Access New England Logo
 A publication of the New England ADA Center                                                            November 2011 
In This Issue

Quick Links

Stay Connected:

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter 
View our profile on LinkedIn
FEMA Graphic
Test to Take Place November 9 at 2 p.m. EDT

Text courtesy of FEMA and the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

As part of their ongoing efforts to keep our country and communities safe during emergencies, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS test plays a key role in ensuring the nation is prepared for all hazards, and that the U.S. public can receive critical and vital information, should it ever be needed.  The first nationwide test will be conducted Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. EDT.  This test may last up to three and a half minutes, and will be transmitted via television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Similar to local emergency alert system tests, an audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indicating: "This is a test." When the test is over, regular programming will resume.  For more information about the nationwide Emergency Alert System test, please visit .  


On November 9 at 2 p.m. EDT, please remember: Don't stress; it's only a test.


Please note these important links:   


Click here for an ASL Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test Video.

Oprima aqui para leer comunicado sobre prueba del Sistema de Alerta de Emergencias en espaņol.


Click here to view a joint FEMA FCC Press Release. 


Click here if you have additional questions for the FEMA-Office of Disability Integration and Coordination.    


Click here for information about a free FEMA disaster preparedness "App" for Apple and Android mobile devices.  

Build Boston Logo
Register Today
for Socially Sustainable Sessions at Build Boston

sponsored by
Institute for Human Centered Design
November 17 - 18, 2011

The Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) will once again host sessions at Build Boston's annual conference and trade show taking place at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA., November 17 and 18, 2011. Below is a list of IHCD's conference session titles and participating panelists along with a link to more information about the sessions. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

B02  Research to Practice: Evidence-Based Inclusive Design

8:30 - 10:00 am | HSW

Over the last several years we've witnessed the undeniable impact of research that makes the case to clients to commit to environmentally sustainable design. Socially sustainable design that addresses human health and wellbeing also needs research to substantiate a rationale for why it matters. This panel brings together two high-profile national leaders, both academics and authors, promoting the critical opportunity of evidence-based design. They are joined by two leading generators of research in lighting and in acoustics. They'll share recent findings that demonstrate the impact of design choices on human performance and experience. Attendees will be invited to talk about examples of impediments to and strategies for integrating inclusive design research into practice. 


Gina Hilberry, AIA, CCS, CSI, Principal, Cohen Hilberry Architects, Saint Louis, MO (moderator)
Janet R. Carpman, Ph.D.Partner, Carpman Grant Associates, Wayfinding Consultants, Ann Arbor, MI   
Dak Kopec, PhD, MS Arch, MCHES, Associate Professor, New School of Architecture and Design, San Diego, CA
Patricia Rizzo, MSc, LEED AP, Assoc. IALD, Adjunct Professor, Design Program Manager, Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Chris Jones, LEED AP, HERS, IECC, CSI, Ind. IIDA, Manager for North America, Ecophon, CertainTeed, Saint Gobain 


B21  Mixed-Use Planning and Development for 21st Century Diversity

10:30 am - noon | SD

Environmental and economic sustainability are primary drivers of a global trend of mixed-use development. Today, demographic realities of aging societies and high proportions of people with functional limitations argue for a priority on designing mixed-use developments with social sustainability as an equally compelling driver. This is a not a pitch for special accommodations but a new normal in which design minimizes limitations and facilitates social equity. IHCD's Director of Design, who also co-directs an international traveling fellowship program called 'Cities in the 21st Century,' will moderate. A San Francisco-based Austrian-born architect and a visiting professor from the University of Greenwich, London UK will explore precedents and strategies. 


Barbara Knecht, RA, Director of Design, Institute for Human Centered Design, Boston, MA (moderator)
Dr. Richard Simmons, Visiting Professor, City Design and Regeneration, School of Architecture and Construction, University of Greenwich, UK
Susanne Stadler, LEED AP, Founder/Principle, Stadler & Architecture/Interior Design, Oakland, CA   


B41  Patient-Centered Healthcare Design: Comfort, Confidence and a Sense of Control 

1:00 - 2:30 pm | HSW

Healthcare design is hot. Renovation and new construction proliferate for both hospitals and outpatient specialty services. With it has come a set of new ways to express the goals of good design in healthcare: evidence-based sustainable design, family-centered design, and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Though a nice environment and views of nature are undeniable assets, why are so many people still frustrated and angry?   What details make the difference when you're most vulnerable? This panel puts together an author and researcher on evidence-based behavioral design with two savvy design experts, one an architect and one a developer, who have had recent experiences as patients. An architect and US Access Board member with extensive healthcare experience will respond.    


