Welcome to the ADA Distance Learning series hosted by your regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center. This month''s session is about design issues in children''s environments. Joining us today is Shelley Sandow. Hi Shelley.
Shelley Sandow has been working in disability issues for over 15 years. She has managed an assistive technology research project for the Hines VA Hospital R&D center. She has also held several positions with Access Living, the Center for Independent Living serving metropolitan Chicago. She left Access Living to become the ADA Coordinator for the Chicago public schools and subsequent to that she was a consultant with LCM Architects in Chicago and provided ADA compliance consulting and training to various private and public sector clients including the school districts. In January of this year Shelley left LCM to develop her own ADA consulting service when she was named as the independent monitor of the settlement agreement resulting from a class action lawsuit filed against the Chicago Transit Authority. The infamous Chicago transit suit. That will keep you busy, I''m sure, Shelley.
I think so.
Shelley has worked at great lengths with the Chicago public schools and other districts to identify barriers and develop transition plans to improve access for school children with disabilities. So we are very excited to have her with us. She is going the talk a little bit about some of the design issues common to children''s environments. And then we will open it up to you members of the audience for questions. As a reminder, this session is currently real time captioned on the Great Lakes web site at www.adagreatlakes.org. And with that said Shelley, I will turn it over to you.
Thank you, Jennifer. Good morning or afternoon to everyone. Just to clarify, the purpose of this program is not to spend a lot of time going over the actual technical specifications in the children''s standards, rather it is to take that information and describe what happens when you drop it into actual practice of design and construction or into the real world, if you like. It is to provide troubleshooting tips or give advance warning of some problems or misunderstandings that can occur and present some solutions. I was asked to do this program because for the last six and a half years I have been consulting on ADA compliance, especially with school districts. And in doing so, I encountered many fine architects and capital program managers. But it was surprising to me that quite a number were not aware of ADAAG children''s standards or weren''t familiar with using them. Fortunately these fine architects and program managers would often recognize that they weren''t sure about something relating to ADAAG or children''s standards or else they or their contractors would get in the middle of a project and especially in accessibility renovations of existing buildings rather than new construction, they would find something that wasn''t working with applying the standards so they would call our office with a slew of questions. And as most of you probably know, the best way to learn something is to have to answer a question or explain it to other people, which is what I had to do or we had to do. In doing so, my colleagues at that time at LCM architects and I found that although ADAAG is an excellent technical document, it can''t possibly anticipate every situation or answer every possible question. Applying children''s standards often requires some analysis, interpretation and eventually making a judgment call. So in the session I''m going to raise some of the frequently asked questions about applying the children''s standards and share some suggested resolutions . If any of you are architects, this should save you some time and trouble if you encounter similar situations. If you are advocates or providers of technical assistance, this information will give you more confidence in assisting covered entities with their compliance. If you represent a covered entity, particularly a school district or a day care provider, this will help you to do oversight of the architects, consultants or contractors working with you on ADA compliance. Just a note, I won''t be addressing play facilities because this past March John McGovern gave an excellent extensive presentation on that subject. As I ask and answer questions, I will be referring to ADAAG and children''s standards specifically the ADA accessibility guidelines for buildings and facilities as amended in January 1998. So my first question to myself is, when should children''s standards be used? ADAAG children''s standards apply to facilities or portions of facilities that are used primarily by children. The children''s standards include specifications based on dimensions and anthropometrics of children ages three years to twelve years old. That phrase children''s dimensions means that the standards reflect the size, reach ranges, level of strengths and stamina, skill in maneuvering mobility devices or other characteristics of children which differ from adults. The children''s standards have been approved by the Access Board but they have not yet had the final step of being adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice. So officially, this means they are not yet enforceable. This further means that if they are not used in facilities are children are the primary users, it can''t technically be considered a violation of the law. However, it would be very inappropriate and wasteful to refrain from using them in facilities or parts of facilities where the primary users are children. This situation is not a contradiction or a legal problem for architects or contractors. It is not a violation of ADA or of ADAAG