Show and Tell Helps Workshop Participants Learn about ADA Accessible Design Standards

May 4, 2017

Mark Derry, center, discusses the height and reach of a towel dispenser in a women's restroom.Workshop participants check the slope of a ramp in a parking lot.Participants measure the sign height for an accessible parking space.Participants assess whether picnic tables are accessible.

Mark Derry did not just tell workshop participants about accessible design for people with disabilities; he took them to a parking area, a picnic area and a restroom and put them to work so they could see for themselves the issues involved.

The University of Arkansas Partners for Inclusive Communities hosted the three-day workshop last month in Little Rock. Partners brought in Derry from Eastlake, Derry and Associates, a West Virginia-based consulting agency, to educate 40 participants representing 17 organizations across the state about the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design.

Derry is a nationally known expert in the design of accessible facilities. He began by giving participants background information about the ADA and outlining the ADA Standards. Then, Derry asked participants to practice using the standards to assess the building and parking area where the training was held. Derry also provided tips for organizing assessment data into a report.

Partners employees said the workshop was well-received.

“The workshop filled up before we even advertised it broadly,” said Roberta Sick, project director. “And, we have a list of 20 people who would like to attend if we offer the workshop again.”

“Mark Derry takes a topic that could be boring and makes it very engaging,” said Julie Petty, a project trainer.

University of Arkansas Partners for Inclusive Communities last year became the Arkansas regional affiliate of the Southwest ADA Center. The new affiliate program is charged with providing training and technical assistance on the ADA in Arkansas. Areas of focus for the program include physical, program and digital access as well as accessibility in the criminal justice system. The Southwest ADA Center, which is in Houston, provides funding for the regional affiliate program through a federal grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

For more information, contact Melanie Thornton at mthornt@uark.edu or Roberta Sick at sick@uark.edu.

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