Figuring out how to make your school compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t have to be a complex mission. There are simple steps you can easily implement to ensure accessibility of classrooms, information, and school programs or services to people with disabilities.
Step 1. Identify architectural barriers in your school building
Retro-fitting an existing school may be challenging, but it can be done with careful planning. Note that it isn’t necessary to completely change the physical accessibility of the entire school.
Modifications like adjusting the width of doorways and the height of water fountains won’t take much time or money. Changing door knobs, creating accessible paths to playground equipment and adding signs for easier access also aren’t difficult to do. If your school has multiple levels, you can have a stair lift installed, or ensure that there is a classroom on the ground floor for each grade.
With a little creativity and planning, you can always come up with ways to make your school building more ADA compliant. When you think about it, these minor changes are all worthwhile to ensure comfort and accessibility for your entire school population.
Step 2. Review your school website for accessibility.
Browsing through your website from an accessibility perspective is something you should do regularly. Technology is always changing, so updates may be necessary on a constant basis.
View your website and ask yourself if your students and parents could understand the content without being able to use a mouse, hear a video or see what’s on the screen. This will help you design a site that includes things like:
- Screen readers – technology that translates web codes into text and then to spoken words.
- Keyboard function access – the ability to navigate the website using only keyboard functions
- Captions, subtitles and transcripts – so anyone can understand the content of a video
If you want to be even more thorough, use a software tool that can evaluate your website for its accessibility.
Step 3. Review school documents and forms for ADA compliance
How, you ask? You’ll need to go through your manual and electronic forms and annotate them for compliance. Persons with disabilities may find that the usual PDFs miss the alternative text in images, have confusing headings, or are in a reading order that just doesn’t make sense. Adobe Acrobat has an accessibility check you can run on your forms to make sure they pass compliance.
You will need time and tools to revise PDFs to make them readable by screen readers. Keep in mind, though, that some documents can function better as a static web page or a submittable web form. LINQ, a software platform for electronic document management, can take the responsibility off your hands by providing you with fillable digital PDFs and various automation solutions for your forms and workflows.
Step 4. Proactively ensure ADA compliance with the help of workflow software.
Central office staff, teachers and administrators are busy. After all, they have important jobs to do! Take the responsibility of ensuring compliance off of their hands by investing in a software like LINQ that will monitor compliance on your district’s behalf. Aside from digitizing forms and automating processes, LINQ can help you set recurring schedules for important processes to keep the school compliant with ADA regulations. With LINQ’s digital school administration solutions, you can track processes to see if your staff has filed the correct paperwork, send reminders in an instant, add approvals and safely keep files and documents without the tedious paper filing process.
Let LINQ help you stay in compliance so that you can get back to doing what you do best – ensuring a positive school experience for your students.