to design and build according to children''s standards even though they have not yet been adopted by DOJ. You may already be familiar with ADAAG section 2.2, which is the section on equivalent facilitation. It provides that if you can do something that offers equal accessibility as an ADAAG provision or even better accessibility for the users of a facility, then it is allowed. It is a part of ADAAG that permits people to do what makes sense, especially now as technology and construction techniques are evolving so quickly. The government doesn''t make us use outdated methods or ideas if newer ones are better. This is to say that there is no valid or defensible reason not to use children''s standards where they would provide the best accessibility for the little ones. ADAAG''s equivalent facilitation provision allows their use. Probably the most typical applications of children''s standards of course are in the design of elementary schools and day care centers. Another place where you may need to think about children''s standards is in high schools, though, because many of them have a child care class that infants, toddlers or small children attend each day. Otherwise the rest of the facility would be designed according to adult standards. Other places to think about children''s standards are children''s museums, hospital pediatric units, social service agencies that provide many services to children, a park with special programs for children. I''m sure you can add many more possibilities. And let me just make a remainder at this moment that you should also check your stated and municipal codes or laws to see if they have any accessibility requirements that are stricter. That is, provide even greater access for children than ADAAG or children''s standards. In that case, those parts of the code, local codes or laws must be followed. What about facilities that have mixed users? Adults, teens and children? The issue of mixed users will be most problematic relating to restrooms or as they are called in architecture toilet rooms. If there are many toilet rooms or stalls in a facility it is possible to have some at adult standards and some at children''s standards, naturally. . But where there is only one, the truth is that the architect and owner or operator of the facility must use their best judgment based on who will use the room and when and how. The children''s standards offer three categories of heights relating to the ages of the most likely users. Three and four year olds, five to nine year olds, and nine to twelve year olds. The maximum recommended dimensions in the upper most age category, ages 9 to 12 years, sometimes overlap with the minimum permitted dimensions for ADAAG adult standards. For example toilet seats for children''s use are recommended to be no higher than 17 inches from the floor. The adult standards in ADAAG is 17 to 19 inches. So 17 inches is the overlap and would work for many children and adults. There isn''t always this overlap, however. Grab bars at children''s standards would be mounted no higher than 27 inches above the floor, whereas the minimum mounting height for grab bars in ADAAG is 33 inches. So ultimately, someone has to make a hard choice about who the primary users are going to be and which is the appropriate standard to apply. This has to be done even knowing that whatever is done may not be perfect for everyone. Maybe I can offer some moral support at least for making these kinds of hard choices. There is a psychologist named Rollo May who writes about the paradox involved in making decisions sometimes. He says that there is "the seeming contradiction that we must be fully committed, but we must also be aware at the same time that we might possibly be wrong." He uses the adjective courageous to describe people who make decisions in the face of this paradox or contradiction. It does take courage to be inside the process of social change as everyone on this conference call knows so well. Okay. If you are designing only for children, how do you select among the three categories? A fortunate thing is that there are overlaps among the three categories of ages described in the children''s standards. But again, it is necessary to think about the primary users and design for that group. Once a category is selected among the three, ADAAG says that the same category must be used for the rest of that room. Going back to the example of a toilet room, it is not permitted to use the age five to eight year olds category for the toilet and then switch to the category for ages nine to twelve years for the height of the grab bars. Well, is there anything else that is special about designing toilet rooms for children? My first wish is to mention what doesn''t need to be special. For accessible lavatories or sinks in toilet rooms, people often select blade hardware, the kind that look sort of like a wing. This is what we see on operating room sinks in doctor shows on TV. This blade hardware isn''t required and, in fact, for public facilities it is often a big problem. A lot of school engineers have mentioned that these blade handles are irresistible to some children who want to experiment with what level of strength it takes to snap them off. They are a sort of attractive nuisance. Some school engineers have told us that the average half life of this type of hardware is less than a month. Push button hardware is a lot sturdier and it is very accessible as long as it is operating force is set correctly and it can also be set for automatic turnoff to save water to reduce the likelihood of flooding when sinks are stopped up. Automatic sensors are appropriate in some circumstances too. Likewise, there is usually no need to have the tall goose