Misericordia Professor's Invention Will Assist in ADA Compliance
Denis Anson, M.S., O.T.R., director of research and development for the Assistive Technology Research Institute (ATRI) at Misericordia University, has worn a lot of different hats in his professional career. Each one -- from construction worker to researcher and professor to occupational therapist -- has moved him one step closer to achieving an altruistic goal.
‚ÄúMy goal is to change the world,‚ÄĚ Anson says matter-of-factly, ‚Äúand make our environment accessible to everyone through objective standards that are easily determined through a series of yes-no, pass-fail answers that just about anyone can employ.‚Äô‚Äô
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In pursuit that¬†goal, Anson has invented the Americans with Disabilities Act -- Compliance Assessment Toolkit or ADA-CAT to measure whether public facilities are in compliance with the federal law.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Due to the ADA guidelines being written by engineers, they aren‚Äôt particularly easy for a non-engineers to comprehend.¬† Anson's invention will make guideline requirements easier to evaluate. Anson states, ‚Äúby utilizing the toolkit, it is easy to determine if a doorway or light switch or a handicap accessible ramp meet federal guidelines.‚ÄĚ
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Specifically, the ADA-CAT is a screening tool that allows people without advanced technical training to assess the architectural barriers of the built environment, according to Anson.¬† The kit is composed of two parts -- the audits and measurement kit. The audits define the characteristics of an accessible and usable environment and feature a scoring system that produces a numerical score for accessibility and usability compliance. It is available online at http://ada-cat.misericordia.edu for $500 (including a free one-year access to the product‚Äôs website which is maintained by ATRI). The measurement kit is a set of 11 instruments that have been developed to allow individuals to quickly determine whether or not features of the environment meet the standards of the ADA and audits, like a turning radius for a wheel chair or height requirements for outlets, grab bars and shower seats.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† While teaching the Environmental Aspects of Disabilities course for MU‚Äôs occupational therapy program, Anson realized that some of his students did not clearly understand the complicated ADA standards for signage, slopes and other applications.¬†This¬†inspired him to invent the¬†toolkit.¬†His rudimentary, hand-built prototypes were developed further with the assistance of design engineers at Pride Mobility Corporation in Exeter, Pennsylvania.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† To order your ADA-CAT, please log on to http://wwwaacinstitute.org/ADA-CAT/index.html or purchase orders can be faxed to (330) 263-4829 (attention: AAC Institute sales).