Ideas for Increasing Access

All RISCA funded projects must be physically accessible to people with disabilities – but that should be just the first step you take when thinking about access for your programs. Outside of presenting your RISCA funded project in a wheelchair accessible, ADA compliant space (read more here), what are things you can do to ensure everyone in your community can access and fully participate in your project?

When thinking about programs that are accessible, you should also consider the needs of community members who:

  • have sight, hearing, or speech disabilities;
  • are neurodiverse (e.g. are on the Autism spectrum);
  • are not fluent in English or speak English as a second language;
  • are low income and might face financial or logistical barriers to attending your programs.

Steps Your Organization Can Take Internally.

Whether or not your organization is new to these conversations, there are some initial things you can do to ensure accessibility is integrated in your work, planning, and programs. You can:

  • Designate and empower a staff person or volunteer to be responsible for ADA compliance/Section 504.
  • Develop and amplify a stated policy or mission statement regarding accessibility.
  • Create an Access Committee that includes people with various disabilities and language fluencies to advise on access issues.

Steps Your Organization Can Take in Your Programs.

Here are ways you can address access in your RISCA funded project – and in your programs overall! Some of these ideas are easy and low cost, while others might require the purchasing of equipment or a more substantial investment. Many of these ideas can be written into the project budget for your Project Grant for Organization application as costs associated with your project in the Accessibility line item:

  • Accessible website.
  • *American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.
  • *Live translations.
  • Assistive Listening systems.
  • *Open or closed captioning of audio visuals.
  • Digital/internet hotspot access.
  • *Audio descriptions of visual art, media, performances or other presentations.
  • *Print materials in alternate formats, including Braille, large print, and languages other than English.
  • *Large print labelling with high contrast.
  • *Tactile tours.
  • Access information/accommodations with appropriate disability symbols are included in all publicity about the project.
  • *Childcare for program participants that have children.

To learn more about accessibility, check out this resource page at the National Endowment for Arts.