Good day, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Part Two A Hands-on Approach to Self-Evaluation call. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session and the instructions will follow at that time. Should anyone require assistance at any time during the conference, please press star and zero on your touch tone telephone to reach an operator. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would like to turn the call over to Peter Berg. Sir, you may begin.
Thank you very much, and good afternoon, everyone. Again my name is Peter Berg, I''m the coordinator of technical assistance with the Great Lakes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) center and welcome to the February edition of the ADA audio conference series. The ADA audio conference series is a project of the ADA national network, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education''s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The ADA National Network is your premier leader in providing information on the Americans With Disabilities Act, and you can reach your regional ADA center by calling (800) 949 4232. I want to welcome all of you out there. For those of you in the Midwest and South and Northeast and East that are digging yourselves out of our most recent snowstorm, welcome and for those of you in warmer climates, welcome to you as well. Before we turn it over to our speakers today and our in our part two of our three part session on transition plans and self evaluations, I want to go through a few items regarding access to today''s session. On slide 2 youll see that the audio for today''s session is being provided through the Blackboard webinar platform or through your telephone, for those that registered to receive this service through that medium. For those of you in the webinar room, make sure that your speakers are turned up, and if you''re having any difficulties with your sound quality, you can run the audio setup wizard which can be accessed by clicking the microphone icon within the room and you can run the audio setup wizard to make sure that your sound system is properly set up to hear today''s presentation. You can also adjust the sound volume within the webinar platform as well. Our next slide, Blackboard Collaborate allows access to their platform through the Blackboard app, which is available for iPhones and Android phones. There''s limited accessibility, however, with the app. Captioning is not available through the app, and there is limited accessibility for individuals that use screen reading programs or use the voice over in order to access their smartphone. For those requiring captioning to participate in today''s session, captioning is available in the webinar room. You can access the captioning by clicking on the icon within the webinar room, and that captioning window can be resized and moved to meet the specific needs of the user. For submitting questions when we get to the point in the presentation when our speakers will invite questions from our participants, we will bring the operator back on and she will give instructions to telephone participants on how they can ask questions. For those of you in the webinar room, you can submit questions throughout the session, and that can be done in the chat area. You can click on the chat box or use the key stroke control M, and write your questions in there and hit enter to submit those questions. You will not see those questions displayed publicly, but those questions are viewable by the moderators and by the presenters today. In the webinar room, you can customize your view of how the various windows appear. And you can resize the windows by I''m sorry, you can resize the white board and that''s where the Power Point presentation is being displayed within the webinar room. It''s above and to the left of the white board and that can be resized, made smaller, made bigger. You can also further customize your view. You can move the chat and participant windows within the webinar room. They can be detached and moved, made larger, made smaller, depending on what your particular needs are. For those anyone requiring technical assistance during today''s webinar session, those in the webinar room, you can go to the participant list, click on Great Lakes in the participant list, and you can submit a private message to the moderator. You can also send an email to webinars@ADA audio.org and third if all else fails, you can give us a call at (877) 232 1990, again if you have any technical difficulties during today''s session. All right. As I mentioned, this is part 2 of our three part series, and we have our speakers back with us from January. We have Irene Bowen and James Terry. You can find the bios for both of our speakers by visiting the ADA audio.org website. Select the ADA audio conference series, and once on the audio conference page, you can select speakers bios and you can get their full bio. So without further ado, I''d like to turn it over to Irene Bowen at this time. Irene.
Thanks very much, Peter. Thank you all for being here today. A lot of you have come back from the first session. We all appreciate that. It looks like some of you brought your friends, so welcome, everyone. We will be doing a little bit of review as we go along. But we have sort of an information packed I guess you could say session today. We will be moving at a relatively fast clip, trying not to leave anybody behind. So I have to say this. You probably know it, but I need to say it. I''m not your lawyer. I''m not acting as a lawyer today. This is not legal advice. So much for the warning. So as Peter said, this is the second in a series. Last time we did getting started. This session is going to be a hands on approach. We''re going to try to give you as much helpful nitty gritty information that you can use if you actually decide to go ahead and do a self evaluation. And then in session three, which will be presented mostly by Jim, we''ll be talking about how to do a transition plan, a barrier removal plan and once you have the self evaluation done, how to do an action plan for that aspect. So just to refresh a little bit about how we''re handling this and what the importance of all this is, we are focusing mostly on Title II, self evaluations and transition plans, but we''re also addressing as we go along how this relates to Section 504, since the requirements are going to be basically similar. If you are a recipient of funds but not necessarily a Title II entity, then you are still subject to Section 504, so this will apply to that as well. We also have some private entities with us who may not be recipients of federal funds. They would be subject to Title III only, and we''re hoping that this information will also be helpful to them. And that would include some the private colleges and universities are subject to Title III. The healthcare providers are subject to Title III. Im going to go through these first slides very quickly so that we can catch up here. Keep in mind under this first bullet, our goal here is to reach compliance and as we mentioned last time we''re looking at evaluations and planning as one means of assessing compliance and getting there. We mentioned last time there are other ways of doing this and the best way to do it partly depend on where you''re starting out. So if you have not done much ADA related work in the past, it may be smart to start with some training, putting in some policies in place, and addressing some of the areas that you know are problematic for you, rather than doing a full scale self evaluation and transition plan. The benefits of course are as I mentioned you get to compliance, you identify your weaknesses, position yourself for fixing those weaknesses, and you keep control of the process of complying rather than having someone come along, file a complaint, do an investigation, start a lawsuit, and you''re suffering the what could be some negative results from those from a lawsuit. I wanted to just talk briefly again about terminology. You''ll sometimes hear people say they''re doing a program access review of all their policies. In fact as we talked about last time, program access is a term of art and it''s related to facilities, so here are the terms that I''ll be using today to avoid that the confusion that can come about from some of these labels. When you''re evaluating things that don''t necessarily relate to facilities, and that would be communication, other types of policies and practices, you''re looking to see whether you''re providing equal opportunity in that respect, and this is going to be a review of policies and practices. Now, you are reviewing your programs, but you''re reviewing them from that standpoint of whether your policies and practices are compliant. So please let''s try to not confuse that with the other term that''s a term of art, program accessibility. When you''re evaluating you''re looking to see if there''s something about your facilities that is causing discrimination. If people can''t access your facilities and that''s the only way to access your services, then you''re not providing program accessibility. We talked a lot about that last time about what that means. And Jim will talk about how you go about evaluating that briefly today and then the next session will concentrate more on that aspect. Here we have a slide that shows you some of the preliminary decisions that we talked about last time. The types of things that you need to think about before you get into actually doing a self evaluation or transition plan, and we''re