Real Estate Due Diligence: Three Tiers of Accessibility Reports

Real Estate Due Diligence: Three Tiers of ADA Accessibility Reports 

How do Accessibility Due Diligence Concerns Come into Play During Real Estate Transactions or Development?

  1. During any commercial real estate transaction, an ADA Survey (including all applicable accessibility laws) should be part of the Due Diligence process.
  2. All new buildings that are commercial facilities or places of public accommodation, must be designed and constructed with accessibility features that are compliant with current federal and local accessibility codes.
  3. All new alterations to buildings that are commercial facilities or places of public accommodation, must be designed and constructed with accessibility features that are compliant with current federal and local accessibility codes.
  4. The property owner, lease holder and lender may all be held liable if the property does not have proper accessibility features.
  5. The project should be reviewed for all applicable Accessibility Laws.
  6. Occasionally, more than one Accessibility Code or Law will apply.
    1. There might be Federal, State and Local Codes that apply.
    2. Some states (2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction) Code for have their own Accessibility Codes in addition to National Accessibility Laws, such as the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, ABA, or Fair Housing Act.
    3. Which specific Accessibility Laws and Codes apply to an individual facility, is based on which entity owns the facility; who is providing design and construction funds; and who is managing the programs and services.
      • Federal facility ownership, funding or services
      • State or Local facility government ownership, programs or services.
      • Private facility, programs or services
      • When more than one Code or Law applies, then the Accessibility Due Diligence Report needs to look at EACH element, based on each applicable Accessibility Code, and assure that the strictest code for each individual element is met.

What do You Need to Know when Requesting an Accessibility Inspection or an ADA Survey?

  1. The Department of Justice does not certify or recognize certification of ADA Inspectors.
    • ADA Inspection is a non-regulated profession, comprised with a variety of experts, who specialize in different building types, program types and levels of involvement.
    • It is advisable to select an ADA Inspector is familiar with your type of facility, all levels of Accessibility Laws, and the level of in-depth report you require.
  2. The Department of Justice recommends their top 4 priorities for Title III (places of public access) regulations:
    1. Priority 1: Accessible approach and entrance
      • Includes site access, parking, accessible paths throughout the property or facility, and entrances
    2. Priority 2: Access to goods and services
      • Assures that all goods and services are available to all consumers. Includes signage, counter tops, public phones, pools, exercise rooms, braille and auditory signals and other accessible features.
    3. Priority 3: Access to restrooms and drinking fountains
    4. Priority 4: Any other measure necessary

ADA Inspection or Accessibility Survey that is Not Part of the Property Condition Report

  1. Accessibility Surveys and ADA Inspections often are completely separate from the Property Condition Report.
    1. The same general principles apply.
    2. Lenders often request a Tier 1 or Tier II ADA Survey.
    3. Property investors request the Tier III Accessibility Survey, since they will be responsible for all alterations that need to be brought up to ADA compliance.
      1. The investor has the most exposure to accessibility liability, so it is advisable to have the most detailed and accurate account of accessibility features within the facility or property.
      2. Some investors request a detailed report with both the current Accessibility Standards, as well as the items that are “Safe Harbor,” so that they have all of the information needed to make the best decision for their clients.
        • “Safe Harbor: Includes those items that met the 1991 ADA Standard, that do not need to be modified to meet the 2010 ADA Standard.

ADA Survey or Accessibility Inspection as Part of the Property Condition Report

  1. The Property Condition Report reviews the overall physical condition of a property, along with the long and short term capital expenditures required to maintain the property.
  2. The Property Condition Reports scope is defined by ASTM Standard E2018 “Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process.”
    • The appendix defines the levels of accessibility investigation.
    • The standard references the Americans with Disability Act as the governing document; however, ALL governing Accessibility Codes relevant to the property, must be reviewed.
  3. The ASTM appendix defines three tiers of due diligence.
  4. The depth of the Accessibility Inspection or ADA Survey is dictated by the Property Condition Report user.
  5. Often a Tier I ADA Survey or Accessibility Review is included as an addendum during the physical due diligence of an existing building by a contracted ADA and Accessibility Specialist or an Architect.
  6. Even though the ADAAG, ADA Accessibility Guide, is referenced in the “Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process;” the three tiers of accessibility investigation pertain regardless of the applicable codes.

Tier I Accessibility Survey is a Visual Assessment of the Facility for a Public Place of Accommodation

  1. Identifies the year the facility was built, the year alterations were made, and the specific ADA Standard that applies to those elements. 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design or the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
  2. MIGHT Identify Local and State Accessibility Codes that apply to the facility. Example: 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction
  3. Uses the ADA Standard relative to the time of construction or alteration.
    • Keep in mind that MANY ADA lawsuits are based on the Perception of today’s current standards missing in a facility.
  4. Identifies the path of travel for accessible approach and entrances per Standards.
  5. Identifies the reported number of ADA compliant parking spaces per total number of parking spaces.
    • Does not include photos, counting spaces, measuring sizes, measuring access aisles, measuring accessible path or measuring ground slopes.
    • Note: 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction has more extensive requirements than the 2010 ADA.
  6. Visual inspection of public restrooms that appear to provide accessible features, such as grab bars, turning-radius, toilet seat height, sinks, clearances, and horn/strobe fire alarm location.
    • Does not include photos or specific measurements of all elements.
  7. Determine if the reported number of Communication Feature and mobility Feature Guest Rooms exist per the ADA Standard requirements.
    • Review the guest rooms for appearance of accessible features.
    • Does not include photos or specific measurements of all elements.
    • Note: 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction has additional total guest room requirements than the 2010 ADA.
  8. Identify accessible elevator elements, including call buttons with visual signals, emergency control panels, interior floor buttons, a 2-way emergency communication that does not require voice, doors with a reopening device, and auditory signals at each floor.
    • Does not include photos and specific measurements of all elements.
  9. Tier I does not itemize every item in the facility that must meet Accessibility compliance.

Tier II Accessibility Survey is a Visual Assessment of a Facility that is a Public Place of Accommodation

  1. A more comprehensive Accessibility Survey that completes a checklist within the ASTM Standard.  The Accessibility Report often including photos, specific Codes and basic field measurements.
  2. The checklist includes basic measurements and counting of the parking spaces.
  3. Checklist items include parking spaces, ramp slopes and lengths, landings, handrails, stairs, doorways, entries, visual inspection of signage, visual inspection of path of travel, elevator controls and signals, restrooms and fixtures, accessible goods and services, and accessible guest rooms.

