Welcome to the UCLA Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center Accessibility Toolkit!
What is the toolkit?
The toolkit is a series of documents and resources to help event planners create events and activities at UCLA that are welcoming to those with physical disabilities and accessibility concerns. Although universally accessible events are an unattainable ideal, for now, the Accessibility Toolkit will help optimize accessibility for your event.
Why was this toolkit created?
As of the 2016-2017 school year, there were 3,257 UCLA graduate and undergraduate students that identified having a disability and registered with the UCLA Center for Accessible Education (CAE). Of this total, 951 identified as having physical impairments of different types. UCLA’s total student population of approximately 45,000 students. This puts the physically disabled population at a mere 2.1% of the total UCLA population. As a result, resources and activities for this demographic are severely limited and often overlooked. This can cause disabled students to feel isolated and ostracized. Usually inaccessibility of an event or activity is not caused intentionally and is often a surprise to those coordinating an event. Accessibility issues frequently seem overwhelming since many persons aren’t familiar with what adaptations and accommodations are necessary to optimize a disabled person’s experience and the spectrum of physical disability is extremely diverse.
Read through the first 5 tabs (from left to right) for helpful tips and introductions to the content. These will cover an introduction, the most common obstacle, accessibility vs. accommodations, an overview of duties for the accessibility coordinator, recommended steps on how to use the toolkit, and a planning checklist. Next, The Organization & Documents tab will lead you to the bulk of the content including the: Brief Guides (Do’s and Don’ts), Possible Problems and Suggested Solutions, and Technical Information Documents. The Planning Checklist tab provides a great starting guide to help you plan an accessibilityc-conscious event. The Resources tab lists many UCLA and community resources that may prove useful during the event planning process.
From the Author
This toolkit was a project of love and determination. I am a disabled UCLA alum who wanted to take all of my experiences as a student and use it constructively to help the UCLA community. This project was a collective effort with many supportive students, staff and faculty. The concept of disability and the demographic is very complex and spans a wide variety of needs and experiences. I do not claim to be all-knowing about this topic and put in huge efforts to try and represent the demographic as honestly and thoroughly as possible. I am aware that my knowledge, even with extensive research, will never cover everything that should be said in this toolkit, and encourage all who have ideas and additions to the toolkit’s content to reach out. This toolkit is and should be a living document to ensure everyone’s voices and needs are heard, respected and appreciated.
BEFORE YOU START
Accessibility vs. Accommodation
Essentially, accommodations and accessibility requirements are two different
concepts and need to be considered separately.
The considerations for accessibility are proactive, not to be confused with the mandate to
provide legal accommodations as outlined in Section 504. Section 504 includes provisions for
individuals with disabilities to participate in programs and services with the use of auxiliary
aids, where necessary. These aids are commonly referred to as accommodations.
An accommodation is…
- Provided based on specific needs of a student with a documented disability
- Determined by an accommodations specialist on a case-by-case basis
- Provided for students whose needs require great intervention, such as American Sign
Language (ASL) interpreters or real-time captioning during class lecture
- For circumstances that are difficult to anticipate and prepare for
- The responsibility of all who plan events or create or publish digital content in order to
ensure the event or content is accessible to all participants
- Provided for all students, with no expectation of an explanation of need
- Expected for disabilities that are easily anticipated
Definitions provided by the CAE
NOTE: The author accurately uses the words accessibility and accommodation as often as possible. They believe full inclusivity of a disabled person involves both accessibility and accommodation. In these situations that involve both accessibility and accommodation, the usage is up to the author’s discretion.
For example, the front doors of the Physics and Astronomy building are heavy and have handles that are very difficult for a person who does not have finger function like a person with quadriplegia or other arm/hand impairments (see video).
Therefore, the best way to incorporate accessibility into your event is to take it into consideration very early on when planning your activity. You can break down the accessibility of your event into 3 main categories: access to your event, access within your event, and participation accessibility. The content of each of these categories will differ somewhat depending on the type of physical disability. For example, participation accessibility could mean interpreters for Deaf participants and audio descriptions for blind participants, we will go into further detail about these demographics’ needs later in the toolkit.
