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:
- Increasing the efficiency and impact of the ADANN’s activities;
- Increasing awareness and use of ADA research findings to inform behavior, practices, or policies; and
- 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 2021
In 2021, 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 The ADA and Caregivers: Frequently Asked Questions and The Americans With Disabilities Act, Addiction and Recovery for State & Local Governments; research briefs like Digital Access for Students in Higher Education and the ADA; and legal briefs like What Does It Mean to Be “Regarded as Having an Impairment” Under the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA)?.
Several success stories were developed, including a short vignette about a local pool accommodating the parking needs of one their patrons. The KT Center uses success stories to help stakeholders understand the process of ADA implementation. These success stories also provide examples of how ADA National Network activities have resulted in greater access for people with disabilities or have helped entities realize their responsibilities.
A slideshow on the home page 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:
- Innovate and maintain the ADANN website
- Manage and support national committees and meetings
- Lead national product development
- 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.
Systematic Reviews: 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.
Mixed Methods KT Research: 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.
Virtual ADA State of the Science Conference: In April 2021, the KT Center hosted a three-day State of the Science virtual conference on research about ADA implementation. Researchers from a wide range of disciplines presented findings from their research projects related to the successes and challenges in fulfilling the promise of the ADA. Each day the virtual conference featured a keynote speaker and research presentations focusing on a unique theme. Day 1 focused on Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency, including disability and implicit bias, youth and employment, small organizations and Title I, and financial inclusion for people with disabilities. Day 2 focused on Community Development and Planning, including current trends in emergency management, transition planning, local governments and the ADA, and ADA implementation for cities and towns. Finally, Day 3 focused on Access and Inclusion, current topics pertaining to service animals, health care access, and aging and disability
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.