going to delve into some sort of subsets of questions that you need to ask yourself and things that you need to decide before you actually get going. So today''s session, we will talk about those critical decisions. Then we''ll go into the stages of the self evaluation and these are our four stages that we''ve come up with. They''re not written in stone anywhere. They''re just a helpful way of organizing your work, I guess you''d say and then Jim is going to talk about a transition plan, a barrier removal plan, and how do you lay the groundwork for that, and that will be the focus of our next session. There I am again being a cheerleader for planning, but before you even get to the first stage of planning exactly how you''re going to do a self evaluation, there are some questions you need to ask yourself, some decisions to make. And the bottom line is can you do all these three things? Are you capable of collecting information quickly and accurately, evaluating it and then implementing a plan, this is really important, while the information is still current. This can really be a challenge, to get all this done at once, especially if you''ve never done anything ADA related very much before, or if you''re a big city, a big county, a large healthcare provider, or a large corrections system, for example. The larger you are, the harder it is to collect the information and then make use of it in a timely way. So it''s important to match the nature, the size, et cetera, of your entity, and by that we''re generally going to meet a state or local government or whoever is doing this planning. You need to match your entity with the task. So let''s look at the task again. We talked last time about how you are identifying your programs activities and services and then you''re reviewing the policies and practices that relate to all of these. That language, those two bullets, actually comes from Department of Justice (DOJ)''s technical assistance manual. There is also some very helpful information while you''re trying to figure out what the task is, some very helpful information in the ADA tool kit that DOJ has developed and I''ve given you the links to both of those here. The tool kit was developed in the context of Project Civic Access, which a review of cities and counties by the Department of Justice for compliance with Title II. And there are the tool kit goes along with that, and it''s intended to help you identify red flags and fix common problems. It is not a totally complete or comprehensive document, but it does have some checklists that could be helpful to you, and it might be a good place for you to start if you have not done much of this type of work before. So as you''re matching your entity to the task, you''re going to be examining a wide range of programs and I''ve just listed some of the types of things that you''ll be evaluating. Now, this isn''t a list of programs, but this is what you''ll be looking at, the types of areas you''ll be looking at as to each program or activity. This is also from the technical assistance manual. It lists a number of other areas, but this just gives you an idea of the kinds of things you''re looking at substantively. Some of the pitfalls that I think everyone should be aware of in this early stage is, first, you could get just the big picture. You might miss some critical pieces if you only look at the big picture. For example, maybe you figured out through your facility evaluation that you have accessible entrances and you have lifts, but as you go through the self evaluation, you''re going to need to see if those facilities are maintained in an accessible way. For example, if you''ve only looked to see what you have as far as accessibility, you might not know that the accessible entrance is locked after 5 in the evening, but the inaccessible entrance stays open. Or you may not know that the lift breaks down on a regular basis, or the assistive listening system doesn''t work or the batteries aren''t charged, et cetera, so it''s important to those kinds of details can be very important. Another example you may have security officers who stop someone with an assistance animal. Of course that''s not your policy, but if they aren''t trained and if they''re not aware of the policies, one person can very easily put you out of compliance. So the big picture is not always enough. On the other hand, you may get too much information. If you go into too much detail, you may have so much information that it takes you forever to analyze it. You just have trouble organizing it and making use of it. Another pitfall is lack of capacity. You may have the ability to gather information now, but you may not have the funding or the staffing to do anything with it at a later stage. And another one is that you may you really do need to have adequate data analysis capabilities. If you gather a lot of data, again you have to analyze it somehow. So you''re trying to figure out matching your entity to the task, look at your entity. What''s going to work for you. All of you have different cultures, different ways of working, different ways of doing business. We talk about this a bit last time, but I just wanted to remind you of some of the things that you need to think about. How will the word get out? How does your entity work? Is it top down or bottom up? That will partly determine how you communicate the tasks that you''re about to take on and how you''re going to take it on. Are you centralized? Are the policies set in through one central location? And then how does disability compliance fit with the compliance structure? Where is the ADA Coordinator? Are they equipped to play a big role in this? Because it is important that they play a large part in this. And then what is your relationship with people with disabilities, the public, how are you going to get input from them? So at this point you need to take a reality check and here are some of the questions to be thinking about. How deep do you plan to go? Are you going to look just at just for things that jump out at you and that might need changing immediately, just the red flags? Are you going to review by department versus programs? How broad will you be? Are you going to look at everything at once? Are you going to look at transportation, emergency preparedness, websites, Information Technology (IT), et cetera? How much time do you have available? And that means both what kind of deadline are you working under, when do you need to get this done by, and how much time can your staff and managers devote to this? Similarly how much do you have budgeted, or how much can you get budgeted? Where can you draw funds from? And then what do you have as far as human resources and that mostly means paid staff time but you might also want to think about using some volunteers. So here are two critical decisions that really do need to be made up front. First how do you get the word out? Is the mayor or university president or someone in a similar position ready to let the management know that this is something important for them to devote their resources to and something where the mayor or the president or whatever is expecting results. And then who owns this process? You need someone, and I do think it should be one person but it might be a team, somebody needs to own this. And that person needs to be high profile, have authority, have the time to manage the project and they''ll need to be able to get cooperation across departments or divisions, however it is that you''re organized. We talked about breadth and depth of analysis, thinking about how wide you''re going to reach, how deep you''re going to go in your analysis, and then what type of instrument or method will you use to gather information. Often the self evaluation is done through a questionnaire. It could be done through open ended interviews. There are a number of ways. I''ve done it both of those ways and just sort of a mixture of them. But again this is something to think about right at the beginning. Then at what level will you report your findings? Will you if you analyze each program, will you report as to each program or by department or by city, for example? And will you do that electronically? Will you do a narrative, et cetera? Public input. When will you get it and how? Keep in mind that there''s not just one time that you''re not limited to getting public input just at one point, but think about whether you want to get some at the beginning, in the middle and at the end and how you would do that. The seventh decision, and again these are not written anywhere. This is just a way of organizing your work. How are you going to implement this? Do you have the timing to implement it? Do you have the resources? Will you be able to do it within the fiscal year if everything is supposed to be completed within the fiscal year? Or can you be guaranteed some resources beyond the fiscal year, over perhaps two or three or four years. Then internal resources. How much time and money and expertise do you have? Will you be using volunteers? Ninth, timing, are you going to do everything at once, or are you going to do phases, and we''ll talk about how that could be done. And then last, are you going to use consultants? You could use consultants to do most of this. You could not use them at all. The question is will you and how involved will they be in the process. All these issues are ones that you really should think about before you start to engage a consultant if you''re going to do that, or before and before you start to develop any kind of RFP, because if