Question: Does the U.S. Justice Department or U.S. Access Board provide educational resources that can be used in-house by our employees and/or contractors? -- Beverly, N.D.

Answer: Yes, there are multiple tools.

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, manuals that use examples and fuller explanations to illustrate guidelines have been available. Thanks to developments in communications media over the two decades since then, new in-house training resources from the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Access Board are available.

On Jan. 26, 2017, the U.S. Access Board released a free animation to clear up confusion related to design standards for informational and directional signs.
National Catholic Partnership on Disability On Jan. 26, 2017, the U.S. Access Board released a free animation to clear up confusion related to design standards for informational and directional signs.

U.S. Justice Department

ADA.gov provides technical assistance on almost anything you’d want to know. In addition to common issues like making polling places and swimming pools accessible, the website addresses questions, such as how street resurfacing affects accessibility, related specifically to public works.

There’s also a video gallery at the bottom of the page that includes “Ten Employment Myths,” “Ten Small Business Mistakes,” “My Country,” “Police Response to People with Disabilities,” and the “ADA Signing Ceremony.”

U.S. Access Board

The Access Board’s website contains several resources.

The most current 2010 ADA guide is available here. This manual is worth downloading because the graphics and explanations can often be your best backup for staff or contractor questions.

The website also includes animations that can be downloaded for free. They’re available in regular or captioned versions.

There are animations addressing wheelchair maneuvering, entrances and doors, toilet and bathing facilities, protruding objects, and parking and passenger loading zones. Added to the gallery in January 2017, the most recent animation covers provisions for visual access, tactile signs, required access symbols, and other pictograms.

“This 15-minute animated film reviews and illustrates requirements for signs and clarifies common sources of confusion,” says Office of Technical and Information Services Director Marsha Mazz. “We receive many questions on this subject, and the new animation is very effective in answering them. We're excited to make this resource available so the provisions for signs are correctly understood and applied.”

Finally, in cooperation with the National Network of ADA Centers, the Access Board offers free webinars that are good for earning continuing education credits (CEUs). The most recent was a question-and-answer on Jan. 5. You can download it and previous webinars in audio and video format here. For more information, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

I strongly advise downloading these training aids. They’ll not only help in training others but in refreshing your own knowledge when specific questions come by you.