Guide to Accessible Programming

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A Guide to Accessible Programming

There are many steps in making a program completely accessible; below are some resources that can help you get started. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a guide to assist you in ensuring that your programs and activities are accessible for all people. Please note: inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement, but is provided for informational purposes only.

General Resources About the ADA:

Understanding what is and is not covered under the ADA can be complicated. The resources below can help your organization identify what aspects – whether physical or programmatic – should be altered to ensure accessibility for all.

ADA Accessibility Standards 2010 – Current Accessibility Standards for renovations, additions and new construction of buildings and facilities

ADA National Network (Regional Centers) – Through its 10 regional centers, the ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(800) 949-4232 (Voice /TTY)
Chicago Accessibility Code – Questions should be directed to the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities (MOPD) Accessibility Compliance Unit.
Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium – Empowers Chicago’s cultural spaces to become more accessible to visitors with disabilities.
City of Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

(312) 744-7050 (312) or 744 4964 (Toll Free/TTY)

Great Lakes ADA Center – Regional ADA Center for Technical Assistance and Training on the ADA.

(800)-949-4232 (V/TTY)
Illinois Accessibility Code – Illinois has additional standards beyond the federal ADA.
The Chicago Community Trust – “Renewing the Commitment” An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits

Title III (Privately owned and operated programs and services) – Nondiscrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and in commercial facilities
U.S. Access Board – A federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards

(800) 872-2253 (Voice), (800) 993-2822 (TTY)
U.S. Department of Justice, Disability Rights Division

(800) 514-0301 (Voice), (800) 514-0383 (TTY)

Accessibility at Your Cultural Organization:

In addition to the general resources listed above, there are a number of useful resources specific to the accessibility of cultural organizations.

Bodies of Work – A network of artists and organizations whose art illuminates the disability experience. –

Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrators Handbook

Listen Tech- makes iDSP, a new generation of personal listening products that can be used in various places where it’s difficult to hear, like: theaters, lecture halls, concert venues, houses of worship, and more.

1-800-330-0891 or 1-801-233-8992
The Kennedy Center – One of the leading experts in accessibility with many tip sheets and resources. See below for a full listing of resource topics.
Tip Sheets:

• The Color Red in Design

Captioning and CART

• Large Print Programs

• Radio Frequency, Induction Loop, and Infrared Assistive Listening Systems

• Producing and Distributing Braille and Large Print Programs

• Service Animals and the Revised ADA Regulations

Staff Training Resources

• Universal Design Resources on the Web

• Universal Principles of Online Accessible Ticketing

• The Impact of the 2010 Regulations on Hold and Release Policies for Wheelchair Accessible Seating

Books and Brochures:

• Assistive Listening Devices for People with Hearing Loss – A Guide for Performing Arts Settings

• Audio Description for People with Vision Loss – A Guide for Performing Arts Settings

• Sensory Friendly Programming for People with Social & Cognitive Learning Disabilities

Website Accessibility:

An organization’s website is one of the first places patrons visit for information and it is vital that your website is accessible to all audiences. Below are some guidelines and a resource to help evaluate the accessibility of your site.

Knowbility – Organization that has done a lot of work with the Arts/Culture Community regarding Web Accessibility and performs web accessibility evaluations

Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards
U.S. DOJ Fact Sheet on Web Accessibility for Local and State Governments

Accessible and Effective Communication:

People who have vision, hearing or speech disabilities (“communication disabilities”) use different ways to communicate. To ensure all people can enjoy performances, screenings, panels and other experiences, there are a number of accommodations organizations can make to improve communication. The most standard are:

  • American Sign Language Interpreters

  • Captioning for videos

  • Communications Access in Real-time Translation (CART)

  • Audio Description

  • Touch Tours

View a general fact sheet about different types of communications here:
Audio Description Associates, LLC. – Audio Description provides access to the visual elements – action, costumes, settings, gestures, facial expressions and other visually engaging images – of television/film, museum exhibitions, theater and a variety of events.
(301) 920-0218
Chicago Hearing Society – Empowers deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people to communicate and collaborate by providing an array of services including interpreter and CART services.
(773) 248-9121

Efficiency Reporting – CART and Captioning

(630) 682-8887
Wilde Mouth – Chicago-based professional Voice Actor and Audio Describer for ensuring performances and screenings are accessible to X and Y.
(773) 895-5691

Training Resources:

Great Lakes ADA Center – Regional ADA Center for Technical Assistance and Training on the ADA

800-949-4232 (V/TTY)
JJ’s List – Communications and marketing social enterprise that helps businesses incorporate disability-aware marketing, customer services and employment best practices into core business strategies.

(847) 869-0000
Open Doors Organization – Makes goods and services accessible to people with disabilities in the travel and tourism industry.

(773) 388-8839
Contributing Organizations: ADA 25 Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium

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