you haven''t thought these through and I''ve seen this happen a number of times, you may discover, especially if you''re a smaller entity on a more limited budget, you may discover that the project is much more than you expected and that you really aren''t able to do it with the resources and once you get to hiring a consultant, it''s really not the best time to be going through these questions because then you''re not really putting them to their best use. I want to reiterate these are the kinds of things to think through before you decide how you''re going to proceed. So as to the process of gathering information, analyzing, report, getting public input, you could use a consultant for any of those. If the process and the way I look at this is you can either have a process that''s entity driven, which means you, if you''re a state or local government, are in charge and you just kind of have a consultant helping you along here and there, or it can be consultant driven and in that case a consultant or contractor comes in and sort of sets basically does most of the work and then you assist, or you could have a mixture. And I really think whichever process you use, I really think what''s important to do is create informed insiders, somebody who you want people who have knowledge of the programs along with the knowledge of the ADA, so that they can gather meaningful information and then put what you''ve learned into practice. If the process is entity driven, then the entity really owns it, they run it, they use their time. One of the obvious disadvantages is it''s time consuming but there''s some obvious advantages. You develop in house expertise. It becomes part of the ADA becomes part of the culture more quickly. The city is out front. They''re seen as the ones who are doing this, gathering input. If you do it this way, you do need in house expertise and quality control. If a consultant takes a larger role, then they would generally be responsible for quality control. It will take the entity less staff time and training, but again they''re not out in front. They''re not seen as being as proactive if you will. Again there are many ways to do this using a mixture of your own resources and a consultant. So I just listed here some of the things that a consultant can help with, helping you identify programs, developing survey tools, training staff, this is a critical piece again. Assisting with public input. Doing the findings and developing the plan. So on to the four stages, and I''m just trying to catch up from our little hiatus there. I''m going to go through what I think are the four stages of a comprehensive evaluation. I want to emphasize the comprehensive part. This most people aren''t doing a comprehensive evaluation. A lot of entities did self evaluations and transition plans in earlier years, or may not put a big priority on it. This is going to be how to do it if it is a priority, if you''re basically sort of starting from scratch or redoing this after being away from it for several years. So you''ll need to modify this according to what works for you. One and I''m going to suggest one way of knowing whether you need to do this or not, if you look at some of the examples of reports on self evaluations and transition plans that you can find on line, some of them you could probably just write yourself already. You could write out those words, because you know that you know the status of your entity. There are some people that I''ve worked with, some groups, and I can sort of write the report from the beginning. There is no policy for procuring interpreters. You require too much notice for an interpreter. There''s no process for deciding whether something is a fundamental alteration. There''s no policy about this or that. If all that''s true, then it''s really sort of pointless to go and look at what your actual practices are. So if you could sort of write the kind of report that you will often see, just saying we don''t do this, this or this, then I would suggest that you go ahead and put some policies in place, train people, and then come back and do this more comprehensive type of evaluation. Or you can just go ahead and do this from the start and identify the precise areas where you need to make some changes. So the first step of these four is planning, and some of this we''ve suggested already, that you need to look at. You do need an overall plan. What are we going to be doing over the next, you know, two or three months, six months, nine months, a year, et cetera, and what our guiding principles what guides us, what''s important to us and how do we plan to do this. Direction from the top. One of the first tasks is then to identify the teams that will be working on this. What are your programs, and then what facilities are you looking at. What facilities do you have, what facilities in what facilities do you carry out your programs, services and activities. Then in this stage you''re going to need to develop tools for gathering information in various subject areas. You''ll need to develop a database for analyzing the information, train the people who are gathering the information, and then figure out how you''re going to get some public input. And you might want to do that at the very beginning. Again these are the steps that you have to take before you even start to do the self evaluation. And even though reporting comes later, it''s important to know how you''ll be reporting so that you''ll know what the information is that you''re gathering, so that will form because that will form the basis of your report. So will you be doing a report just on how the town or city or university is doing, sort of a broad brush look, or will you be reporting by each department, or will you be reporting by each program, service, or activity? Now, you should be evaluating each program, service, or activity, but you might not want to be doing the report about each program, service, or activity. Again it''s a decision to make right up front at this point. So as you''re identifying your programs and services, you should start with each one. It''s ideal, I think if you have a name and a numerical identifier for each program or activity. You know what the population is that serves, so you know if they''re likely to be a lot of people with disabilities among the population, that''s helpful information to have. How do people find out about your programs? Do you communicate through pamphlets, brochures, word of mouth, public meetings, et cetera, and then where does the public access the program? That will tie into the transition plan that Jim is going to talk about. This again is a slide very similar to the one I showed last time. It''s just these are just examples of types of programs and activities you''ll be looking at if you''re a state or local government. If you''re a healthcare entity, you''re going to be looking for example by practice or by department. If you''re a recreation entity or you run a corrections system or a court system, you need to identify what it is you do, and those will be your programs and activities. So for example, a corrections system might have as some of their programs or activities, education programs, training programs, housing, recreation, and then employment related programs or preparation for employment, et cetera. A college or university, again here are some possible programs or activities that you would identify. And Ive talked about figuring out how deep you will go in your analysis. Part of that depends on how you define a program. We talk about programs, services, and activities, as if we know exactly what that means. I don''t think that there is a real definition for that. But we do know that you have to evaluate each one of those, whatever they are. So you have some discretion as to how you''re going to define a program, and I''m going to give you sort of an A version and a Z version, and you can go A to Z in between there, for how you might define a program. In the context of a library, either in a city or a university, and this is where you have several libraries in the system. So here I''ve listed seven things. Most libraries would have these seven activities. The third one, tutoring would be something that you''d probably find more at a college or university. So this is a pretty streamlined way to define your programs. So you would be looking, for example, at exhibits and displays, how are they handled throughout the system. How do you handle computer access and volunteer opportunities throughout the library system. Or it could go completely the other way, and define a program in a very detailed way. Access to the Korean collection at the main library. Book sale at each library. Course related instruction for the engineering department at a university. If you define a program this way, yes, you will get a lot of information. You will get a lot of helpful information if you have a way to analyze it and if you can finish analyzing it in time for it still be useful. I''m not a fan of the option Z, but it''s important for you to figure out which way you''re going to go and what''s going to work for you.
Irene, it seems to me that a real key there that the people who are involved in the self evaluation process are trying to push the understanding of equivalent use of proper communication, et cetera, down to the level of the programs and so if you don''t get to every detail, at least the people who are operating those programs will understand, because you got to the big program. They''ll understand what their obligations and what the needs are.