neck faucets that you often see unless the sink or lavatory is also used for filling buckets like perhaps in an art classroom. Again, this type of faucet is much more susceptible to vandalism than a conventional faucet and it doesn''t enhance accessibility. You also frequently see elongated lavatories used as the accessible ones. These are also neither required nor desirable. In fact, for some people they are much less accessible because of the distance someone, especially a child, must stretch to reach the faucets at the back. There is research suggesting that 14 inches may be the maximum depth that a child can realistically stretch over an obstacle. And, again, these elongated lavatories are more expensive and easily damaged than a conventional lavatory. Where these exist, facility engineers or maintenance people sometimes have to provide makeshift legs at the front end because otherwise they don''t support the weight of the people leaning on them or the weight of the little people who can''t resist sitting or standing on them. And as soon as the leg at the front is added they become inaccessible to a wheelchair user because now there is no clear knee space. If there is a mirror in a restroom, it is not required to be a special tilt mirror. ADAAG and children''s standards already take into account people with disabilities. If the children''s standards guidelines are followed the mirror will be accessible and usable so no special mirror is required. Some entities choose to use a full length mirror in a restroom which also is completely accessible. The additional benefit of not having special items like the elongated sinks, tilt mirrors, goose neck faucets, blade hardware, is that accessibility is then more integrated into the overall toilet room design. Another special point about designing toilet rooms for children is that there are two sets of lavatory recommendations in children''s standards. For children ages six to twelve years, the lavatory should provide knee clearance of 24 inches from the floor to allow a wheelchair to fit underneath. And the height of the lavatory rim shouldn''t be more than 31 inches. This means in practical terms that the lavatory bowl won''t be any deeper than seven inches. For the youngest children ages five and less, the pre-kindergarten or kindergarten crowd, a lower lavatory rim is permitted so that the smaller ambulatory children can use the sink as well as the children in wheelchairs. The rim can be any height up to but no higher than 31 inches above the floor. If it is at exactly 31 inches, then it is the same lavatory as the one for the older children. But If the rim is lower than 31 inches high, there won''t be 24 inches of knee clearance given the depth of the lavatory bowl. Since a wheelchair can''t fit under a sink like this, the children''s standards call for sufficient clear space so that there can be side access by a wheelchair. Let me also speak for a minute about grab bars. Sometimes when a toilet is installed at children''s standards it is not possible to place the 36 inch long grab bar behind it because the tank or the flush valve which is the vertical pipe behind the toilet gets in the way. However, that doesn''t remove the need to provide sufficient horizontal length for a rear grab bar. Unfortunately, when this dilemma occurs, some architects or installers handle it by providing just a single little twelve or 18-inch rear grab bar on one side of the flush valve. That is not acceptable. It doesn''t allow enough gripping space for many children to do transfers. It is very dangerous. But again, the ADAAG children''s standards developers provided a solution. There is an exception in the standards that says if the 36 inch long grab bar can''t fit, it is allowable to split it. Although the combined length of the two grab bars needs to equal 36 inches. There is even an additional alternative, too. In cases where the central line of the water closet is 15 inches or less from the wall. In this case, there isn''t enough room on the other side of the toilet to mount even a 12-inch long grab bar. In that condition, the ADAAG children''s standards say it is permissible to just install a single rear grab bar at least 24 inches long on the wide or open side of the toilet. If you''re not an architect, what I have just explained may be difficult to visualize. The important thing is to make sure that a child''s accessible toilet room does not have only a single puney twelve or 18-inch long grab bar. We need to make sure the children have enough length so that they are able to transfer from a wheelchair or children using a walker can effectively use the grab bar for support. In an existing toilet room being renovated for accessibility, sometimes I have seen unsafe things substituted for the grab bars specified in ADAAG. I have seen towel rods just screwed into a wall. Please understand that this is a very dangerous condition. Very hazardous. A towel rod does not have the structural strength to support someone using it. ADAAG 4.26.3 gives detailed information on what is required for grab bars and mounting devices. This must be adhered to, whether the users are adults or children. The wall may need to be reinforced for a real grab bar to be installed correctly. This really is a matter of safety. Also, if an ADAAG compliant grab bar is not provided, there is great legal exposure for an entity. Another matter is that if the accessible toilet or water closet is in a single occupancy toilet room or in an accessible toilet stall, remember that the coat hook on the door also needs to be within a child''s reach range. If stall the door opens outward, be sure that there is an accessible door pull and accessible hardware on the inside