A short guide to ADA Transition Planning

A middle aged man inspects the height of a drop from a ramp at a children's playground.

The aim of an ADA Transition Plan is to identify and implement improvements to a public-facing site and help it achieve compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards. While many site owners think they might comply with ADA regulations by merely providing a wheelchair-accessible ramp, the reality is that a site must be accessible to people with any type of disability, not just mobility impairments. ADA Transition Plans allow site owners to comprehensively create improvements to ensure inclusivity for all individuals, regardless of ability.  

Direct Access has provided ADA Transition Plans for a variety of sites, not only allowing organizations and municipalities to meet their compliance with the law, but embed meaningful changes that create a long-lasting impact on communities of disabled people and improve their quality of life. As adopters of the Social model of accessibility, our goal is to help organizations improve attitudes toward disabled people, educate ableists, ensure Architects meet their responsibilities by law, and demonstrate that changes made as a result of an ADA Transition Plan also stand to benefit non-disabled people.

Putting an ADA transition plan together involves a multitude of factors. From identifying non-inclusive elements of a built environment, to then prioritizing these issues (depending on the severity of each non-compliance element), to developing a budget to improve these issues so that they meet ADA standards, to putting together a timeline from planning to completion, it can all seem overwhelming. Especially when you consider how accessibility is not just about the environment, it’s also about the attitudes and knowledge of staff, who may require training to understand how to communicate and/or assist disabled people in their specific role. However, Direct Access can help you each step of the process, which we have outlined in our ADA Transition Plan guide below.

Before carrying out an ADA transition plan, Direct Access will often carry out an accessibility consultation – allowing local disability advocacy organizations and individuals with disabilities who use your site already to offer feedback on what they think should change, boosting your facilities reputation within its community and allowing our consultants to hone in on the issues that matter most, allowing you to make a meaningful impact. 

The secret to developing a successful ADA Transition Plan is simply to get started. While in the beginning, the entire Transition Planning journey can seem daunting, there’s a very clear path to developing a sustainable plan for your organization.

Here are the six steps to your ADA Transition Plan with Direct Access;

A photo of a smooth stone pathway in a McKinney Texas park surrounded by trees during a sunny day. A large pond is in the background.

An Initial Access Assessment: This involves our access consultants (all of whom are disabled people themselves) reviewing amenities and Public Right of Way elements to identify any accessibility issues that need to be addressed.

Prioritization of Accessible Elements: Our Consultants will create an Action Plan based on the issues identified and rank them by order of priority, allowing site owners clear time frames for improvements and identification of who that would improve would benefit. The Action Plan will also provide advice on how to implement these improvements, whether through repair or replacement.

Budget Allocation: Once the required improvements have been identified, it is time to develop a budget, which can be phased in over several years.

Develop a timeline: Direct Access will work with you to develop a timeline of how these improvements can be implemented in a way that is both realistic and reasonable.

Put it on record: Once improvements are made, a bespoke accessibility statement will be produced that allows you to showcase your improvements with the public, creating a visible roadmap to your path to inclusion that will inspire respect from the community.

Provide staff training: If requested, Direct Access can deliver staff training, helping your staff to better understand the barriers that colleagues and customers with a specific disability may have.

But above all else, Direct Access’ team of award-winning consultants will guide you throughout the whole process, ensuring all reasonable provisions for disabled access are in place. Using our trained eyes and first-hand experience as a team comprised of mostly disabled people, we offer practical, professional advice on overcoming a wide range of physical barriers, ensuring your site is accessible to the widest possible range of people. If an ADA Transition Plan sounds beneficial to you, then please get in touch and start your transition to ADA compliance with us today. 

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