring basic access in all new homes.<ref>"Doors to Be Swept Away in New Rules for Builders", Rachel Kelley, [[The Times]], December 5, 1997.</ref> In the United States, the 1988 Amendments to the [[Fair Housing Act]] added people with disabilities, as well as familial status, to the classes already protected by law from [[discrimination]] (race, color, gender, religion, creed, and country of origin). Among the protection for people with disabilities in the 1988 Amendments are seven construction requirements for all multifamily buildings of more than four units first occupied after March 13, 1991. These seven requirements are as follows:<ref>Fair Housing First, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.</ref>
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#An accessible building entrance on an accessible route,
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#Accessible common and public use areas,
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#Doors usable by a person in a wheelchair,
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#Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit,
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#Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations,
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#Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars, and
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#Usable kitchens and bathrooms.
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Access is typically defined within the limits of what a person sitting in a wheelchair is able to reach with arm movement only, with minimal shifting of the legs and torso. Lighting and thermostat controls should not be above and power outlets should not be below the reach of a person in a wheelchair.
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Sinks and cooking areas typically need to be designed without cupboards below them, to permit the legs of the wheelchair user to roll underneath, and countertops may be of reduced height to accommodate a sitting rather than standing user. In some cases two food preparation areas may be combined into a single kitchen to permit both standing and wheelchair users.
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In spite of these advancements, the housing types where most people in the United States reside&nbsp;– single-family homes&nbsp;– are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, or any other federal law with the exception of the small percentage of publicly funded homes impacted by [[Section 504]] of the Rehabilitation Act. As a result, the great majority of new single-family homes replicate the barriers in existing homes.
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The broad concept of [[Universal design]] is relevant to housing, as it is to all aspects of the built environment. Furthermore, a [[Visitability]] movement begun by grass roots disability advocates in the 1980s focuses specifically on changing construction practices in new housing. This movement, a network of interested people working in their locales, works on educating, passing laws, and spurring voluntary home access initiatives with the intention that basic access become a routine part of new home construction.
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===Renovations for accessibility===
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Homeowners may be challenged by the need to find renovators familiar with accessible design issues. The federal government of Canada and the provincial governments work jointly to share the cost of offering reimbursement programs for homeowners in need of house renovations for accessibility.<ref>{{cite web|title=Home Adaptations for Seniors' Independence|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/prfinas/prfinas_004.cfm|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|accessdate=August 26, 2012}}</ref> These programs improve the ability of homeowners to fund house modifications, through renovating existing houses.
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===Adaptations and accommodations===
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Many [[ranch style home]]s and [[manufactured home]]s utilize a main floor slightly raised above ground level, but have an overall flat layout with either a [[Basement#Crawl space|crawlspace]] or slightly raised [[basement]] below for plumbing, electrical, and heating systems. These homes can be relatively easily modified to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, with the installation of a long low-rise ramp outside the building, up to the house entrance, placed over the existing stairway. This ramp can then be removed at a later time, reverting back to the stairway entrance if the handicapped access is no longer necessary.
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[[Split level home]]s tend to be designed with multiple internal stairways and half-floor landings inside the building. There may be an entrance area inside the building at ground level, with stairs inside the entrance that immediately go up and down from the ground level. These homes are difficult to accommodate inexpensively since there is often no space available inside the structure to install long sloping wheelchair ramps to access the various floors. It may be possible to retrofit [[stair lift]]s into the stairwells or [[wheelchair lift]]s into balconies near the stairwell.
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Multi-story homes can sometimes be accommodated by installing a private [[residential elevator]], which is usually much less expensive and has fewer design and layout requirements than a full commercial elevator. Homebuilders can in some cases plan for a future residential elevator by designing closet spaces in each floor stacked vertically with the same dimensions and location. At a later time the closet floors and ceilings are removed and the elevator equipment is installed into the open shaft.
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Below are some current suggested architectural features of a universally-accessible house:<ref>{{cite web|title=FlexHousing(TM) features a room-by-room demonstration|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/flho/flho_005.cfm|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|accessdate=August 26, 2012}}</ref>
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{| class="wikitable"
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|-
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! Kitchen !! Hallways and stairways !! Living room / Family room !! Bathroom
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|-
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| A side-opening, wall-mounted oven with a pullout board beneath || Hallways should be 1,200 mm (4 feet) wide || A doorless entry with no threshold || The bathroom door should be a minimum of 865 mm (34 inches) wide and open outward to avoid obstructing the limited space inside
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|-
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| Pull-out work boards at varying heights || Stairs should be 1 meter (43 inches) wide and a maximum of 280 mm (11inches) deep || A uniform level throughout the room eliminates abrupt changes that can create trip hazards || Dual lever faucets are easier to use than single lever or ball-type faucets
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|-
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| Knee space left under the sink or a cooktop || The maximum riser height should be 180 mm (7 inches) || The installation of extra electrical, telephone and cable outlets accommodates technology and provides for maximum flexibility in furniture arrangement || Install non-slip flooring for any area that is prone to getting wet
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|-
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| Pull-out drawers for storage rather than deep shelves || Flights of stairs should be straight with the same number of steps in each flight with a minimum of three and maximum of twelve risers || Light switches should be accessible from a sitting position and one switch should be located at the entrance to the living room || Leave free space on at least one side of the toilet for improved access
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|-
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|}
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===Accessibility and 'ageing in place'===
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Accessibility in the design of housing and household devices has become more prominent in recent decades due to a rapidly ageing population in developed countries. Ageing seniors may wish to continue living independently, but the ageing process naturally increases the disabilities that a senior citizen will experience. A growing trend is the desire for many senior citizens to 'age in place', living as independently as possible for as long as possible. Accessibility modifications that allow ageing in place are becoming more common. Housing may even be designed to incorporate accessibility modifications that can be made throughout the life cycle of the residents.
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Adaptations for seniors take into account the most common physical impairments affecting the elderly. For example, a common cause of serious injury for seniors is falling inside the home. Adding handrails and [[grab bars]] throughout the home, particularly in bathrooms and along stairways, helps reduce the risk of falling. Other adaptations that improve accessibility for seniors include: easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen; reaching devices to grab objects on high shelves; lever handles on doors; [[toilet seat riser]]s; walk-in showers; and bathtub and shower seats.
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====Alzheimer disease and housing adaptations====
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[[Alzheimer disease]] presents specific challenges for caregivers, who need to make the home as accessible as possible to the elderly resident, while keeping safety features in mind. Removable stove switch knobs, locks on kitchen cabinets, electric kettles with automatic shut-off,<ref>{{cite web|title=Safety in the kitchen|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/adse/athoaldi/index.cfm|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|accessdate=August 26, 2012}}</ref> and adding lighting to eliminate shadows in the house can all help caregivers to reduce dangers to the person with Alzheimer disease. Other features that can improve the well-being of the elderly person can include marking doors with conspicuous and distinct signs or objects such as ribbons or wreaths, can assist memory. Adding a cot or bed to the main floor of the house to allow the elderly person to rest without climbing stairs to a bedroom can be helpful to the Alzheimer patient. Furniture and clutter can also be removed to make the house more safe for an elderly person inclined to pace or wander.<ref>{{cite web|title=Pacing, wandering and confusion|url=http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/adse/athoaldi/athoaldi_007.cfm|publisher=Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation|accessdate=August 26, 2012}}</ref>
