ADA Service Animal Law, Stay out of the Doghouse, 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.
Disability Customer Service Workshop, Increase Your Bottom Line By Engaging ALL Ability Consumers.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. 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 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.
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.
The 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.
There are PVC wheelchairs for kids to use to just roll right into the accessible walk-in pool or the water park.
Accessible Enchanted Carousel
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!
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 .
Disability etiquette or disability courtesy are just plain good manners!
Disability etiquette, disability courtesy and just plain old good manners are the same thing!
Many people think that there are special rules, so they avoid interacting with people with disabilities because of their own awkward feelings.
Disability courtesy is not a set of secret rules. A great rule of thumb is, if you would politely say it to your granny, it’s OK. Polite is polite.
Quick list of specific disability courtesy tips.
Courtesy Tips for Interactions with Anyone
Always speak directly to a person who has a disability, rather than trough a companion who might be with them.
Always ask first before helping someone with a disability.
Some people will appreciate that you asked, others might be offended.
Listen to any instructions before you act.
Always remember to offer to shake hands.
Wait for them to extend a hand first or let them offer another option. Be gentle. we never know someone’s level of hidden physical pain or limited mobility.
Be patient! Let the person set the pace in walking or talking.
Be considerate of any extra time it might take for the person who has a disability to get things done.
Relax! Don’t feel embarrassed if you happen to say a common expression like “I’ll see you later” or “I’ve got to run.” Those are normal parts of speech.
When planning an event involving persons with disabilities, consider their needs ahead of time.
If there is an insurmountable barrier, let them know prior to the event.
For example, “Uncle Bob, the steps to the top of the hill where Kitty and Bobby are getting married are pretty steep. We are going to set up a video feed where, if you like, you may watch the wedding in the air conditioned reception building.”
Courtesy Tips for Interacting with Wheelchair Users
Someone using a wheelchair is not “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is a mobility device. Different people have different levels of mobility.
Leaning on a person’s wheelchair is like leaning on a person. A wheelchair is an extension of personal space. Respect it!
Treat adults like adults.
Don’t patronize someone by patting them on the head. They are not a dog!
You wouldn’t grab someone’s leg without asking, so don’t touch someone’s wheelchair without first asking and receiving permission.
After a few minutes of conversation, put yourself on the same level as a person in a wheelchair. It will spare both of your from a stiff neck!
You won’t stand while holding a long conversation with someone seated, so think of it the same way when you are speaking to someone seated in a wheelchair.
When giving directions to someone using a wheelchair, think ahead of the shortest path and any obstacles that might be in their way.
“I believe the park restrooms are about 200 yards ahead and they you will to turn left for about 100 feet to reach the ramp on the right side of the restroom building. I believe that there are steps to the left.”
Courtesy Tips for Interacting with People Who are Vision Impaired
Always identify yourself when speaking with a person with a vision impairment.
Example: “Hi Bob, it’s Lola.”
Always identify who you are with.
Example: “Hi Bob, I have my son Bubba with me to my right, Aunt Hilda is to my left with her poodle Sweetie Pie.”
When speaking in a group, always mention the person’s name when speaking directly to them.
Example: “Bob, are you joining us on the balcony?”
Always let the person with a vision impairment know when you are leaving the room.
Example: “Bob, I am heading to the kitchen, can I bring you a glass of tea?”
Always let the person with a vision impairment know when the conversation is over.
Example: “Bob, it was great talking with you, I need to leave now. Is there anything else you need from me? “
Always speak in a normal tone and volume. People do not hear with their eyes!
Offer a person with vision impairment your arm. Talk about where you are going.
Example: “We have 2 steps down about five feet ahead” or “this sidewalk sure has a lot of cracks.”
Do not propel or lead them. Just gently be their guide.
When giving directions to a person who has a visual impairment, use distances and describe the path.
Example: ” The hot dog cart is 200 yards directly ahead on the right. There sure are a lot of kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk today.”
Courtesy Tips for Interacting with People Who are Hearing Impaired
It’s OK to gently tap a person with a hearing impairment to get their attention.
Do not startle someone by tapping them from behind.
It’s OK to wave your hand to get a person with a hearing impairments attention.
Never ask “do you read lips?”