to allow the child to pull the door closed and lock it. The next question is, aren''t you through talking about toilet rooms and toilets yet? Yes. Finally. But I would still like to talk a moment longer about vandalism, specifically showers. ADAAG calls for a shower spray unit with the hose that can be used both as a fixed shower head and as a hand-held shower. In some instances, especially in schools or parks, there are problems with vandalism. And the facilities managers or janitors really dislike the spray unit with a hose. One school engineer told me that the hose kept being ripped out or ripped off and the school figured that without it they were violating ADA. He said the only way the school officials could think of to not discriminate was to just discontinue showers for everyone. This is the kind of thing that gives ADA an unfair bad name. But they felt that in order to prevent violating the ADA, everyone would have to suffer. But ADAAG developers were not naive, so they put in an exception. It says that in unmonitored facilities where vandalism is a consideration, a fixed shower head may be used in lieu of a hand-held shower head. This is in ADAAG 4.21.6 exception. This isn''t an issue only for children''s facilities, but I wanted to mention it now because it is something that causes a lot of trouble and it is so easily remedied by reading and applying ADAAG. Does everything in a room space or building have to be designed to children''s standards if children are in that room or space? Usually not. Only the things that children are supposed to use, such as toilets, water closets, grab bars, lavatory faucets, their lockers or cubby holes. Of course, it is necessary to consult with the owner of the space that you are designing to see if there are unusual circumstances or policies. But it is unlikely that light switches, electrical outlets, emergency fire alarm pulls, fire extinguisher cabinet hardware, thermostats or intercom systems are intended for use by the children in a facility. Therefore, these should be designed at regular adult standards in ADAAG. Are there any requirements for children''s school lockers? Some elementary schools do have lockers, especially in colder climates where children wear heavy coats and boots. These should meet both the upper and lower reach ranges for children. The top hook in a locker should be at or below the maximum reach range for the age group you are designing for. But don''t forget about the bottom shelf. It will have to be at or above the low reach, which for children ages 9 to 12 years is 16 inches above the floor. If it is lower than that, a child using a wheelchair would not be able to reach anything he or she had placed on the locker floor. In practical terms, this means that the frequently seen double stacked locker won''t work. The top locker would end up having the hook above the upper reach range and the bottom locker of the pair would end up having its floor below the low reach range. A full depth locker is needed. And it may be necessary to build up the floor or the bottom shelf so it reaches up to the low reach range. The top hook might need to be mounted lower than normally to make sure it doesn''t exceed the high reach range. Next question, are architects the only ones that should know about children''s standards? Before answering that, I need to mention that one thing I have observed is that many architects do not have a copy of ADAAG in their office. Some advocates and facility managers may not have a copy either. Of course anyone listening to this distance learning session is ahead of the curve, so this doesn''t apply to you. But lacking a copy of ADAAG can easily be remedied by contacting the regional ADA and accessible information technology center in your region. The phone number is 1-800-949-4232. Voice or TTY. The web site is www.adata.org. Sign up for the list serve while you are there. It is a terrific resource for keeping up with ADA and technology issues. You can also contact the U.S. Access Board at 1-800-272-2253 for voice, or 1-800-993-2822 for TTY. Their web site address is www.access-board.gov. There are excellent technical assistance materials available from these sources. These numbers are also in your handouts for reference. So if you didn''t get a chance to write them down you have them in the materials you should already have. Back to answering the question. When it comes to building out the designs that architects have prepared, there are usually other players that are responsible for the outcome. Big projects often have a construction manager which is a person or company that oversees all the contractors. In smaller projects, the contractor works with oversight from the architect. Naturally there are many trades persons on site, plumbers, carpenters, electricians. Alert the construction manager and even trades persons if possible that children''s standards exist and that the dimension on the construction documents or blueprints are not errors. It is also critical to enforce the plumbers, carpenters, etc, actually measure things out. In construction projects that don''t involve accessibility, it can often work for a plumber to eyeball where things go. But the center line of a toilet or the height of a lavatory or grab bar makes a great difference to users who need accessibility. And it means that something is either in compliance or out. An inch off may make a sink, toilet, grab bar, etc., not only out of compliance and inaccessible, but dangerous. Contractors and trades persons must use their tape measures and levels. And again for them this may be a type of social change in a way. Are there other ways to prevent incorrect construction or installation? Yes, there