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ED 260 532 

EC 180 296 







Interpretation ' for Disabled Visitors in the National 
Park System. 

Nation'al Park Service (Dept. of Interior), 
Washington, D.C, . . 

84 . ' 

112p.; Developed by th^ Special Programs and 
Populations Branch . ^ 
Superintendent of Dpcuments , U.S. Government Printing 
bffice, Washington , DC 20402. 
Guides - Non-Classroom Use (055) 

MEp3VPc65 Plus Postage. 

*Accessibili ty (for Disabled); *Disabilities ; *Park 
Design; *Parks; Program Development; Program 
Implementation ; *Recreat ional Facilities 


Intended to help interpret ive staff identify 
prpgr^ammatic needs of disabled U.S. national park visitors^ the 
booklet suggests re'asonajble modifications to assure' participation . \An 
introductory section reviews legal and policy guidelines, the 
emergence of the disability movement in America, and components of 
integrated programing. Guidelines arid resources are then set forth 
for working with visitors with the following disabilTt iea: mobility 
impai rme4[i^s , visual impairments, deafness and hearing impairments, 
mental or learning impairments (mental • retardation , learning 
disability, and emotional disturbance) . General characteristics of 
each disability are examined. A final section on comprehensive 
planning and implementation emphasizes a systematic approach to 
access planning. \Appended material includes a program accessibility 
checklist and a list ^f audiovisual resources. (CL) 

************************ * * ********************************************* 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* * from the original document. , * 

******* **************************^** *********************** *****iit****** 

i for 
Disabled Visitors 

in the 

National Park Systenn 

Specig^i Programs and Population^ Branch 

David -C. Park, Chief 
Wendy M. Ross 
^ W. Kay Ellis 

U.S. Department of the Interior 
Washington, D.C. 


National Park Service 



introduction ^ 

Our nati()n\s heritage is preserved through our nch natural, 
ciilturarand recreational resources. .These resources represent the 
very essence of our nation and serve as a source of strength, pride and 
continuity of purpose for our nation^s citizens. Park interpretation 
represents the mechanism whereby' the park visitor may receive an 
understanding o^and appreciation for the importance of these national 
treasures and the need for preserving them. This publication has been 
written to provide suggestions on how this interpretation can be 
extended to park visitors who are disabled. 

The National Park Service has significantly improved accessibility 
for disabled visitors over the past few years. However, we realize 
there is much left to accomplish before we achieve our goal of full 
accessibility. Our efforts to improve access are evidenced, by the 
number of architectural barriers that have been identified and 
eliminated. This publicatioi;! represents our efforts to identify and 
eliminate progi-ammatic barriers to participation as well. 

' Whereas policy can be developed and guidelines and standards 
written to implement policy, words on paper have little meaning if 
they ai-e not put into action. The degree 4:o which we achieve our goal 
to provide the highest level t)f accessibility possible and feasible to 
disabled visitors is determined solely by the efforts of the park staff 
and the significance that is placed on these words. Therefore, we rely 
on you to translate the words in this publication into action to meet the 
challenge of providing meaningful park experiences that are accessible 
to all visitors. ^ 


Russell E. Dickenson 

National Park Service 


. 4 


^ Foreword 

- In the past, park interpreters^ have been pa'imarily involved in 
.planning and operating personal services pro^-ams and developing 
interpretive media designed for oia- traditional interpretive program 
users, i.e., family groups and nondisabled park users. These v^ere the 
visitors v^-e saw daily, and therefore the ones we automatically 
considered when we set out to develop our programs and media for the 
coming season. ' 

There have been gi'eat changes in the past few ye^rA, cl^anges in 
the mix of visitors who are using the national parks, and changes in the 
awareness and attitudes of our park interpreters. We now recognize 
our responsibility to provide the basic services necessary to enable all 
of our visitors to have a safe and enjoyabje park experience. 

, " ■ • • ' .\ 

This publicaticfn, developed • by the Special Progi'ams and 

Populations Branch working closely with interpreters throughout th^ 

nation, provides us with the guidelines and resource information we 

" need to enable us to ensure that we ^re meeting the interpretive needs 

. of our disabled visitors. 

I sincerely recommend that you read it carefully and use the 
infoiTnation whenever' you are working on revising your progi'ams or 
developing new services and facilities. 

Vernon D. Dame 

Chief of -Interpretation 
National Park Service 


The material in this publication was developed with extensive 
input and review bv many field interpreters and speciahsts ni the area 
of serving disabled persons. Unfortunately, there is not room to 
individually acknowledge all of these people. The Specia Progi-ams 
and Populations Branch would, however, like to acknowledge, these 
people collectively for their assistance and the many hours devoted to 
review \)i the ,guidelines. 

Warm appreciation is extended to the field interpreters who were 
participants in the 1981 and 1982 _ Interpretation for Specia 
Populations training courses for their valued review of the initial 
guidelines. Appreciation is also extended tolhe numerous field Chiefs 
of Interpretation who comprised the final f^yiew team for he 
guidelines. Finally, we would like to aclcnowledge the staff of the 
WASO 6ranch of inten)retation for their support and guidance during 
the reJi-iew ^^-ocess. , . 

' Acknowledgement is also extended toNPS Western Region for 
their Special Popidatiaus HandboQk which was a valuable resource in 
the development of this publication. 

Special thanl^s goes to Margaret Micholet (Bos'^on NHP) for her 
professional contributions to the section on mental and earning 
impairments and to Steven Seven (Big South Fork NRRA) for his 
su{)port and valuable suggestions. 

A verv special acknowledgement and appreciation goes to Wendy 
. Ross for her efforts in the development of the guidelines and mitial 
manuscript and the supervision of the guideline review process. 

o 6 




Laws, Policy and Guidelines ^ ^ 2 

The Disability Movement^in America i 4 

Methods, Technique's and Assumptions \j 7 

Integrated Programs ± 3 

Avoiding Assumptions on ''Capability" Based^on Disability 11 




Mobility Impairments 

General Characteristics ^ I5 


Tips Involving Visitors with Mobility Impairments 21 

Resource Material 

Wheelchair Dimensions— Forward and Side Reach 24 

Techniques for Assisting Wheelchair Users 30 

Visual Impairments 

General Characteristics ^ 35 

Guidelines ^ 37 

Tips Involving Visitors with Visual Impairments 41 

Resource Material 

Sighted Guide Technique 45 

Deafness and Hearing Impairments 

General Characteristics ^ -=51 

Guidelines _^ , 54 

Tips Involving Visitors with Hearing Impairments 57 

Resource Material 

Captioning NPS Audio- Visuals: A Perspective 59 

Sound Amplification Systems 69 

Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD) 71 




Mental or Learning Impairments 
Mental Retardation 


Learning Disability ^ '[^ 

Emotional Disturbance 


Tips Involving Visitors with Mental, 

or Learning Impairments — - 

Publicizing Accommodations 








Special Directive 83-3: .Accessibility for Disabled Persons 92 

Interpretive Program Accessibility Checklist « ^ 

International Symbols of Access __ ■ 

Audio- Visual Training Resources , 


- 8 


Section I 

Program Access 
and Overview 

"/n the planning, constructiony and renovation of buildings 
and facilities and in the provision of programs and services 
to the public and^employees, it is the policy of the Natioyial 
Park Service to provide the highest level of accessibility 
possible and feasible for persons loith visual, hearing, 
mobility, and mental impairments, consistent ivith the 
nature of the area and program and consistent imth the 
^obligation to conserve park resources and pYesej^e the 
quality of the park experience for everyone.^'' 

(Special Directive 83-3: Accessibility for Disabled Persons) 

Thus states the official policy of the National Park Service with 
regard to accessibility for disabled persons. The term "accessibility," 
however) means different things to different people. For most people, it 
means ramps and elevators for physically disabled persons. But 
physical access is only one aspect of "total accessibility.'* The other 
aspect, "program accessibility,'' relates to the ways in which programs 
and activities are designed to enable persons with a variety of 
disabilities to fully participate and have fulfilling experiences — ^for 
instance, a museum exhibit placed at a height that coiTesponds to the 
height of a wheelchair, or- the use of a sign language interpreter on a 
nature hike. • . . 

The above stated policy (Special Directive 83-3> requires access to 
be provided throughout the National Park System in both facilities and 
programs. This means that every reasonable att9mpt will be made to 
f enable disabled visitors to get into oui- buildings and facilities and, once 
there, to receive the same benefits, servie^s, and infonnation provided 
to all visitors. The second part of this goal, "to receive the same 
benefits,'' essentially means that all interpretive progralfns and services 
will also be accessible to thfe maximum extent feasible. » ' 

Interprelation is im intep-al part of the " management and 
operation of the National Park Service. For disabled visitors to benefit 
from this vital area of public education on the use and enjoyment of our 
park resources, interpretive staff will need to utilize alternative 
methods and make modifications, where necessary, to improve access 
to their visitor progi-ams and services. Specifically, this would metm 
that information delivered hy auditory means is available for 
hearing-impaired visitors; that information provided visually is 
available to 'those visitors with visual impairments; that representa- 
tive, progi-ams are available for mentally retarded visitors; and that 
information provided in-aK^as which are not accessible to physically 
disabled visitors is provided, to the extent possible, in accessibl-, 

This publication has been prepared to assist interpretive staff in 
identifying the programmatic needs of disabled park visitors and in 
making reasonable modifications to assure that they can participate. 
There are standards, guidelines, and many publications that address 
the issue of architectural access and give substantial guidance for 
compliance. However, very few resources address programmatic 
access The intent of this publication is to provide that guidance to 
nark interpretive staff. It is hoped that this information, some of which 
has been developed and condensed from the NPS Western Regions 
Special Populations Training Handbook, will provide park staff with 
the necessary resources to successfully implement accessible pro- 
grams tind services for disabled visitors. * , 

Laws, Policy and Guidelines 

The l4tional Park Service has legal majidates and internal policy 
which require us to make our programs accessible to disabled visitors. 
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended m 1978, 
requires that "no otherwise qualified individual shall, solely by reason 
of his or her handicap, be denied the benefits of or participation in any 
program or activity funded or conducted by a Federal agency. Section 
504 essentially means that any progi'am or service provided to the 
general public must be made accessible to and usable by disabled 
individuals to the highest extent possible and feasible. 

NPS policy (Special Directive 83-3: Accessibility for Disabled 
Persons) strongly supports this mandate. This policy directs that, to the 
extent possible anireasonable, all interpretive programs, recreational 
activities, concession operated and privately sponsored activities. 

ERIC ,.if) 

Museum and visitor center exhibits can bejeasily designed to be accessible to 
all visitors, including those wrjfb use wheelchairs. (Homestead^ National 

publications, and any other information provided to the park visitor 
ami/or employee shall be provided in such a way that disabled people can 
receive, as close as possible, the same benefits as the nondisabled 
person. This policy is based not only upon legislative mandates, but also 
upon the commitment of the NPS to provide access in our programs and 
facilities to the broad cross section of the visiting public. This policy also 
reflects our obligation to conserve and protect park resources and 
preserve the quality of the park experience for everyone. 

The National Park Service also has guidelines to direct the 
implementation of its programs and services. Interpretation and 
Visitor Services Guidelines (NPS-6) establisLrs the conditions and 
actions that are prerequisites in the interpretation and visitor service 
program at each park. The Guidelines for Interpretive Services for 
Disabled Visitors in this publication are referenced and summarized in 
NPS-() and have been developed by extensive input from NPS* field 
interpreters and specialists in the area of serving .disabled persons. 


The Disability Movement in America 

Many people wonder why we are experiencing the surge of concern 
for accessibility for disabled people in our nation today. Others wonder 
why the National Park Si^rvice is so actively involved when seemingly 
only a small number of disabled people utilize the parks. There are a 
number of reasons for this, but foremost is the fact that the number of 
disabled persons in the nation, and thus the-number of potential park 
visitorij who are disabled, is far gi-eater than most would imagine^. 

Although the exact figure is not known due to differences in data 
collection methods, it is generally agreed that over 36 million Americans ' 
or over one-sixth of our populatioh has some form of physical, mental, or 
sensory impairment which significantly limits one or more of those 
persons' major life activities, ^en we consider those who have less 
apparent disabling conditions such" as cardiovascular or respiratory 
problems and the approximately 10 percent of the population over age 
65 (many of whom may experience various degi'ees of disabihty), we 
are addressing access for some 42 percent of the general population. 
Hearing and visually impairec^persons include those who are to^al y 
deaf or blind, and also the larger numbers of persons with-'seriously 
limited vision or hearing. Mobility impaired individuals are thosfe with 
physical disabiUties that involve significant difficulty in walking and 
generally requii^e the use of a mobility aid such as leg braces, crutches, 
canes wheelchairs or walkers. It can include, however, individual^ with 
cardiac or respiratory problems whose ability to walk is significant y 
impaired but who do not normally utilize a mobility aid. Mentally 
impaired individuals include those who have a degree of mental 
retardation and who may have difficulty comprehending written or 
spoken information. It also includes those with learning disabihties and 
.emotional impairments for whom reception or information processing, 
and therefore comprehension, may be difficult. 

Recognition of the right of disabled persons to opportunities to 
paiticipate in programs and receive services and the legislation 
mandating this action are not things that have occurred overnight, ihe 
disability movement and awareness of the rights of disabled persons 
have evolved over many decades culminating with legislation which 
seeks to ensure that disabled persons have the same opportunities as 
everyone els&. 

Since the turn of the century, the number of persons with 
disabilities has significantly increased due in large measure to advances 
in scientific and medical technology and in identification methods. 


