Accessibility Checklist

In June 2016, Kahal B’raira committed itself to full inclusion of people with disabilities in all our activities and events.  As part of this commitment we agreed to create an accessibility checklist to ensure that all our events/activities are fully accessible to all of our members.

Language and definitions:  When writing about disability issues, use “people first language.”  Say a person with a disability rather than a disabled or handicapped person.  Say a person who uses a wheelchair rather than a person confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair bound.   The word “handicap” is seriously out of date and only properly used in the context of a horse race!

A person with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental disability that significantly affects a major life activity (such as walking, talking, hearing, etc).

Committee Chairs and any KB Members Organizing KB events must adhere to the following guidelines:

Events at Fayerweather

The parking lot has the required number of Handicap Parking spots identified.  Do not block them in any way or let participants use them unless they have an HP placard.

The Concord Avenue entrance is accessible so make sure both inner and outer doors at that entrance are unlocked. 

The main accessible bathroom is closest to the Spinelli Place entrance.  If you were to enter from that side it is your third door on the right.  In addition, on the way to the gym, there is a hallway that goes off to the left.  On this hallway there is a boy’s bathroom and a girl’s bathroom and each have an accessible stall. 

Events at other sites

Parking – Are there Handicap Parking spots?  Does at least one spot have enough space alongside it for a van to open its doors?

Accessible path of travel – Accessible is defined as there being no change of level more than one half inch throughout the path of travel from entrance to meeting space and bathrooms.  Of course, there should be no stairs or there should be an alternative route to the same locations that has no stairs.  If you are relying on an elevator, let the site know that it is essential that the elevator is working.

Bathrooms – The path to the bathroom must be accessible and there must be enough room in the bathroom to maneuver a wheelchair around the toilet and to  access the sink.

Doorways must be at least 36 inches wide. 

Winter weather – Are pathways cleared of snow and are entrances that are usually available clear and open?

Programmatic Access

We aim to hold every activity in an accessible location.  Unavoidably, some events by their nature may sometimes be held in inaccessible locations. An example is potlucks, which may sometimes be held in a member’s home that is not accessible. Providing programmatic access means that we view our programs in their entirety.

Thus, although some potlucks will be held in inaccessible locations, some percentage of potlucks annually must be held in accessible locations. 

Events that are particularly important to the congregation, such as holiday celebrations, or that are unique because they only happen once, such as a milestone anniversary, must be held in accessible locations.

Communication Access

In the main adult meeting room (gym) anyone addressing the whole group, either the speaker or audience members, must use a microphone.  Commonly, people feel that they don’t need a microphone or are uncomfortable using one.  Kindly and politely but firmly remind them that our access policy requires use of a microphone so that all may hear. 

In smaller rooms where there is no amplification, find out if there is anyone who needs consideration around hearing the program.  If so, you can offer them priority seating and/or ask members of the group to speak slowly, clearly and loudly. 

Printed materials being distributed should be in a 14-point font or larger and never smaller than 12-point.  Librarians define large print as 18-point font.

Food and Refreshments

We want to make it possible for everyone to safely enjoy food at our activities. 

Fayerweather is a strictly nut free environment because there are children at the school with severe allergies. 

Provide gluten free alternatives as often as possible.   Place small signs indicating the ingredients in a dish near the dish at potlucks/buffets.

Maintaining accessible features

Sometimes a location becomes inaccessible because we have allowed changes in the environment. We need aisles in a meeting room and we have to keep the aisles free.  Overcrowding in a room can also render it inaccessible. 

Ombudsman

Whenever you plan/schedule any KB event or activity, notify our accessibility ombudsman.  Currently, Paul Rickter is the ombudsman.  rickter@gmail.com  This step will ensure that accessibility has been thought about for every event/activity.

Next steps/future needs/issues

Web site – It should be accessible to/readable by a “screen reader” program such as having alt tags for the pictures.

We should consider assisted listening devices or loops which help people with limited hearing or hearing aides to hear better.

Our policies or practices should permit an exception or modification when needed to make an activity or event accessible.

Our overall point or goal is to have each of us sufficiently aware of accessibility issues and needs that we go through a process and consider: is the way that we are conducting this event/activity set up so that no one is inadvertently excluded from fully participating.