When speaking, look directly at a person who has a hearing disability.
The average person reading lips will only understand about 25 percent of the conversation. Follow-up with e-mail, when possible.
If you have a friend, family member or co-worker who used American Sign Language, consider learning some basic sign language.
Speak slowly (at a normal pace), clearly and expressively to determine if the person reads lips. Many hearing impaired people have some level of hearing. Sometimes hearing loss may affect they way they hear volume, certain letters, tones of sound or pitches of sound.
Not everyone with hearing loss reads lips. They might rely on your expressions and your body language to understand the tone or direction of the conversation.
Don’t shout! It just makes you look crazy!
Ask the person if they would like you to write down what you are saying. Write clearly.
Be considerate by facing a light source. No one can read lips in the dark!
If you are dining, keep food and drinks away from your mouth when you are speaking.
Keep your mustaches well-trimmed, if you need to speak with a person with a hearing impairment.
Courtesy Tips for Communicating With People Who have a Speech Impairment
Give your whole, unhurried attention when speaking with someone who has a speech impairment or difficulty speaking.
Keep your manner calm and encouraging rather than correcting.
Be patient! Do not speak for the person.
It’s OK to clarify what the person said by asking a question they can answer with a simple nod of the head.
Example: “Oscar, you would like a large glass of orange juice. Is that right?”
Never pretend to understand. Always ask. Repeat what you understand.
Example: “Oscar, do you want to go to the store now or later this afternoon?” The person’s reaction will guide you.
Common courtesy goes a long way when speaking with anyone. Disability courtesy is simply treating people the way that you would want to be treated. Remember that your body language, tone, facial expressions, hand and arm motions are all observed. People know the difference between polite and rude! It’s important to remember that a person with a special need is a person first. Communicate with them as you would communicate with anyone else. If you are unsure what to do, simply ask them. Disability Smart Solutions knows that fixing buildings and public spaces to meet the everyday challenges of people living with a disability is simply meeting ADA Code and spending the money to make the improvements. We know that lives are changed when people learn how to extend courtesy to people with disability. Disability Smart Solutions offers employee training programs that teach Disability Etiquette. Great customer service is the heart of a business. We also have speakers available for schools and community groups.
Drive Disabled Customer Loyalty By Serving Their Needs
With sales projections showing that 70% of all sales will be conducted online, disabled consumer loyalty is more important than ever before. The senior 50+ and disabled market segments have tremendous spending power. People don’t leave their homes just to buy a product. They go to businesses to enjoy the experience.
At the beginning of the 21st century, those aged 65 or over made up five per cent of the population, in 20 years’ time, this proportion will rise to around 18 million, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Across the globe the number of those aged over 60 will nearly triple by 2050, rising to 2.4 billion, up from 894 million in 2010.
Even though the ADA, Americans With Disabilities Act as the law for all business facilities, there are many other little things that can be done to increase the customer experience. Happy customers tell their friends. Unhappy customers post negative on-line reviews and don’t return.
As business people, we all know that it is harder to get a new customer off the street than it is to make your customer a repeat customer. A disability-friendly business is a profitable business!
If a senior or disabled customer feels welcome, they will stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to become a repeat customer.
Do you know that less than 5% of disabled consumers use a wheel on a regular basis?
You cannot always tell just by looking at a person if they have a disability.
Customers with limited mobility, heart conditions, lung conditions and other medical conditions appreciate the use of a motorized shopping cart.
A comfortable shopping experience increases the time spent in your store and ultimately increases total sales.
Do you know that the combination of bad in-store customer service experiences and the ease of accessible websites for on-line shopping, an increasing number of senior and disabled consumers are spending their money from home?
People enjoy a friendly retail experience. Shopping is not about products. It’s about finding a solution and feeling good. A disability friendly retail business will gain market share.
Customer Service Tips for Disabled and Senior Customers
WELCOME ALL GUESTS
Speak directly to each customer and make eye contact.
You rarely know who is living with a disability just by looking at them. Many disabilities are invisible.
Only 5% of the disabled population use a wheelchair on a regular basis.
If a guest walks in and then uses the electronic cart, don’t judge them. Heart conditions and many other conditions cause fatigue.
A comfortable customer will shop longer and spend more.
Disabled Consumers love to shop locally.
