The Northwest ADA Center serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Partnership with Washington State Department of Corrections
In 2013, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) embarked on a partnership with the Northwest ADA Center to evaluate the accessibility of its facilities and programs. The NW ADA Center staff participated directly in the accessibility audits of the nine largest prisons in Washington State using a customized comprehensive accessibility audit checklist designed (by Northwest ADA Center staff) for corrections and detention facilities. In addition, the NW ADA Center assisted in the preparation of accessibility audit reports for each of the 12 prison facilities in the system.
Currently, the Northwest ADA Center provides ongoing technical assistance and consultation via phone and in-person meetings. The DOC appointed a Northwest ADA staff member to be part of the WA State DOC ADA Steering Committee to review any related ADA issues, progress, and improvement projects. Additional details and highlights on this collaboration can be found in this Regional Success Story.
On another project, the Northwest ADA Center and the Center for Technology and Disability Studies at the University of Washington are collaborating with WA DOC on a five-year, NIDILRR-sponsored project. It will increase the awareness and knowledge about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by front line staff; improve interactions between front line staff and offenders with TBI; and improve interactions between community corrections officers and offenders with TBI during transition to community settings.
Healthcare Access: Research, Community Engagement, and Checklists
Healthcare access for individuals with disabilities is a national priority in the effort to eliminate health disparities. As part of the 2016-2021 grant cycle, the Northwest ADA Center is conducting a five-year research project to identify existing evidence of health care access and the ADA, explore barriers experienced by individuals with disabilities in accessing health care in the Northwest Region, and identify effective approaches in ADA implementation to reduce these barriers.
The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) is an ongoing project through which the Center collaborates with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) or similar organizations to focus on accessible healthcare in small (rural) towns. CEI events have involved a town hall meeting with individuals with disabilities from the community, a forum with professionals, and a wrap-up focus group. Each CEI effort has shown progress working with the community, and partnerships have been maintained. The Pendleton Project: Making Health Care Accessible to All is an example of a successful CEI collaboration.
In addition to providing technical assistance and training to healthcare personnel, the Center has been creating individualized Accessibility Checklists for Medical Clinics and Facilities in each of the regional states. These checklists incorporate the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, as well as state-specific code requirements.
Supporting Title II Entities
The Northwest ADA Center has seen an increased number of requests from state, county, and city governments for assistance in addressing disability issues such as improving customer service to people with disabilities and providing technical assistance in self-evaluations, and transition plans..
- City of Seattle
The Northwest ADA Center provided eight in-person trainings for the City of Seattle’s ADA Coordinators (ADACs). Two of these trainings were “ADA Basics” and six were “Disability Language & Etiquette.” These trainings were mandatory for each Department’s ADAC, though some departments brought additional staff members. Center staff had the opportunity to build relationships with Seattle’s community centers, libraries, emergency responders, and more while performing these interactive trainings.
- County of Snohomish, WA
The Northwest ADA Center provided consultation and technical assistance services for Snohomish County on a comprehensive multi-phase Public Rights of Way self-evaluation and transition plan project. This project included developing a survey to prioritize barriers and coordinating community input in a series of community open houses.
Partnerships with Aging and Disability Service Organizations
Many aging “baby-boomers” are beginning to experience age-onset disabilities. It’s critical that this growing population, and the people who serve them, understand the rights afforded to older adults who experience disabilities and functional limitations when accessing their communities. The Northwest ADA Center is building partnerships with organizations that provide services to older adults in an effort to provide ADA technical assistance and knowledge. Such partnerships include the Community Living Connections Network (the Washington chapter of Aging and Disability Resource Centers ) and the Northwest Alliance of Information and Referrals Systems.