Absolutely. And again that''s something that is going to be unique to each entity, but that''s absolutely right, Jim. And you''re getting at a key point here, which is that everybody''s learning as they do this. And if you have enough flexibility built in, you may decide to look at things a little bit differently as you go. But yes, that''s absolutely right. You''re trying to figure out how things really work at a level that works for you. So one thing to think about, as I suggested earlier is whether you want to do a phased approach. Especially if you''re a large entity and/or if you have limited funding, and I realize that pretty much everybody has more limited funding these days. You may want to do the programs and services that have cost cutting requirements that are pretty much run in the same way. You might want to start with those, and then do programs that require more in depth analysis in later phases. So that second bullet, in depth analysis, you might want to do those with the second phase or you might want to do each of the topics listed there in a series, one after the other. And the reason I put those as requiring in depth analysis is that each entity does this a little bit differently. Voting is sometimes at elementary schools, it''s sometimes at city owned facilities. It can be in people''s homes. It''s hard to because these can be unique to an entity, and because you can''t just ask a lot of questions that are yes, no, you really need to understand how the program works, these are ones that might require some more in depth analysis. The facilities piece of this could be done separately from the first phase. And then rights of way, streets and sidewalks, et cetera, could be done as a separate phase. And then areas that need specialized expertise could also be done in a separate phase. So step two, once you''ve done that planning, is information gathering. Please keep in mind that a checklist won''t tell you everything you need to know necessarily, but there definitely is a place for checklists. It is a good way of having an organized approach to looking at your programs, comparing one to another, identifying your really weak points and your really strong points. And there are some samples of those in the links that I have given you at the end of the presentation and also in the handout, the electronic handout that we''ve provided. If you are using survey forms, and again I''ve done this using survey forms and I''ve done it with interviews where I have questions that I ask and then I report based on that information, if you are using a checklist, then you''re going someone needs to be trained to fill out the survey form, which is part of the checklist. You can''t just take something that''s several sometimes many pages long and know how to use it unless you know something about the process and the substance of the ADA. So it''s really important to do some training. Often what we do is have department liaisons for each department who oversee the program managers getting the survey forms done, but again people need to be trained and know how to do that. You''re going to include in the programs, those that your contractors carry out and those to which you give significant assistance as we discussed last time. And you''re going to need to know how you''re going to use the information because that determines how you code it. The information needs to be coded before the analysis, the means of analysis needs to be established before you have people putting information in. And again you might want
Irene, I''m sorry. It''s Peter, I just want to pause one second. Destiny, if you could increase the volume on the speaker''s telephone, I would appreciate that. Thanks. Go ahead, Irene. Thanks.
And then you have to consider quality control, who is going to make sure that the checklists are filled out completely, accurately, et cetera. So some of the topics that this checklist will usually cover are applications for services, eligibility, testing, specialized programs, this means for example if you have separate recreation classes for people with disabilities or separate tours of a museum, et cetera, you need to analyze those to see whether it''s necessary to do that and whether you''re violating the integration mandate of the ADA. You''ll look at the service animals, mobility devices, policies about those. Meetings and events. Are they held at accessible locations. Communication in general. Do you provide alternate formats. Do you provide interpreters, do you provide assistance for people with speech disabilities. Infrastructure is another word for administrative requirements. This relates to whether you have an ADA coordinator, whether people know who that is. Sometimes it''s whether the ADA coordinator knows who they are. So sometimes they don''t really know that. Whether you have a grievance process, et cetera, and whether it''s adequate. You also are going to look at outside entities. Now, outside entities will be considered under each of the programs and activities that you have and the way in which you carry them out but you also want to look I think at them in a separate way, which is how are we monitoring our vendors, contractors, et cetera, to see that they''re complying, what are we putting in our contracts when we about out for requests for proposal, request for bids so that we''re sure that everyone is complying with the ADA. So I''m going to go through a couple of examples of electronic checklists, and these are based on ones that I''ve used. The first one is through Survey Monkey, and there are similar tools. That''s just one company that does this. And this Survey Monkey and those that are similar are pretty user friendly. You don''t really have to think about well I said no to one question so which question do I go to now, and the way it works is that one question shows up on the screen. You answer it and then depending on how you answer it, it takes you to the next appropriate screen with just one more question. So for example, you can have a survey that''s actually several surveys by topic on Survey Monkey, and what you do is you tell people where you know, where to send this once it''s filled out electronically. You have a central area to gather all of these. And you what I''ve done is you start with, for each survey you start with what are the basic requirements of the ADA and then you ask does your program do this or that. The answer to that will take you to the next appropriate question. So for example here is a question that is about hearings, meetings, et cetera, and first it says what''s covered, so because you can''t just go into the questions not having some context. So it tells you what kinds of things are covered and then basically a general statement about what the ADA requires, and then it asks the question, Do you offer tours? If you say yes, then it takes you to the next screen automatically. You don''t have to shuffle through your papers if you forget where to go. It will take you to the next screen where it will ask you more questions about how you offer those tours. So a little bit later in the survey, you''ll get to a question about Do you conduct other types of gatherings? And in fact if you say no to that first question, it will take you to this question, number 9, but you won''t know that you skipped questions. So it asks, Do you conduct other types of gatherings like meeting or hearings? So you say yes. Now question 10 will be on a different screen but I just put them here because it''s easier. So if you say yes to the next question, Do you require that all meetings be held in a location that''s accessible?, if you say yes, it will then take to you the next question. Do you evaluate the accessibility of those events?, and then there are more questions. The next one is a list of the kind of things saying do you evaluate this, this, this and this, and then you choose each one that applies. Another example, this is infrastructure, administrative practices. You''ve already said for example before you get here, you''ve answered a question that says Do you train people in the ADA? So if you say yes, it''s going to take you to question 13, and ask you what kind of training you provide. And it will ask you question 14, and it will ask you question 15, but you''ll go through all this completely automatically. You don''t have to think about it. The second example is by using Excel, which you don''t you don''t have to have a membership or subscribe to a particular website or survey instrument. This is something you can do with your own internal processes, let''s hope. Generally you''re going to have one spreadsheet. You could of course break this down into several. Again it''s best to start with explaining what the basic requirements are. Then you instruct users about how to complete each section. One of the downsides of this is that people have to know how to use Excel, but if they do, you could be good to go with this. Here is an example of a table of contents, part of a table of contents, for an Excel spreadsheet survey system. And you can see that there are main categories, overview, infrastructure, eligibility and then there are subcategories. Each of those on each line is a section of the spreadsheet. And here''s a sample from that a similar type of survey about hearings and meetings, and you''ll see that the language is similar to what I''ve just shown you but it just works differently. So question number 1, Do you require that all meetings be held in accessible locations? If you answer no, you''ll see that below that, where the column no is, there are some gray spaces. This indicates that you just skip those, and you go down to question 2. If you answered yes to question 1, then you go ahead and keep answering where the white blocks are and there''s an arrow that tells you that you need to provide some kind of narrative information once you answer that question. Here''s more of a of that same section, more of the yes, no kinds of questions. So these are all filled out electronically, and then you move on to analyze the information. I''m going to go back, I hope, to one of these. You''ll see in questions 3 and 4, we''re asking people to specify things in comments. I try to avoid that now because it''s harder to analyze the data. It''s easier if you give a number of multiple choice questions. For example in number 3, conference call, video conference web cast, et cetera, rather than getting a lot of narrative information that''s harder to analyze. So any version of electronic surveys is going to require careful programming, electronic input, training, quality control and a means of analyzing this. Now, either type of approach I''ve shown you, can build in red flags, which means if something shows up, it can literally show up in the Excel sheet in red, and when you glance at the screen or printout or whatever, then you can tell that there''s a problem. You can highlight things that are that need immediate attention because for example it''s a life or death issue, it''s a safety issue, it may be something that totally excludes people with certain disabilities from a program. And then what I try to do is let people know as we go. Say we realize that this department does a particular thing that is going to really put you at risk of noncompliance. It''s something you can do something about right away. Some areas as I''ve mentioned may need a different approach. You may need to ask some more in depth questions. You may need to bring in some expertise that the usual ADA coordinator or the consultant may not have. And then this is a really important one. Where you have responsibility as a state or local government, for example, for a program, but it''s carried out through contractors or other types of partners, you have to look at your own responsibility under Title II. So you may provide social services or shelter from the cold. That''s your program even though someone else may carry it out. You need to be sure that there are enough accessible locations where people can get the services. That there are enough locations where they can get interpreters, that you''re giving out materials in appropriate accessible format, et cetera. It doesn''t mean that each of your partners has to be doing that, but you have to look at your own responsibility, and again checklists don''t always work for that. Jim?