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==Telecommunications and IT access==
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{{Disputed-section|date=November 2009}}
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{{Out of date|date=November 2009}}
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{{Main|Design for All (in ICT)}}
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Another dimension of accessibility is the ability to access information and services by minimizing the barriers of distance and cost as well as the accessibility and usability of the interface. In many countries this has led to initiatives, laws and/or regulations that aim toward providing universal access to the internet and to phone systems at reasonable cost to citizens.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.w3.org/WAI/users/browsing.html|title=Better Web Browsing: Tips for Customizing Your Computer|publisher=World Wide Web Consortium}}</ref>
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The following disabilities interfere with telecommunications and technology access, as well as many other life activities.
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* [[Speech disorder]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://health.nih.gov/topic/SpeechCommunicationDisorders|title=Speech and Communication Disorders|publisher=National Institutes of Health}}</ref>
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* [[Hearing impairment]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hearingdisordersanddeafness.html|title=Hearing Disorders and Deafness|publisher=National Library of Medicine}}</ref>
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* [[Visual impairment]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/visionimpairmentandblindness.html|title=Visual Impairment and Blindness|publisher=National Library of Medicine}}</ref>
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* Limb deformity or injury
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Each kind of disability requires a different kind of accommodation, and this may require analysis by a medical specialist and job analysis when the impairment requires accommodation.
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* [[Job analysis]]<ref>{{cite journal|pmc=2538128|title=Pre-employment and periodical health examinations, job analysis and placement of workers|publisher=National Library of Medicine | pmid=13276805|volume=13|issue=4|year=1955|journal=Bull. World Health Organ.|pages=495–503}}</ref>
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===Mobility impairments===
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One of the first areas where information technology improved the quality of life for disabled individuals is the voice operated wheelchair. Quadriplegics have the most profound disability, and the voice operated wheel chair technology was first developed in 1977 to provide increased mobility. The original version replaced the joystick system with a module that recognized 8 commands. Many other technology accommodation improvements have evolved from this initial development.<ref>{{cite journal|pmid=849131|title=Voice Operated Wheelchair|publisher=National Library of Medicine | volume=58|issue=4|year=1977|month=April|journal=Arch Phys Med Rehabil|pages=169–75}}</ref>
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Missing arms and fingers interferes with the use of a keyboard and pointing device (mouse). This can be one of the most devastating types of handicap, and technology has made great improvements in this area during the last 20 years. Speech recognition devices and software can improve technology access.
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* [[Speech recognition]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://itl.nist.gov/iad/mig/publications/ASRhistory/index.html|title=History of Automatic Speech Recognition|publisher=National Institutes of Science and Technology}}</ref>
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* [[Dragon NaturallySpeaking]]
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* [http://help.opera.com/Windows/9.22/en/voice.html Opera Voice Browsing]<ref name="opera1">{{cite web|url=http://help.opera.com/Windows/9.22/en/voice.html|title=Opera Voice Browsing|publisher=Opera}}</ref>
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* [http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/physical.html Apple Accessibility]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/physical.html|title=Apple Accessibility|publisher=Apple Computer}}</ref>
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===Speech impairments===
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A speech disorder interferes with the ability to produce clearly understandable speech. There can be many different causes, such as nerve degeneration, muscle degeneration, stroke, and vocal cord injury.
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* [[Speech and language pathology]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://science-education.nih.gov/lifeworks.nsf/alphabetical+list/Speech-Language+Pathologist|title=Speech-language pathologists|publisher=National Institutes of Health}}</ref>
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The modern method to deal with speaking disabilities has been to provide a text interface for a speech synthesizer for complete vocal disability. This can be a great improvement for people that have been limited to the use of a throat vibrator to produce speech since the 1960s.
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* [[Speech synthesis]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www-nlpir.nist.gov/MINDS/FINAL/speech.web.pdf|title=Speech Synthesis|publisher=National Institutes of Science and Technology}}</ref>
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* [http://www.jstor.org/pss/3454024 Throat vibrator]<ref>{{cite journal|jstor=3454024|title=Throat Vibrator|publisher=}}</ref>
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===Hearing impairment===
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An individual satisfies the definition of hearing disabled when hearing loss is about 30dB for a single frequency, but this is not always perceptible as a handicap. For example, loss of sensitivity in one ear interferes with sound localization (directional hearing), which can interfere with communication in a crowd. This is often recognized when certain words are confused during normal conversation. This can interfere with voice-only interfaces, like automated customer service telephone systems, because it is sometimes difficult to increase the volume and repeat the message.
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* [[Audiology#Audiologist|Audiologist]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://science-education.nih.gov/lifeworks.nsf/alphabetical+list/Physician,+Audiologist?OpenDocument&ShowTab=3&|title=Audiologist|publisher=National Institutes of Health}}</ref>
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* [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787079/ Consonant recognition loss in hearing impaired listeners]}<ref>{{cite journal|pmc=2787079|title=Consonant recognition loss in hearing impaired listeners|publisher=National Library of Medicine | pmid=19894845|doi=10.1121/1.3238257|volume=126|issue=5|year=2009|month=November|journal=J. Acoust. Soc. Am.|pages=2683–94}}</ref>
  +
  +
Mild to moderate hearing loss may be accommodated with a hearing aid that amplifies ambient sounds. Portable devices with speed recognition that can produce text can reduce problems associated with understanding conversation. This kind of hearing loss is relatively common, and this often grows worse with age.
  +
* [http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/hearing.htm Hearing Loss: National Institute on Aging]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/hearing.htm|title=Hearing Loss|publisher=National Institute on Aging}}</ref>
  +
  +
The modern method to deal with profound hearing disability is the Internet using email or word processing applications. The Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) became available in the form of the teletype (TTY) during the 1960s. These devices consist of a keyboard, display and modem that connects two or more of these devices using a dedicated wire or plain old telephone service.
  +
* [[Telecommunications device for the deaf]]
  +
* [[Teleprinter]]
  +
* [[Plain old telephone service]]
  +
* [[Absolute threshold of hearing]]
  +
  +
===Visual impairments===
  +
Visual impairment can be one of the most difficult kinds of handicap.
  +
* [[Ophthalmology]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://science-education.nih.gov/LifeWorks.nsf/Alphabetical+List/Ophthalmologist?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,Ophthalmology&ShowTab=All&|title=Ophthalmologist|publisher=National Institutes of Health}}</ref>
  +
  +
A wide range of technology products are available to deal with visual impairment. This includes screen magnification for monitors, mouse-over speech synthesis browsing, braille displays, braille printers, braille cameras, voice operated phones and tablets.
  +
* [[Speech synthesis]]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www-nlpir.nist.gov/MINDS/FINAL/speech.web.pdf|title=Historical Development and Future Directions in Speech Recognition and Understanding|publisher=National Institutes of Science and Technology}}</ref>
  +
* [http://current.com/16cvu4c Touch Sight Camera for the Blind]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://current.com/16cvu4c|title=Touch Sight Camera for the Blind|publisher=Current TV}}</ref>
  +
* [http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/vision.html Vision: Apple]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.apple.com/accessibility/macosx/vision.html|title=Vision|publisher=Apple Computer}}</ref>
  +
* [http://help.opera.com/Windows/9.22/en/voice.html Opera Voice Browsing]<ref name="opera1"/>
  +
* [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firesay/ Firefox Voice Browsing]<ref>{{cite web|url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firesay/|title=Firesay Addon|publisher=Mozilla}}</ref>
  +
* [http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3597 Voice Control: Apple]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3597|title=Voice Control|publisher=Apple Computer}}</ref>
  +
* [[Refreshable Braille display]]
  +
  +