Tier III Accessibility Survey is a Comprehensive Assessment of a Facility that is a Public Place of Accommodation

  1. The most comprehensive Accessibility Survey that includes a more in depth investigation of the items in Title I and Title II.
    1. The Accessibility Report including photos, counting each accessible element, specific Codes and detailed field measurements.
    2. The report includes all elements that are in the ADAAG (ADA Accessibility Guide) and Local Codes.

Susan Berry of Disability Smart Solutions is available for any of your accessibility survey requirements.  As an architecture graduate, NCIDQ Nationally Certified Interior Designer, NCBDC Nationally Certified Building Designer, and an International Code Council Certified Accessibility Inspector and Plans Examiner, along with her 30+ years in the Florida construction industry, she knows accessibility.

Call or text anytime to 407-310-3663 or e-mail info@DisabilitySmartSolutions.com

 

 

Solving Accessibility Barriers on Mainstreet

Architectural Barriers and Attitude Barriers Business Workshop

Learn what is and is not required in the ADA for business. Wheelchair rental at theme parks are a customer convenience and NOT an ADA requirement. Consumers are responsible for providing their own mobility devices. Many consumers rent an electric scooter for theme park use.
Learn what is and is not required in the ADA for business. Wheelchair rental at theme parks are a customer convenience and NOT an ADA requirement. Consumers are responsible for providing their own mobility devices. Many consumers rent an electric scooter for theme park use.

Identify Common ADA Architectural Barriers and Solutions for the Resort, Restaurant, and Lodging Industry.

This iterative live workshop identifies common ADA Architectural Barriers at resorts, restaurants, and retail businesses.  The workshop may be customized for specific industries, events or times.

 

In this interactive training , we present common ADA architectural barriers, the audience offers their solutions  the moderator then explains the proper solution and why .

We all want our facilities to be safe, comfortable and welcoming for all of out guests.  Many business people do not realize that 20% of the USA population live with a disability, or that consumers  over age 50 are the biggest spenders.  Most business owners have good intentions to follow the ADA, however employees often place items in locations that create barriers to accessibility.

 

Movable barriers block the accessible handrails at the entrance to a store. Many times employees actions create accessibility obstacles.
Movable barriers block the accessible handrails at the entrance to a store. Many times employees actions create accessibility obstacles.

Architectural Barriers Workshop Take-Away Points

  • Define Place of Accommodation and responsibilities for facilities, goods and services.
  • Discuss the most frequent Disability Discrimination Architectural Barriers ADA Litigation.
  • Explain the secretes behind how a Consumers with Disabilities selects a particular business to sue.
  • Review ADA accessible on-line tools.
  • Demonstrate Accessible Path of Travel requirements.
  • Review samples of accessible path, accessible aisles, accessible parking, accessible entries, accessible sidewalks, accessible restrooms, accessible signage and more.
  • Discuss restaurant seating, hotel rooms, salons and spas, retail shopping, casinos and gaming, recreational facilities, swimming pools, fishing docks,  seating, serving food, buffets,  hotel rooms, changing rooms, spas, golf courses, and other resort amenities.
  • Teach the ADA Civil Law obligations and 2012 Florida Building Code obligations that lodging and resort facilities need to be aware of  to meet the needs of guests living with disabilities.

This is an excellent ADA training workshop for Business Owners, Property Owners, Property Managers, Key Staff, Facilities Managers, Risk Managers and Operations Managers.

We are now scheduling for our 2017 Architectural Barriers ADA WorkshopsPlease contact us to review your event requirements.  Please review our page Speaker and Workshop Fees for information on the different types of speaking engagements offered and a list of bonus items for meeting planners.  All of our topics may be customized for your individual event.

Accessibility Expert: Insights for Facility Managers

 Susan P. Berry of Disability Smart Solutions is named by Control Solutions as one of the 21 Accessibility Experts Whose Insights are Invaluable to Facilities Managers.  

THANK YOU Control Solutions for recognizing DSS as an accessibility expert.  Here’s the article.

Please contact Susan for Accessibility Inspections and Workshops.

SUSAN P. BERRY

Susan P. Berry founded Disability Smart Solutions in 2014 after 30-plus years in the Florida building design industry. The Orlando-based ADA consultant is passionate about barrier-free and accessible communities, consulting with business owners and project developers to ensure their designs serve the needs of people with disabilities.

You don’t have to live in Florida to benefit from the ideas, information and resources that Berry has on the site and social media pages.

Susan Berry, ADA Inspector
ADA Consultant for Architectural Barriers

http://controlyourbuilding.com/blog/entry/21-accessibility-experts-whose-insights-are-invaluable-to-facilities-manage

“In a way, it’s quite heartening to see how many people are working daily, nationally and internationally for the rights of those with disabilities to be fully integrated into every level of society.

That said, it has been more than a quarter of a century since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, making it somewhat difficult to understand why accessibility is still an issue at all.

But it is: In buildings and outdoor environments, in media and entertainment, in education and employment. And with nearly 1 in 5 Americans living with disabilities, according to the 2010 US Census, that’s more than 56 million people who are impacted.

We’ve compiled a list of 21 accessibility experts, from individuals to institutions, all actively working to create a better, more inclusive world for people of every ability.”

You’ll learn; you’ll be inspired.

Florida Accessible Parking : More Rules Than ADA

ADA Accessible Parking in Florida.   Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA?

Florida takes accessible parking seriously!  Does your parking lot meet all of the Standards to serve your guests with disabilities?

ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Measuring the width of a parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Measuring the width of a parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.

SERVICE: PARKING LOT INSPECTION

We review parking lots in Florida and the Eastern States.  Before you call us, here  are a few do-it-yourself review tips.  Please contact us for your  Accessible parking Lot Inspection.  We review parking lots for both the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible design and the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Design.

ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the cross slopes of a shared accessible aisle of an accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the cross slopes of a shared accessible aisle of an accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the accessible path from the accessible parking spaces to the business entry. Disability Smart Solutions.
ADA Parking Survey in Florida. Inspecting the accessible path from the accessible parking spaces to the business entry. Disability Smart Solutions.

