How can I make a design studio class more accessible to students with disabilities?

DO-IT Factsheet #489

There are two approaches for making academic activities accessible to students with disabilities—accommodations and universal design. An accommodation makes adjustments for a specific student with a disability, such as providing assistive technology or materials in alternate formats. The goal of universal design is to create products and environments that are usable by everyone (including people with disabilities), to the greatest extent possible, minimizing the need for accommodations for individuals in the future. For example, if a studio classroom contains an adjustable-height drafting table, an accommodation will not be needed for a student who uses a wheelchair that is too high for a standard-height drafting table. This table as well as an adjustable-height chair may also be comfortable for a student who needs to remain seated because of a health impairment or someone who is very tall or short in stature. Making accommodations is reactive, whereas universal design is proactive.

Issues specific to design that you might want to consider include:

For additional information and resources that can be used to create a more accessible design studio class consult:

AccessDesign has been developed in partnership with Access to Design Professions, Institute for Human Centered Design, (IHCD) Boston, MA and funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).