One emerging product that will make ordinary computer displays available for the blind is the refreshable tactile display, which is very different from a conventional braille display. This provides a raised surface corresponding to the bright and dim spots on a conventional display, much like the Touch Sight Camera for the Blind.
  +
* [http://www.yenra.com/refreshable-tactile-display/ Refreshable Tactile Display]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.yenra.com/refreshable-tactile-display/|title=Refreshable Tactile Display|publisher=Ventra}}</ref>
  +
  +
Speech Synthesis Markup Language and Speech Recognition Grammar Specification are emerging technologies intended to standardize communication interfaces using BNF Form and XML Form. These technologies assist visual impairments and physical impairment by providing interactive access to web content without the need to visually observe the content. While these technologies provides access for visually impaired individuals, the primary benefactor has been automated systems that replace live human customer service representatives that handle telephone calls.
  +
* [http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/ Speech Synthesis Markup Language]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/|title=Speech Synthesis Markup Language|publisher=World Wide Web Consortium}}</ref>
  +
* [http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-grammar/ Speech Recognition Grammar Specification]<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-grammar/|title=Speech Recognition Grammar Specification|publisher=World Wide Web Consortium}}</ref>
  +
  +
===Web Accessibility===
  +
====International standards and guidelines====
  +
There have been a few major movements to coordinate a set of guidelines for accessibility for the web. The first and most well known is The [[Web Accessibility Initiative]] (WAI), which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium ([[W3C]]). This organization developed the [[Web Content Accessibility Guidelines]] (WCAG) 1.0 and 2.0 which explain how to make Web content accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a Web page or Web application, including text, images, forms, and sounds. (More specific definitions are available in the WCAG documents.)<ref>[http://www.w3.org/WAI/gettingstarted/Overview.html WAI Resources on Introducing Web Accessibility<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
  +
  +
The WCAG is separated into 3 levels of compliance, A, AA and AAA. Each level requires a stricter set of conformance guidelines, such as different versions of [[HTML]] (Transitional vs Strict) and other techniques that need to be incorporated into your code before accomplishing validation. Online tools allow users to submit their website and automatically run it through the WCAG guidelines and produce a report, stating whether or not they conform to each level of compliance. [[Adobe Dreamweaver]] also offers plugins which allow web developers to test these guidelines on their work from within the program.
  +
  +
Another source of web accessibility guidance comes from the [[US government]]. In response to Section 508 of the [[1973 Rehabilitation Act|US Rehabilitation Act]], the Access Board developed standards to which U.S. federal agencies must comply in order to make their sites accessible. The U.S. General Services Administration has developed a website where one can take online training courses for free to learn about these rules.<ref>Section 508: [http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=5 508 Training].</ref>
  +
====Features for Web accessibility====
  +
Examples of website features that can help to make it accessible include the following:
  +
* At least WAI-AA (preferably AAA) compliance with the WAI's WCAG
  +
* [[Semantic HTML|Semantic]] Web markup
  +
* (X)HTML Validation from the W3C for the pages content
  +
* CSS Validation from the W3C for the pages layout
  +
* Compliance with all guidelines from Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act
  +
* A high contrast version of the site for individuals with low vision, and a low contrast (yellow or blue) version of the site for individuals with dyslexia
  +
* Alternative media for any multimedia used on the site (video, flash, audio, etc.)
  +
* Simple and consistent navigation
  +
* Device Independent
  +
  +
While WCAG provides much technical information for use by web designers, coders and editors, [http://www.hassellinclusion.com/bs8878/ BS 8878:2010 Web accessibility - Code of Practice] has been introduced, initially in the UK, to help site owners and product managers to understand the importance of accessibility. It includes advice on the business case behind accessibility, and how organisations might usefully update their policies and production processes to embed accessibility in their business-as-usual.
  +
  +
Another useful idea is for websites to include a web accessibility statement on the site. Initially introduced in [http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/footer/accessibility-statement/general-web-accessibility-guidance/ PAS 78], the best practice for web accessibility statements has been updated in [http://www.hassellinclusion.com/bs8878/ BS 8878] to emphasise the inclusion of: information on how disabled and elderly people could get a better experience of using the website by using assistive technologies or accessibility settings of browsers and operating systems (linking to [http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/ BBC My Web My Way] can be useful here); information on what accessibility features the site's creators have included, and if there are any user needs which the site doesn't currently support (for example, descriptive video to allow blind people to access the information in videos more easily); and contact details for disabled people to be able to use to let the site creators know if they have any problems in using the site. While validations against WCAG, and other accessibility badges can also be included, they should be put lower down the statement, as most disabled people still do not understand these technical terms.
  +
* [http://www.hassellinclusion.com/accessibility/ Example of an accessibility statement written by the lead-author of BS 8878]
  +
  +
==Meeting and conference access==
  +
Meetings and conferences should consider the needs of all of their participants. Checklists such as this may make it easier to identify specific needs:
  +
;[[mobility aid|Mobility access]]
  +
*[[Wheelchair]] accessible transportation
  +
*Reserved parking
  +
*Barrier-free meeting rooms / restrooms / podium/speaker's platform
  +
*ADA Compliant Ramp Access to businesses and public places<ref>
  +
{{cite web
  +
|url=http://www.modular-wheelchair-ramps.com/Modular_Ramps/ADA_Modular_Ramp_Specs.aspx
  +
|title=ADA Specifications for Wheelchair use
  +
|accessdate=February 2012}}</ref>
  +
*Accessible lodging
  +
;Hearing access
  +
*Advance copies of papers
  +
*An assistive listening system
  +
*Sign language interpreters
  +
*A quiet place to gather for social conversation (a quieter space that is still visible to others should be reserved at social events or dinners so that people who are hard of hearing may go there to talk with their colleagues.)
  +
*TTY access or Internet-based TRS
  +
;Sight access
  +
*Large print/braille copies of the program and papers
  +
*A student volunteer to guide and describe the artwork, computer work, etc.
  +
*A tech to help with assistive devices and screen readers (e.g., [[JAWS (screen reader)|JAWS]])
  +
*Gloves to touch three dimensional work (where permissible)
  +
;Other issues
  +
*Notification if social events include flashing lights and noises (these can cause seizures, so either avoid them or announce them ahead of time).
  +
*Notices asking participants to refrain from allergy-producing problems (e.g., perfumes)
  +
*Inform food providers of food allergies (e.g., peanuts, shellfish, etc.)
  +
*Referral information for local personal care attendant agencies
  +
*Referral information for veterinarian care for service animals
  +
*Access to a place to rest during the day (if the conference venue is far from the lodgings)
  +
  +
For a complete checklist, consult [http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Programs/equal_conf.html Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations].
  +
  +
==Education and accessibility for students==
  +
===Test accessibility===
  +
Test accessibility is defined as the extent to which a test and its constituent item set eliminates barriers and permits the test-taker to demonstrate his or her knowledge of the tested content. Test accessibility involves an interaction between features of the test and individual test-taker characteristics.
  +
  +
With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, student accountability in essential content areas such as reading, mathematics, and science has become a major area of focus in educational reform. As a result, test developers have needed to create tests to ensure all students, including those with special needs (e.g., students identified with disabilities), are given the opportunity to demonstrate the extent to which they have mastered the content measured on state assessments. Currently, states are permitted to develop two different types of tests in addition to the standard grade-level assessments to target students with special needs. First, the alternate assessment may be used to report proficiency for up to 1% of students in a state. Second, new regulations permit the use of alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards to report proficiency for up to 2% of students in a state.
  +
  +
To ensure these new tests generate results that permit valid inferences about student performance, they must be accessible to as many individuals as possible. The Test Accessibility and Modification Inventory (TAMI)<ref>{{cite web|url=http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/tami.xml |title=Peabody College of Education and Human Development &#124; Vanderbilt University |publisher=Peabody.vanderbilt.edu |date=2012-07-30 |accessdate=2012-08-13}}</ref> and its companion evaluation tool, the Accessibility Rating Matrix (ARM), were designed to facilitate the evaluation of tests and test items with a focus on enhancing their accessibility. Both instruments integrate principles of accessibility theory and were guided by research on universal design, assessment accessibility, cognitive load theory, and research on item-writing and test development. The TAMI is a non-commercial instrument that has been made available to all state assessment directors and testing companies. Assessment researchers have used the ARM to conduct accessibility reviews of state assessment items for several state departments of education.
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Universal design]]
+
{{div col|cols=2}}
  +
*[[Accessible vehicle]]
  +
*[[Accessible publishing]]
 