TYPES OF PARKING LOT INSPECTIONS

We inspect the parking lot based on the current state of ADA and Florida Standards compliance.  For a Parking Lot that appears compliant, are Post- Construction, or in ADA Litigation:

  • 6 Point measure of each parking space and access aisle with photos
  • 6 point measure of cross slope and slope of each parking space with photos
  • Measure and verify signage with photos
  • 6 point measure of cross slope and slope of access aisle with photos
  • Document accessible path with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document ramps with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document detectable warnings with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document overhead clear with dimensions, cross slopes, slopes and photos.
  • Document Accessible Parking directional site signage
  • Document all areas applicable per Standard.

For Pre-Compliance Surveys, where remediation is obvious and necessary, we only measure the necessary areas.

Call or text Susan at 407-310-3663 to discuss your ADA parking lot compliance needs.  All projects are priced based on their individual Scope of Work.  Or send an email.

Florida Accessible Parking Space inspection for both running slope and cross slope of the parking space, access aisle and accessible path. Verifying signage. Disability Smart Solutions.
Florida Accessible Parking Space inspection for both running slope and cross slope of the parking space, access aisle and accessible path. Verifying signage. Disability Smart Solutions.

DO-IT-YOURSELF ACCESSIBLE PARKING LOT CHECK POINTS

Just for today, instead of worrying about people with invisible disabilities parking in an accessible space, I would like all of us to make sure that our parking lots are truly ACCESSIBLE and meet the needs of the accessible community.

Florida goes beyond the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design to make accessible parking comfortable for a broad population.   In order to assure that a van with a lift can fit in any accessible space, ALL accessible spaces are 12 feet wide with a 60 inch wide accessible aisle.  Everyday, I park in lots that do not have accessible aisles with each accessible parking spot.

Did you know that when you RESURFACE and/or repaint your parking lot, accessible parking spaces must be corrected to the current ADA Standard?

Did you know that a person parking in an accessible spot should always have a 44 inch wide minimum ACCESSIBLE ROUTE to the building entrance?    A person parking in an accessible spot, should never have to walk or roll behind cars, other than their own, to reach the building entrance.  Even with new construction all over Central Florida, I see parking lots without safe accessible routes.

Did you know that any type of accessible vehicle may park in the spot designated as  a “Van Accessible?”    The “VAN ACCESSIBLE” sign spot is informational, but not exclusive to vans.

Do you know why the bottom of the Accessible parking SIGN needs to be 60 inches minimum above the ground surface?  So a driver can see it!  I often find signs buried in bushes, attached to palm trees and mounted on short posts.

Florida Accessible Parking Fail. Since all Accessible Parking in Florida must be Van Accessible, many parking garages do not provide the clear head room. In this photo there are no accessible aisle, no accessible path and other community mailboxes in the accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.
Florida Accessible Parking Fail. Since all Accessible Parking in Florida must be Van Accessible, many parking garages do not provide the clear head room. In this photo there are no accessible aisle, no accessible path and other community mailboxes in the accessible parking space. Disability Smart Solutions.

Did you know that there is a 98″ minimum HEIGHT CLEARANCE requirement for Accessible parking in parking garages or areas where a vehicle must pass under an overhead obstruction?  In my beach condo ADA inspections, I often find all of the accessible parking spaces are located in parking garages that do not meet clearance! Since all of Florida’s accessible parking spaces are sized for vans with lifts, the lower vertical clearance prevents many vans from using these spaces.

Are the “towing” and $250 FINE SIGNS serious?  YES.  Since 1996, all accessible spots must have the International Symbol, “PARKING BY DISABLED PERMIT ONLY.” Florida requires the penalty for illegal use of the space.

Florida Accessible Parking Sign 2016 with the required fine sign.
Florida Accessible Parking Sign 2016 with the required fine sign.

Please take a few minutes to see if your parking lot meets the ADA needs of your disabled employees and guests.  If it doesn’t, please take ACTION!  If you need an ADA Compliance Report and Action Plan for your property, we are available.

Susan’s cell: 407-310-3663

info@DisabilitySmartSolutions.com

ADA Accessible Parking in Florida

ADA Accessible Parking in Florida

Florida takes accessible parking seriously! Does your parking lot meet all of the Standards to serve your guests with disabilities?

Just for today, instead of worrying about people with invisible disabilities parking in an accessible space, I would like all of us to make sure that our parking lots are truly ACCESSIBLE and meet the needs of the accessible community.

Florida goes beyond the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design to make accessible parking comfortable for a broad population. In order to assure that a van with a lift can fit in any accessible space, ALL accessible spaces are 12 feet wide with a 60-inch wide accessible aisle. Every day, I park in lots that do not have accessible aisles with each accessible parking spot.

Did you know that when you RESURFACE and/or repaint your parking lot, accessible parking spaces must be corrected to the current ADA Standard?

 

Did you know that a person parking in an accessible spot should always have a 44-inch wide minimum ACCESSIBLE ROUTE to the building entrance? A person parking in an accessible spot should never have to walk or roll behind cars, other than their own, to reach the building entrance. Even with new construction all over Central Florida, I see parking lots without safely accessible routes.

Did you know that any type of accessible vehicle may park in the spot designated as a “Van Accessible?” The “VAN ACCESSIBLE” sign spot is informational, but not exclusive to vans.

Do you know why the bottom of the Accessible parking SIGN needs to be 60 inches minimum above the ground surface? So a driver can see it! I often find signs buried in bushes, attached to palm trees and mounted on short posts.

Did you know that there is a 98″ minimum HEIGHT CLEARANCE requirement for Accessible parking in parking garages or areas where a vehicle must pass under an overhead obstruction? In my beach condo ADA inspections, I often find all of the accessible parking spaces are located in parking garages that do not meet clearance! Since all of Florida’s accessible parking spaces are sized for vans with lifts, the lower vertical clearance prevents many vans from using these spaces.

 

Are the “towing” and $250 FINE SIGNS serious? YES. Since 1996, all accessible spots must have the International Symbol, “PARKING BY DISABLED PERMIT ONLY” and the penalty for illegal use of the space.

Please take a few minutes to see if your parking lot meets the ADA needs of your disabled employees and guests. If it doesn’t, please take ACTION! If you need an ADA Compliance Report and Action Plan for your property, we are available for Florida and the Eastern USA.