Josh Safdie, Assoc. AIA, Director of IHCDstudio, Institute for Human Centered Design, Boston, MA (moderator)

Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Member, US Access Board, Studio Pacifica, Ltd., Seattle, WA 

Stephen Demos, RA, Senior Architect, IHCD, Boston, MA
Robert Kaye, Senior VP, Planning and Development, MassDevelopment, Boston, MA
Dak Kopec, PhD, MS Arch, MCHES, Associate Professor, New School of Architecture and Design, San Diego, CA


B61 Why Choose Universal Design as a Design Philosophy?  

3:30 - 5:00 pm | HSW

Thoughtful firms embrace an identity as committed to the seamless integration of aesthetics as responsible environmental stewardship. The best also commit to innovation, sensitive attention to the client's particular needs and preferences. Where does universal design fit? Is it just a dressedup synonym for accessibility? Three design leaders will explore where we are now in relation to inclusion in design of the built environment, as well as the impediments and enticements to change. Examples will be shared from the U.S. and the U.K.


Valerie Fletcher, Institute for Human Centered Design, Boston, MA (moderator)

Dr. Richard Simmons, Visiting Professor, City Design and Regeneration, School of Architecture and Construction, University of Greenwich, London UK

Susan Szenasy, Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis Magazine, New York, NY 

Clark Manus, FAIA, CEO, Heller Manus, San Francisco, CA


B81  Beyond Accessibility: Designing Museums and Exhibits that Welcome and Satisfy All 

6:00 - 7:30 pm | HSW

Museums and exhibits need to be designed to welcome everyone and to engage visitors in a rich, multisensory experience. The panelists are national pioneers in inclusive museum design and will frame the issues of accessibility, including the implications for museums of the new 2010 ADA Standards and interpretations of the responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Successful design solutions are seamless, work across the lifespan and are responsive to the ordinary reality of physical, sensory and brain-based variations in ability.


Emmanuel Andrade, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Architectural Designer, Institute for Human Centered Design, Boston, MA (moderator) 
Chris Downey, RA, Principal, Architecture for the Blind, Oakland, CA
Janice Majewski, Accessibility Specialist, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Nurit Neustadt-Noy, Ph.D, Principal, Consultation and Rehabilitation Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons, Hosted by Netaim, Israel

Special Half Day Morning Session
Hosted by 
Institute for Human Centered Design and the U.S. Access Board

Friday, November 18, 2011

C07  ADA updates: Introducing the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design 

Friday, 8:30am - 12:00 pm | HSW

On March 15, 2012, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design go into effect-the first major overhaul of the ADA Standards since they were issued in 1991. The 2010 ADA Standards include new specifications for employee areas, accessible routes, entrances, limited-use-limited-access elevators, single-user toilet rooms, recreation areas, housing and much more. We focus on what's new, what's been dropped and the revised formatting which separates scoping from technical specifications. We also address what access improvements must be made by businesses and state and local governments to comply with the new ADA requirements.


Kathy Gips, Director of Training, Institute for Human Centered Design's New England ADA Center, Boston, MA

Marsha Mazz, Director of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board, Washington, DC

New England Fall Leaves
Stories from Around New England

Connecticut State SealChecklist for Ensuring Accessible Events Available From Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

The Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (better known as OPA or simply "P&A") has a helpful online checklist that can be used to help plan and host accessible events. The checklist covers a variety of topics including event planning, site accessibility, general support arrangements, flyers and publicity and day of event preparations. Click here to view the online list.
Official Seal of the State of Maine
New Accessible Building Standards in Maine 

Effective September 28, 2011, the Maine Human Rights Act has new accessible building standards for new or altered transportation facilities, places of public accommodation and commercial facilities and facilities constructed or altered by, on behalf of or for the use of a public entity. The new standards are contained in section 8 of Public Law 322, 125th Maine Legislature, which may be viewed by clicking the link below. Between September 28, 2011 and March 15, 2012, new construction and alterations to covered facilities may comply with either the previously existing standards in the Maine Human Rights Act or these new standards. After March 15, 2012, the new standards become mandatory and fully replace the previously existing standards. Prior to March 15, 2012, the Commission will be amending its regulations to incorporate these new standards.