*[[Assistive technology]]
 
*[[Assistive technology]]
*[[Public Transport Accessibility Level]]
+
*[[Accessible toilets]]
  +
*[[Accessible tourism]]
  +
*[[CEN/CENELEC Guide 6]]
 
*[[Computer accessibility]]
 
*[[Computer accessibility]]
*[[Web accessibility]]
+
*[[Convenience]]
  +
*[[Design for All (design philosophy)]]
  +
*[[Design for All (in ICT)]]
  +
*[[Ergonomics]]
  +
*[[Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility]]
 
*[[Game accessibility]]
 
*[[Game accessibility]]
  +
*[[Nationwide Access Register]] (in the UK)
  +
*[[Occupational therapy]]
  +
*[[Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act]]
 
*[[Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973]]
 
*[[Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973]]
*[[Music cognition#Accessibility|Accessibility]] section of [[Music cognition]]
+
*[[Transgenerational design]]
  +
*[[Visitability]]
  +
*[[Walking audit]]
  +
*[[Web accessibility]]
  +
*[[Universal design for instruction]]
  +
{{div col end}}
  +
  +
==References==
  +
{{Reflist|30em}}
  +
  +
  +
   
 
==References & Bibliography==
 
==References & Bibliography==
{{unsourced}}
 
 
==Key texts==
 
==Key texts==
 
===Books===
 
===Books===
Line 52: Line 61:
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://www.nrac.org.uk National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC)] - a national register persons in the United Kingdom capable of auditing premises or designing modifications to them to raise their accessibility
 
*[http://www.sath.org/ Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality]
 
   
===Technology Accessibility===
+
*[http://www.ncsu.edu/project/design-projects/udi/ The Center for Universal Design]
*[http://www.afb.org/accessibility.asp Accessibility - American Foundation for the Blind]
+
*[http://www.washington.edu/doit/CUDE/ The Center for Universal Design in Education]
*[http://www.accessibility.nl/?languageId=2 Accessibility] from the Bartiméus Accessibility Foundation
 
   
 
[[Category:Disability]]
 
[[Category:Disability]]
 
[[Category:Ergonomics]]
 
[[Category:Ergonomics]]
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[[fr:Accessibilité]]
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[[ko:접근성]]
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{{enWP|Accessibility}}
 
{{enWP|Accessibility}}

Latest revision as of 11:17, October 5, 2012

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Clinical: Approaches · Group therapy · Techniques · Types of problem · Areas of specialism · Taxonomies · Therapeutic issues · Modes of delivery · Model translation project · Personal experiences ·



File:Curitiba 10 2006 05 RIT.jpg

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity. The concept is often used to focus on people with disabilities or special needs (such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and their right of access to entities, enabling the use of assistive technology.