Accessible Path Fail: ADA Design and Construction Bloopers

Access FAIL!  Accessible Parking, YES: Accessible Aisle, YES: Accessible Route, NO!!

As an ADA Inspector for architectural barriers, the new construction BLOOPERS never cease to amaze me! Here’s a new 12′ wide accessible parking space with the required access aisle, correct location, and correct signage; yet no ACCESS ROUTE to the Hotel SIDEWALK!

By ADA law, the disabled person parking here should be able to access the hotel entry without having to cross traffic or travel behind any other parked vehicles. Rolling out into the traffic lane, around the planter, and through the portico is not the solution! The ramp down to the driveway pavement is on the other side of the palm tree planter. SAFETY is a key component to the ADA Standard.

SOLUTION: At no additional cost, the sidewalk could have been designed to ramp down from both sides to a flat landing to meet the access aisle.

ADA Accessible car parking space with an access aisle leading to a curb ramp at the sidewalk
ADA Accessible car parking space with an access aisle leading to a curb ramp at the sidewalk

A curb stop to prevent parked cars from encroaching the sidewalk prevents cars from encroaching an accessible sidewalk are not required, however, they prevent cars from pulling forward and blocking the sidewalk.

If you have any ADA BLOOPERS, please share! For any ADA Access questions, feel free to call.  Susan’s cell, 407-310-3663

Is Parallel Parking Accessible? Accessible New Urbanism

On Street Parallel Parking is NOT Recognized by the ADA Standards

Does anyone with a reasonable conscience believe that a person with a mobility disability should have to stand in traffic to enter and exit their car?

20% of the American population lives with a disability. In my opinion, a lack of accessible parking in redeveloping downtown districts,  perpetuates keeping people with disabilities “out of sight, out of mind” or NIMN, “Not in My Neighborhood.”

Fortunately, this lady in Asheville, NC had a friend to look out for oncoming traffic. The “Reserved Accessible Parking” space was the same width as all of the other parallel parking spaces. There was NO access aisle between the van and the sidewalk.  Having safe distributed accessible parking is crucial in redeveloping walkable cities.

Non-Accessible on street parallel  parking space.  The access aisle leads to a raised curb.. Downtown urban renewal.
Non-Accessible on street parallel parking space. The access aisle leads to a raised curb.. Downtown urban renewal. Main-street city.

The ADA Code requires all “Handicapped Parking Spaces” to have an access space next to a car or van for a lift for mobility devices.

In Florida, all Accessible Parking Spaces must be 12 feet wide plus a 5-foot access aisle for a total of 17 feet.

Nationally, ADA requires 8 feet for an accessible car plus an 8-foot access aisle or 11 feet for an accessible van plus 5 feet for an access aisle.   All of the Accessible parking spaces require a total of 16 feet in width.

A situation came to my attention today in the City Beautiful. A City that promotes itself as inclusive. A paraplegic, who uses a van with a full lift, purchased an in-fill condominium in a Historic District. The condominium building, a re-purposed award-winning historical retrofit, has individual car parking garages for each unit.

Accessible vans are often taller than a standard garage door.  In commercial buildings with parking garages, clearances are mandatory for accessible van parking. In a smaller unit residential building, standard car height individual garages are allowed.

The developer asked the city to allow them to build a van accessible parking space, with an accessible path, to this individuals condo unit door on their own property. The City Historical Board denied allowing the paraplegic woman building a parking space on her property.

The City Historical Boards solution was that they would add a PUBLIC “accessible parking” sign to one of their existing parallel parking spaces on the existing narrow public street.

Parallel on-street parking is NOT accessible, without the added side access aisle.  Since the accessible parking space requested was for a van, it would have required 17′ in clear width, which certainly wasn’t available on the street.

This City board saw their “Historical Code” as a priority over Equal Access .

The Department of Justice has worked tirelessly to create the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, to assure architectural access for all. It is possible to design historically relevant accessible features and I am available to show any agency how.

Please send your colleagues and Historical Boards in my direction, for Disability Smart Solutions to assist them in employee training and accessible urban solutions. Susan’s cell: 407-310-3663

Accessible Main Street Solutions. WalkAble Cities.

Accessible Main Street Solutions

Accessibility is a key ingredient to revitalizing historic Main Streets. Even though we are seeing a trend of millennials living and working in urban cores, Boomers, who have the most discretionary income, are also retiring to places that feel like a “hometown.” The faster our world becomes, the more we are all looking for places with a soul.

This week I attended the 2016 Florida Main Street Conference in DeLand, where I discovered a disability-smart solution that needs to be shared with historical downtowns everywhere!!! To solve the ADA problem of raised steps at each existing storefront, DeLand raised the sidewalks to create flush accessible entrances. This eliminated costly renovations to existing historical structures. Towards the ends of each commercial block, the sidewalks slope down to the intersection.

Two other disability-smart solutions in this photo are the landscape barrier between pedestrian and automobile traffic and highlighting the ground level surface with both color and texture changes.

I will continue posting Smart Solutions for disability concerns. Until then, please share these solutions with your downtown partners.

Service Dog ADA Laws can BITE!

Guide Dog for Blind Walking on City Street

Ignorance of ADA Laws can BITE. Is your trained for Disability Customer Service? Do they know what HOT to say to a person with a Service Dog? Is staff ADA trained to know the 2 questions are allowed to ask? Do they know that they are NOT allowed to ask a person their disability?

Recently, while traveling with a physically disabled friend and her service dog chihuahua, I was stunned by the audacity of business managers, in both a fine dining restaurant and a 4-star hotel, who demanded written service dog documentation and asked specifics about her disability.

ADA Litigation and public media should teach us not to judge who has a FAKE SERVICE DOG but to graciously welcome all guests. Random judging service dogs by breed impacts people with non-traditional service dog breeds.

ANY DOG, including REAL Service Dogs, that is unruly, has bad public manners, is not house-broken, is aggressive, or gets on the furniture or merchandise, MAY be asked to leave. The dog owner is also responsible for the cost of damages.

 

Legally ANY business may ONLY ask two specific questions. Likewise, these are the only two pieces of information that the Service Dogs Owner needs to give.

(1) Is the dog or service animal required because of a disability?