are. Architects need to be very explicit in their construction documents, CD''s or blueprints. It doesn''t work to show a science lab station on a drawing and simply have a direction or a note on the plan saying "all construction and installation is to comply with ADA." The contractor or trades person should not be made responsible for selecting the correct height. That is the job of the architect. So the architect should put a specific numerical dimension in there. Remember we talked about ranges in some of the children''s standards. If there is a range that the children''s standards allow, it is essential for the the architect to select an appropriate dimension from that range and put it on the drawings. So it is important to show the center line of a water closet at, say, 16 inches rather than saying center line of water closet, 15 to 17 inches. Again, it is the architect''s responsibility to specify an exact dimension. Still talking about the fact that there are ranges in ADAAG children''s standards, it is best not to select a specification at the extreme end of the range, if that is possible. Using the example of the grab bars, for children age 9 through 12 years, the children''s standards recommend that grab bars be at 25 to 27 inches. However, in any construction project, the nature of materials, construction techniques, weather, etc., will mean that the final built or installed dimensions of something may vary slightly from what is specified on the drawing. This is known as construction tolerances. Therefore, if you dimension the grab bars at the upper range of 27 inches, normal construction tolerances might mean that when it is built out, it is actually a 27 and a half inches or 28 inches. By dimensioning it at a little lower than the maximum or a little higher than the minimum, say at 26 inches, the construction tolerances don''t ruin the outcome. Another question is that tactile signage in children''s standards is supposed to be at 60 inches above the floor. Isn''t that out of the reach range for children? Yes, it is above the high reach range for children using wheelchairs, which is 44 inches above the floor for children ages 9 to 12 years. Tactile signage, though, is for people who are blind or have low vision. Of course a blind or visually impaired child may be a very small stature or may likewise be a wheelchair user. But this would not be a large number of people. The height of 60 inches for tactile signage conforms to a blind or low vision children are being taught in are learning to get used to in society as a standard. Keep in mind though that especially in schools, there is no prohibition against providing a second Braille sign at a lower height if a child needs it and the educators and parents and trainers believe that is appropriate. If the second sign is provided, it should be one that is durable, though, not a makeshift one, because a sign at that height will be touched and worried by many curious little fingers. So it should be durable enough that the touching doesn''t ruin the placement of the sign or the integrity of its tactile message. Do children''s standards apply to furniture? Good question. Thanks for asking. ADAAG and children''s standards have a section on fixed and built-in furniture. This would apply to things like built-in library carols or science lab stations. Technically, there are no accessibility guidelines for loose furniture, like cafeteria or library tables or classroom desks. However, for government entities or federally funded ones that must achieve program accessibility under ADA Title II or Section 504 of the Rehab Act or just for entities that want to do what makes sense, it is wise to use the same standards as ADAAG built-in furniture when purchasing loose furniture. And note that it is rare, if ever, that accessible furniture has to be much more expensive. It is not necessary to buy a desk or computer station that has expensive electronic controls to raise and lower it. There are now on the market several variety of desks and tables that are manually adjustable to meet the needs of a specific child, if needed. Some schools buy a few desks and tables with slightly different heights and move them around as needed. I think right about now would be a good time to take a break and hear what kind of questions you might have in mind.
This is Ben in the state of Hawaii. I have two different questions. One is can a tilt mirror or a full length mirror be used for equivalent facilitation in children''s facilities?
Let me answer that. Absolutely. A tilt mirror is absolutely in compliance, although it is not required. It does have to be mounted as required. A full length mirror, absolutely. It is very desirable if there is the space and if you don''t have to worry about breakage. A full length mirror can be provided as long as it reaches the height that is required in ADAAG. So some people find that that is a universal design type of solution, as long as you don''t have to worry about people breaking it. And your second question?
My second question has to do with in children''s museums, and also at zoos. Zoos specifically they don''t really discriminate between age groups because all age groups go to the zoo. But sometimes they have displays and my question is, what do you do if you have a display in a children''s museum and say there is like interactive type of touch type of element that they provide for children to look at or maybe in a zoo where you have a viewing area and say you have... in our zoo here in Honolulu, they have a savahanah with glassed glazed areas where people can go up to it. What is your recommendation in designing these things so kids can really look, of all ages, and see what is going on and interact?