ACCESSIBILITY COORDINATOR DUTIES
Tips & Duties:
- Don’t get overwhelmed! The issue of accessibility and accommodations is an extremely complex one, and the amount of information in this document may seem overwhelming at first. If your event’s accessibility and accommodation needs are very complex have multiple accessibility coordinators. This document isn’t meant to worry you or stress you about trying to be flawlessly accessible. Many disabled persons are happy to know that they have a person to request help from to make their experience more enjoyable and inclusive. Be open to listening to their needs and do your best to help.
- Review the list of topics covered in the toolkit to help ensure the most accessible event possible. If your event is planning to accommodate a lot of people or be complex in its execution it’s highly recommended to have multiple coordinators to take on this task.
- Have contact information for the accessibility coordinator placed on advertising materials so that if a disabled potential guest has personal questions or concerns they can try to reach out ahead of time.
- If you are confused or struggling with a particular request, communicate with the disabled person making it, they often have suggestions at how to accommodate their needs.
Remember! Considering the accessibility and accommodation needs at the beginning of planning is a lot easier than trying to remedy issues that arise after reservations and arrangements have been made.
Personal Accommodation Requests:
The best way to find out what an individual’s needs is to communicate with them directly. As a personal opinion of a person with a disability, I suggest offering help with a statement such as,
“Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make you experience more accessible.”
or the more comprehensive version
“In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, UCLA will honor requests for reasonable accommodations made by individuals with disabilities. Requests can be fulfilled more effectively if notice is provided at least 10 days before the event. Direct accommodation requests to Accessibility Coordinator’s Name at Accessibility Coordinator’s Contact Information.”
These can go on marketing materials, be communicated via email and voiced in person to ensure accessibility and accommodations at all points.
One of the best ways to open up request for accommodations is to have an RSVP for your event that includes a questionnaire that allows someone to privately and directly request what they need. Some individuals will be hesitant about asking for help as they do not want to be viewed as a burden, while others will be very comfortable with asking. Either way, an offer of assistance, even if turned down, is always appreciated.
HOW TO USE
The accessibility toolkit is extensive; the information provided here will undoubtedly be more than the coordinator will need for most events.
How to Use the Toolkit:
- Break up the reading over multiple sessions so that you are not overwhelmed.
- Read this toolkit over as soon as possible and preferably before too much event planning has passed to ensure that the event is “accessible by design”.
- Read these introductory tabs, especially the checklist, to understand the layout of the other parts of the toolkit. The plethora of topic is many, but in chunks it should be manageable.
- Read over the Brief Guides–This will help give you a general list of what to look out for when picking a venue and for early stages of planning. For example, if you are considering the locations of companion bathrooms or accessible parking, it is a lot easier to pick a venue with these in mind than to try and make an inaccessible venue accessible. I understand that UCLA’s venues are always in high demand and that you may not have much of a choice in what venue is available or that you are assigned.
- Read Possible Problems and Suggested Solutions— Once you have started some of the early planning of your event and are trying to be sure to incorporate accessibility and accommodations, read through this next document, preferably with a notebook handy to jot down your ideas and notes for your own event. It’s better to be familiar with possible problems before they occur and take preventative steps instead.
- As you review these problems and solutions, take note of ones you think might apply to your venue or event.
- If one of the topics in the “Possible Problems and Suggested Solutions” particularly concerns you and seems especially applicable to your venue, I suggest you read the corresponding section in the “Technical Information” document. This document has many specifics and more in-depth discussions of these topics. For example, it can give you measurements and diagrams directly from the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) to help you address certain situations. If any problem seems confusing or overwhelming, please refer to the Resources document to help find people and offices to contact for help or guidance.
- Review Resources for any problems that may arise.
Remember that disability compliance is a complex issue and needs vary greatly.
ORGANIZATION & DOCUMENTS
Click the title to open the document!
The first section is the first 5 tabs of this webpage: Welcome!, Before You Start, Accessibility Coordinator Duties, How to Use the Toolkit, and Organization & Documents. This section is meant to give a general understanding of disability at UCLA and some basic ideas of where problems can stem from; it’s meant to incite big picture thinking about disability.
