ADA Knowledge Translation Center

The ADA Knowledge Translation Center is based at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

The KT Center supports the ADA National Network (ADANN) in helping people with disabilities, professionals, employers, businesses, and others to understand their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It does this by:

  1. Increasing the efficiency and impact of the ADANN’s activities;
  2. Increasing awareness and use of ADA research findings to inform behavior, practices, or policies; and
  3. Evaluating ADA stakeholders’ need for and receipt of ADANN Services.

The primary goal of the project, in collaboration with the ADANN, is to perform activities that increase the implementation of the ADA in communities across the United States.

Accomplishing our goals

Recent Achievements in 2020

In 2020, the ADANN’s social media presence grew substantially, using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with potential ADANN consumers, disability advocates, and local and state governments.  Through social media, we get national products, research findings, and news articles about the ADA in consumers’ and advocates’ hands.  From 2019 to 2020, the ADANN’s social media reach grew by over 70 percent. LinkedIn increased its reach by over 240 percent!

Several national products were developed and published on the ADANN website in the last year, including factsheets like ADA, Addiction, Recovery, and Employment and Accessibility at Drive-Thru Medical Sites; research briefs like Digital Access and Title III of the ADA; and legal briefs like Protection From Retaliation and Interference in Employment Under ADA's Title I.

In collaboration with ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (PARC), the KT Center developed the Olmstead Story Project to educate the community and honor the personal stories of those impacted by the 1999 Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W. case. The stories included in the Olmstead Story Project highlight the action taken by people with disabilities and the community supports they used to move out of nursing homes and live independently.

Among several success stories developed, a success story called A Lasting Partnership Leads to Ensuring Deaf Access: The Northeast ADA Center and the US Virgin Islands was published on the ADANN website. The KT Center uses success stories to help stakeholders understand the process of ADA implementation. A Lasting Partnership Leads to Ensuring Deaf Access is about a group of deaf advocates in the US Virgin Islands coming together to improve their community and the support that the Northeast ADA Center provided to help them realize their power through collective action.

A slideshow on the homepage of the ADANN website was updated regularly with announcements for events and new ADANN national products. The slideshow is also updated when information is time sensitive, especially when Emergency Preparedness resources and websites are needed.

Increasing the Efficiency and Impact of the National Network

The KT Center develops centralized systems to increase the efficiency and impact of the 10 Regional ADA Centers that comprise the ADANN.

The KT Center meets this goal through four main activities:

  1. Innovate and maintain the ADANN website
  2. Manage and support national committees and meetings
  3. Lead national product development
  4. Conduct ADA knowledge translation research

Innovate and Maintain the ADANN Website: The KT Center develops and supports the ADANN website (adata.org), which is designed to highlight the work of the ADANN and connect individuals and organizations to its services. The website includes nationally relevant publications created by the ADANN, a national and local events calendar, a portal to training opportunities offered by the ADANN, a searchable database of high quality publications created by relevant organizations (Department of Justice, for example), a searchable database of frequently asked questions about the ADA, and profiles on ADA research conducted by the ADANN. The website also includes monitoring and quality control features (including a feedback form and usage tracking).

Manage and Support National Committees and Meetings: The KT Center manages and supports committees to guide ADANN activities and increase collaboration between regional centers. Committees are in place for the following areas: National Knowledge Translation, National Social Media, National Website, Outcomes Measurement, Outcomes Measurement System Database (OMS) Leadership, OMS Data Coordinators, and Outreach to Underserved Languages. Committees work to guide development of products, determine need for training, and develop standard operating protocols.  The KT Center also supports national ad hoc work groups on topics that include Aging, Small Business, Healthcare, and the 30th ADA Anniversary.

The KT Center also organizes biannual meetings, bringing together the directors of each Regional ADA Center, representatives from the ADANN’s funding agency (the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research,) and representatives from partner agencies or organizations (the Office of Civil Rights. for example.)

Lead National Product Development: The KT Center coordinates development of ADANN products (including frequently asked questions about the ADA, consumer factsheets, research briefs, legal briefs, technical guides, and promotional materials.)

The KT Center, in collaboration with the Regional ADA Centers, develops new materials or modifies existing ones for national dissemination. A protocol is in place for regular reviews to ensure relevance and accuracy. ADANN products are available in multiple formats (including HTML, accessible PDFs, and large print PDFS) and in Spanish.

Conduct ADA Knowledge Translation Research: The KT Center conducts research to understand how knowledge translation methods and services are delivered within the ADANN to increase ADA implementation and reduce barriers. The goal of the research is to develop a knowledge translation standard unique to the ADANN that defines its role and key strategies in facilitating ADA implementation in local communities around the United States.

Increasing Awareness and Use of ADA Research through Knowledge Translation

Research about the implementation of the ADA is fragmented and difficult to find. The KT Center supports awareness and use of ADA research by conducting systematic reviews, mixed methods knowledge translation research, and organizing an ADA State of the Science Conference.

The KT Center is engaged in a five-year project to systematically review existing ADA research findings, to provide knowledge translation for these findings, and to identify knowledge gaps; you can visit our National ADA Systematic Review page for more information.

The KT Center is currently conducting mixed methods research to understand the reasons people seek technical assistance from the ADANN and how effective that technical assistance is in supporting implementation of the ADA.

In April 2021, the KT Center will host a three-day State of the Science virtual conference on research about ADA implementation. Researchers from a wide range of disciplines related to implementation of the ADA will present findings from their research projects. Each day the virtual conference will feature a keynote speaker and research presentations focusing on a unique theme. Day 1 will focus on Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency, Day 2 will focus on Community Development and Planning, and Day 3 will focus on Access and Inclusion.

Evaluating ADA Stakeholders’ Needs

Another primary activity of the KT Center has been to develop and implement centralized, efficient systems for collecting information about the work of the ADANN to help understand the needs of ADA stakeholders (people with disabilities, business owners, and architects for example,) and to serve them better. Specifically, the KT Center manages the Outcome Measurement System (OMS), which collects information about the technical assistance, training, and other activities of the Regional ADA Centers and supports implementation of an outcomes survey designed to measure ADA implementation. The KT Center provides quarterly reports of OMS and outcomes survey data to regional directors and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.