P(M)ple are living longer resulting in a largS increase in the number of 
elderly pt^rsoDs, many of whom have some disability. Infants who would 
not have survived 50 years ago are now being saved through medical 
science, although many may have a resulting disability. ^Medical/ 
surgical techniques developed during the past few decades have 
enabled many people \o survive previously fatal illnesses^ and 
injuries — often with a resulting disability. The advefit of the auto and 
increased mobility of ou> ^citizens have "resulted 1 in accidents and 
personal injury which has fuKher increased the numbier of persons with 
disabilities, ^ \ 

Until recently, 'cTisabled people were not very visible in the daily 
activities of our society. This , was due in part to the essentially 
segregative nature of rehabilitation and educatiqn programs. However, 
in recenf years -J. shift in the focus of these programs, coupled with 

Interpretive programs designed to mainstream disabled visitors with non- 
disabled visitors expand everyone's experienced (Fort Point National Historic 

advances ip technology, dfenhlod people speaking out, and supporting 
legislation to eliminate physicar^atid programrfijitic barriers, has 
resulted in a large increase in the numbers of disabled people actively 
seeking their rightful place ip thqiictivities of our society. This includes 
the activities within our national parks. j 

Indeed, we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of 
disabled visitors seeking to participate in everything from wilderness 
hiking to sunbathing at a seashore to touring a'battlefield— in effect, 
seeking to share in our national treasures just like everyone else. This 
increase is due not only to the increased mobility and independence of 
disablecl^people, but also to the increased accessibility^ within the 
i^ational Park System. As our parks and progi^ams become more 
accessible, the number of disabled visitors has and will continue to 

Advances in tecHnology have also had an impact on the increase in 
numbers <of disabled visitors. The availability of TDDs (Telecommu- 
nication Devices for the Deaf) at many park site^ enables deaf/hearing 
impaired visitors to receive direct up-to-date information and • 
assistance. New advances in captioning films and video tapes have given' 
our park audio/visual programs' new meaning for these visitors. 
Wheelchairs to be use'd for hiking have opened up new opportunities for 
park experiences previously closed to persons with mobility impair- 
ments. Opportunities for independent exploration are ^ven to blind and 
visually impaired visitors through the development and use of audio 
description tapes. 

Over the past couple of decades, new worlds and opportunities 
have indeed opened to disabled citizens. These opportunities certainly 
include park and recreation experiences, especially opportunities to 
participate in and enjoy our nation's national parks. 

Methods, Techniques and Assumptions 

Progi-am accessibility can be accomplished in a variety of ways in 
keeping with the intent of Section 504. Modifying programs may involve 
the rewriting of a brochure or other informational materials Ux larger 
type and in clearer language or providing audio cassettes in conjunction 
with some interpretive programs to benefit visually impaired and -blind 
visitors; or, in the case of hearing-impaired and deaf visitors;^using sign 
language interpreters, captioned films or printed transcripts; or to 
benefit physically disabled visitor>s, simply relocating a program to a 
more physically accessible area. 

The guidelines in this publication have been designed to offer park 
staff a range of alternatives to consider ill making needed modifications 
'to programs and services. However, in each case, careful consideration 
needs to be given to the broad spectrum of disability needs and available 
options so tbat a modified program or service reflects the most effective 
method for reaching the greatest number of visitors and the most 
effective use of available resources.^It does not mean that all criteria for 
each type of program within the guidelin'es will be applicable in every 
instance; or that every interpretive program must be made equally 

Accurate and well-publicized notices of available services are* critical to 
disabled visitors. (Linqoln Memorial) 


accessible to (fisabled visitors at the same time. For example, it may not 
be feasibly to have sign language interpreters for hearing-impaired or 
deaf visitors at every personally conducted progi^am offered in a park. 
However, if there is a member of the staff capable of signing, then that 
individual could be made available upon request and the provision of this 
service advertized. Similarly, to reasonably acconi'rnodate blind visitor? 
in a particular program, the staff may consider audio versus braille. V 
Once you consider that only 10 percent of the blind population read 
1 brgiille and that none of the non-blind public can use it, choosing audio as 
an alternatjve-method becomes the most effective program adaptation. ^ 
Both blind' and visually impaired individuals as well as the general 
» public can benefit by that choice. ^ 

Recognizing that assessment and evaluation of each park's 
interpr^etive program will reveal that all guideline criteria for each type , 
of program will not be applicable in every instance, these guidelines 
have been organized to allow flexibility^ in modification of interpretive 
and visitor services. This flexibility also recognizes that progi'am 
adji'^^tments/impro^ments will require choices due to specific and 
unique situations, fiscal limitations, and the heed to properly allocate 
limited staffing and funds to provide the most effective service possible. 
In many cases, very minor modifications are needed. Priorities for 
program adjustments will be reviewed periodically in light of 
interpretive objectives of the park and the changing visitor use needs. 

Integrated Programs 

Accommodating disabled visitors does not im^y segregating 
programs or services for a."special visiting pubjic." The Park Service is 
notvpromoting the concept of "segregated programs and services" for 
disabled visitors, but instead is supporting the effort tQ mainstream 
' disabled visitors witb nondisabled visitors in the most integrated - 
setting as is possible. Many of our existing interpptive programs and 
services can benefit by this approach. Interpretive programs designed- 
tS provide for different leVels of visitor participation expand 
everyone's experience in oi^ national parks. 

However,there are some situations where access solutions are not 
immediately available and,an these cases, partial accessibility to a 
program or servic^ bettet tj:i^n none. Section 504 discourages, but 
does not prohibit, separate ' {Programs and activities for disabled 
persons; however, separate aids, benefitsV or services should only be 


considered if they are "theonjy means possible" to provide visitors with 
progi-am opportunities which are otherwise not accessible. For 
example, for a mobility impairecj^isitor, the inability to enter or move 
freely through an historic building becomes the barrier, to that 
individual's access to the interpretive program or service. Steep stairs 
to mezzanine exhibits make the exhibits inaccessible to people in 
wheelchairs or to those with mobility problems. In such a case, one 
* option for program accessibility would be physical modification of the. 
structure. However, this option is not feasible when the physical 
modifications necessary to facilitate program access would involve 
substantial physical changes to the historic fabric of the structure 

Givep: tlie requirelnents of historic preservation, park managers 
have ap: important task 6t assessing the value and condition of each 

/historic structure to arrive a^t suitable options for physical accommoda- 
tion. Correspondingly, the ^ark interpretive staff needs to carefylly 
review the program itself to find ways to provide a disabled visitor with 
as cloi^e to the same interpretive opoprtunities as is provided to 
nondisaVled visitors, A priority *should/be direct participation in the 
interpretiv^program^d some degi-ee o^^ysical access to an historic 
site and its properties. There are various ac^ministrative or interpretive 
methods to accomplish this. .For example, visitor trafflc co,uld be 
rerouted or the interpretive tour couid begin at another entrance w^hiQh 
has a ramp or is located at gi'ound le^vel. Structures which are accessible * 
only on the 'first level could use audio-visual devices to bring the . 
inaccessible ai-eas an(J information on the structure within reach of 
disabled visitors located on the first floor. On-site accommodation is 
always preferable because the disabled visitor remains integrated with 
other visitors. However, if the structure is riot physically accessible and 
alterations would destroy its historic integrity, the interpretive staff 
still has the responsibility .to seek program alternatives which will 
provide the visitor with some form of interpretive experience of the 

' historic facility/site/area. 

Only in this instance apd after all other options have been explored, 
should a special prograritbe considered, such as a video tape or slide 
program of the facility and routine tour. This program could be made 
available a^' another physically accessible location in the park. This 
option has the benefit that it can be made available to all visitors should* 
the structure or site become off-limits or closed temporarily^ for repair 

17 ' 9 

Avoiding Assumptions 

on "Capability" Based on Disability 

A disabled individuaFs opportunity to participate in an activity 
should not be denied based upon our own assumptions of what a 
disabled person can or cannot do. For example, there are numerous 
examples of individuals witjh various disabilities who participate in . 
almost any kind of activity pr^ovided, despite the difficulties of the 
teiTain, whether it be at a seashore or mountaintop in pursuit of the 
natural flora and faupa,^or at an archeological site in pursuit of first-hand 
experience and knowledge. The disabled visitor should be approached 
just as any other^participant. Communication with all visitors should 
emphasize the requireinents of the activity so that the individual 
visitor, whether disajjledior not, can determine his/her own abilityto 
participate. Such an approach avoids the problem of making a 
generalized judgment on the extent to which a particular disability 
would render the visitof- unaBle to participate and also alerts qther 
visitors to the difficulty or potential risks of the program. 




• \ 


Section II 

Guidelines and 
Resources for Interpretive 
^ Services for Disabled Visitors 

The guidelines which follow have been developed with extensive 
input from NFS field interpreters and specialists in the area of-serving 
disabled people. These guidelines should not be viewed as prescrip- 
tions or strict standards but instead as guidelines which can help to 
point us in the right direction to achieve programmatic access for 
disabled visitors. The choice as to which modification(s) will prove 
most applicable to any particular interpretive operation remains the 
responsibility of the park interpretive staff. 

The guidelines, which are aiTanged by disability group, are 
preceded by general characteristics of the disability to provide, park 
staff with *a background with which to develop an awareness of 
disabilities and identify implications for interpretive planning. 
Following the guidelines are tips which are designed to assist park 
staff in working and interacting with , disabled visitors. Several pages 
of resource material which will provide assistance in planning are also 
included. In some instances, representative commercial products or 
systems may be included in the resource material. Their inclusion 
should not be seen as ^n endorsement of any particular item, but 
rather a representative example. 

It is important to emphasize that new technologies and approaches 
to accessibility will continue tb improve and change over time, and park 
interpretive staff should be flexible and receptive to these changes in 
their approach to improving ii^terpretation and visitor services. 


Mobility Impairments! 

General Characteristics 


A mobility itnpairment cui)tails the ability of movement' or 
ambulation. Persons with mobility impairments may require the use of 
a whieelchair, crutches or cane, may walk with difficulty, lack 
coordination or not have full use of their arms or hands. Congenital 
impairments, accidents* and illness as well as the normal process of 
aging can all leave partj^ of our bodies in'different stages of weakness, 
paralysis, or absence. 

Some environmental concerns of. persons using wheelchairs 
include: the presence of steps, slippery surfaces, maneuvering through 
narrow spaces, going up and down steep paths, moving over unsmooth 
surfaces, making use of conventional restroom and water facilities, 
reaching and viewing things placed at conventional heights. 

People who have difficulty in walking may (or may not) walk with 
aids such as crutches, a cane, a walker, braces, artificial limbs, or even 
holding onto a friend's arm'. Reduced agility, speed of movement, 
difficulty in balance, reduced endurance, or even a combination of these 
may contribute to impaired mobility. Or^n energy reserves are used 
faster than average, as a person who walks with difficulty may be- 
required to spend it in trying to keep their balance or otherwise meet 
challenges of the environment as it confronts their limitations. 

Some environmental elements of concern to people with walking 
difficulties include steps or steep slopes) uneven walking surfaces, 
walks interrupted with raised or uneven expansion joints, slippery 
surfaces such as highly polished floors or wet shower rooms, walks filled 
with debris, areas that collect standing water ,^ sand, and/or ice, etc. 
Having to stand or walk for extended periods of time^also presents a 
problem fdr mpny people. 

Persons with upper limb impairments (e.g. limited use of their 
arms or hands) are handicapped by those aspects of the environment 
which require use of these extremities. Environmental concerns of 
people with upper limb impairments include styles of knobs, buttons, 
dispensary devices, handles to operate doors, drinking fountains, coin 
operated machines, telephones, elevator controls, and the weight of 

22 . 


exierior doors. Persons with upper limb impairments may also have 
some difficulty with'balancc, especially when climbing staire, or walkmg 
up inclines. 

• Many persons with impaired mobility also lack the ability to control 
their body temperature to meet external demands. For example, m hot 
weather, these persons may not be able to perspire freely, and thus may 
' suffer heat stroke at a relatively low temperature. In some conditions 
. pain and/or muscle and joint flexibility may be affected by cold and 
dampness.- Many physically impaired persons must significantly 
increase their daily intake of liquid, making accessible water facilities 
and ret .rooms a critical need. ' 

laany persons have multiple health problems which may include 
cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary diseases, hypertension and 
degenerative conditions of aging.. These persons may also have less than 
average agility, stamina, and slower reaction time. 

The National Center for Health Statistics published statistics 
(1980) relating to the number of mobility impaired people who make use 
of mechanical aids. These figures are as follows: 

,,,, , , • , 6 million 

Wheelchair / ; 


_ ^ , 6 million 


^ 2.7 million 


„ 7 million 


1.4 million 


* • 1 T • u ■ 2 million * 

Artificial Limbs : ' • • 

^ . , ou ' L5 millioii 

Special Shoes 

It' is important to note that these statistics are significantly 
■ increased when the number of people who ar^ temporarily disabled 
(i.e., broken leg) is considered. \ 

ERslC ^3 



Persohal and non-personal services should be 
located in physically* accessible locations. When 
and where this is not feasible, programs and 
services should be provided in some form at 
alternate locations which ar6 accessible (erg. 
audio-visual devices can be made available which 
will bring inaccessible programs within reach of 
niobility impaired visitors). Inpretive tours, 
talks, and demonstrations given in inaccessible 
locations could be filmed, taped or video recorded 
and shown on request at accessible locations. 

Basic accessibility information on the site, its 
facilities and programs shall be provided. Park 
staff should be familiar with how to provide safe 
assistance if needed to visitors who may be using 

Information Information stations (entrance station, visitor' 

Stations: center, campground office, point and rove duty) 

should be operated from physically accessible 
locations. Where this is not possible or practical, 
pertinent park information should be available in 
accessible alternate locations. Information on all 
^accessible facilities and programs for disabled 
individuals shall be available and the Interna- 
tional Symbof of Access should be displayed at 
all stations providing accessibility information. 

