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Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Ten Simple Ways to Make Your Business More Accessible

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Ten Simple Ways to Make Your Business More Accessible

  1. Welcome service animals (specifically dogs and miniature horses under the ADA) into your establishment. Read tips on what you can ask to determine if it is a service animal and other tips on service animals.
     
  2. Know what is required of public entities under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An accessibility survey can help identify barriers to accessibility that need to be removed.
     
  3. Consider how persons with disabilities will be evacuated from your facility in an emergency, and include that procedure in your emergency evacuation plan. Make sure your employees know the procedure.
     
  4. Use people-first language when referring to someone with a disability.Refer to a person as an individual with a disability rather than a “disabled person,“ or a “handicapped person.”
     
  5. Make sure your employees are prepared to interact with customers who are blind or deaf. They should be ready to read written documents to customers who are blind or have low vision and to exchange notes with customers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking. Have a pad of paper handy for this purpose.
     
  6. Always ask if a person with a disability needs assistance, never assume. You do not need to ask permission to use standard etiquette, such as holding a door open for those behind you.
     
  7. Signage is important. Make sure it is clear, includes Braille, and uses the term “accessible” rather than “handicapped”. Signage should be used to direct individuals to the accessible entrance, accessible restrooms, and other areas of travel used by the public.
     
  8. If your business provides table or bar seating, make sure you have accessible seating for wheelchair users. A table that provides space underneath the top that is 30” wide, 17” deep, and 27” high, with a top that is between 28” and 34” from the ground is accessible. All areas that offer seating to the public should have an accessible seating option as well.
     
  9. People with hearing, speech, or sight disabilities may require extra time or a quiet area to talk with staff. Be patient with the extra attention that might be necessary to understand what is being said and how to assist.
     
  10. Customer feedback is a great opportunity to learn about your customers and their thoughts on how accessible your business actually is. Be open to receiving feedback and act on it. You may be preventing a lawsuit in the process.