Accessibility is not to be confused with usability which is the extent to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

Accessibility is strongly related to universal design when the approach involves "direct access." This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not). An alternative is to provide "indirect access" by having the entity support the use of a person's assistive technology to achieve access (e.g., screen readers).

DisabilitiesEdit

The disability rights movement advocates equal access to social, political, and economic life which includes not only physical access but access to the same tools, services, organizations and facilities which we all pay for. Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commits signatories to provide for full accessibility in their countries.

File:Handicapped Accessible sign.svg

While it is often used to describe facilities or amenities to assist people with disabilities, as in "wheelchair accessible", the term can extend to Braille signage, wheelchair ramps, elevators, audio signals at pedestrian crossings, walkway contours, website design, reading accessibility, and so on.

Various countries have legislation requiring physical accessibility which are (in order of enactment):

Assistive technology and adaptive technologyEdit

Assistive technology is the creation of a new device that assists a person in completing a task that would otherwise be impossible. Some examples include new computer software programs, and inventions such as assistive listening devices, including hearing aids, and traffic lights with a standard color code that enables colorblind individuals to understand the correct signal.

Adaptive technology is the modification, or adaptation, of existing devices, methods, or the creation of new uses for existing devices, to enable a person to complete a task. Examples include the use of remote controls, and the autocomplete (word completion) feature in computer word processing programs, which both help individuals with mobility impairments to complete tasks. Adaptations to wheelchair tires are another example; widening the tires enables wheelchair users to move over soft surfaces, such as deep snow on ski hills, and sandy beaches.

Assistive technology and adaptive technology have a key role in developing the means for people with disabilities to live more independently, and to more fully participate in mainstream society. In order to have access to assistive or adaptive technology, however, educating the public and even legislating requirements to incorporate this technology have been necessary.

TransportationEdit

File:Curitiba 10 2006 04 RIT.jpg
File:Mascarello Gran Via - Solemar Expresso.JPG
File:Protram205 ramp.JPG

In transportation, accessibility refers to the ease of reaching destinations. Academics have disputed how the term "ease" should be defined and measured. People who are in places that are highly accessible can reach many other activities or destinations quickly, people in inaccessible places can reach fewer places in the same amount of time.

A measure that is often used is to measure accessibility in a traffic analysis zone i is:


Accessibility_i  = \sum_j {Opportunities_j } \times f\left( {C_{ij} } \right)
where:

  • i = index of origin zones
  • j = index of destination zones
  • f\left( {C_{ij} } \right) = function of generalized travel cost (so that nearer or less expensive places are weighted more than farther or more expensive places).

For a non-motorized mode of transport, such as walking or cycling, the generalized travel cost may include additional factors such as safety or gradient.

Transport for London utilise a calculated approach known as Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) that uses the distance from any point to the nearest public transport stops, and service frequency at those stops, to assess the accessibility of a site to public transport services.

Automobile accessibility also refers to ease of use by disabled people. Template:Expand section

Accessibility planningEdit

In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport has mandated that each local authority produce an Accessibility Plan that is incorporated in their Local Transport Plan. An Accessibility Plan sets out how each local authority plans to improve access to employment, learning, health care, food shops and other services of local importance, particularly for disadvantaged groups and areas. Accessibility targets are defined in the accessibility plans, these are often the distance or time to access services by different modes of transport including walking, cycling and public transport.

Accessibility Planning was introduced as a result of the report "Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion".[1] This report was the result of research carried out by the Social Exclusion Unit. The United Kingdom also has a "code of practice" for making train and stations accessible: "Accessible Train and Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice".[2] This code of practice was first published in 2002 with the objective of compliance to Section 71B of the Railways Act 1993, and revised after a public consultation period in 2008.

Accessibility in urban designEdit

Accessibility modifications to conventional urban environments has become common in recent decades. The use of a curb cut, or kassel kerb, to enable wheelchair or walker movement between sidewalk and street level is found in most major cities of wealthy countries. The creation of priority parking spaces and of disabled parking permits has made them a standard feature of urban environments. Features that assist people with visual impairments include braille signs and tactile paving to allow a user with a cane to easily identify stairways, train platforms, and similar areas that could pose a physical danger to anyone who has a visual impairment.

Urban design features that may appear to be simple conveniences for persons without disabilities are often essential to anyone who has a disability. The loss of these features presents a significant barrier. For example, sometimes a lack of prompt snow-clearing on sidewalks of major Canadian city streets means that wheelchair and walker users cannot reach pedestrian crossing buttons on crosswalk posts, due to snow bank accumulation around the posts, making the crossing buttons inaccessible. Public services must take into account the need to maintain accessibility features in the urban environment.

Accessibility in urban public servicesEdit

Making public services fully accessible to the public has led to some technological innovations. Public announcement systems using audio induction loop technology can broadcast announcements directly into the hearing aid of anyone with a hearing impairment, making them useful in such public places as auditoriums and train stations. Australia's government has supported the creation of the National Public Toilet Map, to enable users to locate public toilet facilities throughout the country. GPS is also included as a feature. The service assists people with continence issues, which is estimated to be up to 18% of the population, including the elderly and families with young children.

Low floorEdit

"Low floor" redirects here

A significant development in transportation, and public transport in particular, to achieve accessibility, is the move to "low-floor" vehicles. In a low-floor vehicle, access to part or all of the passenger cabin is unobstructed from one or more entrances by the presence of steps, enabling easier access for the infirm or people with push chairs. A further aspect may be that the entrance and corridors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Low-floor vehicles have been developed for buses, trolleybuses and trams.

A low floor in the vehicular sense is normally combined in a conceptual meaning with normal pedestrian access from a standard kerb height. However, the accessibility of a low-floor vehicle can also be utilised from slightly raising portions of kerb at bus stops, or through use of level boarding bus rapid transit 'stations' or tram stops. The combination of access from a kerb was the technological development of the 1990s, as step-free interior layouts for buses had existed in some cases for decades, with entrance steps being introduced as chassis designs and overall height regulations changed.