We''re ready for you to go.
All right. So still thinking about information gathering and starting with that information gathering process, what we''re looking at here is how do you decide where to start with your facility. You do remember that not every facility must be made fully accessible. Chances are you won''t survey every facility at once. This is going to be a long term process with almost every entity that we''ve dealt with, unless there''s a lawsuit, in which case it''s sped up considerably. But you want to plan your work in phases that can be funded over time realistically. So what is your absent a lawsuit, hoping that you never have one, but absent something like that that frees up a lot of funds at once, what is it realistically that the people who make the funding decisions will be able to pull out of the budgets to fund this process and based on that then how do you decide where to start and what to work on in the initial phases as well as later phases. So some of the ways you can think of that is which facilities and elements are the most important to review and to fix first. So highest use, ones that are most critical for people with disabilities and seniors, so senior service centers, the highest use might be your sports facilities or concert facilities or places where you have large crowds of people or lots and lots of traffic flow. The third one might be where corrective work has been requested by users. You''re obliged under the transition planning process to include requests in those decisions, and so here''s a place where that comes in. Look for facilities that have frequent use without advance notice. So if it''s a place where you''re teaching a class and people have to register ahead of time, that may not be as critical as a place where people just show up without advance notice where you have a lot people doing it without notice. Facilities that offer unique programs and services. Distributed location, access to public transportation. These are all the kind of things that you want to consider when you''re deciding where to start. So I''ll give you an example of a problem here. Let''s say that you''re this city, and you have five swimming pools at recreation centers and you''re looking at the program of swimming pools. So when you''re considering it here, you would want to look at, well, what programs are offered, which communities do they serve, geographic distribution so the time distance of travel, time of travel is not disproportionately high for people. And where is public transportation? Is that available at some of these facilities, but maybe not the others? So one of the ways that you can set this up is to create a spreadsheet that gives you information where you give some sort of numerical assessment to these pieces in consideration. So example, in the drawing that you saw before, the aerial photographs are the competitor''s swim center. There are certain functions that occur there. It''s your highest use pool. It''s a critical use pool because of some of the functions that happen there, in particular the competition. There have been three people who have requested corrections there, so that''s a flag. That it''s an early start. Frequent use without notice, particularly because of all the competitions held there. Unique programs. There''s eight unique programs that are offered there that aren''t offered anywhere else. Location and transportation, centralized, good transportation connections, that gives it a higher number. And you just go through the other types of pools that you''ve got, give each of those numbers. Now, you''ll notice that in this particular chart, there''s no kind of multiplier. There''s not a final answer that ranks them by priorities. And you can do that. You can provide that kind of total numerical analysis, but you have to be careful with that to make sure that all of your programs are made accessible. So you might even though you might have something that''s a low priority facility using the numerical calculation, you might have some unique programs there and you need to figure out how to make sure the best programs are made accessible as well. So as you go through looking at this, you might do a numerical analysis or you might do something like that that gives you a visual picture of which facilities might be the most important to start on. So when you''re looking at curb ramps, how do you decide which ones of those have the highest priority. Well, obviously those that have been requested by users. If you have for instance wheelchair users who say Hey I can''t get to work because these two curb ramps are a problem for me, could you fix those so I can go to work safely?, then you want to put that as a fairly high priority. Curb ramps that serve facilities for seniors and people with disabilities would be a high priority. High use, close to critical program facilities like emergency shelters and healthcare, and areas where no curb ramps currently exist, particularly if they do have sidewalks that serve those. So some of the ways to set some priorities there. Now, what are some logical approaches to identifying the barriers and then removing them? There are two general approaches that we see people using. One is to identify every program that''s offered at whatever level of granularity you choose, and then evaluate each one, each of those programs for barriers. So this is a chase each program through. You''re going to have to train your program setting employees to recognize and avoid barriers when they move or add programs because they can''t do that in a place that hasnt had barriers removed and youre going to have to update transition plans, secure the funding, et cetera, every time something moves you have to go through the whole process again to make sure that you''ve got program access. The other option, this is the one that most people do is to identify the areas in every facility programs are offered, identify those barriers, remove them, and then train your people to schedule programs only in the areas of the facilities that are physically accessible. Then what you have to do is update your transition plan, eliminate barriers when programs move or are added to the remaining inaccessible facilities or areas within those facilities that are inaccessible. So this requires you to communicate effectively to your program setting employees what''s accessible and you can easily do that with a floor plan and building by building assessments that they can then use in planning where the programs are going to be held. So to verify that all the programs, services, and activities will be accessible, and if they''re not, then that they will become accessible, geographically dispersed at convenient locations and if not all of them are accessible, then consider how the facilities are used. So for example if you have two auditoriums in use, in your entity then probably both of those are going to need to be accessible because it''s fairly likely particularly on weekends that both of those are going to be in use at the same time. But if you''ve got say 20 swimming pools then some of those have to be accessible and we talked about some of the factors for deciding how to set those priorities. Now, program access versus facility access is a key consideration here as you''re collecting data. You don''t have to make every facility accessible if your programs viewed in their entirety are effective. But when you make them, when you have to use physical barrier removal to provide program access, then you have to have a transition plan, so you''re allowed to use alternative methods even as your first choice if they''re as effective in providing program access but a transition plan is required when you go to physical barrier removal. So what are some of the kinds of alternative methods that you might be using? Justice has given a list of these in the technical assistance documents. You might redesign equipment, add new equipment, reassign services to accessible locations, provide aid to beneficiaries or even home visits for certain types of programs where integrated setting is not important. Providing service at alternate sites, alternate facilities, construct new facilities, use accessible rolling stock or other conveyances, different ways of bringing the program to somebody. And then any other method that makes things usable for people with disabilities. So if you do a transition plan, there are four requirements for that transition plan. One is that you identify all the physical obstacles that limit access for people with disabilities in the facilities providing permanent access. You''re going to detail the methods that are going to be used to make the programs or facilities accessible. And the reasons that programs and/or facilities accessible, you may choose as the method for making that accessible to offer that particular program in a different place. Schedule steps to be taken each year to achieve compliance and name the official responsible for that. The next thing to look at in detail is how to collect and manage this information. So right now this is just the kind of information that you''re going to need to collect. Irene?
