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Public Spaces. Denis Anson, MS, OTR Jaclyn Schwartz, MS, OTR. Why is Public Access Important?. Health and Social Benefits Fundamental to OT: active participation in meaningful activity promotes health It’s the law

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Public spaces

Public Spaces

Denis Anson, MS, OTR

Jaclyn Schwartz, MS, OTR

Why is public access important
Why is Public Access Important?

  • Health and Social Benefits

    • Fundamental to OT: active participation in meaningful activity promotes health

  • It’s the law

    • The ADA says that people with disabilities have the same civil right to participation as everyone else

Why do we care
Why do we care?

  • There are two groups involved in public access

    • Facility Creators

      • Architects, business owners, building owners

    • Access Seekers

      • People with disabilities

      • Families of people with disabilities

      • Advocacy organizations

      • Community Members

      • OTs

Why do we care1
Why do we care?

  • For the first group, accessibility is a significant burden with little payback

    • Providing accessible features is seen as a burden on the many for the benefit of the few

      • (This isn’t true, but it’s seen that way)

  • For the second group, accessibility is access to community, social, and government services

    • This is a basic civil right

Why do we care2
Why do we care?

  • Until the passage of the legal requirement for accessibility, little progress was made

  • After the passage of ADA:

    • How do I get out of this?

    • If I ignore it, maybe it will go away…

  • Part of our professional responsibility as OTs is to advocate for our clients

Accessibility information
Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility information must meet the needs of the group it is intended for

    • The creators of facilities

    • The owners of facilities

    • The users of facilities

Guidance for space creators
Guidance for Space Creators

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    • The ADA is civil rights code, not building code

    • The fundamental principle of the ADA is that people with disabilities have the same right of access to services as those without disabilities

    • To assure this access, the services must be located in accessible spaces

Guidance for space creators1
Guidance for Space Creators

  • It is perfectly acceptable for a public space to have spaces that are not available to all visitors, so long as the services are available in the accessible space

    • Consider a restaurant that has a bar area located on a raised platform

    • The serving of alcohol in the bar area is acceptable so long as the same service (purchasing drinks) is accessible in the main area

Guidance for space creators2
Guidance for Space Creators

  • As a designer, what is “accessible?”

    • In the early days, the standard was that a person bringing legal action wasn’t able to get to the service

    • Builder’s needed to know how much accessibility they needed to provide, because “enough” is a moving standard

    • Enter “ADA-ABA Guidelines”

Ada aba guidelines
ADA-ABA Guidelines

  • The ADA-ABA guidelines provide a legal “minimum standard” of accessibility

  • It does not assure that everyone, regardless of disability, will have access.

  • It tells designers and builders, “If you do *at least* this much, you will have provided enough accessibility.

Ada aba guidelines1
ADA-ABA Guidelines

  • Recognizing the foundation of the ADA makes it easier to understand

  • The first part of the guidelines define “scope” (who has to follow these rules)

  • The second (larger) part defines what a design has to include (minimum)

The ada language
The ADA-Language

  • The ADA guidelines are written in an interesting mix of legalese and engineering.

    • “308.2.2 Obstructed High Reach.  Where a high forward reach is over an obstruction, the clear floor space shall extend beneath the element for a distance not less than the required reach depth over the obstruction.  The high forward reach shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) maximum where the reach depth is 20 inches (510 mm) maximum.  Where the reach depth exceeds 20 inches (510 mm), the high forward reach shall be 44 inches (1120 mm) maximum and the reach depth shall be 25 inches (635 mm) maximum.”

The ada language1
The ADA-Language

  • In other places, the requirements border on whimsy:

    • 806.2.1 Living and Dining Areas.  Living and dining areas shall be accessible.

    • 806.2.2 Exterior Spaces.  Exterior spaces, including patios, terraces and balconies, that serve the guest room shall be accessible.

Ada language
ADA Language

  • As a result, the interpretation is often strange, if not whimsical.

The difference
The Difference?

  • The designers elected to put a non-essential, non-functional barrier below the counter on the “standard” sinks.

  • They could have made all of the sinks accessible by simply not installing a barrier.

Ada language1
ADA Language

  • The ADA-ABA language is so hard to understand, it is not reasonable to ask non-specialists to interpret it.

  • (It’s hard enough that specialists struggle)

  • Enter ADA-CAT

What is ada cat
What is ADA-CAT

  • ADA-CAT is intended to be applied to the built environment, to determine if a facility meets the requirements of the ADA.

  • The language “translated” from Legalese/Engineer to English

  • The ADA-CAT system includes tools that allow easy measurement of compliance

Compliance testing
Compliance Testing

  • A key feature of ADA-CAT compliance testing is that we don’t actually care what the width of a door or the slope of a ramp is.