Signs, Labels, 


Signs, labels and exhibits should be designed to 
be accessible to persons in wheelchairs and with 
mobility impairments. Allowances need to be 
made for approaching the exhibit and viev^ng the 
exhibit from a wheelchair, A maximum and 
minimunyeading height of 65'' to 54" respectively 
v^ll allow persons both standing and sitting to 
easily read the material presented. For persons 



wayside exhibits should be designed and positioned so as t°^e accessi^^^^^ 
Wheelchair users and others with mobility -impairments. (Rocky Mountain 

National Park) 

using wheelchairs, the bottom surface of a 
horizontal exhibit (e.g. models, relief maps, 
display tables) should be a minimum 30" from the 
ground level to allow for a frontal approach. The 
range of eye level viewing from a wheelchair is 
approximately 43" to 51" from ground level The 
hdight of a horizontal top surface should be 
designed to be viewed from an average eye lerel 
height of 48". The height of a horizontal display 
should also be determined by the desired angle at 
which objects are to be viawed from that eye 
level. Items to be manipulated on exhibits (e.g. 
activating buttons, tumknobs, etc.) should be 
mounted at a maximum height of 54" allowing a 
side approach and a maximum height of 48" 
knowing a frontal approach. Objects to be 
handled such as books ,^ publications, artifacts, 
relief maps, and tactile exhibits should be placed 
at a maximum height of 48" and a minimum height 
of 9" from ground level ajnd'within a 24" reach (see 
Range of Forward/Side Reach Dimensions). 

o . 25 



Living history progVams, conducted tours, and 
interpretive talks should be scheduled at loca- 
tions which provide accessible parking areas and, 
when possible, accessible support facilities (rest- 
roonj^s and water supply). There should be an 
accessible path of travel from parking areas to 
t!he seating areas. Inteipreters should be aware 
of pace in a conducted walk which includes 
wheelchair u&ing visitors. The interpreter 
should physically locate hirn.self/herself next to 
the disabled visitor(s) in a gi^oup to a.ssure 
visual/auditl)ry access to the interpretive mes- 
sage. Mobility disabled visitors usually annvo at 
a resource or interpretive stop last and tend to 
stay about the outer periphery of the group of 
visitors clustered around the interpreter. Trans- 
portation (tour buses, trams, boats, etc.); when 
used as part of a conducted interpreti\'e progi-am 
should be ^-accessible to persons using wheel- 
chairs. When this is not feasible, alternative 
means of transportation should be allowed or 

Audio-Visual When physical access to movie, slide, or video 

Programs: ^ program^ is Impossible, alternative viewing 

areas which are accessible should be provided. 
Photographic albums Vith accompanying text 
may be deyelg^^ed for inaccessible historic struc- 
tures and provided on request to the visitor at an 
accessible location. Please note that these 
alternative solutions should be viewed as interim 
solutions or used only when every attempt to 
create physical access to the resource has been 

Self-guiding A self-guiding tour (SGT) should be designed to 

Programs: be accessible. Though proper use of trail design 

^ ' 'and n^edia availability, the SGT will allow 

mobility impaired persons to experience the trail 
arid connecting resources to their fullest degree. 





Interpretive interpretive^ trails designed * for accessibility 

Jf^\\s: should have a hard or hard-packed surface which 

will allow for the easy passage of wheelchairs, as 
well as a minimum width of-48". Any extended 
grade should not exceed 8?8° (1-foot rise/12- foot 
run) with shorter grades not exceeding 10°. 
^ Printed or sign information should relate the trail 
length, travel time, degi^ee of difficulty, list 
facilities provided along the trail, and suggest any ' 
special precautions or preparations which may be 
needed. Sign height should be^ appropiriate for 
. readability from a wheelchaii-. vOn longer trails (1 
mile or 1 hour) sheltered rest areas should be 
developed. These rest areas should include 
benches having back and arm rests and, where 
feasible, accessible restrooms and water, facili- 
ties. On longer trails, shorter cut-off loops should 
be provided. SGT brochures should be dispensed 
from containers which are easily reached and 
usable. Any banners or walls needed along the 
trail should be low enough to allow persons in 
wheelchairs to view over the top of them. 




Involving Visitors with Mobility Impairments 

A. Logistics 

Review your program site and tour route. %ke modifications in 
yqfflr tour as required to accommodate visitors who are unable to climb 
stairs, walk long distances, need wider doors to allow their wheelchair 
passage, etc. 

Review your site and tour 'route and plan wheres.the. group can 
take rest stops; locate accessible fountains and restrooms. It may be 
necessary to reroute your hike or choose another trail. 

■ v% ■ . 

Plan your tour route to include shelter from weather. Many 
mobility impaired persons are unable to au^matically adjust theii'body ' 
temperature to meet ex|;ernal demancfe. Lacking the ability to perspire 
freely, some people may suffer heat stroke at a relatively low 
temperature if constantly exposed to the sun. Similarly, cold and 
dampness may affect muscle and joint. flexibility, limiting the length of 
enjoyment and the distance a person^ j^ay be able to travel comfor£&bly. 
Keep your eyes open for signs of pailicipant discomfort. 

Rough teiTain may ap-n:-ayate^^ainful conditions, especially for - 
some wheelchair users kough teiTain may also present tripping 
hazards to some people who use braces a^cT artificial limbs. Review 
your site and trail with this in nttnd, then adjust your approach, the 
distance that you expect to travel, and your gpeed of travel. 


It is beSt to select tour and walking ro.utes tfiat are easily 
traversed, that do not offer tripping hazards or a great expenditure Qf 
energy, and also provide a firm steadfast surface. This does not mean 
that the only place to take a group for a walk is in the parking lot. Many 
fire roads and trails that are hard-packed are usable. 

. B. Program Considerations 

Remember that each of us participate at our own pace. Allow 
members of your group to move at their own pace. Keep the„gr.oup 
together as much as possible. Otherwise, the slower group members 



will never get a chance to rest or to hear what is happening with the 
. faster members. , 

J ( 

Allow participants to participate in all activities that you offer to 
the group. Let individuals make their own decisioYi of what they can or 
cannot do. Disabled people are usually quite aware of their own 
abilities, capabilities, and possible limitations. 

Make sure your progi'ams offel' opportunity for success, new 
experiences, and challenges for every participant. 

Whilerleading a program, .tour or hike, allow opportunities for frequent 
rest stops, including water^ restrooms, and refreshments. 

^ When sapping to rest, don't just announce that *'this is a rest 
* stop;" find something interesting to do during the time. 

Do not rule out activities for the group. Look at all the possible 
approaches and alternative.s. ^ 

C. Personal Services 

Of^r assistance if you wish, but do not insist if your assistance is 
declined— sometimes it really isn^t necessary. In some situations, 
assistance mayi,be a hindrance or actually unsafe (e.g., if you suddenly 
gi-ab a wheelchair, you may cause the person using it to lose their 
balanced If your assistance is accepted, ask 'the individual exactly how 
you Cd.rnie]p. 

Efon't lean or automatically hold onto a person's wheelchair. It is 
part of the person's body space and should be respected as such. ' 

Talk.directly to the person wiE^^a disability, not to a third party. 

Don't be sensitive about using words like '^walking" or 'running" 
with people using wheelchairs. They use the same words. , 

Do not remove someone's crutches, cane or walker the moment 
they sit down. The individual will be more independent and may feel 
more secure if they do not have to ask for their crutches to be returned 
before they can move on to the next spot. 

Some participants who use a wheelchair may have found a safer 
method to go down a curb or a steep incline. Ask them first--not 
everyone goes "by the book." Review the handling and safety tips of 
working with a wheelchair. 

Remember the participant's disability is not contagious. People 
with mobility impairments are not sick. 

Don't be afraid of participants and their equipment. The 
equipment, even though some of it may look as if it came from NASA 
(perhaps some of it did), is simply to improve mobility, safety, and 
independence of the user. 




30 ' 23 

Resource Material 

Wheelchair Dimensions 

1) Wheelchair specificati6ns: The most common type of wheelchair 
used by non-ambulant persons outdoors is the collapsible tubular metal 
chair with plastic or nylon upholstery for sgats and bacl^s. To suit needs 
of various disabilities these are available with numerous attachments 
and removable parts such as leg rests, arm rests, tilt up leg rests, tilting 
bacl< rests, etc. The standard basic chair is illustrated on this page. 

Turning Radii of Wheelchair 

2) Fixed turning radius of wheelchairs: 

(af The fixed turning radius of wheelchairs, wheel to wheel, when 
pivoting on a spot is 18", i.e. distance from pivot spot to \rack of caster 
wheel The turning radius cf wheelchairs from^ivot point at center of 
chair to foremost projection of the footrests is approximately 31 .5". 


27" Avg, 


► 1^ 

i ► 





Pivot Poini-at-Center , 

Usual turning method— moving cJne Wheel forward and the other 3 
backward to pivot about center. 

N ' ^ 


^ - 32 


(b) ' The fixed turning radius from pivot point at right rear wheel to left ffont 
footrest. or from left rear wheel pivot point to light front footrest, is 36". 
The average turning space required is 63" x^63". 

(c) A minimum width of 60" is required for two indivfduals in wheelchairs 
to pass each other. 

Pivot Point at One Wlieel 

Alternate turning- method-locking one wiieel and turning tiie otiier. 

3) The individual functioning in a wheelchair: 

(a) The average unilateral vertical reach is-60", 

(b) The average horizontal worl<ing reach is 30.8". 

(c) The bilateral horizontal reach (both arms extended to side shoulder 
high) averages 64.5". 

(d) The diagonal reach, as for wall mounrted phone, is 48 from the floor. 

4) TJie individual functioning on crutches and wall<ers: 

(a) Individuals 5'-6" tall require 31" between crutch tips. 

(b) Individuals 6'-0" tall require 32.5" between crutch tips. 

(Source: Ronald L. fy^ace, Accessibility Modifications, Barrier Free 
Environments, Inc., Raleigh, N.C., 1976) 

54"- 74.5" 


Techniques For Assisting A Wheelchair User 


can be moved on its rear wheels. 

3. Lifting onto curb 

• LEAN forward, and lift-roll the chair up over the curb without havmg to 
step forward. (The assistant uses good body mechanics— bend your 
kn6es while keeping your back straight.) 

4. On the sidewalk 


• Observe other pedestrian traffic 
To go down a curb reverse steps 4,3,2,1 



Going up a curb 
(alternate method) 

Requires above 
average strengtli 

•LApproacliing curb 

Not a recommended procedure 
when sidewalk is wet. 

• Assistant steps backward onto sidewalk and .pulls wheelchair 
backward until wheels are in contact with curb. (Be sure of firm footing.) 

2. Pulling up 

• Tilt chair backward and lift-roll over the curb. (Bend knees and keep 
body straight). 


How to do steps— 

1 . Tilt wheelchair backward. 

, 2. Assistant in front should have firm grasp on the wheelchair and should 
be standing with a good base of support. 

3. LoweV or raise wheelchair one step at a time by letting the large wheels 
roll ovei;^ge. 

4. After each step, each assistant should reposition themselves before 
repeating procedures. 

• When assisting anyone in a wheelchair, the assistants should bend 
their knees and keep their backs straight. This will allow assistants to use 
their leg strength for lifting and pulling. 

(Source: Accessible Bus Transportation, Rehabilitation Research & 
Training Center No. 9, George Washington University, 1980.) 

ERIC 40 33 

Visual Impairments 

General Characteristics 

About 1,300,000 of the U.S. population have severe visual 
impairments. Of this total, 39 percent are "legally blind" and 10 percent 
are "totally blind." Most persons who are visually impaired do have 
some vision even if they are "legally blind." Someone who is legally 
blind is defined as having measured vision of 20/200 in their better eye 
with correction. This means that they are able to see at 20 feet what a 
normally sighted person is able to see at 200 feet. The term "totally 
blind" refers to the total absence of vision and light perception. 

There are many kinds of visual impairments, each with a wide^ 
Kange of disability and limitation. A person described as legally blind 
may be able to read Idrge print and ambulate without mobility aids in 
many or all situations. They may also be able to perceive light and 
darkness and perhaps even some colors. On the other hand, someone 
else who may also be legally blind may not have any of these skills. 
There are also some conditions in which the individuaFs vision may be 
better one day over another, depending on fatigue and other factors. 

It is impossible to generalize visual impairments into one problem 
with one solution. People who have lost their sight later in life, may 
retain visual memory — concept of space, color, etc. However, people 
with congenital visual impaiments (impairments present at birth) may 
have a different frame of reference for these same elements. Similarly, 
people with congenital visual impairments may have skills in reading 
braille and using tactile aids which may be more useful 1;,o them than to 
people who have later lost their sight. 

The process of agifig also affects our visual perception. Both visual 
acuity and opacity are affected. Visual acuity influences how we 
perceive objects at a distance, and opacity of the lens determines the 
way light is transmitted, affecting perception of colors and textures. 
Generally, elderly people perceive almost 20 percent less keenly than 
those with normal vision.' Colors often blend together, and closely 
related textures cannot be discerned. 

Glare is a major problem for many people, particularly the elderly. 
Do not confuse the term "glare" with "light level." Low lijght levels cast 


heavy shadows, makinfr it difficult for many low vision people to 
perceive ha^;ards such as stairs, changes in floor surface, etc. Glare 
usually results when too much lightbounces off light colored walls and 
floors, making it difficult and uncomfortable to navigate a long corridor 
or around a room. 

Some environmental elements of concern to visually impaired 
persons include: maneuvering past obstacles placed in the path of 
travel, going up or down steps, reading signs or printed materials, 
understanding exhibits that require visual perception, etc. 

It is important to remember that many blind or visually impaii^ed 
persons do not read'ibraille. In fact less than 10 percent of the people 
who are blind or who have severe visual impairments are able to use this 
system. Many persons choose to receive information by aud* • cassettes, 
large print or through oral presentations. 

This is not to say braille should not be provided. People who use 
braille appreciate its availability. However, this should not be the only 
method available to present information to blind or visually impaired 





For blind or visually impaired persons, essential 
information provided in print, either interpre- 
tive (such as self-guiding tour brochures, exhibit 
signs and labels, printed- texts) or orientational 
(such as park brochures, orientation signs and 
dii^ections), should -ioe available through the 
spoken word, audjio tapes, large print, and, if 
possible, braille. / 

Information J}rovided for blind individuals 
should be Highly d^criptive, providing in lan- 
guage all ^the relevant information normally 
acquired through sight (6.g. directional cues and 
sensory /description. When preparing informa- 
tion tor transcripts and/or tapes, consult with 
local blind organizations. Test such materials 
on-site before distribution to the visiting public. 



Park interpreters should be familiar with the 
Sighted-guide Method in order to provide a blind 
visitor with orientational/directional assistance 
(refer to "Sighted Guide Techniques". An effjpc- 
tive oral delivery of an interpretive program 
avoids the passive voice, imbedded clauses, and 
split infinitives. Artifacts, displays, and other 
significant landmarks requiring visual apprecia- 
tion should be concretely described. In addition 
to oral communication, items that can be touched 
should be incorporated into the program. 

Self-guiding program material^should include 
such information as trail length, trail conditions, 
possible hazards and cues for proper orientation. 
Cassettes developed for blind or visually im- 
paired visitors should be tested at the site by 
blind consultants p^or to visitor distribution. 


Where appropriate, non-visual cues should be 
used to inform and direct blind persons to signs, 
tapes, and exhibits. Studies have demonstrated 
that 4" wide tactije guidestrips can be easily 
located and used by blind persons. Differing 
textures, audio cues, or taped messages may all 
be used to help locate the interpretive message. 
Contrasting trail and walkway surfaces, both 
inside and outside, can be used to direct 
movements of blind and visually impaired 
individuals. Care must be taken to make sure 
that textural changes do not interfere with, 
mobility for pe&ple using wheelchairs. In gener- 
al, taped messages in addition to the interpretive 
information should provide orientation direc- 
tions, safety warnings, mobility clues, and any 
additional sounds or information which will ^ 
enhance the interpretiVe experience. 

