Universal Design allows us to successfully serve and incorporate children and adults of all abilities into our facilities. Applying these concepts to child development industry we enable children with disabilities to actively participate in well-designed childcare settings.
Universal design is to the ADA Standards as accreditation is to state licensing regulations – where both national accreditation and universal design define the best quality practices to aspire to. Universal design standards ensure everyone will be able to safely and successfully prosper in the facility.
Since the mid1970’s the United States has worked to ensure that children with disabilities have access to public education. No longer steered into segregated settings, children with disabilities are being mainstreamed into educational environments alongside their non-disabled peers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local building codes require specific building features to be accessible. The benefits of following the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines goes a long way toward ensuring that children with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate. However, federal and state design standards establish only minimum requirements, that when followed, provide a basic level of access to facilities, programs, and activities.
Easterseals has endorsed universal design as a proactive approach to facility design that is more inclusive. It goes beyond the ADA and promotes the social integration of children with disabilities early in their lives. For example, this may mean that fixtures and elements must be mounted at different heights, or specific elements must be adjustable, but certainly, a usable, safe, and convenient environment can be created.
A copy of Easterseals Design tool is available for you to order. This design tool provides information and strategies to ensure that child care facilities are welcoming and useable for everyone. Some things you will find include:
Easterseals offers a financial planning booklet and excel workbook as well as a design guide.
Download the order form in PDF format.*
*The order form is in the Adobe PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader in to view the report. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free by clicking on the Adobe graphic below.