Low-floor buses may also be designed with special height adjustment controls that permit a stationary bus to temporarily lower itself to ground level, permitting wheelchair access. This is referred to as a kneeling bus.

At rapid transit systems, vehicles generally have floors in the same height as the platforms but the stations are often underground or elevated, so accessibility there isn't a question of providing low-floor vehicles, but providing a step-free access from street level to the platforms (generally by elevators, which are somewhere restricted to disabled passengers only, so that the step-free access isn't obstructed by healthy people taking advantage).

HousingEdit

Most existing and new housing, even in the wealthiest nations, lack basic accessibility features unless the designated, immediate occupant of a home currently has a disability. However, there are some initiatives to change typical residential practices so that new homes incorporate basic access features such as zero-step entries and door widths adequate for wheelchairs to pass through. Occupational Therapists are a professional group skilled in the assessment and making of recommendations to improve access to homes.[3] They are involved in both the adaptation of existing housing to improve accessibility,[4] and in the design of future housing.[5]

In Canada, FlexhousingTM is a concept that encourages homeowners to make renovations that modify their house over time to meet changing accessibility needs. The concept supports the goals of enabling "homeowners to occupy a dwelling for longer periods of time, perhaps over their entire lifetimes, while adapting to changing circumstances and meeting a wide range of needs"; Universal Housing in the United States and Lifetime Homes in the United Kingdom are similar concepts.[6]

Great Britain applies the most widespread application of home access to date. In 1999, Parliament passed Section M, an amendment to residential building regulations requiring basic access in all new homes.[7] In the United States, the 1988 Amendments to the Fair Housing Act added people with disabilities, as well as familial status, to the classes already protected by law from discrimination (race, color, gender, religion, creed, and country of origin). Among the protection for people with disabilities in the 1988 Amendments are seven construction requirements for all multifamily buildings of more than four units first occupied after March 13, 1991. These seven requirements are as follows:[8]

  1. An accessible building entrance on an accessible route,
  2. Accessible common and public use areas,
  3. Doors usable by a person in a wheelchair,
  4. Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit,
  5. Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations,
  6. Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars, and
  7. Usable kitchens and bathrooms.

Access is typically defined within the limits of what a person sitting in a wheelchair is able to reach with arm movement only, with minimal shifting of the legs and torso. Lighting and thermostat controls should not be above and power outlets should not be below the reach of a person in a wheelchair.

Sinks and cooking areas typically need to be designed without cupboards below them, to permit the legs of the wheelchair user to roll underneath, and countertops may be of reduced height to accommodate a sitting rather than standing user. In some cases two food preparation areas may be combined into a single kitchen to permit both standing and wheelchair users.

In spite of these advancements, the housing types where most people in the United States reside – single-family homes – are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, or any other federal law with the exception of the small percentage of publicly funded homes impacted by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. As a result, the great majority of new single-family homes replicate the barriers in existing homes.

The broad concept of Universal design is relevant to housing, as it is to all aspects of the built environment. Furthermore, a Visitability movement begun by grass roots disability advocates in the 1980s focuses specifically on changing construction practices in new housing. This movement, a network of interested people working in their locales, works on educating, passing laws, and spurring voluntary home access initiatives with the intention that basic access become a routine part of new home construction.

Renovations for accessibilityEdit

Homeowners may be challenged by the need to find renovators familiar with accessible design issues. The federal government of Canada and the provincial governments work jointly to share the cost of offering reimbursement programs for homeowners in need of house renovations for accessibility.[9] These programs improve the ability of homeowners to fund house modifications, through renovating existing houses.

Adaptations and accommodationsEdit

Many ranch style homes and manufactured homes utilize a main floor slightly raised above ground level, but have an overall flat layout with either a crawlspace or slightly raised basement below for plumbing, electrical, and heating systems. These homes can be relatively easily modified to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, with the installation of a long low-rise ramp outside the building, up to the house entrance, placed over the existing stairway. This ramp can then be removed at a later time, reverting back to the stairway entrance if the handicapped access is no longer necessary.

Split level homes tend to be designed with multiple internal stairways and half-floor landings inside the building. There may be an entrance area inside the building at ground level, with stairs inside the entrance that immediately go up and down from the ground level. These homes are difficult to accommodate inexpensively since there is often no space available inside the structure to install long sloping wheelchair ramps to access the various floors. It may be possible to retrofit stair lifts into the stairwells or wheelchair lifts into balconies near the stairwell.

Multi-story homes can sometimes be accommodated by installing a private residential elevator, which is usually much less expensive and has fewer design and layout requirements than a full commercial elevator. Homebuilders can in some cases plan for a future residential elevator by designing closet spaces in each floor stacked vertically with the same dimensions and location. At a later time the closet floors and ceilings are removed and the elevator equipment is installed into the open shaft.

Below are some current suggested architectural features of a universally-accessible house:[10]

Kitchen Hallways and stairways Living room / Family room Bathroom
A side-opening, wall-mounted oven with a pullout board beneath Hallways should be 1,200 mm (4 feet) wide A doorless entry with no threshold The bathroom door should be a minimum of 865 mm (34 inches) wide and open outward to avoid obstructing the limited space inside
Pull-out work boards at varying heights Stairs should be 1 meter (43 inches) wide and a maximum of 280 mm (11inches) deep A uniform level throughout the room eliminates abrupt changes that can create trip hazards Dual lever faucets are easier to use than single lever or ball-type faucets
Knee space left under the sink or a cooktop The maximum riser height should be 180 mm (7 inches) The installation of extra electrical, telephone and cable outlets accommodates technology and provides for maximum flexibility in furniture arrangement Install non-slip flooring for any area that is prone to getting wet
Pull-out drawers for storage rather than deep shelves Flights of stairs should be straight with the same number of steps in each flight with a minimum of three and maximum of twelve risers Light switches should be accessible from a sitting position and one switch should be located at the entrance to the living room Leave free space on at least one side of the toilet for improved access

Accessibility and 'ageing in place'Edit

Accessibility in the design of housing and household devices has become more prominent in recent decades due to a rapidly ageing population in developed countries. Ageing seniors may wish to continue living independently, but the ageing process naturally increases the disabilities that a senior citizen will experience. A growing trend is the desire for many senior citizens to 'age in place', living as independently as possible for as long as possible. Accessibility modifications that allow ageing in place are becoming more common. Housing may even be designed to incorporate accessibility modifications that can be made throughout the life cycle of the residents.