This planning checklist gives guidelines and instructions as to how to approach planning an event with accessibility and accommodations in mind. Along with the checklist there is also a page that gives feedback on each step to help the Accessibility Coordinator. There is also a Google Forms version of the checklist to provide the same information in a different format. Lastly, there’s a PDF version for printing.
Next, there’s a set of 5 “brief guides”. These are checklists for “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for 5 different categories of physical disability: Mobility, Wheelchair Accessibility, Blind and Low Vision, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Miscellaneous.
There is a possible problems and suggested solutions list (PPSS) that itemizes when there is a problem, why there is a problem and what to do about it.
The next section is more informative on each of the topics explored in the previous documents. Both the PPSS and the More Information documents are broken up into 3 categories: Access to the Event (ATE), Access within the Event (AWE), and Participation Activity (PA). The possible problems and suggested solutions section will sometimes refer to a diagram on its corresponding topic in the More Information document. The reference will look like this “(see More Information ATE 1.d)” which lists the subsection that should be referenced.
There is a resource guide to resources that may be useful for disability issues that may arise. They are always happy to help, but may need plenty of time before your event if you want them to be involved in correcting a problem. See the far right tab.
The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center hopes to create an Accessibility Certification Seal similar to that of UCLA’s Green Event Certification. The details of this process are still being finalized. More information will be under this section.
Here is a checklist to guide you through the process of planning an event with accessibility and accommodations in mind!
Find the checklist below. There are also buttons to the checklist with feedback on each bullet point, a Google Forms version of the checklist and a PDF version.
- Identify a person (or persons) to be in charge of accessibility and accommodations, an Accessibility Coordinator
- Review the difference between accessibility and accommodation
- Familiarize yourself with all the resources available to help you put on an optimally accessible and accommodating event:
Note: The above are just the main offices that provide disability resources, other offices and departments are happy to help as well!
When picking a venue:
- Identify the 32-inch wide minimum accessible entrance into your venue
- Check all travel spaces for wheelchair accessibility:
- 30 inches wide for straight travels
- 48 inches long for passing
- 60 inches in diameter for turning
- Find the accessible bathroom stalls within your venue
- Identify the type of accessible stalls are available at your venue
- Identify where your closest companion (aka All Gender) bathroom
- Identify the elevators within your venue to access your event?
- If any part of your event is outdoors, plan temperature-controlled shelter in case the need arises
- If any part of your event is indoors, identify the temperature controls (ie. Air-conditioned)
- keep it between 50-80 degrees F
- If the indoor venue is not temperature controlled find these other solutions:
- Personal heaters
- Specify a lack of control over this situation in your publicity so guests can be aware before the event
- Identify the locations of accessible drinking fountains and/or
- Plans for a beverage/hydration station where water can be distributed in cups
Plan the Access to the Venue:
- Identify the nearest parking structure with accessible parking spaces
- Identify a back-up accessible parking in case of overflow
- Identify your closest ride-share drop off zones are, if your event takes place between 7am and 6pm on a weekday
- Established an accessible route to your venue from:
- Closest parking lot/structure
- Ride-share drop-off locations
- Checked your accessible route for the following:
- Curb Cuts: where the curb becomes flushed with the street to allow a wheelchair to cross the street
- Flatness: incline presents a very difficult mobility obstacle. Avoid incline with routes that involve elevators
- Lack of obstructions: Signage, scooters, and many other obstructions may not be a problem for an able-bodied person to get by, but wheelchairs need more space to get by
- Distance: Distance should be noted on pre-event materials so that persons with mobility disabilities can plan ahead.
- Ground Type: Loose ground type (sand, gravel) and grass can be quite difficult on persons with mobility disabilities and/or wheelchairs.
- Make signage to your event that clearly directs to accessible routes
- Make sure signage is clearly visible from a wheelchair vantage point (43-51 inches high)
- Make sure signage doesn’t obstructs an accessible route
Plan the Set-up of your venue:
- Prepare seating accommodations for all of the following:
- Wheelchair usage—will not transfer: May need to remove one or multiple seats at the front of your seating.
