This is the last installment of our Four-Part Blog Series describing how state and local governments (as well as Federal grantees) can conduct better self-evaluations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. We developed our approach from working for over twelve years with organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the California State University (CSU), and King County in Washington state.
Three Critical Ingredients Missing in Most Self-Evaluations
This post just pulls together the three ingredients to a complete Title II or Section 504 Self-Evaluation that we described in the three earlier posts. In our first installment, we discussed why Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require state and local government agencies and federal fund recipients, respectively, to evaluate how their programs impact their customers and users with disabilities. In the first three installments in this series, we then described the three critical ingredients missing in most self-evaluations and how our approach fills in these gaps.
- Get People with Disabilities Involved Early in the Process. Most ADA Self-Evaluations seek input from people with disabilities too late in the process. Instead, seek feedback early and often—and use that feedback to help you set your priorities and uncover problems that your team may have not noticed.
- Use a Smarter Survey Tool. Don’t use a survey that asks thousands of questions and that just creates a mountain of data that is impossible to use. Instead, use a smarter survey tool that quickly identifies gaps and that provides a template for future policies and training. To prioritize those policies, use a separate survey of staff members and a set of quick interviews that leverages the results of your listening sessions with people with disabilities.
- Make Sure Your Web Consultant IS Your ADA Consultant. Almost every government program, service, and activity rely on websites and other digital technologies—making web and digital accessibility an essential component of your self-evaluation. Unless your web consultant is also deeply involved in your overall self-evaluation, however, it will be impossible to identify the web content to test from the hundreds of separate websites that state and local governments typically operate.
Interested in Learning More?
We all want a robust plan that serves the needs of customers with disabilities and that reduces overall litigation risk. Use the form below to download our white paper for a simple explanation of how these three elements work together. This white paper includes examples and sample contract language not available in this blog series.
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