First of all, I don''t think I could answer that without actually viewing the exact situation, so I will have to come out to Hawaii.
Okay. Call our office and...
I will give you a tentative answer as well as I can right here. When you say choosing among the age groups, you mean the three children''s age groups?
For instance, the zoo, there is children''s, there is a zoo, but within the zoo here in Hawaii where people can come up and look at the various types of animals, they can go right up to it and have a viewing area and there is glass. And you can go right up to it and look in. But kids and also adults are allowed in these areas. So I''m wondering, if they have a shelf and then people can... and sometimes they provide steps where people can climb up to the steps to look but what about kids in wheelchairs? I know in the appendix of ADAAG, they have average height for adults seated in wheelchairs. I believe it is 43 to 51 inches of unfinished floor. So what is the average height? What would you recommend for kids in wheelchairs specifically?
Going back one second, you said there are some exhibits where there are stairs the children climb up. Do they also provide a ramp or some other mechanism.
Okay. So it is not a question of are stairs okay are not. You are just talking about what is the dimension of the viewing screen.
Yeah. What is a good height for kids so they can look into a display.
I don''t think that I know an exact height right now. It may be in the appendix of the children''s standards. I think what would be the safest until I can get out to Hawaii is to first of all check with the Access Board or your regional ADA and information technology center on that. See if they have a ready answer. But I will also investigate that and perhaps when the transcript for this session is prepared, Jennifer can we also add questions and answers so that that will be available with that? Because I don''t want to just give an answer from...
Absolutely. Actually, in this type of situation with the children''s museum or zoo, one other place that you might consider looking is that the Smithsonian has accessibility guidelines for exhibits that they use internally at the Smithsonian. And that is a document that they have made available to other museums and zoos and those types of facilities. So you could contact the accessibility coordinator for the Smithsonian and they can get you a copy of that as well.
I believe also in August, or have I missed the dates, that there is a program in Washington for people more ADA coordinators of museums and theaters and other entertainment areas talking about accessibility.
Right. That is coordinated through the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. If people have interest in that they can call the Kennedy Center. Do we have our next question? Lots of good questions from Hawaii there.
Hi there. Just had a comment. When working with children''s lockers I was working with a lock company, and they had some nice devices. One was like a larger magnet type that you just hold up to the lock and then it would open the locker so you get rid of the twisting, turning. That was about it.
That is a good point. In working with lockers in schools, for safety matters, especially in some big urban schools, kids do need serious locks on their lockers to prevent theft or other things. Those are questions we had received a lot, how can a combination lock or a key lock be accessible because it does require gripping, twisting and turning, which is not accessible. I''m not aware of that magnetic lock. I made a note of that. I''m going to look into that. Absent something like that, the way that would be dealt with would be as an individualized accommodation for a student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Possible there is some technology specifically for one particular student that might work, and if not, if there is no other technology that a student can work because of his or her particular disability, when you look at the ADA Title II regulations and IDEA, it is conceivable that the solution to that accessibility problem would be that an aide would actually open a child''s locker. We always aim for independence, but in some cases that is not possible because of the condition and state of technology at this day and age. And so an aide would do that. But that is a wonderful, very interesting thing to look at. I''m definitely going to follow up on that.
If you have the manufacturer for that lock, if you could e-mail that to us so we could look into that, check that out. Thanks for your question.
My name is Karen. I have two comments. One in regards to the lock for the lockers. We are building a house right now that we are trying to make it accessible for our son. I don''t know if this company would make something for a locker, but I think it is called quick lock. We found it just the other day, where you have a touch pad outside your house, but also you could have... like you do for cars, the remote key. And it does dead bolts. So I''m assuming that maybe that same company might have something that is smaller that would work on a locker.
That is interesting. So it is a lock where you press the buttons and some sort of numerical order so it is a push button combination lock?
It can do two things. From one control, like people have for their cars, the little thing. Have the remote keyless entry. You can turn on a light as you are coming into your porch light. You could actually undue the dead bolt and you can open the garage door all with the same thing. I think it is called quick lock.