- Wheelchair usage—will transfer: May need to remove one or multiple seats at the front of the venue and seat the wheelchair next to the seat they will be transferring to.
- Blind or low vision—Seating where the event can be clearly heard.
- Deaf or hard of hearing—Seating where visuals, interpreters or captions can be clearly seen.
- Ambulatory with mobility disability—Seating where the event can be enjoyed without obstructions. Path to seat is short and without incline or stairs.
- Companion or aide—A disabled person may bring a companion or aide to help them throughout the event, be sure that they are seated next to each other
- Check the accessibility of the furniture:
- Bar tables
- Immovable furniture
- Tables that have a crossbar or table legs that prevent a wheelchair beneath
- Prepare to handle materials accommodations and alternate formatting for the following:
- Wheelchair usage—Make sure all materials are within reach for a lower vantage point and for someone with limited upper body mobility.
- Blind or low vision—Materials that can be converted into an accessible digital format or Braille (this can be a very difficult option) are good options. For persons with low vision guests larger print, clear fonts, bold face, and large contrasts between ink and paper colors can be the best solution for typed materials.
- Deaf or hard of hearing—Incorporate visuals, interpreters, ObiDuo or captions. NO YOUTUBE AUTO-CAPTIONS. For a hard of hearing guest, look into assistive listening device options for your venue and event.
- Ambulatory with mobility disability— Ensure that all materials are within reach for someone with limited upper and lower body mobility.
- Consider common allergens and medically-restricted diets in your food choices
- Consider accessibility and accommodations for presenters with disabilities (ie. ramps to a stage, lowered microphones, etc)
- Reach out to presenters and event staff/volunteers for any accommodations they might need.
- Give guests plenty of opportunity to privately request accommodations ahead of time:
- Create an RSVP form where accommodations can be requested and/or
- Make contact information for the accessibility coordinator available
- Place the Accessibility Certification Seal on your flyers marketing
- Add encouraging messages in your publicity demonstrating your commitment to accessibility and accommodations
Prepare the Staff/Volunteers:
- Educate your staff and volunteers to all the accessibility and accommodation options so that, if asked, they can give helpful, well-informed answers to guests
- Encourage staff and volunteers are sensitivity and helpfulness to any accessibility or accommodation issue that may arise!
RESOURCES & REFERENCES
UCLA Offices with Disability Resources
UCLA Center for Accessible Education (CAE)
Formerly the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD)
UCLA’s Center for Accessible Education (CAE) facilitates academic accommodations for regularly enrolled, matriculating students with disabilities. The CAE provides access to the numerous educational opportunities available to students on our campus and empowers students to realize their academic potential.
To obtain disability-related accommodations and services through the CAE, students should complete a Request for Services form and upload appropriate documentation. Students may also download and complete a printable version of the Request for Services form and email or fax it to the CAE at (310) 825-9656.
Please be aware that it will take up to three weeks to be notified about the status of your request. The entire process (from submitting your request to meeting with a Disability Specialist) can take up to four weeks.
CAE Director, Dr. Nickey Woods
Office: Murphy A255
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am -5pm
Office Phone: (310) 825-1501
Office Fax: (310) 825-9656
UCLA CAE Website
UCLA ADA/504 Compliance Office
The UCLA Chancellor’s 504 Compliance Office (since1992 the Chancellor’s ADA & 504 Compliance Office) was created in 1986 by Chancellor Charles Young. Its continuing mission is to (1) coordinate and monitor campus compliance with requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; (2) provide guidance and evaluate efforts to improve access to campus facilities and programs; (3) develop procedures to identify and correct access deficiencies; (4) advise the campus community regarding compliance related issues and recommend appropriate remedial actions; (5) coordinate the implementation of the ADA transition plan; and (6) field complaints alleging campus noncompliance with ADA & Section 504.
ADA/504 Compliance Officer, Chris Elquizabal
UCLA University Committee on Disability (UCOD)
This Committee was established in 1982 as an advisory group by the Chancellor. UCOD is comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the UCLA Community, and ex-officio members. The Committee’s charge is to analyze and identify problems, propose solutions, and make recommendations on matters of particular concern to persons with disabilities. To facilitate the Committee’s functioning the Chancellor’s ADA & 504 Compliance Office reserves UCOD meeting rooms, provides courtesy parking for off-campus voting members, distributes meeting minutes and proposed agendas.
