Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act


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More filters. Sort order. Oct 14, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: law , literary-memoir , nonfiction , disability , hand-deformities , deformity , half-life.

This book has a really cool structure: it's half short stories and half information about the Americans With Disabilities Act, which provides the legal context for the stories. The stories and legal info alternate throughout the book, so there's maybe eight or ten pages of legal commentary after every two or three stories, which kept me really engaged. The stories were of varying quality and style, but they were all interesting and really did open a window into different people's experiences. Th This book has a really cool structure: it's half short stories and half information about the Americans With Disabilities Act, which provides the legal context for the stories.

The legal analysis was written in a very easy, accessible style, and in the end, I felt like I learned a whole lot. It had never occurred to me, for example, to think about the height difference between the street and the point where it meets the curb cut. I would just see curb cuts and think "Oh good, it's accessible for people using power chairs," when that might not actually be the case if the curb cut hasn't been installed properly.

There were two things that I felt would have improved the book: the first thing is that all of the stories are about "physical" conditions, as opposed to emotional, cognitive, or mental disabilities, and I would have been interested to see how the law would apply to persons with those kinds of disabilities as well and how their experience is linked to persons with "physical" disabilities with physical in quotes because seriously, where do you draw the line between limbs and the brain?

Second, all of the story narrators seem to be white or race ambiguous. Race is mentioned several times as a factor in how people with disabilities are perceived--in three separate stories, the narrators make observations along the lines of, "If I hadn't been white, my situation might not have turned out so well"--but it would have been good to include stories that explicitly gave the perspective of a person of color with a disability and how their experience as a person with a disability intersected with their experience as a person of color.

It was a good book and I would definitely recommend it. Also, it was really neat to read two stories by women with hand deformities and to read about things that had happened to them that I could identify with, since generally there aren't a lot of characters in books with deformities.

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Depending on unique site conditions and the particular mode of transportation, these modifications may vary significantly.

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Adequate signage, level changes at curbs, and the condition of traveling surfaces will always be concerns. When considering the extent and nature of the modifications it is important to consider what would be readily achievable for private businesses and nonprofit service organizations or would be part of program access for a state or local government. Signage is needed to direct the public to the location of accessible parking spaces, passenger drop-off points and transit stops and accessible entrances and gates. Signs should include the international symbol of accessibility, use easy-to-read typefaces, and be large enough to be read from a distance see Signage on page A curb ramp designed to meet the specifications of the Standards must have slopes no steeper than 1 in 12 1 inch of rise for every 12 inches of run.

They may have flared sides that slope as steeply as 1 in 10 if the flare is not directly in the pedestrian path of travel. Numerous manufacturers fabricate portable ramps. Some are specially designed to bridge curbs and are appropriate for use at a temporary event. The ramp must be securely attached so it does not move or shift during use Figure 3.

Temporary wood curb ramps also can be fabricated as needed Figure 4. Pedestrian walks may have several changes of surface material along their length, for example, asphalt to concrete or concrete to brick. This can pose a tripping hazard or an obstacle to someone using a wheelchair. Weathering and tree roots may cause outdoor surfaces to crack or buckle, forming small hazardous drop-offs. Barricades are frequently used to create temporary access in areas normally reserved for vehicles. Barricades may be used to temporarily define maneuvering space for people using wheelchairs or to protect a portable ramp location.

Traffic cones and barrels, sawhorses, or even cinder blocks and wood planks also could be used, provided the barricade looks intentional, is heavy enough to remain stable during inclement weather, and resists vandalism. At least a inch opening in the barricade must remain clear so people using wheelchairs may pass through but vehicles may not. To use parking spaces safely, people with wheelchairs or other mobility aids need more space than is available at typical non-accessible parking spaces.

Each accessible parking space must be equipped with a level access aisle to provide adequate space for car doors and van lifts to open and for users to maneuver.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)

To conserve on space, two parking spaces may share one access aisle Figure 5. Accessible parking spaces must be as close as possible to a main event site or building entrance and be connected to that entrance by a smooth, level path without curbs or obstructions, i. At a minimum, there should never be fewer accessible parking spaces than specified in the ADA Standards Table 1. For example, if eight accessible spaces are required, two of those eight spaces must be van accessible.