I''m thinking that company might be willing to look into this, maybe, or maybe they already have something that would do well for a locker.
That is a good resource.
My actual question, and this might be more universal design question. Again, we are building a house right now. We are not custom building. We are working with what they call track builder. So single families homes don''t have to comply with the ADA, but this particular builder is being pretty accommodating. However, in the bathroom, all they have come up with is a very in institutional looking ADA compliant sink. It is going to be our first floor bathroom for company and for family.
I understand what you are saying. I believe there are many other sinks, lavatory, right? It is not a sink for washing dishes. It is for washing hands, correct?
Correct. So we can get up underneath it. His wheelchair can get up underneath.
There are many that don''t look institutional. They provide the knee space and the right height. My first suggestion would be if you can find an architect who is friendly and wouldn''t charge you to have you to look up some of the other manufacturers, architects usually have what they call a sweet catalog, which has information about all kinds of manufacturers or maybe there is a university with an architectural program in your area. And you might also try calling the assistive technology center. I believe every state has one. I don''t have those numbers right now. But your regional ADA and accessible technology center could probably connect you. But I don''t think you have to settle for something that looks like it is in an elementary school bathroom in your own private bathroom which is otherwise very attractively decorated.
Thanks for your question, Karen. A couple other resources you might want to look into in addition to calling the DBTAC, you might also want to go to Sweets on line. www.sweets.com Their accessible products line is on line. And I''m sure you can put in a search for sinks and a whole variety there as well.
Yes. What does ADAAG speak to the standards for playground equivalent?? Equipment being accessible to children with disabilities? And if so, how does it address that and where can we find that information?
Actually, playgrounds is an entirely separate final rule than the children is final rule. And that you could get from the Access Board. It was issued in October of 2000. If you go to www.access-board.gov. It is available on the Access Board web site and also from your regional DBTAC.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the program, John McGovern who is an expert in that field of accessible play, did a distance learning session in March. And the transcript of that session I believe is available on the DBTAC web site. Is that correct, Jennifer?
That is right. He also provided an excellent handout that I would recommend that you go back. He kind of condensed the rule for people to look at. Very good. Thank you for your question.
Back to Ben in Hawaii how can we help you?
Yes. Earlier you had mentioned a control measure, for example in the elementary classroom you mentioned the thermostat, hand controls. Can you expand on that? What would be the height dimensions that you would recommend for that?
Let us first clarify. In the school districts that I have worked with, it is always been that those types of things were not for use by the students, even if they were high school students. The fire alarm pull, the intercom. At first somebody said it sounds like we don''t want the children to be safe if there is a fire. You don''t have it at the height for them to pull. In the districts I have worked with, the educators or whoever in charge has said that in the events of fire or emergency, the child''s only job is to get out. It is the adults'' job to pull the fire alarm. So in that sense, all of those control measures that in whatever facility you are designing for, when you determine what is not to be used by children, those would be just put at the regular adult ADAAG heights. Maybe in some schools there is an intercom or telephones that children are supposed to be using and it would be appropriate those would be at the heights at the children''s standards. I''m not sure if that was responsive. Did that answer your question?
I think so. Shelley, we have a question on line here. Could you talk a little bit about ramp slopes? The children''s standards, I don''t think that they specifically address the slope. Is that right?
Good. That is a very good question. Because it is an important design issue. There is no different requirement for ramp slope in the new children''s standards. Remember though that ADAAG 4.8.2, the regular ADAAG, says that the least possible slope shall be used for any new ramp, but in no cases can a ramp be steeper than one in twelve. One in twelve means is twelve inches of length for every one inches of height that the recommend ascends. If you look in the appendix or some of the other supplementary materials relating to the children''s standards, there is wonderful information in there. It is really, really good. It talks about the fact that slopes between one and 16 to one in 20 are recommended as the steepest ramps to be used. This is shallower, less steep than one in twelve, but then it results in their being a longer ramp. But the research shows that and people who know children know this intuitively, children have less strength and stamina, so a ramp of any slope can be challenging, if it is a short steep ramp or if it is a long but shallow ramp. So whenever possible, it is preferred to avoid a ramp. Or if possible, if there is a change in level that has to be overcome, exterior route, it is wonderful to have what we would sort of refer to as a sloped sidewalk. This would be a sidewalk that has a measurement that is not steeper than one in 20. And according to ADAAG, a slope of one in 20 or shallower is not even defined as a ramp. It is just a sloped surface. The benefit here is that of course it is a very shallow slope, it is much easier than any other type of ramp and because it is not technically a ramp it is not required to have handrails. And this is really ideal as far as accessibility and integration. And a sloped sidewalk can actually provide a very attractive design element if addressed thoughtfully. It can be integrated with some landscape or some other architectural design features so that it is really even prettier than a flatten entrance.