UCOD Chair, Laura Sencion Mendoza
UCLA Office of Ombuds Services
The Office of Ombuds Services is a place where members of the UCLA community–students, faculty, staff and administrators–can go for assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes or complaints on an informal basis. In order to afford visitors the greatest freedom in using its services, the Office is independent, neutral and confidential.
UCOD Representative from Ombuds, Thomas Griffin
Office: Strathmore Building, 501 Westwood Plaza Suite #105
Office Phone: (310) 825-7627
Office Hours: 8am-5pm Monday-Friday (or by appointment)
Office Email: email@example.com
Thomas Griffin Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UCLA Adaptive Recreation
UCLA Recreation provides therapeutically-based recreation programs for people with cognitive and physical disabilities that expand their access to opportunities that promote physical fitness, health and wellness, increased self-esteem, and greater functional independence. In addition to adaptive programs, we provide opportunities for students and community members to volunteer. Volunteers are utilized in the development and delivery of programs. Educating the campus community on the lifestyle of individuals with disabilities in relation to recreation and sport is another aspect of the program. Adaptive Recreation is committed to providing programs and presentations to campus organizations about adaptive equipment and programs.
Adaptive Recreation Coordinator, Michael Garafola
UCLA Disabilities and Computing Program (DCP)
Mission: The mission of UCLA’s Disabilities and Computing Program at the Office of Information Technology is two-fold. The first goal is to facilitate the integration of adaptive computing technology into the areas of instruction, study, research, and employment at UCLA. The second goal is to make information—including electronic text and multimedia—accessible to all students, faculty and staff.
Students who require services from the UCLA OIT Disabilities and Computing Program will need a referral from the UCLA Center for Accessible Education. Please contact the UCLA Center for Accessible Educations (see above).
The DCP provides training and consulting on web accessibility needs to UCLA departments.
DCP Coordinator, Travis Lee
Vendors and Tips
Interpreter and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) Vendors
Note: Fees apply
If using the services of a sign language interpreter:
- Provide reserved seating in the front of the event for the attendee and companions.
- Sign language interpreters should be situated in the front of the room proximate to the speaker and within the sight line of the Deaf attendee so that both the interpreter and speaker can be viewed simultaneously.
- A spotlight should be on the interpreter if the lighting in the room is dimmed.
- Provide an advance copy of presentation so that the interpreter will be well prepared to sign any specialized vocabulary and names.
If using the services of a CART captioner:
- CART reporters will require some space for equipment set-up.
- Reporters using projection equipment should be situated in close proximity to the projection unit.
- Provide an advance copy of presentation to CART reporter to prepare him/her for any specialized vocabulary and names used in presentation.
Consider reserved parking for sign language interpreters and CART captioners so they are able to arrive to your event without having to worry about not being able to find parking– which may be impacted by your event.
Vendor information and tips provided by UCLA’s ADA/504 Compliance Office
Websites and Articles:
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the creation of the Accessibility Toolkit through technical content, personal experience, and support.
Special Thanks to the following people:
Sanna Alas, HCI Center Special Projects Coordinator
Megan Borella, HCI Center Student Employee
Mackenzie Clay, UCLA PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering (model in many toolkit photos)
Chris Elquizabal, Center for Acccessible Education Associate Director & ADA/504 Compliance Officer
Louise Ino, Executive Assistant to Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center
Travis Lee, Disabilities and Computing Program Coordinator
Benjamin Lewis, Lecturer in American Sign Language and Deaf History & Culture
Ted Robles, EngageWell Pod Co-Leader & Associate Professor in Healthy Psychology
Jane & Terry Semel, Founders and Visionaries of the Healthy Campus Initiative Center
Wendy Slusser, M.D., M.S., AVP for the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center
Dr. Nickey Woods, Center for Accessible Education Director
Cheers, Carolanne “Goob” Link