Adaptations for seniors take into account the most common physical impairments affecting the elderly. For example, a common cause of serious injury for seniors is falling inside the home. Adding handrails and grab bars throughout the home, particularly in bathrooms and along stairways, helps reduce the risk of falling. Other adaptations that improve accessibility for seniors include: easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen; reaching devices to grab objects on high shelves; lever handles on doors; toilet seat risers; walk-in showers; and bathtub and shower seats.

Alzheimer disease and housing adaptationsEdit

Alzheimer disease presents specific challenges for caregivers, who need to make the home as accessible as possible to the elderly resident, while keeping safety features in mind. Removable stove switch knobs, locks on kitchen cabinets, electric kettles with automatic shut-off,[11] and adding lighting to eliminate shadows in the house can all help caregivers to reduce dangers to the person with Alzheimer disease. Other features that can improve the well-being of the elderly person can include marking doors with conspicuous and distinct signs or objects such as ribbons or wreaths, can assist memory. Adding a cot or bed to the main floor of the house to allow the elderly person to rest without climbing stairs to a bedroom can be helpful to the Alzheimer patient. Furniture and clutter can also be removed to make the house more safe for an elderly person inclined to pace or wander.[12]

Telecommunications and IT accessEdit

Template:Out of date
Main article: Design for All (in ICT)

Another dimension of accessibility is the ability to access information and services by minimizing the barriers of distance and cost as well as the accessibility and usability of the interface. In many countries this has led to initiatives, laws and/or regulations that aim toward providing universal access to the internet and to phone systems at reasonable cost to citizens.[13]

The following disabilities interfere with telecommunications and technology access, as well as many other life activities.

Each kind of disability requires a different kind of accommodation, and this may require analysis by a medical specialist and job analysis when the impairment requires accommodation.

Mobility impairmentsEdit

One of the first areas where information technology improved the quality of life for disabled individuals is the voice operated wheelchair. Quadriplegics have the most profound disability, and the voice operated wheel chair technology was first developed in 1977 to provide increased mobility. The original version replaced the joystick system with a module that recognized 8 commands. Many other technology accommodation improvements have evolved from this initial development.[18]

Missing arms and fingers interferes with the use of a keyboard and pointing device (mouse). This can be one of the most devastating types of handicap, and technology has made great improvements in this area during the last 20 years. Speech recognition devices and software can improve technology access.

Speech impairmentsEdit

A speech disorder interferes with the ability to produce clearly understandable speech. There can be many different causes, such as nerve degeneration, muscle degeneration, stroke, and vocal cord injury.

The modern method to deal with speaking disabilities has been to provide a text interface for a speech synthesizer for complete vocal disability. This can be a great improvement for people that have been limited to the use of a throat vibrator to produce speech since the 1960s.

Hearing impairmentEdit

An individual satisfies the definition of hearing disabled when hearing loss is about 30dB for a single frequency, but this is not always perceptible as a handicap. For example, loss of sensitivity in one ear interferes with sound localization (directional hearing), which can interfere with communication in a crowd. This is often recognized when certain words are confused during normal conversation. This can interfere with voice-only interfaces, like automated customer service telephone systems, because it is sometimes difficult to increase the volume and repeat the message.

Mild to moderate hearing loss may be accommodated with a hearing aid that amplifies ambient sounds. Portable devices with speed recognition that can produce text can reduce problems associated with understanding conversation. This kind of hearing loss is relatively common, and this often grows worse with age.

The modern method to deal with profound hearing disability is the Internet using email or word processing applications. The Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) became available in the form of the teletype (TTY) during the 1960s. These devices consist of a keyboard, display and modem that connects two or more of these devices using a dedicated wire or plain old telephone service.

Visual impairmentsEdit

Visual impairment can be one of the most difficult kinds of handicap.

A wide range of technology products are available to deal with visual impairment. This includes screen magnification for monitors, mouse-over speech synthesis browsing, braille displays, braille printers, braille cameras, voice operated phones and tablets.

One emerging product that will make ordinary computer displays available for the blind is the refreshable tactile display, which is very different from a conventional braille display. This provides a raised surface corresponding to the bright and dim spots on a conventional display, much like the Touch Sight Camera for the Blind.

Speech Synthesis Markup Language and Speech Recognition Grammar Specification are emerging technologies intended to standardize communication interfaces using BNF Form and XML Form. These technologies assist visual impairments and physical impairment by providing interactive access to web content without the need to visually observe the content. While these technologies provides access for visually impaired individuals, the primary benefactor has been automated systems that replace live human customer service representatives that handle telephone calls.

Web AccessibilityEdit

International standards and guidelinesEdit

There have been a few major movements to coordinate a set of guidelines for accessibility for the web. The first and most well known is The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This organization developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 and 2.0 which explain how to make Web content accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a Web page or Web application, including text, images, forms, and sounds. (More specific definitions are available in the WCAG documents.)[37]

The WCAG is separated into 3 levels of compliance, A, AA and AAA. Each level requires a stricter set of conformance guidelines, such as different versions of HTML (Transitional vs Strict) and other techniques that need to be incorporated into your code before accomplishing validation. Online tools allow users to submit their website and automatically run it through the WCAG guidelines and produce a report, stating whether or not they conform to each level of compliance. Adobe Dreamweaver also offers plugins which allow web developers to test these guidelines on their work from within the program.

Another source of web accessibility guidance comes from the US government. In response to Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, the Access Board developed standards to which U.S. federal agencies must comply in order to make their sites accessible. The U.S. General Services Administration has developed a website where one can take online training courses for free to learn about these rules.[38]

Features for Web accessibilityEdit

Examples of website features that can help to make it accessible include the following:

  • At least WAI-AA (preferably AAA) compliance with the WAI's WCAG
  • Semantic Web markup
  • (X)HTML Validation from the W3C for the pages content
  • CSS Validation from the W3C for the pages layout
  • Compliance with all guidelines from Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act
  • A high contrast version of the site for individuals with low vision, and a low contrast (yellow or blue) version of the site for individuals with dyslexia
  • Alternative media for any multimedia used on the site (video, flash, audio, etc.)
  • Simple and consistent navigation
  • Device Independent

While WCAG provides much technical information for use by web designers, coders and editors, BS 8878:2010 Web accessibility - Code of Practice has been introduced, initially in the UK, to help site owners and product managers to understand the importance of accessibility. It includes advice on the business case behind accessibility, and how organisations might usefully update their policies and production processes to embed accessibility in their business-as-usual.

