The ADA will turn 30 on July 26th of this year. What better way to celebrate than to move accessibility forward in your organization. There is no limit to the ways you can do so, but here are 30 ideas–one for each of the 30 years the ADA has been a civil rights law.
Learn About the ADA
1. Gather your staff to watch a webinar on access and the ADA.
You can find upcoming webinars from the ADA National Network Website at adata.org (There are also several listed at the end of this newsletter.)
2. Participate in an ADA National Network Twitter Chat.
The ADA National Network will be hosting a monthly Twitter Chat. The next Twitter Chat which will be on March 25th at 12 pm Central and will focus on Effective Communication. Learn more: Effective Communication Twitter Chat. Follow these Twitter Chats at #ADANetworkChat.
3. Take the ADA Building Blocks Course.
Better yet, encourage your entire staff to do so. ADA Basic Building Blocks is an introductory webcourse on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
4. Take an online class offered by the Rocky Mountain ADA Center.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center offers several online courses on the ADA including one on Service Animals.
Learn About Digital Access
5. Learn how to make your social media campaign accessible.
The Social Media Accessibility Toolkit will give you the tools you need to make sure your social media is accessible to your fans and followers.
6. Learn to create accessible documents and PowerPoint presentations.
The Creating Accessible Documents Toolkit will provide you with the basic techniques for making sure documents and presentations are accessible.
7. Share resources on digital access with all those who have a part in creating websites for your organization.
This is a great video to share. Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards (YouTube) explains the basics of ensuring websites are accessible.
8. Host a workshop on digital access for your organization.
If you are in Arkansas, we’d be glad to provide your organization with an inservice training on digital access. If you are outside of Arkansas, we can help connect you with someone in your area to provide training for you. Contact Melanie Thornton at email@example.com to inquire about a workshop.
Learn About the Disability Rights Movement
9. Show the documentary Lives Worth Living.
Lives Worth Living is an historical documentary that traces the disability rights movement from the 1940s through the passage of the ADA. You can learn more about this documentary on the PBS: Independent Lens website.
10. Host a book club and read Judy Heumann’s newly released book, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist
Judy Heumann is an international disability rights activists who played a central role in the 504 Sit-in, leading to the signing of the 504 regulations. In her memoir, she shares her experiences “fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.”
Challenge Your Organization’s Perception of Disability
11. Host a lunch and learn using one of these excellent TedTalks and follow it up with a discussion.
12. Host a movie night. Watch a move or documentary that challenges perceptions of disability.
My Left Foot, Fixed, Crip Camp, and Margarita with a Straw are a few to consider. Make sure to have someone who can lead a good discussion and challenge typical frames of disability.
13. Host an art display featuring a local disabled artist and activist from your area.
14. Invite a disability activist or performing artist to provide a presentation or performance.
15. Host a photography contest.
Invite people with disabilities to take photos that show the barriers they typically face in your community.
Communicate Your Commitment to Access
16. Add a statement to your website that communicates your organization’s commitment to creating an accessible website.
Example: We are committed to creating an accessible website. If you encounter any barriers that result from the design of this site, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email].
17. Make sure that your event announcements have information about accessibility.
Example: [Our organization] values the inclusion of people with disabilities in our programs and activities. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate barriers to your full participation in this event, please contact [name, sponsoring organization] at [phone and email]. Please notify the us by [date] to request a sign language interpreter at the event.
18. Put a statement on your brochures and printed materials explaining how to obtain an accessible digital format.
Example: This document is available in alternative formats upon request by contacting [name, campus department] at [phone number and email]. An electronic version is available online: (Website address here).
19. Provide a method for reporting access barriers.
Post a form online that allows employees and customers to report barriers. Make sure to have a plan for responding to these concerns and removing the barriers.
Assess Your Organization’s Accessibility
20. Use a free online tool to check your website for accessibility.
You can check your website’s accessibility using WAVE. It won’t identify all of the accessibility issues but will give you a sense of how you are doing. For a more extensive accessibility review of your website, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can email Melanie Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
21. Check your building for barriers to access.
Use the ADA Checklist to check the accessibility of your facility.
22. See how you measure up with other businesses with the Disability Equality Index.
The Disability Equality Index is a benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive a score on their disability inclusion policies and practices.
23. Perform a TechCheck to assess your organization’s technology accessibility practices.
Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) TechCheck can help give you a benchmarking “snapshot” of the current state of your technology in terms of accessibility.
24. Ask employees with disabilities what they think.
Get input from employees with disabilities about how your organization is doing in its efforts to create an accessible and inclusive environment.
Raise Awareness About Inclusion and Access
25. Put up posters that promote access and inclusion.
Choose posters that are most fitting for your organizations from one of these pages:
- UA Partners, Explore Access: Posters and Meme Page
- National Center for College Students with Disabilities Posters (specifically for colleges)
26. Create a social media campaign that promotes access and inclusion and disability as an aspect of diversity.
Here are a few options
- Social Media – Did You Know?: A series of quick tips and facts about digital accessibility. Each fact or tip has a meme associated with it.
- UA Partners, Explore Access: Posters and Meme Page
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and re-share what we post.
- Follow the ADA Center in your region and re-post or retweet their posts.
27. Use one of these flyers to create a welcoming environment for people with disabilities who use service animals.
You can download the appropriate version of the Service Animals: Quick Facts flyer here.
Make a Commitment to Improve Organizational Access
28. Make a plan for increasing the accessibility of your website.
Look at the results from your automated testing and determine the first area you’d like to focus on to improve your website.
29. Identify an aspect of your building that you can make more accessible.
Looking over your results from the ADA Checklist, pick a place to start removing barriers you discovered.
30. Make changes to improve access and inclusion for employees.
Is your online application process accessible? Is the information for employees to request accommodation easy to find? These are good places to start making changes to be more inclusive to employees with disabilities.
On the historic day that that President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law, he said, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” We still have a lot of work to do to tear down that wall of exclusion. And the truth is that it takes all of us doing our part to bring it down and to replace it with a culture of access and inclusion. So no matter how you celebrate the anniversary of the ADA, we hope you will join us in working to remove that wall of exclusion…together.