  • We care only that it meets or exceeds the standards

  • This allows for simple, pass-fail measurements

Ada cat tools

  • Some of the tools of ADA-CAT are conventional, commercial products

  • Other tools are unique to ADA-CAT

The ada cat website
The ADA-CAT Website

  • These tools are used in conjunction with the ADA-CAT website, which allows you to record, store, and analyze your evaluation information

  • During the lab component, you will have the opportunity to use the hardware and web-based tools.

Craig hospital inventory of environmental factors chief
Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors (CHIEF)

  • Created in response to the social model of disability in 2004

  • Developed by 4 panels of experts of diverse fields

  • Measures the perceived impact of environmental barriers

  • Goals

    • Evaluate the environment at the micro, meso, and macro level

    • Works for people with and without disabilitites

    • designed for large-scale survey research


  • 25 Items

    • With a 12 items short form

  • Can be administered as a survey or interview

  • Open access

  • Administration Time: 10-15 min

  • Reliability and Validity

    • Good test-retest reliability

    • Poor participant-proxy reliability

    • Good Internal Consistency

    • Good Discriminant Validity

Chief scoring
CHIEF Scoring

  • Frequency

    • 5-point scale 0 (never) – 4 (daily)

Chief scoring1
CHIEF Scoring

  • Magnitude

    • 3-point scale 0 (no problem) – 2 (a big problem)

Chief scoring2
CHIEF Scoring

  • Magnitude of the barrier = Frequency * Magnitude

  • Higher score indicate more barriers

Measurement of the quality of the environment mqe
Measurement of the Quality of the Environment (MQE)

  • Goal: To evaluate the environment’s influence on the accomplishment of a person’s daily activities in relation to persons function and limits

  • Sub-tests

    • Support and attitudes of family and friends

    • Income, job, and income security

    • Governmental and public services

    • Physical environmental accessibility

    • Technology

    • Equal opportunity and political orientations

Measurement of the quality of the environment mqe1
Measurement of the Quality of the Environment (MQE)

  • Self-administered

  • For use in the clinic and research

  • Administration time: 30-60 min

  • 109 items

  • Reliability and Validity

    • Good test-retest reliability

Measurement of the quality of the environment mqe2
Measurement of the Quality of the Environment (MQE)

  • Items are scored on a 7-point scale

  • Obstacles – hinder daily activities

    • -3 to -1

  • Facilitators – factors that assist the accomplishment of a daily activity

    • 1-3

  • No Influence – Factors that have no effect

    • 0

Community health environment checklist
Community Health Environment Checklist

  • Goal

    • To objectively measure the physical environment

    • To measure features important to persons with disabilities

    • To create a tool for advocates, health care professionals, and policy makers

    • To predict community participation

  • Developed through a series of interviews and focus groups with people with disabilities


  • CHEC’s are developed for specific populations and locations

    • Mobility

    • Hearing

    • Vision


  • Administration Time: 20-30 min

  • Number of questions vary

  • Content answers the question “Can I get in and out and do what I need to do in the building?”

  • Training is needed to administer

  • Good reliability and validity

    • Psychometrics are continuing to be tested on new portions

  • For more information go to TD 306 on Saturday at 9:30

Accessibility and universal design information tools audits
Accessibility and Universal Design Information Tools (AUDITs)

  • Goals

    • To provide a method to document quantifiable summaries of accessibility and usability features of teaching methods, the build environment

    • Each AUDIT has two parts accessibility and usability

  • Developed by a team of accessibility and universal design specialists

Access ratings for buildings ar b
Access Ratings For Buildings (AR-B) (AUDITs)

  • Upcoming Assessment

  • Developed from the AUDITs

  • Goals

    • Offer personalized access information for people with disabilities

    • Offer generalized information for concerned citizens

    • Allows sharing of information and expertise between users

  • Smartphone based (AUDITs)

    • Employs branching question structure

    • Emphasizes efficiency

  • Smart Tools

  • Very Detailed

  • Interested in being a part of the development? Email

References (AUDITs)

  • Boschen, K., Noreau, L., & Fougeyrollas, P. (1998). The measure of the quality of the environment: a reliability study in young adults with cerebral palsy. World Congress of Occupational Therapy. Montréal, June 1-5.

  • Stark, S., Hollingsworth, H., Morgan, K., Gray, D.B., (2007) Development of a measure of receptivity of the physical environment. Disability & Rehabilitation, 29(2), 123 – 137.

  • Whiteneck, G.G., Harrison-Felix, C.L., Mellick, D.C., Brooks, C.A., Charlifue, S.B., Gerhart, K.A. (2004) Quantifying environmental factors: a measure of physical, attitudinalservice, productivity, and policy barriers. Arch PhysMed Rehabil, 85, 1324-1335.