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Low-Cost and No-Cost Accessibility Ideas

  • Set up reception areas and waiting rooms with at least one integrated space for wheelchair users.
  • Good lighting benefits most people, but is essential when lip reading or sign language is used. It can also be helpful to individuals with visual impairments.
  • Carpeting provides better acoustics and minimizes echoes. Thick-pile carpets however, are hard for users of wheelchairs.
  • When choosing a worksite or meeting location, remember that newer construction and recent major renovations usually mean better physical access.
  • Many people who are legally blind retain some vision and may benefit from visual input.
  • An audible public address system enhances hearing accessibility for everyone.
  • When beverages are provided, straws are necessary for people with dexterity, neurological, and other disabilities.
  • Doors with lever handles are easier for everyone.
  • Signs (black on white) which use symbols are more accessible to people with learning, cognitive and visual disabilities.
  • Curb cuts and access ramps are rendered useless if not kept clear of ice and snow.
  • During meetings, it is helpful if
    1) Speakers wait to be recognized by the chair
    2) People speak one at a time
    3) Individuals introduce themselves for voice identification.
  • Allow time before and after presentations for questions about presented materials.
  • Make printed copies of speeches and presentations available ahead of time to allow for taping and interpreter familiarity.
  • Do not stand or walk between interpreters and their audience.
  • A smoke-free environment is required for people with emphysema, allergies, and other respiratory disabilities.
  • Reserved up-front seating can be helpful for some people with hearing and visual disabilities.
  • Avoid flashing and flickering lights and loud noises; they can trigger seizure disorders.
  • Modular workspaces offer nearly limitless accommodation options and offer the added bonus of future modifications. They are preferable to creating a non-integrated, inflexible "handicapped workstation."
  • Commend and patronize merchants, agencies and professionals who operate barrier-free establishments.
  • Black print on white, flat (not glossy) paper, with a combination of upper and lower case letters, provides good visual contrast. Large print is preferable, 14 point or larger, serif style (that is, with "feet" at the bottom). Avoid colored print or paper for essential information. Use color for a decorative border only.

Courtesy of Boston Center for Independent Living, Boston, MA