Exhibits Every effort should be made to develop touch 

Signs/ areas within existing exhibits or display areas. 

Labels The use of 3-D relief maps, models, and actual 

Publications: o'bjects will provide the blind individual v^th the 

concrete , information needed to better under- 
stand the interpretive message. 

For visually impaired persons, additional acces- 
sibility may be provided through the use of large 
print materials or i^uted/raised signs. Large 
print materials must be at least 18 point (V/)* 
Signs using raised Arabic characters can be read 
by sighted, partially sighted, and blind persons. 
Letters should be a minimuhi of (16mm) high, 
but no higher than 2" (50mm) and raised at least 
1/32 (0.8mm) off the background to be legible to 
blind or partially sighted persons. Symbols or 
pictographs on signs should be raised at least V32" 
(0.8mm). Greatest readability is achieved 
through the use of dark-colored characters or 
symbols on a light background. 

Er|o - 45 

The use of audio cassette systems is one method to make self-guiding 
programs accessible to visitors who are blind. (Grand Teton National Park) 

Straight lettering without , script is recom- 
mended for both information and directional 
signs. These signs should be placed no more than 
30" from the closest approach and free of 
obstructing branches and buildings. 

Exhibit visibility may be enhanced through the 
use of adequate and even lighting, hig^i^contrast 
colors or photographs and non-glare glass. Items 
should be displayed against cleariy contrasting 
colors. Another aid to visibility is the insertion of 
magnified viewing panels in the glass or framing 
around the exhibit. In some instances enlarged 
photographs showing details of paintings, arti- 
facts and architectural elements fan be of great 
benefit. ^ 

Exhibit labels should reflect the^^ following 

Size of Type 

Viewing Distance 



Exhibit labels should be-^esigned for maximum 
contrast (dark bn light background or vice versa) 
with adequate illumination. 


Involving Visitors with Visual Impairments 

A. Logistics 

Identify areas and items in your park site that participants can 
enter and operate equipment or touch artifacts and exhibits. 

Review your trails or tour route. Remember that visually 
impaired persons do not haye to be "wrapped in cotton" and led down 
paved roads. However, be aware of such hazards as steep inclines, . 
chuck holes, fallen or over-hanging limbs, etc., and warn the gi'oup as 
you approach. 

B.' Program Considerations 

Plan activities that include several senses (i.e., touch, taste, 
sound, smell). " ' x * 


Review the route of an interpretive trail and plan to describe 
stations or points of interest with descriptive adjectives. For example: 

The hillside on your right is a rocky hillside and is covered 
with tall dry thistle plants." 

as opposed to: 

"This hillside is covered with di^ weeds." 

When leading a tour, keep the gi'oup together and do start 
talking until you have everyone's attention. 

Describe the areas you will be traveling through as you go from 
one station to another. Identify special sounds, smells, or sensations 
they may notice as pailicipants are traveling. Do not conduct your 
tour as participants are traveling; most of their energy will be spent in 
concentration of their own movement to avoid tripping hazards. 




Work with your curatorial s«iff and identify objects and artifacts 
that can be handled and how they can be touched. Some objects should 
not be handled at all, some only with limited handling. Some items can 
be handled if tVy are protected from fingerprints and gi-ease stains 
with thin white gloves. Remember that verbal descriptions alone, no 
matter how, good, seriously limit experiences by visually impaired 

Avoid setting up exhibits or park areas just for one certain group 
of people, such as "Braille Trails." This assumes that disabled people 
need the protection of the special features, that there is nothing else in 
your site they would find interesting, and that there is nothing in the 
selected area of value to the general public. Another problem with 
these areas is that we are requiring visitors to identify themselves as 
being different from the rest of our visitors. 

•'"Prepare large models of small or fragile exhibit pieces. Do not i 
include too much detail. The individual is just .getting an understand- 
ing of the general shape of the itefd. Try to include some sort of scale, [J 
so the person has an idea of the relative size of the original object. 

Prepare cassette tapes of interpretive trails that are self-guiding. 
Include a tactile or audio signal along the walk for identification ot each 
interpretive station. 

Cassette players equipped with headphones and rewind capability 
/ should be available for loan. The headphones will allow private ■ 
f listening without intruding on the "audio space" of other visitors. 
Rewind capability allows a person to repeat a message if they wish. 

vlf you are demonstrating a skill, allow the visually impaired 
person to hold your hands as you Work, Explain clearly and in concrete _ 
terms what you are doing as you do it. 

If you are demonstrating machinery such as a large printing 
press allow participants to feel the vibrations as the device is 
^n-ated. Be alert to safety hazards and warn the participants of those 

If vou distribute printed materials, describe what is on the 
materials for those who materials for ti^ose who are unable to read it at 
the time you distribute it. \ 



For the benefit of visually impaired \Kfsitors in your group, give 
cleai' verbal directionH wh^on moving from on^area to another. "We are " 
going to turn right and go down a^Aight of 10 $tairs to the living room 
area" is more helpful than "Follow me to the liying room area." 

Do not make assumptions about what visually impaired visitors 
would like or are capable of doing. Many people vvho are blind are 
denied opportunities for experiences such as scenic oVeriboks merely 
because someone assumed "they wouldn't get m^h from the 
experience." With appropriate description, a blind persoi^could enjoy 
a scenic overlook just as much as a sighted person. 

Tactile models enhance interpretive programs for visually impaired visitors 
(Oxon Hill Farm, NCR-East) 




C. Personal Services 

' When approaching an individual or gi'oup of visually impaired 
visitors, introduce yourself and identify yourself as a National lark 
Service employee. 

It is appropriate to lightly touch the arm of a person who is blind 
after you speak so that person knows^you are addressmg him/her. 

Many individuals who are bliffl use guide dogs as a mobility aid 
and it is'tempting to pet or attempt to play with ^ working guide dog. 
However, distracting a guide dog from its work can put its owner in 
danger Under no circumstances should you pet or otherwise distract 
the dog without the owtier's permission. Similarly, the owner may 
appreciate the offer of water for the dog, but this also should only be 
done with the owner's permission. 

Offer assistance if it seems necessary, but don't insist if your offer 
is declined. If your offer is accepted, ask the person to explain how you 
should help. 

Look at and speak directly to the blind or visually impaired 
person, not through a third person.^Don't shout - use a normal tone 
and speed of voice. \ 

Don't avoid using words like "see," "look," or "blind." Visually 
impaired individuals use |:he same words. 

When giving directions to a blind or visually impaired person, b§ 
as clear and specific as possible. Point out things that may be passed 
which may serve as orientation cues. Be sure to point out obstacles m 
the direct path of travel. 

^ When guiding someone who is blind, offer your arm. Grabbing a 
blh^d person's ai-m to lead them is dangerous as well as frightening and 
even insulting. The blind person will walk about a half step behind you, 
following your motions. sure to identify steps, curbs, or obstacles 
which may be endounterecL 

o 51 

Resource Material 

Sighted Guide Techni<^u^ 

(From "You Too Can Be a Seeing Dog" by Ray Bloomer) > 

Sighted guide is a method in which a sighted person assists 
someone who is blind or visually impaired, They may use it when in 
unfamiliar surroundings or for recent loss of sight. Many folks shy 
from assisting a blinfl person because they don't know how. By 
learning this method, you can assist a blind individual-comfortably. ^ 

Always make the initial contact with a blind person. They are 
probably unfamiliar with the Rark area, like most visitors. Identify 
yourself as "ranger," or membei- of the park staff. 

If you have previously met the person, don't make them guess 
who you are. Tell them your name. The guessing game can be very 
frustrating and humiliating. 

Don't insist on assisting if the blind individual declines an offer. 
They may know the park very well. 


Don't attempt to lead 
the individual by taking 
his or her arm! 




How to Use the Sighted Guide Method 

After the blind person has accepted your offer of assistance, you 
should ask. "Would you like to take my arm?" Brush your forearm 
against theirs so the blind person can grip your arm above the elbow. 

The Ki'ip ^^hould be firm enough to maintain while walking, and not 
be uncomfortable. Children will gi'ip the same as above except *tttthe 
wrist. Some aged or disabled people may want to walk arm in aVm. 
This^iffers more support than the grip. They may also wish' to travel at 
a slower pace. 

Your arm should be relaxed along your side and the, blind person's 
arm will be bent at the elbow. With his hand, he will grip your elbow. 
Be sure to keep your arm close to your body. While using the sighted 
guide method, the blind person should travel a half step behind you. 
Pick a comfortable walking pace for both of you. If the blind person 
pulls your arm back, or tightens fiis grip, you are probably traveling 
too fast. Never try to push orst^i* a blind person ahead of you. You 
should also try to keep the pd?s^ aware as conditions or surroundings . 
change. Remember to mention curbs, steps, doorways, narrow 
passage, ramps, etc. Let them know if the stairs go up or down and 
when they reach the last step. 



Opening doors 

When you are approaching a door, say so. Have the blind person's 
free hand side of their body on the hinged side of the door. You should 
stop and change arms if not positioned con^ectly. Place your hand on 
the knob and let the blind person follow your arm to the door knob. 
Tell him (her) whether the door opens towards or away from you. 
Allow the blind person to hold the door open for both of you. 

Oriff uKuiri ... it is im])()rtant to mention approaching curbs or 
steps. Remember Co say whetlTer they go up or down. Approach them 
directly, not at an angle. Have the blind person on the rail side of the 
stairs.'Pause before steps and on the landing so the blind person can 
catch up with you. Mention when they are taking their last step. 


When introducing a blind person into an unfamiliar room, there 
arc several things to point out. Fii-st, tell the function and shape of the 
room It is also important to explain the location of the door (center of 
the wall left or right) and continue to use it as a reference pomt for 
de-scribing the room. For example, "As we stand in the doorway, there 
are two chairs along the wall to your right." Give details that will be 
useful for orientation or as a point of interest. If the person is to only 
be in the room once, they only need to know the route from door to 
seat If the room is a living or working quarters, more detail is needed. 


On tours, ()bj(Hls and their approximate location is desired People 
with visual impairments should be allowed to touch as many objects as 
possible. When orienting a person to a room, you should emphasize the 
important aspects of a room since too many unnecessary details can 
often be confusing. The blind person should also be allowed to explore 
the room. 

When you are approaching a chair, tell the blind person. Put your 
hand on the back of the chair, making sure it is clear. Blind people 
don't really enjoy sitting on cats or old meat ball sandwiches. Let 
him/her know the direction it's facing. Let the blind person follow your 
arm to the chair. Please don't push your visually handicapped friend 
into the seati 

If you are assisting a person who uses a seeing eye dog, remember 
that the dog is responsible for the safety of that person. You should not 
pet» feed or distract him from doing his job. 

When assisting someone with a guide dog, offer your left arm (not 
to the (log). You are to navigate and the dog is the safety officer. If a 
blind person uses a cane, offer assistance on their free hand side. 




Narrow Passage 

When approaching a narrow i)asKage, say so out loud, while 
bringing your guiding arm behind you, to the middle of your back. The 
blind person .should now be walking directly behind you. To avoid 
stepping on your heels, he/she will extend his/her arm. After passing 
through, resume the normal walking position. 



Deafness and Hearing Impairments 

General Characteristics 

The most rece^ National Health Statistics Survey estimates that 
there are 16 million hearing impaired persons in the United States. Of 
this figure, more thtn 14 million ai'e hard of hearing and 2 million are 
severely deaf. It has been found that at least 72 percent of hearing 
impaired persons are over 45 years old. It is important to note that 
more than 10 million persons who are without hearing aids could 
benefit from some type of amplification system. 

Cathy Ingram, NPS Interpreter who is deaf, uses sign language to demonstrate 
18th Century life in domestic arts. (Old Stone House — C&O Canal) 

ERIC • 58 * 51 

Hearing impairments range from mild hearing loss, which may be 
compensated by some form of amplincatiof), to profound deafness for 
Z!h amplification is not helpful. The following is a further 
breakdown of hearing impairments: 

Hard of Hearing: 

Mild- ^ people with mild Rearing loss learn speech by ear 

and are able to function almost normally in group 
•^''and individual conversations. These people may 
have difficulty discerning singular and plural 
forms of words and in hearing subtle tone 

Marginal: people with marginal hearing impairments 
usually have difficulty understanding speech 
from a distance of more than a few feet, and in 
following group conversation. 

Moderate: people with moderate hearing impairments have 
enough hearing to learn language and speech 
with anti>lification of sound through a hearing 
aid when the auditory sense is aided by visual 


Severe: people with^ severe hearing impairments have 

trainable residual hearing with amplification of 
sound through one or two. hearing aids. Their 
language and speech do^ not develop spon- 
taneously, so they must learn communication 
through specialized techniques. 

Profound- people with profound hearing impairments can- 
not learn to understand language by ear alone, 
even with amplification of sound. Sign language 
is usually needed for communication. 


The major handicap to a person with a hearing impairment is 
communication. The hearing impaired person is cut off from the usual 
way of acquiring and transmitting information and, therefore, 
communication is severely affected. A wide variety of communication 
•methods are used by hearing impaired persons including sign 
language, reading and writing, mime and gesture, speechreading or a 
combination of these methods. * t 

The time at which hearing loss occurs in a person's life has an 
effect on the development of communication, personal, social ariti 
educational skills. Congenital impairments (present at "birth) are often 
caused by certain contagious diseases such as rubella, mumps, or 
influenza during the mother's pregnancy or hereditary factors. A 
person who is congenitally deaf does not learn language in the usual 
manner and, therefore, has no language frame of reference when 
learning to speak, write or read. As a result, reading comprehension 
and writing may be at a lower level than indicated by intelligence 
level. Other hearing impairments may develop at anytime during one's 
life as a result of childhood diseases, injuries or audial deterioration 
resulting frofn old age. Persons who have an acquired hearing loss 
Uvsually have a relatively strong language base. 

Major barriers to persons who are deaf or hearing impaired 
include understanding audio presentations or information that is 
communicated through speech or sound. 