Note: Only dogs and some miniature horses are recognized by the ADA as Service Animals.

(2) What work or task has the service dog been trained to perform?

Staff is NOT allowed to:

(1) Request any documentation for the service dog

(2) Require that the service dog demonstrates its task.

(3) Inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

If you are curious what a Service Chihuahua does, he is a heart monitor dog. He started his training when he was a few hours old, by spending hours each day sleeping on her chest. In his vest, he carries emergency medication and instructions. I know other people with Maltese’s and Tiny Terriers who are diabetes blood sugar alert dogs and seizure alert dogs

Service Dogs are expected to be Canine Good Citizens. Service DOG handlers are responsible for their dog’s actions.

Through #DisabilitySmartSolutions, we offer disability friendly customer service training based on ADA Law.

ADA Beach Pier, Can’t move the sand!

Beach Access Photo

Fishing piers must meet the 2010 ADA Standards and the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Design. Beach sand is not in the Codes.  Beach Sand is owned by the State of Florida.

Our condominium clients hired our Disability Smart Solutions team to provide a compliance inspection report as a basis for their compliance action plan.
We inspected for both the ADA and the 2012 Florida Standards for Accessible Design. This pier is one of the oldest remaining PRIVATE oceanfront piers.
This Condo Board is diligent in maintenance and wanting to meet or exceed ADA Standards.
If allowed, they would clear the sand off of the ramp as daily maintenance.
By beach laws (no specific reference), nature moves the sand and as a private entity,they may not move the sand.

The more ADA Site Inspections we perform, the more conflicts we witness between Codes.

Some of the Accessibility upgrades for this Fishing Pier include adding hand rails, adding an accessible bench and accessible adjustments to the gate latching system.
A new wheelchair accessible fishing spot is in the works for the center of the ocean end.
Any thoughts?

Disability Etiquette: Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.

Disability Etiquette: Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.

Disability Etiquette - Graciously Handle Potentially Awkward Customer Service Situations.


The Baby Boomers have money to spend but are slowing down from physical changes.
The population of people who live with  disabilities is 18% of the American population and growing.

Our trainers teach you the culture and special needs of different disabilities including  Hearing, Vision, Mobility Impairments, Hidden Disabilities (Learning Disabilities, Autism), as well as the special needs of people who have had the recent onset of a Disability.

  • We teach you the  tools and techniques for unexpected and occasionally  stressful new  situations.
  • We discuss gracious solutions when important instructions must be followed, when conflicts occur and when clear  communication is essential.
  • We practice real life examples with appropriate solutions.
  • Workshop participants increase their confidence and learn competence to serve the 50+ Senior and  people living with disabilities consumer segment.

We are now scheduling for our  2016/2017 Disability Customer Service Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US. All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

 

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design Florida Accessible Parking - Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA? Disability Customer Service Workshop

Protect Your Gold: Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

Protect Your Gold:  Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

 

Protect Your Gold - Tips for Retaining Senior Employees and Engaging Senior Customers.

This workshop  is often taught along with “Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design“

Part I: Accommodating Older Employees Who Would Never Admit to Having a Disability

Part II:  Serving Older Customers Who Don’t See Themselves as Disabled

Customers buy experiences!
  • We discuss tips to keep aging employees comfortable and feeling valued.
  • We review sensory issues like sound, temperature, ergonomics, furnishings, lighting, parking, movement breaks, and more that lead to increased productivity through a comfortable supportive environment.
  • We discuss pathways of travel, furniture sizes, and restrooms relative to a population that is increasing in physical size.
  • We discuss how to create a supportive corporate culture where employees are comfortable revealing their changing physical needs.

We are now scheduling for Senior Housingour 2016/2017 Disability Customer Service  Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US.  All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

Looking for more?

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design Florida Accessible Parking - Does Your parking Lot meet both the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code and the 2010 ADA? Disability Customer Service Workshop

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design.

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design.

Baby Boomers are Big Spenders: Keep Them Coming Back with Accessible Universal Design

Seniors are computer savvy. They research restaurants, stores and resorts before they buy. They post more on-line reviews than any other group. Great customer service is essential.

Everyone wants to feel forever young.

  • Is your business comfortable for people with reduced mobility?
  • Do you know how Seniors choose where the dine, where they shop and where they go on vacation?
  • Do you know what to do to keep them coming back?
  • Why should you care about seniors?
    • First, they’re growing in number: By 2030, nearly one-fourth (22 percent) of Americans will be over age 60.
    • Second, they’re growing wealthier: Worldwide, the share of income for those over 60 is increasing and will continue to rise through 2020. And seniors spend proportionately more of their income on discretionary purchases like eating out than do other age groups.
    • Only 5% of people who live with disabilities are wheelchair users. Arthritis is one of the most common disabilities shared by Boomers.
    • Diminished hearing, diminished eyesight and diminished range of motion for stepping all affect the way that Boomers perceive space.
    • In this training, we talk about sensory issues and simple changes in lighting, furniture placement, sounds, textures, materials, colors, signage, temperature and other often “taken for granted” design elements may enhance the baby Boomer Consumer experience.
    • This workshop will give you the tools to make simple changes in your facility and customer service module to increase your engagement with 50+ Seniors.

We are now scheduling for our 2015 Disability Customer Service Workshops.  We are available as a Florida Conference Speaker, as well as throughout the US. All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs.

ADA Service Animal Law Workshop

ADA Service Animal Law, Stay out of the Doghouse, Workshop

ADA Service Animal Law Workshop

All businesses must allow Service Dogs. It’s the Law.

Know ADA Service Animal Law.  ADA Service Animals are allowed in businesses.  The only place an ADA Service Dog may be denied access is in certain medical clean room environments.  Every day we hear news stories of business owners believing that they have the right to question and deny access to their facility to people with service dogs as a “property right.”

We created our “ADA Service Animal Law, Stay out of the Doghouse, Workshop”  to dispel the myths.

There are many myths about training certifications, Dog I.D.’s, therapy snakes, and service parrots.

We hear the term PTSD thrown around in the media and many have misconceptions of how this disease, defined by a group of symptoms, impacts the ability for many people to interact in social settings the same way they did before they experienced a  life-changing trauma.

When hospitality and restaurant employees deny people access with their service dog, it not only breaks judicial law and carries a steep fine, but it also negatively impacts the person.

