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Why is ADA Accessibility Important for Non-Profits?

May 2020

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What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities and covers all employers of 15 or more employees, for-profit, and nonprofit alike. Individuals with disabilities are more likely to be served by nonprofits carrying out community development programs or providing services focusing on basic human needs, and people with disabilities are seeking opportunities offered by nonprofits, such as access to education, recreation, arts, and culture, as well as physical and mental health care.

What is ADA Accessibility?

The part of the ADA that most directly apply to nonprofits is the public accommodations section, which includes making sure your facility is accessible. Accessibility includes physical access into your facility, ability to access accommodations (restrooms, countertops, etc), and having an effective communication strategy.

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How Do I Know if Signage Plays a Role in ADA Accessibility at my Facility?

  1. Does everyone have access? If your building entrances are not all accessible, signage is key (and required) to direct visitors to the accessible entrance(s) and allow them easy access to your facility. This also includes identifying restrooms that meet accessibility guidelines or directing to those that do.
  2. Will any sign work? Or do I even need one? ADA guidelines include specific requirements for how a sign looks and is built. These guidelines were created to ensure effective and consistent communication for people who are sight-impaired or have intellectual disabilities.
  3. Does where I hang the sign matter? The 2010 ADA Standard changed the mounting requirements for ADA signs. There is now a variance of 48" to 60” above the floor, and the sign must be placed 9” on center from the latch side of the door. This provision provides a consistency that helps those who are blind or sight-impaired locate signs as they are traversing through a facility (consistent location).
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ADA is hard. We've worked on numerous projects with large challenges to their facilities, designing solutions that work both with the design intent and meets code requirements. Choosing a partner with expertise on both ADA guidelines and creative solutions to meet the guidelines is key.

Have questions on anything ADA related or have a tricky layout you'd like to talk through?

Don't hesitate to reach out to your local sign expert or email our in-house ADA expert Kristin Adkins.

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