Lesson 04: Universal Design of the Environment and Events
Serving Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Access 4: UNIVERSAL DESIGN OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND EVENTS
The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of applications of UNIVERSAL DESIGN to your facility and environment, as well as to events sponsored by your student services area.
Through discussions with other participants, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and applications of the principles of UNIVERSAL DESIGN.
Question to reflect upon while reading the content
In what ways might your department or office modify your physical environment in order to make it more accessible to students with disabilities?
Facility and Environment
Making your facility and environment more accessible can benefit not only students with disabilities but all visitors to your office. Answering the following questions can help guide you in making your campus service universally accessible.
- Are parking areas, pathways, and entrances to the building wheelchair-accessible?
- Are all levels of the facility connected via an accessible route of travel?
- Is there signage outside the building indicating which entrances are accessible?
- Are there ample high-contrast, large-print directional signs to and throughout the office?
- Do elevators have both auditory and visual signals for floors? Are elevator controls accessible from a seated position and available in large print and Braille or raised notation?
- Are wheelchair-accessible restrooms with well-marked signs available in or near the office?
- Are aisles kept wide and clear for wheelchair users and protruding objects removed or minimized for the safety of users who are visually impaired?
- Is lighting adjustable by the individual?
- Are window blinds available to reduce glare, especially on computer screens?
- Are there quiet work and/or meeting areas where noise and other distractions are minimal or facility rules (e.g., no cell phone use) minimize noise?
- Are service desks wheelchair-accessible, and is at least part of each service counter of a height accessible to a wheelchair user?
- Are telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD/TTY) available?
Student services offices are often responsible for the coordination of events for current students, prospective students, parents, and other guests. Answering the following questions can help you determine if your event is accessible to all potential attendees.
- Are events sponsored by the organization located in wheelchair-accessible facilities? Is the accessible entrance clearly marked?
- Is information about how to request disability-related accommodations included in publications promoting events?
- Is accessible transportation available if transportation is arranged for other participants?
Making your facility, office environment, or campus events more accessible can benefit not only students with disabilities but all visitors.
Question for Discussion
Send an email message to the group describing the following:
How YOUR office or program incorporates the principles and strategies presented in the CONTENT above.
Your email SUBJECT line should read: Access 4: UNIVERSAL DESIGN OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND EVENTS.
You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies, and access additional resources at The Conference Room, https://www.washington.edu/doit/distance-learning-course-serving-students-disabilities.
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