Not every disability is visible, nor is every disability as severe as it might appear.
It’s OK to ask “Is there anything we can do to make your shopping more convenient?”
Offer specialized help to any customer who asks.
No matter how minor the request, make sure your employees are aware that some requests are unusual.
If a disabled customer makes an unusual request, as long as the request is safe for everyone, politely fulfill it.
Always ask first before automatically helping a disabled customer.
Strive for positive feedback from your disabled customers.
Staff should be alert and helpful to all customers.
Train staff to understand the importance of treating all customers with the same amount of respect and courtesy.
If a member of staff knows sign language, let the rest of the staff know.
Trainemployees to speak directly to a hearing-impaired person, not to their companion. They should speak clearly, not loudly.
Train employees to speak directly to any disabled customer, not to their companion.
Freezer and cooler doors should stay open until manually closed.
Make sure that nothing protrudes into pathways.
Appropriately space displays of merchandise for wheelchairs to maneuver through.
A cluttered store is an uncomfortable store.
People buy more when merchandise is easy to see and reach.
Having excessive merchandise does not mean that consumers are buying more.
A comfortable shopping experience increases total sales per consumer.
Avoiding leaving unattended stacks of inventory in the aisle. Keep aisle clutter free.
If removal of a barrier is not “readily achievable,” are the goods, services, etc. made available through alternative methods? Use high-contrast colored flooring in traffic areas, such as aisle.
Provide large changing rooms with seats and appropriate level clothes hooks for wheelchair access in clothing departments. Many changing rooms do not meet ADA Code.
Checkered tiles or patterns can help a person with visual impairments find their way through a dark or complex store.
Use different color walls or patterned flooring to delineate different departments.
Different textures of carpet and flooring for help with direction and wayfinding.
Disabled Consumers love to shop locally.
Add a note on your Facebook or Website welcoming “Customers with disabilities – contact us if you need any special assistance.
Make the company’s Website user-friendly to visitors with disabilities.
Disability-friendly businesses understand the tremendous spending power of this consumer segment and do everything in their power to welcome disabled customers to their business. This list is just a beginning. Consider getting a detailed ADA Inspection and Accessibility Survey with a detail report. Always remember that if you treat the disabled community well, you will have customers for life.
Customer Service for Disabled Consumers, 23 Excellent Tips
Most business people believe they know the Golden Rules for customer service. All too often, employees and business owners are confused in how to provide appropriate customer service for senior and disabled consumers. Instead of providing good service, they avoid the customer. Has this ever happened at your business?
Most employers have an employee training program, yet they often forget to train employees specific rules for serving clients with different physical and mental capabilities. Employees come from different background, cultures and experiences. Managers can’t assume that they know how to properly handle all situations. This is where ADA discrimination situations occur.
By implementing a Disability Etiquette training program in your business, you will ensure that all customers enjoy their experience and all employees feel confident in all situations. Remember that customers are not in your business to buy a product. They are there to find a solution and feel good. A happy customer is a customer for life.
Guess what? Great customer service is the same for every customer!!!
Know who YOU SERVE. You serve the customer. You are not the boss.
Make sure that your customer KNOWS YOU.
GREET your customers at the door
KNOW your customers.
Everyone wants to feel important and APPRECIATED.
Treat customers as INDIVIDUALS.
Do what you say you are going to DO.
Make doing business with you EASY.
If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say “yes.” Appreciate the power of “YES.”
Treat your EMPLOYEES well and they will treat your customers well.
LISTEN to what your customers have to say. Listen to their words, notice their tone of voice, observe their body language and find out how they FEEL.
Don’t Assume. ASK questions.
TRAIN your employees to properly handle a complaint or irate person.
Give customers the BENEFIT of the doubt.
Know how to APOLOGIZE. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always WIN.
DEAL with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done.
Make sure that employees know what to do and say to make that customer’s experience a POSITIVE, pleasant one.
VALUE Customers COMPLAINTS.
Encourage and WELCOME SUGGESTIONS about how you could improve.
Employees are your INTERNAL CUSTOMERS. They also need a regular dose of appreciation.
GIVE more than expected.
THANK people even when they don’t buy.
By now you have realized that great customer service for disabled consumers is great customer service for everyone!