Thanks, Jim. So one issue that you really need to focus on as you''re gathering information is that you don''t want to only gather information from within your organization. The regulations require that you gather input from the public, especially people with disabilities. So think about when and how and from whom you want to gather information. I think it''s really important to do it at the very beginning, and you may also want to do it as to your draft or tentative findings at the close of information gathering stage and the analysis stage, and then you may want to do it when you also come up with an action plan. Ideally you should do it at all three times to get helpful information at the beginning and then to get feedback on it as you go along. There are a number of ways to do this. You can, early on, you could do an online survey or have somewhere that people can submit comments, a hotline, et cetera. You might want to meet with groups of people with disabilities, advisory committees, individuals, et cetera. You also the traditional way of doing this is through public hearings. They''re not specifically required but they''re an excellent way to get input. You might again as you go along consider online surveys, not just at the beginning but have people give more detailed comments in the middle of the process. And think about who you want to get this information from, advisory committees, advocacy groups, individuals, groups who advocate on behalf of people with certain disabilities, et cetera. Step 3 is analyzing and reporting. There are a number of ways to approach this. And some of this you should have as we said thought about earlier on as you were going through the other steps. But you can either you can do a summary report that highlights what you found or you can do very detailed reports. You can do it by entity, state, county, local entity, by department, by program, by types of issue. For example, program participation, eligibility, communication, et cetera. You can write it all out as a narrative. You can summarize the highlights. You can have charts and there''s different examples of the charts in the Fulton county report that I''ll reference at the end of the presentation. You can have charts that show how frequently certain issues show up, how severe they are. This is similar to the kind of thing that Jim was talking about for transition plans. Which departments are doing better or worse, and again what are the red flags that we really need to look at right away. Another way of doing it is to report by entity, by city or department, and then to give the raw data, the printouts or the electronic information of what you found for each program, to the program managers or to the departments, and those can actually form the basis of an action plan. So at this stage, your tasks are to draft the findings in one of the ways we''ve just talked about, to take those to the departments or the programs so they can see what the findings are, or they may have been the ones who drafted them, but to meet with the departments, the programs, and go over what the information is and figure out what it is we''re going to do right away, what can we do with further approval and then what do we need to do as a whole, for our program, what does the department need to do as a whole, what does the city need to do as a whole. Get feedback on the language of the report, and then come out with a final report. And again you may want to get final input at the point where you have a draft report before you make it final. Jim, facilities.
Similar kind of approach that you use for policies. What do your facility surveys reveal. What are phrase priorities for barrier removal. What can be accomplished with your existing staff and volunteers. If you can''t get the budget, look at what the low hanging fruit is that you can do some other way. Who is your available staff, what kind of expertise do they have, what''s your planning and budgeting cycle and then really some of the things that you may not be thinking of if you''re new in the job is that you want to find and build allies within your organization. So who are the people who get it? Who are the people that understand access for people with disabilities? Often they''re people who have a disability themselves or they have a close friend or family member who has a disability, and they just understand the impact of the kinds of barriers that we have throughout the country for people with disabilities and they have a desire to see those removed because they understand the problems that they create for people. So find out who those allies are, identify those, get them into your network, feed them information, get them to feed you information and help get them to help you determine how you''re going to set those priorities. Irene?
All right. So you have planned and you have gathered information, and now you''re ready to implement it. There''s a lot of that''s been done already. There''s still a lot to do. Now is when you bring everything together. You will be creating recommendations for change and it''s very important to create a specific action plan. There''s no word action plan in the regulations, but the regulations say you need to do a self evaluation and a transition plan, but obviously if you do a self evaluation, you need to have something come of it, so this is a term we''re going to use. Is to create an action plan for your policies, programs, activities, et cetera. Again you can do it by entity, department or program. You can do it by individual program if you wish. You can use the report as a basis for developing your action plan, or and you can do it as you know, you can do it by category, department, et cetera. So as you''re bringing it all together, it''s very important to assign specific tasks to specific people and that they have deadlines for completing those tasks. One very helpful way to do this is to use one of the electronic tracking tools that you can subscribe to for about I think $20 a month online. Though expense and the time that goes into this comes at the beginning as you set it up, but you can put into this tracking tool each task that each person has and you can remind them two or three months ahead of time or a month ahead of time or whatever that this deadline is coming up, and you can track your progress towards meeting the milestone. It''s really critical to tie whatever you''re doing with implementation into your budget process, into your planning process, and those are going to vary by entity, of course. Jim?
Okay. So coordinating this, particularly your facility access solutions, with everybody else that can unfix what you fixed. The concern that we see a lot of times is that you may go through and fix, for example, a toilet paper dispenser in a particular facility. You go in and you take the inaccessible fixture out, you bring in a new one, it''s easy to grasp the paper. You mount it in the correct place where it''s within reach, and then the people who order the supplies say, oh, well our supplies don''t fit in that one, but the manufacturer is supplying us with dispensers that will work with their paper. And they come back in and put it in in the wrong place. So your custodial people, you know, put the trash can just inside the door so that its in door maneuvering clearance. You''ve got to go through and train all of the people that effect access in the facilities, particularly operation, maintenance and procurement; you need to train them to be looking at how their decisions impact usability of the elements and spaces that you''ve made accessible from the physical standpoint. And then you need to communicate how your solutions are going to be used to all the involved parties, so the managers that are going to approve and assign responsibilities, the staff that are going to implement them, the employees who may have to change the way they work. People with disabilities who are going to be beneficiaries who are going to plan their activities and participation, so you might want to do something over the Internet that lets people know how to do that planning and you want to use multiple communication methods so you may have to modify your existing materials and handouts, particularly to let people know that alternative formats are available, and where accessible entrances are and things like that. Create maybe some new Internet resources, modify the ones that are already there and provide some numbers, telephone numbers and email addresses for people to get answers when they''re uncertain about how something can be handled. Irene.
