g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Children with Special Needs Site

BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor


Accessible Designs for Schools

Public schools have been traditionally designed with little consideration for students, staff, administrators or visitors who have mobility issues. Planners may not consider or take universal design elements seriously, reducing or eliminating accessibility in buildings that community members depend upon for the education of all our children. Disability advocacy groups and our Parent/Teacher organizations should be aware of how many buildings in their school district have built accessibility into their designs.
Some years ago our local single story accessible elementary school was torn down and rebuilt. During public meetings on the new design, one parent mentioned that another school volunteer was a dad who used a wheelchair. It did not make sense for the district to have chosen a design that featured many stairs but only a small elevator, leaving no option for that dad take more than a few students from the classroom to the library or cafeteria, out to the playground or waiting buses.
There were also concerns that any teachers, support staff, or administrators, using wheelchairs, would find the building inaccessible, not to mention students, families, and community members. Aside from accessibility issues and the inconveniences of everyday life, lack of planning for full use of buildings by individuals with mobility challenges puts both adults and children in danger during emergency evacuation of schools. In cases of natural disaster, schools may be designated as temporary shelters for displaced individuals who may already rely on mobility aids or who may have been injured during and event or its aftermath.
A concerned parent reported that an administrator, showing off the plans and model of the building at a summer arts festival, became irate when accessibility issues were brought up at the school district booth. No calm dialog was possible. Disability advocates were unable to open a discussion about modifying the design before the school was being built. One parent was told that the community would have to wait until after the school opened; show proof of inaccessibility; and have a person using a wheelchair file a complaint. At that time the district's position would be that it would be too expensive to modify the building.
Community members were told repeatedly by the district that the proposed design was one of the most popular in the USA, and that the small elevator made the design exempt from the ADA. That school was built as planned. Over the years, other single-story accessible buildings were torn down and replaced by buildings without the universal design elements that benefit everyone. One would think that even if there was no ADA, common sense would dictate that public schools and at least all public buildings must incorporate accessible elements of design.

Browse your local bookstore, public library and online retailer for books about Universal Design principles and accessibility like Barrier-free design, or The Universal Design Handbook

Germany - Wheelchair user designs a 3D printable, portable ramp
Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Twitter Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Facebook Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to MySpace Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Digg Accessible+Designs+for+Schools Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Yahoo My Web Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Google Bookmarks Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Stumbleupon Add Accessible+Designs+for+Schools to Reddit


Rebuilding America with Universal Design
Accessible Playgrounds and Inclusive Play Areas
Home Accessibility and Visitability
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Children with Special Needs Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.


g features
Mothers Day Crafts - Childhood Disabilities

Recognizing Early Signs of Autism

Sensory Integration and Children

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor