Building an Inclusive Sudbury

Published February 2, 2021 | Commission on Disability | Automatically Archived on 3/17/2021

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 30 years old in 2020.  Title II is the part of the ADA that applies to the Town of Sudbury.  Over the decades the Town has progressed in making facilities and programs accessible to Sudburians living with disabilities.  Of course, there’s still work to do and fortunately help is available and more progress is coming.

SOON – TWO STEPS FORWARD

The Institute for Human Centered Design published the ADA Title II Action Guide for State and Local Governments that lays out how to fulfill ADA requirements, step by step.  There are seven steps.  Two big ones are Conduct a Self-Evaluation and Develop a Transition Plan.  These processes create an inventory of issues that need to be fixed and a calendar for doing the fixing.

SELF-EVALUATION STEP

In February 2020 the Select Board approved funds to commence a fresh Self-Evaluation as the one on record was out-of-date by far and non-compliant.  Wisely, the Town contracted professionals from the Institute for Human Centered Design to take up that task.  The IHCD has impeccable bona fides as an organization dedicated to access issues since 1978. 

While the work of the self-evaluation was slowed by the pandemic, the compilation of data gathered from site visits to most of the Town’s facilities is nearing completion.

TRANSITION PLAN STEP

When reports are available, what’s next?  The Action Guide directs Towns to have an ADA Team that includes ADA Coordinators, Department staff, Town leaders and people living with disabilities.  The ADA Team is meant to work together to create a Transition Plan putting things in order of priority and into a time and budget framework.

WHY INVOLVE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?

The ADA Title II Action guide says it best.

There are several reasons to include people with disabilities. First, the regulation requires that public entities provide an opportunity for people with disabilities and other interested individuals or organizations to review and comment on the self-evaluation and transition plan. Second, involving the end users in the process will generate solutions that are creative and effective. Third, involving people with disabilities in decision-making will strengthen the accountability of the process and ensure wise use of limited public resources.  The team should include representation of as wide a range of disabilities as possible. People with physical, visual, hearing, speech, intellectual,  learning, behavioral health, and other disabilities may be included on the team.

PLEASE STAY TUNED

Sudbury’s Commission on Disability will help spread the word of when and how Self-Evaluation reports can be accessed and how you can get involved in “Building an Inclusive Sudbury” by helping shape the Transition Plan.