Another useful idea is for websites to include a web accessibility statement on the site. Initially introduced in PAS 78, the best practice for web accessibility statements has been updated in BS 8878 to emphasise the inclusion of: information on how disabled and elderly people could get a better experience of using the website by using assistive technologies or accessibility settings of browsers and operating systems (linking to BBC My Web My Way can be useful here); information on what accessibility features the site's creators have included, and if there are any user needs which the site doesn't currently support (for example, descriptive video to allow blind people to access the information in videos more easily); and contact details for disabled people to be able to use to let the site creators know if they have any problems in using the site. While validations against WCAG, and other accessibility badges can also be included, they should be put lower down the statement, as most disabled people still do not understand these technical terms.

Meeting and conference accessEdit

Meetings and conferences should consider the needs of all of their participants. Checklists such as this may make it easier to identify specific needs:

Mobility access
  • Wheelchair accessible transportation
  • Reserved parking
  • Barrier-free meeting rooms / restrooms / podium/speaker's platform
  • ADA Compliant Ramp Access to businesses and public places[39]
  • Accessible lodging
Hearing access
  • Advance copies of papers
  • An assistive listening system
  • Sign language interpreters
  • A quiet place to gather for social conversation (a quieter space that is still visible to others should be reserved at social events or dinners so that people who are hard of hearing may go there to talk with their colleagues.)
  • TTY access or Internet-based TRS
Sight access
  • Large print/braille copies of the program and papers
  • A student volunteer to guide and describe the artwork, computer work, etc.
  • A tech to help with assistive devices and screen readers (e.g., JAWS)
  • Gloves to touch three dimensional work (where permissible)
Other issues
  • Notification if social events include flashing lights and noises (these can cause seizures, so either avoid them or announce them ahead of time).
  • Notices asking participants to refrain from allergy-producing problems (e.g., perfumes)
  • Inform food providers of food allergies (e.g., peanuts, shellfish, etc.)
  • Referral information for local personal care attendant agencies
  • Referral information for veterinarian care for service animals
  • Access to a place to rest during the day (if the conference venue is far from the lodgings)

For a complete checklist, consult Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations.

Education and accessibility for studentsEdit

Test accessibilityEdit

Test accessibility is defined as the extent to which a test and its constituent item set eliminates barriers and permits the test-taker to demonstrate his or her knowledge of the tested content. Test accessibility involves an interaction between features of the test and individual test-taker characteristics.

With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, student accountability in essential content areas such as reading, mathematics, and science has become a major area of focus in educational reform. As a result, test developers have needed to create tests to ensure all students, including those with special needs (e.g., students identified with disabilities), are given the opportunity to demonstrate the extent to which they have mastered the content measured on state assessments. Currently, states are permitted to develop two different types of tests in addition to the standard grade-level assessments to target students with special needs. First, the alternate assessment may be used to report proficiency for up to 1% of students in a state. Second, new regulations permit the use of alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards to report proficiency for up to 2% of students in a state.

To ensure these new tests generate results that permit valid inferences about student performance, they must be accessible to as many individuals as possible. The Test Accessibility and Modification Inventory (TAMI)[40] and its companion evaluation tool, the Accessibility Rating Matrix (ARM), were designed to facilitate the evaluation of tests and test items with a focus on enhancing their accessibility. Both instruments integrate principles of accessibility theory and were guided by research on universal design, assessment accessibility, cognitive load theory, and research on item-writing and test development. The TAMI is a non-commercial instrument that has been made available to all state assessment directors and testing companies. Assessment researchers have used the ARM to conduct accessibility reviews of state assessment items for several state departments of education.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – Social Exclusion Unit: "Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion". February 2003.
  2. Department of Transport & Transport Scotland: "Accessible Train and Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice". July 2008.
  3. Occupational therapy research on assistive technology and physical environmental issues: A literature review, Fange et al. (2006), Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
  4. Changes in accessibility and usability in housing: an exploration of the housing adaptation process (2005), Fange and Iwarsson, Occupational Therapy International
  5. Accessibility and usability in housing: construct validity and implications for research and practice (2003), Fange and Iwarsson, Disability and Rehabilitation
  6. What is Flexhousing(TM)?. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. URL accessed on August 26, 2012.
  7. "Doors to Be Swept Away in New Rules for Builders", Rachel Kelley, The Times, December 5, 1997.
  8. Fair Housing First, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  9. Home Adaptations for Seniors' Independence. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. URL accessed on August 26, 2012.
  10. FlexHousing(TM) features a room-by-room demonstration. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. URL accessed on August 26, 2012.
  11. Safety in the kitchen. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. URL accessed on August 26, 2012.
  12. Pacing, wandering and confusion. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. URL accessed on August 26, 2012.
  13. Better Web Browsing: Tips for Customizing Your Computer. World Wide Web Consortium.
  14. Speech and Communication Disorders. National Institutes of Health.
  15. Hearing Disorders and Deafness. National Library of Medicine.
  16. Visual Impairment and Blindness. National Library of Medicine.
  17. (1955). Pre-employment and periodical health examinations, job analysis and placement of workers. Bull. World Health Organ. 13 (4): 495–503.
  18. (April 1977). Voice Operated Wheelchair. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 58 (4): 169–75.
  19. History of Automatic Speech Recognition. National Institutes of Science and Technology.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Opera Voice Browsing. Opera.
  21. Apple Accessibility. Apple Computer.
  22. Speech-language pathologists. National Institutes of Health.
  23. Speech Synthesis. National Institutes of Science and Technology.
  24. Throat Vibrator.
  25. Audiologist. National Institutes of Health.
  26. (November 2009). Consonant recognition loss in hearing impaired listeners. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 126 (5): 2683–94.
  27. Hearing Loss. National Institute on Aging.
  28. Ophthalmologist. National Institutes of Health.
  29. Historical Development and Future Directions in Speech Recognition and Understanding. National Institutes of Science and Technology.
  30. Touch Sight Camera for the Blind. Current TV.
  31. Vision. Apple Computer.
  32. Firesay Addon. Mozilla.
  33. Voice Control. Apple Computer.
  34. Refreshable Tactile Display. Ventra.
  35. Speech Synthesis Markup Language. World Wide Web Consortium.
  36. Speech Recognition Grammar Specification. World Wide Web Consortium.
  37. WAI Resources on Introducing Web Accessibility
  38. Section 508: 508 Training.
  39. ADA Specifications for Wheelchair use. URL accessed on February 2012.
  40. Peabody College of Education and Human Development | Vanderbilt University. Peabody.vanderbilt.edu. URL accessed on 2012-08-13.



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