Information, both inkrpretive and administra- 
tive, which is jpven orally or through audio 
methods, should be available^ through signing, 
captioning, v/ritten text and/or visual presenta- 
tion. Training in basic sign language of park staff 
member(s) ^.recommended. Identification of 
local fresource\ersons with sign language capa- 
bility is encouraged. 

In general, when editing audio visuals for 
captionmg (e.g, films, video, slides) and tran- 
scribing audio materials (e.g. self-guiding cas- 
settes, exhibit message units, etc.), avoid use of 
the passive voice whenever possible and simplify 
the more complex verb tenses. Sentences con- 
taining independent clauses should be broken 
into shorter, separate sentences, and written in 
subject/verb/object order when, possible*. Dif- 
ficult vocabulary words should be replaced with 
more familiar synonyms. The puiT30se of con- 
densing or adjusting language in materials is to 
assist in the- understanding of the program 
message. Staff should employ judgment in 
making all editing decisions to ensure that 
cai^tions or transcriptions always remain true to 
the intent of the original message. When 
preparing such information, consult with local 
deaf organizations on language developed for 



The availability of materials and services (e.g. 
signing or audio transcriptions) should be made 
known through prominent display of the Inter- 
national Symbol of the Deaf at all information 
duty stations. Park staff who provide sign 
language capability should wear the Service's 
official "I Sign" pins. Only park staff who are 
certified sign language interpreters may wear 


the "Sign Language Interpreter" pin. Where 
possible, a TTY-TDD service should be available 
at the site to make pre-site information accessi- 
ble to the deaf community. 


Information delivered orally at living history 
progi-ams, guided walks, talks, or tours should 
be available in print if a sign language interpre- 
ter is not provided. The printed text should be 
provided prior to the program and should 
convey the general content of the historical 
reenactment or talk. 

When making a presentation, the Park interpre- 
ter should face the audience in a well lighted area 
and speak clearly to facilitate speechreading. 
Sign interpreters should be sure that they do not 
have their audience squinting into the sun. 

Space or seating should be located close to the 
speaker to insure adequate visibility. 

Training in basic sign language is highly recommended for park staff in order to 
provide services for deaf visitors. (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performina 
Arts) o 






ErIcb ^ 

All audio elements incorporated into a self- 
guiding tour such as self-guiding cassettes or 
message units^ on wayside or indoor exhibits 
should be available to the visitor in print. 

For deaf individuals: optinial modification of 
audio-visual programs (e.g. movies, slide pre- 
sentations and video programs) would be cap- ' 
tioning. However, if this not possible, keyed 
transcripts should be made available upon 
request prior to the program. Efforts should be 
made to provide a^portable light source for use 
with transcripts in a dark room. 

For hearing impaired individuals: headphones 
with volume controls or wireless or infrared 
systems may be made available. 


Involving Visitors with Hearing Impairments 

^A, Logistics 

Review your progi^am or tour route and try to anticipate any 
situations which may be difficult for hearing impaired participants 
such as areas which may have excessive background noise or other 

Face the light or sun as you are speaking. Light from the side or 
behind you will cast shadows on your face making-^ speechreading^ 

Stand where everyone can see you and provide a clear view of 
your entire face and upper body. This is particularly helpful to hearing 
impaired persons who rely on body gestures and facial expressions as 
an aid to understanding what is being spoken. Keep your hands and 
visual aids that you may be holding away from your mouth as you 

B, Program Considerations 

Review your existing slide shows, films, video tapes, and audio 
tours. Ideally, the films, video tapes, and slides should be captioned. If 
not, prepare a written script/text of all audio-visual pi'|)grazns and 
audio tours for use by hearing impaired visitors. The script/text should 
not be verbatim (its difficult to read a long text and watch a program at 
the same time), but should be condensed to include the main idea of 
each A/V frame or interpretive station. Time should be allowed for the 
hearing impaired visitor to review the script prior to starting the AA^" 

Make lure you have the attention of the group or individual before 
you start sji^eaking. Make sure participants have understood what you 
said before g'ping pn to the next point or to the next station on the tour. 

If at all possible, have a sign language interpreter available for 
programs. Remember that the sign language interpreter will be a few 
words behind, so speak accordingly. 

^ Speak expressively. Hearing impaired persons may not hear 
subtle changes in your voice tone and may rely on facial expressions, 




gestures, and body movements to understand you, However, be 
careful not to exaggerate ()r ovcu-pronounce words which will distort 
lip movements. 

Keep instructions and explanations siniple and brief, but use full 
sentences. Repeat instinictions as often as necessary. Explain in 
concrete terms, avoiding abstract concepts. Try substituting new 
words for the more difficult Concepts. 

If you are showing large equipment or machinery, such as an old 
printing press, allow deaf and hearing impaired visitors to feel the 
vibrations of the piece as it operates. Supervise for safety. 

If you are writing something, don't talk at the same time. 
Similarly, don't walk around or turn your back while talking. 

Repeat questions or statements made by other people in a group. 
Remember that deaf persons are cut off fit'om whatever happens 
outside their visual area. 

C. Personal Services 

Get a deaf person's attention before speaking to them by a light 
tap on the shoukler, a wave or another visual signal. 

Maintain eye contact when speaking with a deaf person. Even a 
slight turn of the head may make speechreading difficult. The person 
may also think the conversation is finished if you look away while 

Use a normal tone unless you are asked to raise your voice. 
Shouting will usually be of no value. 

Remember that beards and mustaches hide men's mouths and 
mask ^pressions, making it difficult to speechread. 

If a deaf visitor is accompanied by an interpreter, speak directly 
to the deaf person. 

If you are having trouble understanding a deaf person, don't be 
afraid to say so. Ask that they repeat what was said Ox use pen and 
paper. Don't pretend to understand if you really don't. Communication 
is the goal — the method used is not important. 

If you know some sign language, use it. Your attampts will 
usually be well received. If the deaf person has trouble understanding 
you, the person will let you know and you can try another method of 


Resource Material 

Captioning National Park Service Audio-Visuals; 
A Perspective 


The National Park Service, as part of its basic mission and by 
statute and regulation, is committed to providing a comprehensive 
park experience to all visitors. To fulfill this objective, a variety of 
interpretive activities are conducted and devices employed to expand 
and enhance the experience of the park visitor. A major interpretive 
tool for park managers, especially in the face of budget and personnel 
limitations, has been, and will continue to be, the use of audio- visual 
presentations such as films, video tapes, and slides to convey 
important park information to the visiting public. 

It has been demonstrated through study and research that 
captioning is the most effective method of adapting film and video 
materials for the deaf viewer. There are two types of cap lomng 
processes - "open" and "closed" captioning. "Opei> captionmg (where 
'a-text appears on the screen at all times) is the only option presently 
available for films and slides and can also be used on video programs 
"Closed captioning" (where the text is encoded on a tape and is not 
visible on a screen except when a decoder is activat^ed on a T. V. or 
video unit) is possible only on video tape or disc, but its utility is 
limited in that it requires special decoding equipment. 

A series of answers to the most common questions concerning the 
use of and need for captioning follows: 

Q. Why \s it important and necessary to caption our audio-visual 
programs for hearing impaired visitors? 

A Over the years, a continuing goal of the National Park Service has 
been to insure that visitor programs and services are provided m such 
a manner that visiv;rs with disabilities can receive as close to the same 
benefits of a park experience as non-disabled visitors Research has 
shown that captioning is effective as a means of visually transmitting 
verbal information to people with hearing impairments. Deafness is 
not only the absence of hearing; it is also, the dependence on vision^ 
Correspondingly, because access to the spoken narration or dialogue is 
restricted for hearing impaired individuals, reading becomes the 
primary avenue for access to the audio message of any audio-visual 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1978, 
requires that Federally funded or conducted programs be made 
accessible to people with sensory or physical disabilities. The intent of 
the Act is to effect fuller integration of disabled mdividuals into the 
mainstream of American life. 

Captioning would be the optimal modification of National Park 
Service audio-visual programs because it enables accommodation of 
hearing impaired visitors in an integrated setting with the general 
public Without this modification, hearing impaired visitors are 
essentially denied the information provided in our on-gomg park 
audio-visual activities which serve to initially inform and subsequently 
enhance the visitor's experience of significant natural, historical, and 


cultural park resources. Undoubtedly, captioned films, slides, and 
video tapt» presentations would bring an added dimension to the 
interpretive experience of hearing impaired people visiting our parks. 

Q. How many people are we talking about who could benefit from 

A. More than 16 million Americans suffer from hearing loss (one out of 
every thirteen Americans.) Of this figure, more than 14 million are 
hard of hearing and 2 million are severely deaf. It has been found that 
of the total figure suffering from hearing loss, 3 million are school age 
children and approximately eleven million are over 45 years of age. 
Additionally, with the increased noise pollution, which is noise in 
excess of 85-90 decibels (e.g. rock music, power tools, factory 
machinery, jet airplanes, etc.), the incidence of permanent hearing 
loss among all age gi'oups in our population is on the rise. 

Q, What has been the viewing public's response to captioning? 

A. There have been differences of opinion suiTounding "open 
captioning." Some hearing viewers have expressed that open 
captioning can be an annoying intrusion on their viewing pleasure. 
Others have indicated that open captioning didn't bother them to the 
extent that they objected to its use. JRiese views were revealed in a 
survey conducted for the T, V, industry and published in 1967 when the 
industry was considering captioning their network broadcast pro- 

This study involved the showing of two captioned Walt Disney 
films to a sampling of families who were subscribers to a local cable 
T.V. system. The films were: "Bear County," a half-hour nature 
documentary, and "Big Red," a full-length feature film about a boy's 
affection for his employer's Irish Setter. Each participant was asked to 
view the two programs and to complete a detailed questionnaire 
concerning their individual reaction to the captioning of the films 
presented. The study reflected that about 30 percent of the 
( respondents were bothered by the captioning. However, of that 

figure, 26 percent were ''bothered slightly" and only 4 percent were 
"bothered a gi^eat deal." While the large' majority of the respondents 
were not bothered by captioning — and in some cases the respondents 
indicated that the captioning even added to the. enjoyment of the 

pn»jrrains this fart was not considered by the T.V, industry.* The 
iiuhistrv perceived from the data that open captioning would have a 
h^nj^thy and tough fight to win acceptance, and commercial networks 
would not want to take the risk. Since the technology was available, 
the T.V, industry opted for closed-captioned progi'amming. Addi- 
tionally, th(nr tVeiing was that closed captioning would receive wider 
accept ance during prime time hours. 

In evahuiting this survey, it would he important to keep in mind 
the context, specific purpose, and year in which this study was 

Q, Where has captioning been used and what are some of the 

A, Models for captioning have been around for years. The silent film 
rra depended on title cards between scenes to describe dialogue and 
action, and foreign language movies still use subtitles. An even more 
familiar and almost daily example of this technique is the 40 hours a 
weekof dosed-captioned T.V. progi'amming. In recent years, with the 
{)assage of section m of the Rehabilitatio^i Act, both public and 
private institutions have begim to experiment with captioning services 
in their educational, social and vocational progi'ams. A report 
published by Shroyer in 1978 revealed that 85 percent of the deaf 
children in his study using captioned educational films increased their 
n^ading rates and conprehension levels. Similarly, there have been 
spinoff benefits to other segments of the population: a Florida study 
reveak^d that (Un(^lo{)mentally disabled children learned to speak 
thn.ugli use of open captioning of video taped instructional materials; a 

Thf ivaJti,,j7nf survt\v respondent.^ to I'uptioninjr on "Rear Countr.v" and "RiK Red;" 
"WlvA^ was vour reaction to the eaptioninjr for this program?" 

1 Thf oaptifiiin^: added a ^rreat deal to my 
vrijoyTiu nt of this pro^rrani. 

L- The l aptionin^r added sli^rhtly to my 
enjoyment of this prop-am. 
The captionin^r did not bother me, 

\ The I'uptiuninM: bothered me slightly, 

:* The eaptionin^: botheiVd me a ^n-eat deal. 

Hear Country" 

"Bi^r Red' 

12' f 


limr Survey e'rndiu'ted by HRH — Sin^tT, Inc. 



Fairfax County public .school study with normal hearin^r children 
demonstrated that captioned video enhanced the reading? and 
comprehension levels of slow U^arnt^rs; and in a study conducted at 
Harvard University, Kn^^lish lan^u^aa^^e cai)tions were found to be 
beneficial to students from other countries attemi)tin^^ to learn 

One important advanta^^e of open captioning- Nati(mal Park 
Service film orientation pro^^rams is that many people may not realize 
that they have impaired hearing or do not wish to admit it. Closed 
captionin^r recjuires not only the availability of sufficient decoding 
equipment, but, in most cases, a request for its use and a separate 
viewin^r area. Open captionin^^ eliminates this problem and makes all 
audio-visual n^aterials accessible to eveH'one. 

ih Are there alternatives to open captioning: of audio-visual 

A. Yes, vi(l(V) tape pro^^i-ams can be eithev open captioned or closed 
captioned. Other alternatives include: captioning below*the \^sual area 
which is bein^r used in some NPK slide shows; closed-caption computer 
controlled T. V. or display system for slide progi'ams, electric maps, 
etc. (this system has broad audio-visual applications); dual showing on 
T.V. with closed captioning in conjunction with a film; and a T,V. 
monitor with caption^, below the screen. For further infomation on 
these devices and others, call the Division of Audio- Visual Arts, FTS 

Q. What does closed captioning require and how does it work? 

A. Closed captioning reciuires the use of a specia)/Telecaption decoder 
attached directly to or built into a T.V. set. The Telecaption adaptor 
also works with video cassette recording units with a tuner. The 
captions are in the form of an electronic code and are invisible until 
triggered by a unit equipped with this special decoding device. 

Q. Where can the decoding units be purchased? 

A. From the National Captioning Institute, Sears, Roebuck and Co., 
and various organizations of the deaf under the product name 
"TeleCaption." Two types of units are available: a captioning adapter 

?0 63 

that can be attaclicd to any television set, video or video cassette 
recorder with tuner, and a liMncli portable color set with built-in 
decoding circuitry, called a TeU>(^ai)tion television receiver. Both unit:^^ 
are available through the National Association of the Deaf, the 
National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, Self-Help for the Deaf, anci 
Tt^lecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. Telecommunications for the 
Deaf also offers a lay-away plan. Thv caption decoder can also be 
leased through several cable system operators, primarily Tribune 
('able C\)mmunications, Vision ('able Communications and American 
Cable Systems. 