Great, we''re just going to, I want to give you an idea of some of the checklists and examples that are in the resources that are in the Power Point and in the handout so that we can get on to questions. There are various ways of helping you see how others have done this. There is no one comprehensive up to date tool that I''ve seen that you can access on line or anywhere else. Let''s hope that eventually there is something like that that will work for most purposes. But here are some examples of how others have done it. The city of Tacoma, Washington, did a self evaluation in 2008. It was led by their ADA coordinator, and they used checklists from the ADA toolkit that Justice created and that other jurisdictions have used, you can see their report at this link. San Francisco did their report in 2004, and there is a tool there that they used. Of course it doesn''t reflect the 2010 regulations but it could be helpful to you in many respects. They divided their evaluation in two parts. They looked at all their programs, the ones that had a lot in common and then they looked separately at what they called intensive programs, those that had application requirements, eligibility requirements, or ongoing contact with individuals, such as in the mental health area or job training area where you needed to do a little bit deeper evaluation. Sacramento did a similar thing. They looked at their standard activities, those that are common across departments, like public contact, printed materials, and meetings, and then they separately looked at unique services, which meant that programs are unique and they''re not easily modified just because of the nature of the program. Fulton County is one that ADA One did that I did. A county-wide report, it''s a narrative report, and it''s also online and you''ll see there that I created a number of charts, one showing strengths and weaknesses, one showing how each department is doing in each subject area, one listing best practices, and then another thing to think about is, and here you should consult with counsel, how will you label the findings. Do you want to say the city or the county or whoever is not complying in this respect, or they''re failing in this respect? I used terms like needs significant improvement, generally successful, and highly successful. You need to think about that as to whether you want something out there that shows all of your shortcomings, because obviously that can be fuel for the fire, so to speak. So again that''s something that needs to be carefully reviewed with counsel. And then the most recent one on this list was done in 2013 for a town of 77,000 people, the town of Somerville, Massachusetts, there is an eight to ten page, I think summary of the self evaluation findings and then most of it is devoted to facilities in preparation for doing a transition plan. And then this next page just collects a number of resources. It''s kind of strange to have something in here from 1978, but there is you can actually find it again online, and it actually the Department of Education tool that they developed way back then does sort of explain what a self evaluation is about and has a lot of excellent questions in it, although keep in mind it hasn''t been updated to current regulations. It doesn''t reflect developments in case law example, and then you also have an electronic handout, and one of the things I''d like to direct you there to is a guide that ADA One did for the Chicago Community Trust. It''s listed under quick checks. This guide was done for nonprofits, but a lot of it can also be helpful to other private entities and to state and local governments. There is a tool at the beginning called the quick check tool that will sort of give you an idea of where you stand in the big picture. It''s sort of a snapshot of where you are and what you might need to pay attention to. So with that, we''ve tried to leave time for questions, and we''re ready to take them, unless you have anything else?
All right. Thank you, very much, Irene and Jim. In a moment I''m going to have Destiny come out and give instructions for telephone participants and how they can ask questions. For those of you in the webinar room, just a quick refresh, you can submit questions in the chat area. Click on the chat area or control M, type your question in there and hit enter. You will not be able to view your question but the questions will be viewable by the speakers and moderators. Destiny if you can come out and give telephone participants instructions on how they can ask questions, please.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question at this time on the phone lines, please press star, then the number 1 key on your touch tone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, press the pound key. Again, if you have a question on the phone lines, please press star and the number 1 key on your touch tone telephone.
All right. While we''re waiting for questioners to line up on the telephone, we''ll go to a question that''s been submitted in the webinar room. And this participant wants to know is there any recommended scoring system for tools when conducting a physical accessibility survey, and they give the example of, i.e., do you have at least one accessible door at each public entrance, and could you score something like that as being yes as a plus 1 and no as a 1? They''re just looking to see if there''s any type of way of scoring a physical accessibility survey.
There''s not an official method to do this. We''ve seen a lot of people use different approaches. You know, the difficulty with the facility issues is that access is in the details, and so if you''ve got a door that is too narrow, it''s going to start blocking people. A lot of wheelchairs are only 24 inches wide, so you add a few more inches on either side for knuckles and elbows to keep from smashing those as you go through the door, and but there''s some wheelchairs that are much wider than that, so the more, the wider it is, the fewer people it blocks. So it''s really kind of graduated it would be a graduated scoring system. In the Title III Regulations, the Department of Justice said for small businesses, if you don''t know anything else about setting priorities, first get people out of the weather and into the building. Second, access to goods and services, programs for a public entity. Third, access to the toilet rooms. And fourth, access to everything else, like drinking fountains and vending machines and public telephones and those kind of things. So that''s the only thing that''s actually got precedent in regulations in the technical assistance materials but what we also tend to do is we say we look at where each barrier is located. We look at how severe the barrier is. We look at that, DOJ priority settings, and then we look at is this same program provided in some other place. We''ll spend time talking about how we do that in the next session and so maybe we''ll give you a more thorough answer then.
Great. Before we go to phones, let me get one more question from the webinar room. This participant wants to know if you have any examples of transition plans for post-secondary institutions.
Transition plans specifically? I''ve done a self evaluation for a couple of universities, but they aren''t public. You know, there''s a place that I can suggest you look at, and I hope it''s okay that they say I can do this. It''s online. Catholic University of America, which is CUA.edu, has a self audit checklist that has some excellent questions on it. Apart from that, I don''t know of a I haven''t seen a good tool other than that one that I mentioned from decades ago from the Department of Education. Jim, I don''t know. Do you have anything as far as transition plans?
You know, all the ones that we know of are keeping them fairly close to the vest.
Yeah. That''s usually the case.
All right. Great. Destiny, do we have any questions on the telephone at this time.
I''m not showing any questions on the phone.
All right. Let''s go to another question submitted. Someone wanted to know if you''re doing a self evaluation refresher for your city, do you encourage those entities to include a note to be aware of the revised regulations in the 2010 Standards as part of that refresh?
I think it''s important that you include something up front in the document that tells the all of the regulations and sections that you considered. For example, if you''re doing a facility evaluation, did you consider safe harbors? If you''re doing the any of the work with the self evaluation, what were the standards and what were the regulations and what were the local considerations that you made while you were going through that process. I think it helps people down the road as they''re looking back at this when they first pick it up and start to read it, to put them in the perspective, of oh, things have changed since this was done, or we''re under the same requirements. We can go with this without a whole lot of updating.
I would absolutely say yes, you do need to look at the revised regs. There''s some significant changes and a lot more detail in certain areas, Segways and other types of mobility devices are addressed for the first time. There''s a great deal of detail as to communication, et cetera, so yes, even more than making a note, it should be very clear that you''ve considered those.
Okay. Great. Another question from someone that submitted in advance. How does an organization''s long range planning fit into these processes, specifically the transition plan or an action plan?