  • How to dispel the myths and focus on the ADA Service Animal facts.
  • We provide customer service tools for successful interactions with Service Dog users and how to turn them into loyal customers.
  • Know the only two questions that a business may legally ask a person with an ADA Service Animal.
  • Know the  legal  difference and rights between ADA Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals.
  • Understanding PTSD: The Role of a PTSD Service Dog and the LAW.
  • Review all of the symptoms of PTSD and how they impact  may impact a person’s daily life.
  • With the right tools, a business can engage consumers with service dogs, increase their bottom line and avoid costly judicial discrimination lawsuits.
  •  A Service Dog is available as a trainer at this workshop..

This is an excellent ADA training workshop for Owners, Key Staff, Facilities Managers, Risk Managers and Operations Managers.

We are now scheduling for our 2017 Architectural Barriers ADA WorkshopsPlease contact us to review your event requirements.  Please review our page Speaker and Workshop Fees for information on the different types of speaking engagements offered and a list of bonus items for meeting planners.  All of our topics may be customized for your individual event. Speaker and Workshop Fees

 

Disability Customer Service Workshop

Disability Customer Service Workshop, Increase Your Bottom Line By Engaging ALL Ability Consumers.

Disability Customer Service Workshop

Great disability customer service is essential for ALL businesses.  Our Disability Customer Service Workshop is geared to all service provider, with the objective of increasing customer satisfaction and avoiding situations that lead to ADA discrimination litigation.

The most common words I hear from Clients during ADA Compliance inspections is “we never see people with wheelchairs at our business.”  That is because only 5% of the disabled population are wheelchair users. 20% of Americans have a disability.  That number is much higher in Florida between an aging population and tourism.

We never know about a persons physical and mental abilities or disabilities just by looking at them.  Excellent customer service for everyone is key to a successful business.

Disability Customer Service Workshop LEARNING POINTS

  • 69.6 billion people in America,  28.7% of families have at least one member with a disability.
  • People with disabilities constitute our nation’s largest minority group,
  • How great disability customer service engages  and retains consumers who live with different types of disabilities.
  • Discuss communications skills, customer service, disability etiquette and how to avoid unintentional discrimination. 
  • Dispel assumptions about the aging baby Boomer population.
  • Practice different situations and discuss different ethical questions,.
  • Common situations that lead to ADA accessibility discrimination litigation.
  • How the built environment impacts different disabilities.
  • Discuss range of motion and sensory impact o the built environment.
  • Communication skills when engaging a customer we believe has a disability.
  • How  ADA ramps, parking, restrooms, signage, and other architectural tools impact different disabilities.
  • Proper etiquette for Service Dogs.

This is an excellent ADA training workshop for Owners, Key Staff, Facilities Managers, Risk Managers and Operations Managers.

We are now scheduling for our 2017 Architectural Barriers ADA WorkshopsPlease contact us to review your event requirements.  Please review our page Speaker and Workshop Fees for information on the different types of speaking engagements offered and a list of bonus items for meeting planners.  All of our topics may be customized for your individual event.

Disability Customer Service Workshop
Disability Customer Service Workshop

 

The Buying Power of People with Disabilities

Grow your Business: The Buying Power of Seniors and People with Disabilities

Please join us in Kalamazoo, Michigan for our Keynote address celebrating the 25 Year Anniversary of the ADA with the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan . We talk about the buying power of people with disabilities and what businesses can do to engage this  growing demographic of consumers.  Please contact us if you would like us to deliver this topic at your event.

LOCATION: Radisson Plaza Hotel | 100 West Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo
DATE: August 6, 2015
TIME: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. – networking, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and presentation
REGISTRATION: This event is free, however, we ask that your register in advance.
REGISTER

Susan Berry of Disabilities Smart Solutions will present on the economic advantages of businesses and communities being fully accessible. Join us to learn where customer service, accessibility and economic development intersect.

This event is supported by The Jim Gilmore, Jr. Foundation.

This event is funded in part by the ADA Michigan, an affiliate of the Great Lakes ADA Center, through grant H133A110029 from the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR).

A Safe Accessible Business Matters

Safe Accessible Ramps are a MUST for Disabled Customers

The only ramp near the Handicap parking space. A broken concrete ramp was furhter down and blocked by a concrete curb and standard parking space. This is in Downtown Orlando on Colonial Drive. You would think that someone would care!
The only ramp near the Handicap parking space. A broken concrete ramp was further down and blocked by a concrete curb and standard parking space. This is in Downtown Orlando on Colonial Drive. You would think that someone would care!

A safely accessible business matters for all customers.

My friend, who has MS, Multiple Sclerosis fell on this rotten “not to code” unsafe ramp by the handicapped parking space of a popular downtown Orlando  Mills-50-Vi Mi District restaurant.  Garbage, empty boxes, rat traps, loose door mats and grease on the sidewalk should have been our first clue to stay in the car.

DSSADArampWe think that the accessible parking spaces are usually used for their delivery vans and the makeshift rotten wooden ramps are for their delivery carts.  This is not just an assumption.  Employees were unloading produce from their van in the adjacent handicapped parking space.

This is an international business district, but it is not a 3rd world nation without ADA Accessibility codes!  Why does Orlando code enforcement FAIL to enforce ADA accessibility codes at this business?  Why doesn’t this restaurant owner care enough to accommodate his customers who live with physical disabilities?

Not only did my friend lose her balance and fall on the wobbly rotten wood plank ramp, but several employees passed her without offering assistance.

Accessible ramps are not just for people who use wheelchairs.  They are also for people with a limited range of motion who have difficulty raising their foot up a short step.

There is an unmarked concrete ramp further down the sidewalk, however, it is blocked with a concrete curb stop and a standard parking space with a parked car.  We could not get past the parked car to access the concrete ramp.  You can see it in the picture.   It was not a usable safe accessible ramp.

The blocked ramp might be their “loophole” from providing safely accessible ramps for their customers.  This is the type of architectural barrier, combined with a negative employee customer service experience, that drives people living with physical disabilities to sue business and building owners to enforce ADA compliance.

Providing safely accessible ramps is not only the law, but it is a gracious expression of respect for other people.

At Disability Smart Solutions, we work with businesses and building owners who want to make sure that their business is ADA compliant and Disabled Consumer Friendly. We do not go out of our way to point out buildings that are non-compliant, however, this situation made my blood BOIL! I wrote this article to demonstrate the REALITY of a non-compliant business and the impact on REAL people who live with a disability.