Q. How much does the equipment cost? 

A. The price varies according to the purchasing arrangement. The 
I)rice of the adapter is about $280; the cost of the television is about 

What are the estimated total costs associated with processing 
open or closed captions for audio-visuals? 

A. The cost of captioning a film or video tape is directly related to the 
running time of the audio-visual. Also the number of copies requested 
of a specific title will determine the cost per print price. Since most 
National Park Service self-sustaining^^' audio-visuals are between 15-80 
minutes hi length, we will use that time frame for the followmg 
estimated costs: 

Open captioning a 16mm film — costs' 

# min. 

$850 . 

Harpers Ferry ^^st per 

Interneg. Production 1st Total additional 

and Lab Print,. print costs copy 

$680 $75 $1,305 $75 

$1 036 $100 $1,836 $100 

$1 404 $145 $2,399 $145 

noil vxhibit rt'Litvd 
* cost rst limit t's — VJS'i 



St('ps [(> tak(» for having an existing film captioned (1) Inform the 
Division of Audio Visual Arts, Harpers Kerry (enter (FTS 925-(i498). 
(2) Make arrangc^ments with a captioning service to -have only 
pre-pr()(hiction work done (i.e., timing sheet, captioned script anil 
proof work). Provide captioning service with typed transcript of film's 
sound track and a copy of the film for viewing, (8) Arrange with t'he 
captioning service to have pre-production materials sent directly to 
Harp(^rs Ferry ~ Division of Audio- Visual Arts for the lab work 
(Harp(^rs Ferry has all the oiiginal film negative materials and their 
production control procedures will insure visual (jualitv), 

(The ab()V(» estimated costs were i)rovi(le(l by the CAII) 
Captioning Service located at ^;14 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 
20910 {:^01) r)8r).48(i;i, Frank Kubin o^T-oWO, Len Novak and the HFC 
Branch of Visual Production Services, FTS 92o-()479.) 

The eost of open captioning a lB-30 minute video tape is about 
(open captions can be viewed without a decoder). The cost of 
dosed captioning the tape is the same but to view a closed-caption 
tape a decoder is necessary. This is a one-time only expense of $28(') 
that is unnecessary with open-captioning. For both oijeii cai)tioning 
and closed captioning, the park would need to provide a ? i" master 
with the audio and a scrii)t (available from HFC). These estimated 
costs were provided by: 

National Captioning Institute^ 

Suite loOO 

r)20o Leesl^irg Pike 

Falls (^hureh, VA 22041 

T(4-voic(^ or TTY (70:-5) 99S-24()()-^Iane K(lmon(l,son or 

Jane Nonnan 

or: 1448 Heachwood 

Hollywood, <;A 9002S 

T(4-voice or TTY (21:^) 4()9-7000 




The ('osl of open captioning sound/slide projn'^iJ^^ ^^>"Ut $11-$15 
per slide. This eosl would inohide typesetting for captions and one 
captioned master. DupHcation costs would he about $.8.>,r)0 per slide. 
The park would need to provide the master slides* and a typed script 
of '-^ audit) portion sequenced to the visuals. These estimate costs 
V provided by: 

(\)nsolidated Visual C^'Uter 
' 2r)29 KeniKvi>rth Avenue 
Tuxedo, Maryland 

(:{')!) 772-7:^00— Al Derwfnt 

This ci)ifii)any is on the (JSA sehoduk- and dues work for the 
Harj)ers Ferry Center. 

Q. Does the Service have the capability to provide captioned 
interpretive materials? 

A. The Harpers Ferry Center can provide technical assistance to 
parks interested in captioning their existing films or tapes. (Contact 
the Division of Audio- Visual Arts.) However, the decision and expense 
associated with captioning interpretive materials is the responsibility 
of the individual park unit and, in each case, a specific request for 
captioning needs to be made. Similarly, in instances where a new film 
or audio-visual program is being funded through available monies at 
Har{)ers Ferry Center, the Center will provide captions, if requested, 
but at the park's expense. 

Q. Are there examples where captioning has been used with 
National Park Service interpretive audio-visuals? 

.\ Yes Independence has a captioned version of their orientation film 
which is shown upon request. Hopewell Village uses its captioned slide 
presentation with the narration running simultaneously. The slide 
progi-am is shown to all visitors as part of the orientation program. Mt 
Rushmore has a captioned 12 minute video tape which is earned 
continuouslv on one often closed-circuit T.V. monitors located m their 
view room.' Harpers Ferry Center has begun closed captioning of all 
new video progi'ams. 

'To^^iirv vi-^iml ./ i.i/itv. oriiiinal MhU's .-^hoiM bo provided for opon vaptiomng 
.hiplicatim proci'^.-. Tlw Hnwch of Audio Visual Arts ha.< the original,' from .<ound Me 
;>ri'firams tlwyve produced. 



Q. What a<^e some of the options available to parks desiring to 
make their audio-visual programs accessible to hearing impaired 

A. There are several options with regard to captioning, some are more 
suitable to a park's audio-visual needs than others. In all cases, it 
\Vf}uld be wise to initially discuss your needs with the Division of 
Audio- Visual Arts. ("Captioning technology is improving every day and 
the Division would be aware of the newest devices available.' The 
following is a brief discussion of just some of the options available: 

Ifi adapting a film: A park may decide to open caption the main film 
used in their orientation progi-am viewed by the general public. This 
would-be an ideal way to go. On the other hand, a park may decide to 
provide an open-captioned version of the master film arid make it 
available upon request. If ^ park has the appropriate display 
ecjuipment. another option woukl be to have a 'Va video copy of the film 
made with open or closed captions. 

For video: A park hiif> the option to open caption or close caption an 
existing video progi'&m. The cost to caption in either format is the 
same but, again, a closed-caption video presentation will require the 
Use of a Telecaption decoder. An open-captioned video will not need 
this special equipment. The advantages to a closed-caption tape is that 
the same tape can be shown with or without captions, depending on 
the needs and preferences of the viewers. 

For slides: Open captioning a sound/slide program can be done either 
by superimposing captions directly on the slides or having captioned 
slides made of the text itself. The second option would require an 
additional projector unit for the captioned text slides that is 
synchronized with the visuals as well as a separate screen for 

The use of printed scripts could serve as an interim measure for ^ 
making films, video tapes, and slides accessible to hearing impaired 
visitors. However, this method has proven to be a less than suitable 
option in the long run. ^ 



New Technology: 

A svsstcm th-ciJ can be u.-^ed for both film and slides has been developed 
bv the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. This system permits 
captions to be projected from a modified film strip projector m 
.synchronization with an unmodified picture projected with any 
existing film or slide projector. The .system employs a film strip 
projectt)r that projects the caption either superimpo.sed over the 
picture or underneath the'image. Timing synchronization information 
is provided alongside each caption as a series of bar.s which can be 
reproduced by a pair of photocells fitted inside the filmstrip projector. 
The "bar code" information is fed to a black box memory. 

A photocell i.s temporarily attached to the lens rim of the projector 
Inhere it does not affect the projected picture. The photocell re.sponds 
to each opening and closing of the projector shutter. After the number 
of shutter ofienings specified by the bar code is associated with the 
caption, the next caption. is brought into place, and, with it, a new 
timing code. The captions stay in synchronization with a movie even if 
the film projector is running too fast or too slow. An average 20 minute 
film re(iuires approximately 10 feet of inexpen.sive black and white film 
for the captions. 

Thi.s .system is currently being tested by the National Park 
Service at the Harper's Ferry Center, Division of Audio/ Visual Arts. 



Amplification Systems 

Access to public information is a right denied to most of the 
estimated sixteen million people with hearing impairments in the 
United States. Most of these people have some residual hearing and, in 
many situations, can use hearing aids. Hearing aids are of little use, 
however, at public meetings, performances, and other public events 
where the hearing aid also amplifies background noise masking the 
inform^j:}on. Until recently, there was no effective way of providing 
audible information to hearing impaired people. Now, however, four 
sound amplification systems (induction loops, AM radio, broadcast 
systems, FM radio brpad^ast systems, and infrared radiation systems) 
have been developed for use in vaiious public settings, such as 
auditoriums, theaters, meeting rooms, courtrooms, classrooms, and 
sporting arenas. 

Some of these systems rely on hearing aids which can pick up 
electro-magnetic fields. These hearing aids must have a telephone, or 
'T" switch. In the "on" position, the hearing aid is capable of picking 
up the magnetic field and converting it back to sound. Generally, these 
systems do not pick up disturbing backgi^ound sounds or noises 
resulting from poor acoustical design of a room. This results in a much 
clearer and more direct signal than is possible tljrough ordinary 
listening. Profoundly hearing impaired persons, in particular, are able 
to generate far more volume than they usually can produce because 

switches allow maximum use of the" potential output of their 
hearing aid. This is precluded w'hen the hearing aid is switched on for 
ordinary conversation, because the use of high volume controls usually 
results in feedback or squeal. This feedback is not only annoying, but is 
also often intolerable for persons with normal hiring. Following is a 
discussion of the four above-mentioned audio amplification systems. 

induction Loops 

The induction loop system takes the electronic signal from any 
sound system (a microphone, tuner, television, etc.) and amplifies and 
uses that signal to energize a wire which encircles the space, setting up 
a magnetic field within that space. The electrical field can then be 
picked up by switching a hearing aid to the "T'' position. Advantages of 
this system include low cost and easy temporary installation. The 
disadvantages are that AC hum is sometimes also picked up: the 
(juality of the signal is sometimes weak; it is difficult to hide the wire in 

permanent retrofit situations; the signal can be heard through walls 
and piol^ed up outside the intended range; and there is only one 

AM Broadcast Systems ^ 

AM and FM broadcast systems are similar to each other. Both 
take the electronic signal (similar to the loops discussed above), 
translate it into a radio signal in FM or AM wave length, and broadcast 
it. The signal is then picked up'.by a pocket AM or FM receiver and 
heard through earphones or the person s hearing aid. The two systems 
differ in the means of broadcast ^nd the number of channels available. 

AM systems generally use an antenna wii^e which is similar to an 
induction k)op encircling the space. The AM signal is then passed 
through the antenna and picked up anywhere in the vicinity by a 
pocket radio. Advantages of this system are: the low cost of receivers 
for users and the availability of up to four or five channels in each area. 
Disadvantages are that it requires an AM pocket radio for each user; 
the signal passes through walls (this presents a security problem); 
there may be interference from local AM radio signals; and the 
antenna loop may be difficult to disguise in retrofit installations. 

FM Broadcast Systems 

FM systems generally use a transmitter, instead of a loop 
antenna, to broadcast their signal in the Audio Training Band of the 
FM wave length. Advantages of the FM systems include: the low cost 
of the transmitter, 30-channel availability, good outdoor operation, 
stereo \'apability, and good signal-to-noise ratio. This system is 
especially good for schools because of the ability to switch between one 
channel (teacher/class) and another. Disadvantages include the high 
cost of receivers (each person must have one) and lack of security (the 
signal may pass through walls). 

Infra-red Radiation Systems 

Infra-red systems translate the line level or microphone electronic 
signal into an 'infra-red fre(iuency light signal. This signal is then 
radiated throughout the space by one or more panels dependmg upon 
the size of the space of light-emitting diodes. Modulated infra-red 


sipials ra(liat(^ and r(»flec*t off most surfaces. Line of sight, therefore, is 
not reviuirod. Si^nials ar(> picj^ed up by a portable receiver provided ibr 
each listener. The receivers have either an earphone or an induction 
loop output for the use of the wearer. Advantages are: the signal- is 
secure and can be used in theater auditoriums and conference rooms 
with the assurance that no signal will pass through walls; multiple 
channels are available, allowing stereo signals on simultaneous 
broadcasts; the system can be expanded at a minimal cost; a high ♦ 
signal-to-noise ratio is available; and installation is easy. Disadvan- 
tages include the high cost of receiver and , transmitter, and the 
inability to work in direct sunlight. 

(This information was taken from Report, National CentL«r for a Barrier Free 
Knvironmfnt. Individuals who wish further information reKardinj]: hearing amplification 
systems should contact the National Center in Washinjrton, D.C.) 

Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD) 

Communication is a vital element in our daily lives. Without 
effective means of communication, we are cut off from people and 
information. The telephone has become a vital link between people and 
has become one of the easiest and most important means of 
communication and receiving information. Most of us take this 
technology and the inlpact it has on our lives for gi'anted. 

I'ntil recently, deaf and hearing impaired people were not able to 
use this effective and convenient means of communication. Technology 
has now made it possible for the hearing-impaired population to use 
the telephone through special assistance devices called Telecom- 
munication Devices for the Deaf (TDD). 

People often confuse -TTY" and "TDD". A TTY is a teletype- 
writer that enables users to send and receive printed messages 
through telephone lines. A TDD is a type of TTY and you will often see 
th(\-;e acronyms used interchangeably. A TDD (or TTY) allows a 
hearing-impaired individual to make a telephone call directly to 
an()therM)erson with similar ecjuipment without the need for 'Mi 
interpreter. This device resembles a typewriter with a keyboard and 
may hav^ (Mther (or both) a visual display or caj^ability for printing out 
on pa})er tlu* message receivcnl. The conversation is ty})ed rather than 




The importance of having a TDD at our National Park Service 
sites cannot he ovcrcttiphasi/.cd. The presence of a TDD enables a 
hearing-impaired visitor to call directly to get information on park 
interpretive progi-ams or services, program schedules, local accom- 
modations, travel directions, weather conditions, etc., — in other 
vv(n-(ls. to receive necessary information as convemently as anyone 
else. The availability of a TDD would benefit deaf or hearing impaired 

Selecting a TDD 

There are now a wide range of TDDs available, some with quite 
sophisticated eciuipment which may or may not be important for your 
needs. Before purchasing a TDD you should evaluate your needs and 
try different models, and decide which features are important to you. 
Is" it necessary to keep a record of incoming and outgoing calls? 
Consider a model with attached automatic printer. Will the TDD be 
used in different locations depending on the season and planned park 
progi-ams? Consider a portable model which can be carried to different 
locations. After you evaluate your needs, call a manufacturer or 
authorized dealer, discuss your needs, ask for a demonstration, obtam 
product literature and compare models. Consider waiTantees, service 
procedures, and price before making a decision. TDD manufacturers 
have varying price structures and there is a wide price range between 
models (prices may r^. ige from $159 to $1,000 depending on model and 

TDD Language 

Several abbreviations are used with the TDD. Some of th 
common ones are: 

(lA— (Jo ahead (To indicate you have finished talking and th 
othei- party may now respond. Used like "over" in C 
lingo. ) 

■ SK "End of entire conservation (Comparable to "over and oul 
in CB lingo.) 