I think Jim and I both touched on that a bit. The work that you do under the ADA does absolutely need to be tied into that, which is one reason that the person who is in charge of this needs to be in a position of authority or at least have access to a person who''s in a position of authority. Jim, do you want to address that as far as transition planning? Because I know it''s a little bit different when you''re talking about spending funds for making physical changes to facilities.
Sure. I think what you have to do is assess where you are. We talked to one university several years back who said, and this was a university that had tens of thousands of students, and they said, well, our annual ADA budget is $200,000. And yet they were in a multimillion dollar construction plan, and so one of the things that we looked at was, you know, how do you how do you create an approach that you can get funded, and at the time, you know, we said, well, how about if we have a 20/20 vision for large university this university, and the idea is that by the year 2020, we''re going to be completely accessible. All our programs are going to be accessible. And it''ll be worked into the fabric of the way that we do things. And that was because they realized that they couldn''t get their current administration to do things, but they might be able to get something rolling and they might be able to set some priorities and to add to it to create a process, a structure, that the requests could be hung on so that when a student said, Hey, I need this, that can go into their system of collecting information so that over time, they would be able to get the funding to get to the goal where they want. Now, if you don''t start, if you don''t have the process in place, you don''t have those opportunities. I know when UCLA, when the ADA first passed, the ADA coordinator there decided that he was going to do a survey of the entire campus, and they did. They came up with I think he said 20 something million dollars worth of barriers, and because he had that list, when the earthquake hit that did significant damage to a lot of his buildings, he was able to use that list during the earthquake repair work and a particular California requirement that says when you do structural changes to a building, you have to upgrade it for ADA, he was able to drop that information right into the funding process and get his barriers removed much more quickly, than if he didn''t have some sort of plan in place. So you want to be thinking about all the various ways and we''ll talk about funding the barrier removal program for program access, we''ll talk about that process in more detail in the next session.
And I''d like to make a pitch for sort of as a step even preliminary to all this, a pitch for being sure that ADA compliance is built into your other compliance mechanisms within your state and local government, your college or university, whatever. And I think in a lot of places that really hasn''t happened yet. I mean if you thought what if somebody now said Oh, you know over the next year let''s see if we''re complying with all the OSHA requirements. Let''s see if we meet all the structural engineering requirements when we build or alter buildings or let''s see if we''re complying with the privacy requirements. If you build that in at the beginning, it''s a cost of doing business, it''s part of how you do business, and if you can work that into your overall compliance structure or your risk assessment structure or whatever, a lot of the questions about funding I think become a little bit easier and I think the long range planning doesn''t become planning as much as it becomes constant implementation, which is what we really all should be doing.
Great. Destiny, any questions at this time on the telephone?
I show no questions on the telephone lines.
Very good, then it''s the webinar folks who are asking all the questions today. That is fine. A question about what role can advisory commissions play and are there potential pitfalls to relying solely on the advisory commission as the only place where feedback is sought and gathered?
The pitfall is that you''re getting limited input. I think you absolutely should consult the advisory committee, but there are people who are individuals out there on their own who don''t have connections to any kind of political process who may have who do have very good insight. There are advocacy groups. I mean there''s always politics involved with advisory committees as well. I would not have them be your sole source of input, but certainly they should play an important role in providing input. They also are likely to understand more likely than the average citizen, I would think, to understand how the particular entity works and can give you some good input from that standpoint. Jim, have you had experience with that?
Yeah. I think there''s a real three kinds of input that you want to consider. One of them is the invited input. So when you have the process starting off, you want to collect a list of the organizations that represent people with disabilities, and also whoever your ADA coordinators have on their list and notify these groups and these individuals that you have something out there or that will be out there and you''d like to have their feedback on it. So it''s the invited participants. There''s the kind of scheduled, regular input of the groups like the advisory committee. And then you have another type of input that is periodic, irregular, one shot type of input. Somebody makes a phone call and says, hey, can you look at so and so. You want to have that kind of input coming in not just during the evaluation process that''s required by the standards but throughout the process, so that you can collect all three of those types of input and consider those when you are making any kind of decisions about where to put the money or what to do first, et cetera.
And also think about whether you can get some useful input from your harshest critics. If there are some very strident advocacy groups in the community, it might be a good idea to meet with them at the beginning. You''re probably likely to get some very good input and if you have some level of cooperation, then they can bring in others to give better input. This is an area where you can be really creative and do what really works for your particular locale.
Great. Another question that you had mentioned the issue of limited funding, and whether or not limited funding, you know, is a defense for a state or local government entity that is just now engaging in their first self evaluation and transition plan.
Well, those requirements have been there for a long time that you do those plans, and I think what the Department of Justice would say, and I think that''s largely what matters here, is that there''s not there''s no excuse for not complying after all this time, and there is not a lot of excuse for not having done any planning, but what''s important is that you start, that you do it. If you know there''s areas that you need to work on, do that now and in the meantime, start evaluating and planning for the others, and what I''ve heard Justice say at times, you know, you may not have funding now, but look at the last 25 years, 24 years, since the ADA went into place. There probably has been the opportunity to spend some of your funding on this, and the point is that you set it aside now and figure out what you will do with your limited funds.
The important thing is creating that roadmap.
Yeah. Get going.
Let''s squeeze one more in here at the bottom of the hour. A clarification, I guess, of someone trying to understand the difference between what is considered a barrier and so they want to know, you know, is a barrier the same as noncompliance with the accessibility standard? So the example they give is a drinking fountain is installed, you know, an inch outside, let''s say, that the spout is an inch off of what the standards require. Would that be would that be viewed as or considered a barrier?
Sure. We''ll get into detail on that in the next session, and it really is it''s a whole there''s a whole series of questions in there. One is: Is it within tolerance for construction? Is it de minimis as a barrier? Is there some other method of providing program access? And there''s a lot of detail there for a last question, so let''s look at that one in the next session.
What a great piece, Jim. Perfect setup to remind folks of our upcoming session. I want to first of all thank both Irene and Jim for their great presentation today and the information that they provided. We will have our final third and final session take place on March 18, and that will be Part 3: Bringing it All Together. Information on that session can be found by visiting www.ADA audio.org, that''s where you can find registration information for that session. If you have questions, you can contact us at (877) 232 1990. As a reminder, today''s session has been recorded. The audio archive along with the edited transcript from today''s session will be available in approximately ten business days from today. The archive will be available by visiting the www.ADA audio.org website. To contact your regional ADA Center, you can call (800) 949 4232. Once again I want to thank Irene Bowen and James Terry for joining us today. And most of all I want to thank all of you participants for joining us today. You are the reason that we do these sessions. For those of you on the telephone, you can hang up, disconnect your line. For those of you in the webinar room, simply close your webinar browser to exit the webinar room. Once again, thank you, everyone, and good day.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. You may all disconnect. Have a great day.