Please feel free to share.

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

  1. Inspect your building for ADA violations
  2. Recommend the changes that need to be made
  3. Recommend how to make the changes
  4. Review the completed changes to make sure that they are completed correctly
  5. Enhance the customer experience
  6. Train your key people
  7. Limit your exposure to ADA lawsuits

Increase Your Bottom Line: Engage ALL Ability Consumers

Increase Your Bottom Line: Engage ALL Ability Consumers

Cheers!

People who live with disabilities enjoy restaurants, bars, casinos, museums, recreational facilities, travel, and shopping just like everyone else.  Our training workshop teaches businesses techniques to Engage all ability consumers.

Disability Smart Solutions provides  highly interactive presentations focus on building and retaining new business, increasing loyalty, diversity, excellent customer service,  and empowering employees to welcome senior customers and consumers living with disabilities.  “Increase Your Bottom Line By Engaging All Ability Consumers” is one of our most popular speaking topics for 2015. Meeting planners can find all of our Workshop topics, speaker fees and type of presentations by following the links.  We offer many bonus items to add marketing value for meeting planners. Please contact us.

Did you know that only 5% of people who live with a disability are wheelchair users?

When improperly trained  employees make assumptions because of a person’s physical  appearance that may result in an ADA discrimination situation.  Smart people might look different and people who appear “perfectly healthy” might live with hidden disabilities.  We never know about a person’s physical and mental abilities or disabilities  just by looking at them.  Excellent customer service for everyone is key to a successful business.

Do you know that of the 69.6 billion people in America,  28.7% of families have at least one member with a disability?

Do you know that people with disabilities constitute our nation’s largest minority group and they are the only group that anyone could become a member of at any time?

  •  This training demonstrates ways to engage  and retain consumers who live with different types of disabilities.
  • We discuss communications skills, customer service, disability etiquette and how to avoid unintentional discrimination. 
  • We dispel assumptions about the aging baby Boomer population.
  • We practice different situations and discuss different ethical questions in this seminar.
  • We discuss common situations that lead to ADA accessibility discrimination litigation.
  • Participants gain the tools to understand different disabilities and how to engage loyal customers.
  • Participants learn the financial power of 50+ Seniors and people who live with disabilities.

We are now scheduling for our 2015 workshops.  All workshops are customizable for our client’s audience.  Please contact us to review your needs and get on our schedule.

Disabled Customers: Country

Disabled Customers Find Great Service in the Country

Nothing beats a country store that believes in old fashioned southern hospitality to graciously meet the needs of their disabled customers.

We’ve been driving out to A.W. Peterson Gun Store and Museum for a few  decades for repairs and fresh air.  Hunters, outdoor men, law enforcement, veterans, cowboys, and collectors have been going to this small country business for generations.  Mr. Baker opened the 118-year-old business in Mount Dora in 1953.  We were told that parts of the old pecky cypress building are from the 1890s.

Disabled customers appreciate a ramp and friendly service. A welcoming front porch for ALL. Disability Smart Solutions.
Disabled customers appreciate a ramp and friendly service. A welcoming front porch for ALL. Disability Smart Solutions.

While the handicap ramp and sand parking lot might not meet the current code, it is sturdy and meets the needs of most disabled customers.  Inside the store, the well-worn wooden floors are smooth and the aisles are all wide enough for disabled customers to easily maneuver a wheelchair or scooter.  It’s been a few years since my last visit, but this time, I noticed that the aisles are now clear of any protrusions, making it comfortable for disabled customers with limited visibility.

The store is a comfortable place to shop or just to just  check out all of the old hunting trophies and vintage collectibles.  I always appreciate a store with plenty of places to sit.  Many times disabled customers might want to sit for a few minutes and relax before continuing shopping.  We often forget how many people living with a disability have limited stamina or muscle strength.

Bella, an Australian Kelpie who is a Deaf Alert Service dog, chilling in the grass. Disability Smart Solutions
Bella, an Australian Kelpie who is a Deaf Alert Service dog, chilling in the grass

I took advantage of the porch chairs to work on “sit” training with our service dog, Bella.  She was our daughters Deaf Alert dog.  Since our daughter has been in boarding school for the past 3 years, Bella has become a lazy pet.  We spent 20 minutes sitting on the porch without her moving to acknowledge people who walked in and out of the store.  She remembered.  Disabled customers with service dogs are welcome in Peterson’s.  I brought in Bella, without a vest, and all I heard was “what a pretty dog.”

The best part about A.W. Peterson’s gunsmith, is that he is honest and if he can fix it while you wait, he will.  My husband brought a jammed French collectible firearm to a Big Box sports store in Lake Mary.  After a two week wait, he was charged $69.00 and told that they couldn’t fix the problem.  The gunsmith at Petersons, spent some time examining it and discovered that there was old lint compacted in the barrel.  He charged $30 and spent  less than 30 minutes making the repair.  Nothing beats a great customer service experience, except a great customer service experience with a trip to the country.

ABOUT US

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

GKTW: Utimate Accessible Resort

Give Kids The World:  The Ultimate Accessible Resort Where Dreams Come True and Memories are Made

Tom and I recently visited Give Kids the World, an accessible resort that provides memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. We were guests of GKTW for their Central Florida Bloggers Bash, sponsored by Mom it Forward and Central Florida Lady Bloggers.

GKTW Founder: Henri Lanwirth
Bronze statue of Henri Landwirth, founder of Give Kids The World

One thing few people know about me is that in the late 1980’s, after leaving Disney’s Live Show Design department, I joined the architectural studio of Benjamin P. Butera, AIA.  Ben is a visionary architect, who worked alongside GKTW founder Henri Landwirth in the original planning and design of the village.  26 years later, Ben is still on the team.  I was lucky enough to be part of that original design team.  

I always recommend Henri’s inspiring autobiography “The Gift of Life” to anyone starting a non-profit or anyone who is wondering how they can make a difference in this world.  The story  starts with Henri’s life as a young prisoner in the WW2 Holocaust concentration camps, his survival and journey to working in hotels in New York, to finding his twin sister in America, to managing the hottest Florida space   coast hotel during the Space Race of the 1960’s, to developing his Holiday Inn in the early Walt Disney World days, to founding Give Kids The World.  His friends Walter Chronkite and astronaut John Glenn  wrote the foreword and afterword.  The book is an inspiration for everyone to do their best.

