Americans With Disabilities Act: Starting the Conversation With Business

Pamela Williamson Southeast ADA Center and Karen Hamilton NC ADA Network project NC Council on Developmental Disabilities. This participatory action research project produced a guide that consumers with disabilities can use to give feedback to a business about accessibility. There are seven steps involved in this process: 1) form a team made up of  people with different types of disabilities; 2) choose businesses to target and questions to ask each business; 3) complete a 10-question survey to identify accessibility problems and barriers;  4) select one or two barriers or problems to focus on; 5) research the relevant ADA regulations; 6) share findings with businesses, using a report template provided in the guide; 7) follow-up with each business to see what changes were made. Several groups in North Carolina participated in this process with successful results, including a library that conducted staff training and purchased screen-reader software; a store that improved its accessible parking; and a fast-food restaurant that adjusted the tension on its restroom doors to make them easier to open. This process helps empower individuals with disabilities and encourages businesses to learn about and make ADA improvements. 

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