HD-'Hold cm. 

XX— Misspelling 


r -You 


It is H)nsi(lere(l polite to end a conversation with a *'good-bye" or "so 
Idmk" or ''thanks again" or even "have a nice day" prior to signing off 
before you type "SK/' 


Once you have acquired a TDD, it is extremely important to 
publicize the number. All informational brochures should contain the 
"voice" phone number as well as the TDD number. Public notice of the 
number should also be issued frequently — people tend not to take 
down a number until they need it. 

For further informa^ton, contact: 

Telecommunications [or the Deaf, Inc. ' 
814 Thayer Avenue 
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 
Voice or TDD (301) 589-3006 




Mental or Learning Impairments 

Mental or Learning Impairments are three genenil categories of mental disabilities: Mental 

each group. 

Some of the most severe barriers a person with a mental 
homt ()i Liic farpc are attitucina barriers. T^ey 

learning, or emotional disability faces are '^^^•l" Thi« nftpn res(ults 


Mental Retardation 

There are an estimated 1(5 million persons with mental retardatimi 
in th?Sd States. Material f..m the Cen^. of Popula ion. U.S. 
I)eF.artment of Commerce, indicates that theie aie 

• million persons under the age of5 years and 1.3 milhon 
;e^^ between the ages of 5 and 15 with some deg.-ee of 

mental retardation f ir on anrl 3 6 million 

• 7 million people between the ages of 16-20 and 6.b miiiio 
pe^le over 21 are mentally retarded to some degree. 

*« the ab«ytc learn that i» n,„g, hut the speed and ease at 
which things are learned is slower. 

ERLC 74 




Mentally tn^tarded peoplo are often overj)rotected and discour- 
aged from exploritig the world or interacting with others. Often they 
are limited to participating in programs that are designed ''especially 
for their needs/' ahd allowed to socialize only with ''their own kind/' 
After finishing a specialized education pro^'am as a child or y6ung 
adult, many may spend their adult years in inactivity. 

Fortunately, the practice of institutionalizing mentally retarded 
people is changing. With more appropriate training and education, 
many people learn to become independent citizens, manage their own 
homes -or apartments and money and successfully compete in the job 
market. Others may live in small group homes, supervised by live-in 
counselors, and v\.'ork in sheltered workshops or semi-skilled jobs. 

Learning Disability 

The (estimated number of school-age children with learning 
disabilities varies widely. Certain estimates, based on data collected 
by professional researchers, set the figure at 7,5 percent of the 
population. *I)ue^o problems in identificafcjon and data collection, there 
are no reliable statistical estimates on the numbers of learning 
disabled adults. However, the number is considered to be quite high. 

In some instances, a special program with emphasis on personal services may 
be appropriate. (Point Re/es National Seashore) 

ERIC 75 

ill.- Naiintial Ailvi-sory ("oiiuinttce on Haiidicapijcd Children 

Childn-n with special learning disabilities exhibit a disorder iv. 
.!»• ur more of the basic jjsycholoKncal processes involved in 
■ mder-taiidiiig or in using spoken or written language. These 
,iiuy U' manifested in disorders of listening, thinking, talkmg, 
r-iiding, writing, spelling, or arithnu'tic. 

1; i> uhvions from this definition of Learning Disability that the 
t...-tri . - vers a wide si)ec'trum of potential obstacles that a child may 
,.n. uiiiit.-r 111 attempting to acquire school-related skills. For purposes 
..! uii<UT>!uniling this group as distinct from mentally retarded 
:h f^on>. It IS important to keep in mind that a learning disability is 
t:v!u.r,iliv contined to ru/c aspect of learning. While both learning 
.!i..;thilit "u-s and mental retardation interfere with a person's ability to 
t...tni. learning .Usabilities are more specific and occur in people with 
;.. fvaue or above average intelligence. 

A i.'arninu disabled i)erson can experience poor spatial orientation 
hav. a tH...r sense of direction, or have severe difficulty in reading. 
The .M-v.>! ity of the disability freciuently determines if a disability i$ 
id.'tititied at" all. Manv adults today who dropped out of school because 
■t i.ey just didn't <lo weli" may suffer from mild learning disabilities. 

Leaniing disabled persons are even less identifiable thanjnentally 
.■rtarde<l persons. There are many different kinds of learning 
d.sahilities and these come in different combinations which have an 
ijiipacf on interpretive progi-amming. Someone may have problems 
itti rt ading information, while others may have difficulty distin- 
f UHhiiig left from right. Subseijuently, a non-reader may be especially 
attuned tu spoken informatioi'. Someone having difficulty with a string 
.,t vrrbui instructions may need simi)le, direct statements aided by a 
,iiat,Taiii. P.ecaiise there are no reliable clues to indicate a person may 
t». U arnmg disabled, any progi'ammatic adjustment for this group will 
t.,- largely dependent on sensitive and alert interpreters who can 
- liK. t !>re: entations to meet individual needs. 



Emotional Disturbance 

The mimbt^r ol* [n^ople bxperienoin^' emotional flisonlers in tho 
I'liitt-d States is very highr The estimate.s vary acc-onhng to the 
nature, sevtnnty and duration of the disabihty considered, A Joint 
Commission on Mental Health survey set the number at 12 percent of 
the population. 

Emotionally disturbed J)(m\s()h.s may suffer from a range of 
disabilities from relatively short-lived depression to severe psychosis 
that may last for years. Clinical diagnoses include such widely 
difft^rent variations as anxious-neurotic, manic-depression, passive- 
aggrtvssive, and personality disorders, as well as numerous others. 

Like other mental disabilities, Emotional Disturbance defies easy 
and specific definition. It may be said that, in general, emotionally 
disturbed persons may display an inability to concentrate, an inability 
to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, in- 
approi)riate behavior or feelings under normal conditions and, 
frecjuently, a general, pervasive mood of unhappiness. Stated simply, 
an emotionally disturbenl person is usually "emotionally disturbing'' to 
those around him, particularly if tht\v love or are concerned about the 

The practice of institutionalizing persons with emotional disorders 
has declined dramatically in the past 25 years. More sophisticated and 
effective drug therapy has enabled many people experiencing 
emoticmal tiviuma to remain in the mainstream as they go about the 
task of healing. During acute stages of an illness, hospitalization may 
be ustKl, however, only in the most severe cases are persons 
hospitalized for more than a few months at a time. 

The emotionally disturbed person's ability to' benefit from 
programming is affected by his emotional state and rarely by his 
innate intelligence. It is a mistake to confuse the two, especially since 
emotionally disturbed persons are frequently highly intelligent and 
therefore would be greatly offended if considered mentally retarded. 


General: Flexibility on the part of interpretive staff is 

essential. The interpreter may need to change or 
modify elements of a {)r()gram on the spot for a 
variety of reasons. When progi^ams are designed 
for a specific group, the particular level of 
impairment and development must be ad- 
dressed. Prior meetings and/or consultation with 
{)ers()ns familiar with the group should be 
sought. In some instances, a special progi^am 
with emphasis on special services may be 

Personal In general, program content for mentally re- 

Services: tanked i)ers()ns should be at a level which will 

facilitate comprehension. Interpretive informa- 
^, tion should be delivered concisely in short 

segments, be success oriented, encourage parti- 
cipation, and be reinforced through repetition. 
Progi-am content for learning disabled persons 
does not have to be at a lower comprehension 
level. Focus instead should be on the best 
method of communication to enhance compre- 
hension for a particular individual. 


• Demonstrate specific concepts rather than 

• Involve as many senses as j)ossible in order to 
involve participants actively. 

• Use as many touchable items as possible. 
Keep infoniiation concrete rather than ab- 
stract (use material? that are visible as a point 
of reference). 

Use repetition to reinforce important points. 

• Repeat concepts using different words and 
phrase the interpretive message in different 



Hy askin^r partinpaiits to rephrase concepts, 
tiie interpreter can assess the ^nv nip's (•onii)re- 
heiisioii level and can efian^e his her approach 
if necessary. 





I'ark iiiterprt^ive materials seh^cted for mental- 
ly, emotionally, and learnin^r impaired persons 
should he more visual than verbal (photogi^aphic 
materials will serve to reinforce the visual 
memories of a visit). It is important to remember 
that visitors may have low readin^r ability or may 
not read at all. 


Interpretive information selected or developed 
should use technical temis sparingly and should 
be supplemented by any additional materials 
Avhich would enhance the understanding of 
significant resources and concepts covered in 
self-guiding programs. 

Opportunities for tactile experiences reinforce the interpretive message for 
many disabled visitors, (Rock Creek Park) 



Involving Visitors with Mental/Learning Impairments 

I), v,l<.pin}i >.uuU-linfs fur workiiiji with .lisability groups and 
,li.ahU-«i visitors IS difticult whi-i. nxu- coiisuU-rs the varynifr abilitu-s ul 
lH.r<o!is ai'-.oiDi (llsaVnlity p-"Ups as,\vi'll as within (Hsahihty p-oups. It 
w ,-x,n nion- difticult uhi'ii considering ptM-sons with mental or 
Uanuni; unpairrni-Jits hccausi- the categories of Mentally Retarded, 
I-niutio.udlv Di.-turhed. and Learning Disabled are uni(iue within 
fhe,n-lv,.s Uecufini/.ing lhi> dilemma, the following interpretive tips 
arr verv general m natiav. It is iinporiant to remember that each 
,!i>ahi...i per.-nn should be treated as an individual with individual 
atnh! i>v :irul individual need.-. 

Mental Retardation 

l;.-. lew v..ur pi-Mm-am or tour route with attentirm to length of 
tun.- for c.nipletinn. Consider shoriening a program to :!0 or id 
f,„. the benefit nf ineiitailv retarded visitors who aiv present. 

. Mra lone fnr movui^- inmi one place to another. Some 
,,11;.. r.'tarded person., may hav. mol)ility or balance problems and 
tn/.'.e Anwt-r than the rest nf tiie group. 

narticipant.- t,, set their nwn pace. Most p<-rsons with 
,„..Ma!r. tardatiun learn .lusf like everyone .-Is.- but usually at a slower 
t,,M , \11..,A .•••ira tnn.' t-. fully experience the resource, 

-^,,niv prrsMii:- wi«ii nieiitai retardation may have difticuUy 
,.,,.,,-..ntratinf and fnOnwuig a program hi the pn-.-^eiice of tmckground 
,.„„ ., and airruunding activity. ( 'on.-i.ler changing the p.rogram 
iM.-a'n,ii iMi'-'f -ar\' to elitninate these distractions. 

\ ,t 111. id, d.-mnii-;trati"ii as po.-;sii.le with ynur verba! 

... ,.',,!,„, , u,.,„.at (iir.-ctmn,-^ <.r information a- ofteii a,- iieces.-ary. 
|;,.;.,,„r.-.' y..ur nifnv,nai)-n ^A^th taHile e:.;K'rience.--. and media aids. 
I'l.v.'' relv :-<.i''!y "11 v>-riial inctiind:-. 



Whfh talking:, kefp your cuiifcpts ch^araiul c'^iicisc usiii^ concrete 
rdthvr thaii al>, li*acf examples. Try to rep(^at concept iisiw^ different 
wonis and phrase them in different ways to faciHtate uiuh'rstandin^. 

Tn^at mentally retarded adults as adults, not chihlren. Persons 
with mental retardation deserve the same respect and di^rnity as all 
otlifr visit(»rs. 

People with mental retardation may be slow to res})ond. so don't 
>top asking (iuesti{)ns when a})})ropriat(» to the pn)^n'am. A slow 
rt'S[)()rise may be the result of timi{lness or just sim})ly a slow response 
^ not that the person is rude or i^rnorin^^- Vf)u, 

^\ •• . 

iV^^ sensitive to interest or hick of interest in your program and be 
dr-xibit^ enough to clian^' or modify your program accordin^i-ly. 

Makr sun* your pn)grams offer op})()rtunities tor success, new 
fvxpf^rit-ncfs. aiul challenges for every partici})ant. Do not underesti- 
mate . urniMine's abilities and interest, 

P»( aware that sfime persons with mental retardation may be 
taking medication which may fiiake them sensitive to lon^ exposure to 
the sun. Route yjfur t(»ur so shade oi* shelter is avaihible. 

Vov a walking tour or hike, provide ample op})ortunity for rest 
top>. includin^r use of re.-^trooms and water. 

lU awan* that some persons witli m^*ntal retardati()ri may have 
prnhicnis with coonlination. balance, a^^ility, stren^rth ov stamina. 

Ivemember that mental retardation is not conta^rious. Mental 
n-tardaf ion is not an illness and peoph^ with mental retardation should 
riuT Im- treated as if they were sick. 

Don't "talk down" to the mentally retarded individual or ^'oui). 
but k*'^'p your talk on an understaiulable level. 

Learning Disability 

your fjroj.»Tams, mucii as possibh*. j^rovide demonstra- 
M' n a- wrll a v^n^hal interpretation. Tst* media aids to reinforce your 

Er|c , 88 81 

Ihmi interpret a laek of response from a learning disabled person 
to be rudeness. In .some rases a learning disabled person may have a 
processing problem which might affect social skills which in turn may 
produci^^j^^iventional responses. 

When providing directional information, reinforce verbal direc- 
tions with physical directions. In some rases, sketching a simple map 
may be helpful. 

You may find v ' * le ieaniing disabled i)ersons may seem to he 
standing too* close to you or staring at you as you talk. This action is 
not unconmion for sonu' learning disabled ^n\^()ns as they attempt to 
block out comi)eting noise or activity an(; concentrate on what. you are 

Many learning clisabled persons may need information repeated 
r,ri(^r, herause they may have difficulty interpreting what was said. 

I)ifficulti(vs in coordination are a major problem for manv persons 
with learning disabilities. Therefore, fine motor tasks such as picking 
up a pt^bble or handling a moving insect may be difficult. Balance may 
also he a problem and interpreters should exercise care in moving a 
group through an area re(iuiring balance (e.g,, m a nature hike). 

Emotional Impairments 

Accept participants as people and don^t expect violent or 
unpleasant behavior. Rely on group leaders if present to ndle 
difficult situations should they arise. 