Sitting in on design meetings with GKTW founder Henri Landwirth, he planted the seeds that:

Good architecture always accommodates and serves all people.

When you see a need, create the solution.

The gates of GKTW opened in 1989.  Today the Village is a 70-acre resort with over 144 accessible Villas, accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues and fun designed specifically for children with special needs.  With the help of many generous people, companies and partners, Give Kids The World has welcomed over 132,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries.

Accessible Resort Restaurant at GKTW

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The Give Kids The World Gingerbread House Restaurant. The original building had a simple gable roof. The parts on the top were built to add character. The roof is supposed to look like cake frosting and the beam at the entry is a vanilla wafer.
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The Gingerbread House restaurant is a recognized symbol of Give Kids The World. Child-sized tables decorated with 27,000 real peppermint candies, over 2,000 dolls from around the world and the thoughtfulness of Angels (volunteers), all make the Gingerbread House more than just a restaurant.

One day Ben was handed me the blueprints for Ginger Bread House restaurant that Perkins donated to Give Kids The World  It was a very ordinary looking commercial style building with some Victorian brackets here and there.  It was nothing special at all.   From my quick marker and pen sketch, the iconic GKTW gingerbread house was born.  Little did I know at that time, that this building  would be recognized around the world as a place of loving and caring.

Accessible Resort Villas at GKTW

Accessible bath tub
Large soaker tub with grab bars in the accessible vacation villa at Give kids the World
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Roll-in shower in the Give Kids The World vacation villa

One of the early projects we designed were the original accessible resort Villas.  I was still single then and had no clue that children living with a disability or life-threatening disease might have to shower flat or require the assistance of two people to bathe.  This is where I first learned that accessibility is much more than what is written as the acceptable minimum standard in the Federal ADA, American With Disabilities Code.

Visiting a new villa was a highlight. The guest suites of this accessible resort take all abilities into consideration in the design.   Here are the photos.  Since kids usually take baths, this unit is designed with a large bath tub.  The shower doesn’t have grab bars.

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Accessible toilet and vanity sink in the Give Kids The World Vacation Villa

Often children who are wheelchair users use a shower chair and have their parents assistance in bathing.  The handheld shower is the important part.  I was surprised that there wasn’t a hand held shower at the tub to assist with bathing or a slide bar at the shower to position the shower head.

The large accessible toilet is set up for an easy transfer.  The accessible sink vanity is higher with a lever faucet and knee protection from hot plumbing pipes. IMG_4281 The adjacent sink is a little lower to accommodate children.  All of these features are part of Universal Design.  The accessible resort cheerful kids room has two twin beds and plenty of space to roll around or play.  The beds are high to accommodate sliding a hoyer lift under the bed for transfer.

The accessible resort kids room has plenty of space to move around. The bed is raised to fit a hoyer lift to transfer a child.

The front porch of each accessible villa provides a smooth transition from the sidewalk through the front door.  We enjoyed tasting Gigi’s Cupcakes as we toured universally designed villa.

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Give kids The World accessible villa. Notice the smooth transition in floor surfaces and the huge front porch.

Accessible Resort Chapel at Give Kids The World

We didn’t get a chance to walk inside the chapel during this visit. Henri Landwirth requested that we design a chapel so that the parents would have a place of peace.  We designed it as a Victorian tower added to the existing administration buildings.  I learned that for many of the children, their last wish is to come to Disney and meet their favorite characters.  Some have even passed away in the arms of their wish character or while visiting GKTW.

Every night the GKTW village celebrates a different holiday like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.  They try to pack as many happy memories int as short a period of time possible.  Having a place for prayer and meditation offers a place for release.

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GKTW chapel. I designed the chapel with Benjamin P. Butera architects in the late 1980s. The chapel anchored the existing administration building.

GKTWchapelThe hexagon shaped chapel has 4 huge stain glass windows representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.  There is a ring of hand painted clouds above leading to heaven.

 Walk-In Accessible Pool and Water Park

Every night there is a pool party with music, bubbles, and a D.J.

The evening when were there it was a pirate themed party.  You can see the pirate ship in the background.

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Accessible water park

There are PVC wheelchairs for kids to use to just roll right into the accessible walk-in pool or the water park.

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Accessible walk in or roll in pool.

  Accessible Enchanted Carousel

GKTW
Castle of Miracles and Enchanted Carousel at GKTW
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A wheelchair can slide inside the turtle for a magically enchanted carousel ride.

One of our favorite venues is the Castle of Miracles and Enchanted Carousel. The Castle includes Twinkle Hope’s La Ti Da Royal Spa, a mysterious forest to explore, Father Time, a Wishing Well that burps, Rusty the friendly guard and a Great Hall full of magic. Waiting for all Wish Children is the Star Fairy, who magically soars into the night placing the Gold Stars on the Castle ceiling.  Even children who are wheel chair users can enjoy sitting in the turtle on the merry go round.

The Ice Cream Palace serves Ice Cream Morning Noon and Night!

GKTW ice cream
Kids can have ice cream for every meal at the Ice Cream Palace

Give Kids The World ensures that every venue, activity and villa fully accommodates all of our precious guests. From The Park of Dreams pool to The Garden of Hope pathways, everything at GKTW’s whimsical Village is wheelchair accessible. A former wish mom recalls her family’s wonderful experience here at the Village.

“Our stay at GKTW was amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone was so compassionate, thoughtful and treated us like a member of their family. It’s amazing to visit a place that meets the needs of such special children. There are not many places, which we go to as a family, that accommodate wheelchairs. Our family was so happy that my daughter could partake in the same activities as the other family members – even swimming and horseback riding! I would like to thank GKTW for this beautiful experience,” – former wish child, Juvollia’s family.king my daughter’s wish come true but for fulfilling my dream of keeping my entire family together. You have touched our hearts and we will .

Future Expansion, GKTW Town Hall

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The New Town Hall at Give Kids The World will add new dining space. The existing Gingerbread House restaurant has gotten too small for all of the families and guests that visit each day.

 

 

 

About Us

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

ADA Consultant, Florida Access Inspections