Click here to view the act. 

Eric Dibner
Eric Dibner. Photo: Om Devi Reynolds.
ADA Coordinator Profile 


Eric Dibner is the ADA Accessibility Coordinator in Augusta, Maine, monitoring State program compliance. In a distinguished and wide ranging career, he has spent more than 40 years fighting for the causes of disability rights, architectural accessibility and independent living.

As ADA Coordinator, the majority of Eric's time is directed toward information technology and program accessibility. The IT Accessibility Committee has just upgraded its web standards, and Eric helped create a video about accessible IT and web pages, which will be sent to all State agencies. He also educates those responsible for the development and maintenance of web sites to ensure usability for people with disabilities. Eric's office is in the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Labor, both of which periodically provide accessibility training for public and private agencies.


Maine municipalities now must adopt a building code or use the State Model Code. Maine's statutes now reference the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in 2012.


Eric's jurisdiction includes review of new State building projects, but privately-owned public accommodations are reviewed for accessibility by the State Fire Marshal's office. The review calls for a stamp from an architect or engineer certifying that plans meet current ADA standards. A builder will then bring the certified plans to a local building official who issues construction permits. By the time construction is complete and a certificate of occupancy is issued, accessibility issues can be missed. Eric feels that more education of construction and inspection personnel is needed to improve the accessibility of new construction projects.


As ADA Coordinator, Eric receives many questions about service animals. In the past Maine allowed both service and therapy animals if the request was accompanied by a prescription. Now that the Department of Justice has clarified the definition of what qualifies as a service animal, Maine's Human Rights Act has adopted the new standard.


Eric is also an Independent Living Coordinator, working with Alpha One and mPower and others. Alpha One, Maine's Independent Living Center, has a grant program that offers qualified individuals up to $5,000 towards the purchase of independent living services and equipment. mPower provides loans to Maine residents ranging from $250 to $100,000. The loans have low interest rates and long repayment schedules and can be used by businesses or individuals for the acquisition of a wide range of assistive equipment or modifications including wheelchairs, hearing aids, adaptive vehicles, ramps, stair lifts, assistive recreational equipment and more.


In the 1960's, Mr. Dibner worked as a housing and access specialist and staff member with the Physically Disabled Students' Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He also served at the Center for Independent Living (CIL) during the earliest days of the independent living movement, as a housing counselor, and worked as an attendant.


In 1991, Eric and his wife relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Taking a position with the Department of Rehabilitation, Eric focused on issues of technology and accessibility.  


While in Santa Fe, Eric also worked on access issues and building codes with the Governor's Committee on Concerns of the Handicapped. He returned to Berkeley, California in the 1990's, where he was the Disability Compliance Coordinator for that city. These experiences helped prepare him to effectively address many of the challenges he currently confronts related to accessible information technology and program accessibility when he moved across the country to become ADA Coordinator in Augusta, Maine.

Disability Rights Center New HampshireDisabilities Rights Center's Suit Demands Maine Street Access to Stores Barred to Wheelchairs in New Hampshire
Story by Anmarie Timmins from The Concord Monitor

The New Hampshire Disabilities Rights Center has sued the owner of Main Street's Phenix Hall over its lack of handicap access.The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, not only names the Jacob S. Ciborowski Trust, which owns the building, but the property's tenants, the Works Bakery Cafe and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.


The three plaintiffs, Gina Colantuoni, 27, of Bow, and Concord residents Dean Davis and James Piet, both 49, have cerebral palsy and cannot get into those businesses because they use wheelchairs. On their behalf, the Disabilities Rights Center has asked the court to require the building - including the eatery, League store and a third vacant storefront - become accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Click here to view the full story on the Concord Monitor web site. 

Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disabilities Logo
Emergency Preparedness
Registry for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities, Chr
onic Conditions, and other Special Healthcare Needs
 Text courtesy of the Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disabilities

The Rhode Island Department of Health, Emergency Management Agency and the Governor's Commission on Disabilities (RIGCD) have joined together to develop a registry for Rhode Islanders with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other special healthcare needs.

This system is designed to identify individuals who require special assistance during emergencies. Enrollment in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, but allows first responders to appropriately plan, prepare for, and respond to the needs of the community.


Who should enroll?


Any individual, regardless of age, who has a chronic condition, disability, special healthcare need, or may require additional assistance during a time of emergency. Some examples include people who:


  • Use life support systems such as oxygen, respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker, or are insulin dependent;
  • Have mobility disabilities and use a wheelchair, scooter, walker, cane, or other mobility device;
  • Are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing, or Deaf;
  • Have speech, cognitive, developmental or mental health disabilities; or
  • Use assistive animals or prosthesis.


If an individual cannot complete the enrollment form themselves, a family member, caregiver, or authorized representative can enroll the individual on their behalf.


How is my information used?


The information submitted to the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry is shared with local and state first responders and emergency management officials. This information is for confidential use only. First-responders and emergency management officials utilize the information to plan for, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies. Additionally, program designers have worked with Emergency 911 in Rhode Island to notify first responders when they are responding to a household that may have someone enrolled in the Registry. This early notification allows first responders additional time to best respond to specific incidents, transport additional necessary equipment and render essential aide in a shorter amount of time.


Our continued partnership in this program has trained over

1200 people in emergency preparedness this past year alone. Since 2004, the Registry has enrolled over 10,000 Rhode Island residents into the program.


At the RIGCD, we continue to incorporate a RI Special Needs Registry presentation in all of our ADA training and accessibility programs. Furthermore, we have worked with fire and emergency medical departments throughout the state to incorporate the enrollment of individuals into the Registry through their daily medical/ patient processing, extending the touch of the program to local communities and our agency counterparts. We look forward to future agency coordination as the program has been deemed successful and has been demonstrated as such. For more information on the RI Special Needs Emergency Registry or to enroll please visit:

VCIL Present Award to The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Mike Charron, Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL), presents award to Leslie and Tom Sabo, owners of 63 Barre Street office building leased by Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Photo: Corbett Sionainn.
Improved Access at the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Building is Recognized by VCIL

Story courtesy of Network Access


The Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) celebrated improved access for people with disabilities during The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence's Open House and 25th Anniversary Event on September 7, 2011.


VCIL presented a "Certificate of Appreciation" to Leslie and Tom Sabo, owners of the 63 Barre Street building which now houses the Network's administrative offices in Montpelier, for their commitment to accessibility during the extensive renovation of the early 1900s building. Construction contractor Buzz Ferver worked closely with VCIL's Community Access Specialist Mike Charron to bring the historic structure into compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). New accessible elements include designated parking, ground-floor meeting rooms and library, an interior ramp, and an ADA-compliant bathroom.


Sue Else, the Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, came from Washington DC to help the Network celebrate 25 years. Else applauded the Network and cited Executive Director Karen Tronsgard-Scott's tireless work in Vermont to a packed audience of Network community partners.


The Network and VCIL have worked collaboratively over the past several years to improve access to violence-response services for people with developmental disabilities and people who are Deaf. Both organizations share sister missions of advocacy, activism and social change.


The Vermont Network is a statewide resource on domestic and sexual violence issues. Its staff provides technical assistance and training to member programs and statewide partners, inform public policy, and coordinate statewide projects and conferences. Click here to visit Vermont Network's home page. 


VCIL believes that individuals with disabilities have the right to live with dignity and with appropriate support in their own homes, fully participate in their communities, and to control and make decisions about their lives. Click here to visit VCIL's home page. 

Disability Rights VermontVermont State Police Mediate Agreement with Disability Rights Vermont
On October 11, 2011 the Vermont State Police reached an agreement with Disability Rights Vermont (DRVT), Vermont's protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities and mental health issues, regarding a change to the state police's Electronic Control Device policy, commonly known as the Taser policy. The policy revision was prompted by a complaint from the DRVT, stemming from an April 6, 2011 incident involving the tasering of a person with a disability. Click here to read a joint press release from the Vermont State Police and Disability Rights Vermont.