Let me ask you another one here. I know that part of the discussions in the preamble when the final rule came out was about space and the requirement for children. And part of the discussion was that children, because they up take a smaller amount of space, should actually require less space. And then there was another part of the discussion that because children are young and they are learning to use their wheelchairs or other assistive devices, that they actually take up more room. What is your experience on practicality?
Actually, our experience really supports the latter idea. A child''s wheelchair doesn''t really take up that much less space. It is not that huge of a difference. But when they are learning to maneuver the wheelchair, especially a power chair, or even using a walker or crutches, they do occupy a larger space. And as always, the ADAAG or children''s standards provide a minimum level of accessibility. When there is space or room, it is always possible to exceed the minimum standards in ADAAG, which is something that I think is really important. I think architects and others very appropriately want to make sure that they comply with the law and maybe it should be printed as a header or footer on every page very ADAAG that these are minimum standards. That even though in a toilet room you need a minimum 60 inch diagonal turning radius, if you want to make it larger than that, that is fine. There is no prohibition to going beyond that. Definitely children do need a little more space, if possible.
Thanks, Shelley. I actually have another on line question here as well. And that is about foot rests. And we talk about toe clearances all the time. And children that use wheelchairs, they are actually seated a little bit higher so their foot rests come up a little bit higher. What is your experience in the application, say in areas like the toe clearance under water coolers?
Well, water coolers and drinking fountains have some special provisions under the children''s standards which are going to escape me of course at this moment. But a lot of research had been done. I would say if I could find them on the spur of the moment I could read you that. So I''m sorry, I can''t give a verbal answer right now. I would just consult with the ADAAG children''s standards and also look at the appendix. There is a lot of information in there. And the other thing I think is very helpful in not only understanding ADAAG standards, but understanding why they were selected, which for me helps me remember things better when I can figure out why a decision was made about that. If you obtain the federal register 36 CFR part 1191, which is the final rule for the children''s standards in January 13, 1998, at the beginning it gives a lot of questions and answers that address exactly the kinds of questions that people have brought up here and that you just answered where there were two different or three different ways very looking at an issue, and it explains why the actual decision was made that was included in the children''s standards. So I heartily recommend it. It is good reading. I would recommend getting the document and take it to the beach. Read it when you get a chance.
We''ll take it with us to Hawaii.
Yes. Good idea.
And actually, we find that you actually learn way more in the preamble than actually going to the text of the rule. But we would recommend the text of the rule as well in this case. Shelley, we are coming up on the top of our hour. And you have just been a wealth of information. I would like to turn it back to you, if you have any closing comments or words of wisdom for us.
Closing comments at least. I hope that this has been informative and helpful to you. You spent the time listening. And, again, I will just refer everyone to their regional ADA Center or the Access Board. I would really recommend there getting on line because you can also download a lot of the documents... that is www.access-board.gov. And thanks for all your time and attention. Best wishes to everyone who is out there on the cutting agent and have courage.
Thanks so much. And thanks to you at our sites for joining us today. We hope that you will be back with us next month on July 16th for our annual ADA status report with John Wodatch of the U.S. Department of Justice. This is one of our most popular sessions during the year. And John is always very insightful telling us how the Department of Justice has worked over the year to proceed with enforcement under the ADA. If you have any questions for John, you certainly e-mail those to me in advance, email@example.com Or DBTAC at 800-949-4232 and give them your question and they can certainly forward that onto me. If you have additional questions, I would highly recommend that you call your regional DBTAC or log onto the Great Lakes web site for the remaining schedule for the 2002 ADA distance learning series. We look forward to having you back next month.