To provide sufficient room to deploy a lift, van accessible spaces should be at least inches wide.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

For events catering to a specific audience, the number of accessible spaces may have to increase beyond the minimum if the event is directed toward a population consisting of a large number of people who have mobility disabilities, for example, a function specifically for people who are older. General : Accessible parking spaces must be level and adjoin an accessible route to entrances. Accessible parking spaces should be placed as close as possible to the accessible entrance served by the parking area to minimize the need for a person with a disability to travel long distances to merely arrive at the entrance.


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Ideally, all parking areas should have accessible spaces. However, if one lot is closer to the event entrance, it may be best to locate all accessible spaces in that lot. Covered parking or unloading areas should be available for people with disabilities, who often take longer to get into and out of vehicles.

Parking Garages : Parking garages may be problematic because the vertical clearance at the entrance may be too low to accommodate personal vans equipped with raised roofs, a feature on many accessible vans. As stated in the Standards, vertical clearance for van-accessible parking spaces and the vehicular route to them is 98 inches minimum. Some personal use vans require even greater clearance, thus a vertical dimension greater than 98 inches is recommended.

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Figure 6. Off-Site Parking : If a significant portion of or all parking is located in areas not adjacent to the event site, accessible routes must be provided to and from accessible parking spaces in these areas. If the accessible route includes walks, streets, or parking facilities not under the control of the event organizer, it may be necessary to make prior arrangements to ensure that accessible spaces and routes to them are available.

Many of the temporary parking and walkway solutions presented in this chapter can also be used in off-site areas. One of the most critical issues is the use of curb ramps for crossing streets and parking lots. It may be possible to request that curb ramps be installed or to use strategically placed portable ramps as needed. It may be best under these circumstances to create accessible, temporary parking on-site and indicate its availability both on directional signage and in publicity material. It may also be possible to use accessible vans or buses to shuttle people from outlying parking areas.

This may be a large commitment of resources for an event if the use of shuttles is not already being planned for the benefit of other event participants. However, if a shuttle service is planned, the shuttle must be accessible and accessible parking spaces must be available in lots served by the shuttle. Each accessible parking space should be clearly marked with a vertical sign displaying the accessibility symbol. Signs for accessible parking must be positioned in strategic locations along the site if those spaces are not located within the general parking areas.

It may be necessary to designate accessible parking along the street when parking lots have severe grades or parking garages have low vertical clearances. Accessible parking spaces that were built before passage of the ADA may not conform to current standards. The most common problems are insufficient number, narrow access aisles, and spaces that lack or have improperly designed curb ramps.

These problems should be corrected as much as possible to meet the Standards. If permanent changes are not possible or cannot be made in time for an event, temporary solutions should be made. Access Aisles: Many access aisles are too narrow, i. To solve this you can block off the entire adjacent parking space and add that space to the access aisle, thus increasing the area available in which to maneuver a wheelchair or mobility aid. This also is a good method for providing additional space around an existing curb ramp that projects into access aisles.

Curb Ramps : Many existing curb ramps have slopes that are too steep, have too much surface warp or cross slope, and have insufficient room for a person using a wheelchair to turn out of the ramp onto a level area. These conditions are dangerous and can cause many who use manual wheelchairs to tip and fall.


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  8. Some people in manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, or scooters may be able to use steeper curb ramps short run ramps if the slope of the ramp is between and for a maximum rise of three inches or between and for a maximum rise of 6 inches. However, longer ramps are dangerous if they have a slope greater than Exposed drop-offs on curb ramps where no side flares are provided are a hazard, especially when crowds are present.

    Anyone could accidentally travel off the edge of the ramp and twist an ankle due to the abrupt level change. This condition is especially hazardous for people using wheelchairs who could be pitched out of their wheelchairs onto the pavement. Railroad ties, planters, masonry blocks, and similar large objects set along the edge of an exposed drop-off can provide a warning and a physical barrier. Such objects should project at least two to four inches above the surface of the ramp.

    The best method to prevent an actual fall is to securely attach a permanent feature such as a return curb or side flare to the exposed edge of the ramp. When necessary, temporary accessible spaces can be created in permanent paved lots, dirt lots, or fields. Existing Parking Lots : Choose spaces that are level, close to an accessible entrance and near existing curb ramps. Mark or block off an existing parking space with cones, barricades, or pavement marking tape to create a new access aisle and use the accessibility symbol to designate the accessible spaces.

    If no existing curb ramps are available and the new parking spaces border on the sidewalk, place a portable curb ramp in the temporary access aisle to gain access to the sidewalk level Figure 8. Temporary Parking Lots : Grass fields or dirt lots used as temporary parking areas usually have no marked spaces.

    Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act

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