He supportive and friendly. Remember that people with 
emotional impairments may be very senSiUv0 to stn'ss and new 

enthusiastic about your progi'am, while maintaining a position 
of authority and respect. 

Pen/)le with emotional impairmemts may become frustrated easily. 
\etivitii>s that (^nsure success for each particii)ant an» important. 


<'h<.osc proRi-ain activities that proiiiott' coopcratimi betwct'ii 
individuals to achieve common goals. 


Kncoura^e group members to actively {)articipate, but do not 
pressure them. Cfioose activities that allow opportunities for 
spectators as well as active particii)ation. 

Allow participants to choose the activities that they would like to 
do. Don't U^t your expectations and fears limit the opportunities you 

Ihmi rush activities. P,t» aware of rhaiij^es in individual and ^roup 

S(jme f)articii)ants may be taking medication which may affect 
their resf)onses. They may ai)pear to be uninterested or unable to 
understand your i)rogram. Relax and work with them at their own 

Dorft react to innypk^ with emotional impairments as if they are 
"sick." Their "condition" is not contagious; treat them as you do 
anvont* (4s(\ 

ERIC 83 

Section III 


To ensure full accessibility to disabled visitors, park staff must 
take a systematic approach to accesb* planning. To determine what 
mo(lifi{»ati()n(s) would be most appropriate to improve acces.^ in a given 
progi'ani, consi{leration should, first of all, involve a review of the 
range and type of all interpretive programs and services offered. Since 
th(*re are many different situations where interpretive i)i'ograms and 
services are offered within a park area, the decision on th(^ kinds of 
modifications needecl will have to be evaluated consistent with park 
progi'am objectives, 

P^ach consideration ,sh(mld then be evaluated using the same 
criteria: (1) benefits to disabled visitors, (2) effect on {jrogi-am 
objectives, CA) availability of NPS staff, (4) projected time recjuireHl to 
mak(* needed modificationCs), (5) possible safety hazards, ((i) cost, and 
^7) impact of any alterations of park resources. 

From this assessment, park staff should develop a park Pro{]mw 
Arrt s^ PI(Uf which woukl include th(* identified problem or barrier to 
access, the n^cominended solution, funding sources, and target date 
for ccmipletion. (The development of a Park Program Access Plan for 
physical and progi'ammatic access is directed by Special Directive 
^o-o. ) Th(^ (hn'elopment of an Access Plan provides a comprehensive 
approach which will h(»lp avoid the danger of spot decisions for 
accommodation, improper handling of a situation or changes which are 
enabling for one disability gi'oup but disabling for another. More 
importantly, such a comi)rehensive approach will enable a park to 
more appropriat(»ly establish priorities for the type of action which 
will b(m(»tit th(» larg(»st numb(»r of visitors. The Progi-am Access Plan 
should be incorporateni into the park's iytafvnnnif for biferpvcfafion. 



Interpn'tivc statY should be prepared to justify why a particular 
action was chosen. If the action necessitates any physical alteration of 
the resource, appropriate compliance procedures should be followed. 
While actions to accomphsh some necessary prop-am modihcatH)ns will 
have to be planned and budgeted, some can be accomplished with little 
cost and effort. If time is required for planning and budgeting, it will 
be important to develop interim solutions which provkle temporary 
or partial access to the maximum extent feasible, Tt^mporary methods 
may include, for example, locating a i)rogi'am in an accessible facility 
or area during the period which a facility or area is undergoing 
physical modifications; or providing hearing impaired visitors printed 
scripts of films which are budgeted for captioning. 

Planning on what to do and what not to do should be made in 
cooperation with disabled persons and/or their representatives. This 
type of c()o{)erati()n offers perspecTive on what is reasonable and 
feasible given the nature of the activity and assures th(^ appropriate- and usabihty {)f access considerations. Cooperative efforts will 
also provide guiflance and assist in the prioritization of projects and 
activities to be completed. 

Publicizing Accommodations 

Public notilication of the existence and location of services, 
activities, and facilitie'S which are accessible to and usable by disabled 
visitors i.^ essential. For example, information about prop'ams and 
service.^!; which are available at accessible locations and different media 
(e,g., cassette, large print, braille, tape transcriptions, sign language, 
etc.) should be posted at major visitor contact stations and noted in 
park informational materials. A park may have a variety of accessible 
programs and services, but if these benefits are not communicated to 
the disabled visiting public, they may never know of their existence. 

Tht^ use of the International Symbol of Access and the 
International Symbol of Deafness (as appropriate) at major attended 
stations and in park informational materials is an accepted and 
understood means of alerting disabled visitors to a park's accessible 
features, programs and services. In all instances, the International 
Symbols should be acc()mi)anied by the necessary supplemental 
information, such as -ask for informatitm here,'' or "interpretive tour 
cassette." or "sign language tours available upon request," 

(\)mplet(» and amiratt^ information about park features, accom- 
modations, antl dcsrriplions of special conditi(ms and opportunities in 
the park which will affect a disabled visitor s experience are critical to 
the effective operation of visitor progi-ams and services. The staff 
should provide basic informational services which include, but are not 
limited to, (1) descriptions of the park and its environs which would 
enable disabled visitors to km)W of the physical requirements and 
other aspects of specific park resources; (2) information on the 
availability and k)cation of accessible convenience facilities; and (3) 
information on the availability and location of alternative interpretive 
devices for hearing and visually impaired visitors. This kind of 
information allows all visitors the opportunity to make decisions on 
what to do and where to find it in a park setting. 

Many parks have developed separate ''accessibility guides" which 
contain all the necessary information which may be relevant to a 
disabled person's visit. Some of the guides are simple xeroxed pages, 
others have been commercially produced complete with pictures. The 
format of the guide is not important. What is important is the accuracy 
and compl(^ten(\<s of the information it contains and the degree to 
which the information may enhanc(^ a disabled visitor's park 


In the National Park idea, shaped beneath the gi-andeur of 
Yoseniite Valley and the Sierra Redwoods, was realized with the 
establishment of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Today, the 
National Park idea has grown into a wondrous treasury of history and 
natur(» which includes mountain wilderness, wild rivers and seashores, 
cita(l(ds. battlegrounds, places where our history was made, homes of 
historic and prehistoric Americans, and natural areas of deseit, 
swamp, forest, and island. 

Yet, the National Park S(^rvice is mon^ than the custodian of our 
cultural, historical, and national heritage. We provide a public service 
through our specialists who are engaged in the work of revealing to the 
millions who visit the parks something of the beauty and wonder, the 
inspiration and nn^aning that lie behind what the visitor can perceive. 
This is called "interpretation," and it is one of the most important 
single activities of the National Park Service. 

J 3 


Inti'ri»n4alion i;-^ a vital part of the park e\p(^rience for visitors 
and is no h-ss nnpniManl for visitors who have a disability. Physical 
iivcv>> to our park sites is not t^noii^i. In orrler to assiuv that a person 
with a disability can experience the national parks the same way 
i*veryone rise can. intt^rpretive prop:i'ams must also be accessible. To 
iKit jirnvidt- tins typt> of access results in experiences for disabled 
vi.Mrnr- that fall >hori nf tlu^ standards which we strive to achieve. 

•7,. unr ( fhfrf.^ fn untkv our parks arailahlr to rrcn/onc. tre 
ffutst n nn nfhcr that //amV/\s /mrk both inu/s — fhct/ deni/^ 
ifHUndHdls the rcsdfnrrs, the potential . (Uid the irealth of 
♦ >//r par k .s//.s'^( ///; and then detiij ns access to the ''hutnan 
$T:uiHrrr.r the park risitin\ The devetopnient ami fntl 
,ff(h:afinh iij fhiisc ''hannni resources'' enrich the cnJtaral 
ami snr^n! fahrlr (tf the aatioa r/,s a aitole aad in\ a?i a 
,Hifna». 'frr thi poorer fin- the lack of that access and 
nffrrt hafu/f . Tin Scrrice nmsl confinne to demonstrate its 
nnaijniiihn Inuiership in pnn^idmy fall speetrnni parti- 
rfpttffoH //s and < ifjotpnent ot\ (air nation's treasnrij oj 
parks, nannnuents, and recreation areas btj all irho irish to 
rtsff fhi fn . " 

Russell Dickenson 
Dh-ector. NFS 




rnitrd States Department of the Interior 


\v.\siiiNi;i«.>N. nc 


June 30, 1983 
Annual Review 


Directorate. Field Directorate. WASQ Office and Division Chiefs, and All 



Subject: National Park Service Policies on Accessibility for Disabled Persons 

This Special Directive supersedes Staff Directive 77-4 (Revised), Accessible Facilities for . 
HandicappedVisltors, dated August 22, i978. Upon receipt of this Directive, all copies of 
Staff Directive 77-4 (Revised) should be removed from the files and destroyed. 

Over the past few years, The National Park Service has significantly improved 
accessibility for disabled persons within the National Park System. These policies are 
designed to support the Service's efforts to provide access to the broadest cross section 
of park visitors as is possible and are in accordance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 
1 968 (P.L 90-480) and the Rehabilitation.Act of 1 973 (P.L 93-1 1 2) as amended in 1 978. 
The purpose of this policy statement is to articulate the principles guiding our efforts in this 

The National Park Service Policy Council has recommended and I have approved the 
attached general statement of policy and the specific policies relating to other NPS 
activities. The format is designed to facilitate eventual incorporation into the Management 
Policies Manual. 

These policies are effective immediately. In order to implement these policies, within one 
year of the date of this Special Directive, each park unit in collaboration with qualified 
persons should prepare a working list of access problems in both programs and facilities. 
The problems should be arranged in priority order and the list should be reviewed and 
updated annually. 


Actions should be taken at the earliest practicable time to remedy the problems utilizing 
existing operating monies, cyclic maintenance funds, park restoration and -improvement 
funds, or other approphate sources. Items requiring large expenditures of funds should be 
identified so that special attention can be given to them in setting regional and national 
funding priorities. 



General Statement of Policy on 
Accessibility for Disabled Persons 



This policy is b0spd-tipon the commitment of the National Park Service to provide access 
in our progr^nts and facilities to a broad cross section of the visiting public. It defines 
policies in compliance with the intent of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (P.L 
90-480) and Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (P.L. 93-11 2). 

Basic Principles 

This policy has been established to recognize and adhere to the following basic 

• Disabled people are menribers of the visitor group at large and the National Park 
Service will provide for their access to existing facilities and programs to 

the highest degree feasible and possible. Special, separate or alternative 
facilities and programs will be provided only when access to existing facilities 
and programs cannot reasonably be afforded. When necessary, special 
assistance will be provided discreetly so as not to draw undue attention. 

• The determination of what is feasible and possible will be made with careful 
consideration of existing obligations to preserve and protect the cultural and 
natural resources that we manage. 

Application off Policy to Speciffi6 National Park Service 

As indicated in the policy statement ^nd as supported by the two legal mandates, 
accessibility for disabled persons will be provided in both facilities and programs. 
This means that every reasonable attempt will be made to enable disabled persons to get 
into our buildings and facilities, and once there to receive the same benefits, services, and 
information provided to all visitors. (See policies on accessibility related to specific 
National Park Service functions under Park Planning, Park Facilities, Cultural Resource 
Management and Preservation, Use of the Park, and Concessions Management. 



Policy Implemeittation 

This policy promotes the philosophy that, while maximum accessibility is the goal, partial 
accessibility is better than none ant^that improvements should be made in an orderly and 
priority-conscTous manner. Access problems in both programs and facilities should be 
Identified by each park unit in collaboration'with qualified persons and listed in priority 
order That list should then be reviewed and updated annually. Actions should be taken at 
the earliest practicable time .0 remedy the problems utilizing available funds or other 
sources whenever possible. Items requiring large expenditures of funds should be 
Identified and considered in setting regional and national funding priorities. 1 

Policies on Accessibility to 
Specific National Park Service Functions 


Planning for Accessibility for Disabled Persons 

It IS the policy of the National Park Service to Incorporate the issues df accessibility in all 
components of the Servicewide planning process, including the General Man^geriient 
Plan the Statement for Management, the Development Concept Plan, the Comprehen- 
sive Desiqn and the Interpretive Prospectus. The General Management Plan and ttie 
Sta'tement for Management will broadly support the general policy of providing access to 
all visitors The Development Concept Plan, CompreherrsiJ/e Design, and Interpre ive 
Prospectus will then identify the specific ways in which the facilities and programs will be 
made accessible to the various disabled populations. 

It IS the policy of the National Park Service to invite disabled people with appropriate 
expertise and or knowledgeable representatives into all aspects of the planning process 
in an advisory capacity at an early stage, and to maintain their cfillaboration in the park s 
subsequent management, in order, among other things, to assure tbe appropnateness 
and usability of access modifications. In making recommendations for appointments to 
advisory boards and commissions, disabled persons or others familiar with accessibih y 
issues Will be considered. All public gathenngs shall be held in ^heelctiair-accessible 
places, and auxiliary aids for hearing and visually impaired persons should be provided 
when anticipated or requested. 

o . 99 


Accessibility for Disabled Persons in Park Facilities 

(supercedes section on 'Facilities for th^ Handicapped on page III- 7 of the Management 
Policies Manual) 

In accordance with the mandates of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and Section 
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973^'as amended in 1978. it is the policy of the National 
Park Service to provide the highest level of accessibility in all visitor and management 
buildings and facilities as is possible and feasible, consistent with the nature of the area 
and facility. The degree of accessibility provided will be prpportionately related to the 
degree of man-made modifications made to the area or facility and to the significance of 
the facility. 

The developed area of the park, including publicly used structures and areas, 
administrative areas, some visitor overnight accommodations, and some employee 
housing, when provided, and most interpretation and visitor services, will be designed, 
constructed or renovated to provide maximlim accessibility to wheelchair users. 

The undeveloped areas, such as the part of the park that is outside the immediate 
influence of buildings, roads, and cars, will not normally be modified nor will special 
facilities be provided for the sole purpose of providing access to disabled people. 

Accessibility in threshold areas, ^uch as scenic overlooks, nature trails, features of 
special interest, or wayside exhibits that are reached by short walks that lead from 
developed areas to the edges or the undeveloped ones, will be judged on an individual 
site-by-site basis depending upon the nature of the topography, the significance of the 
attraction and the amount of man-made modification provided. If the attraction is a 
significant one, every reasonable attempt should be made to make the feature as 
accessible as possible. On the other hand, if the amount of man-made modification is 
very low and the accessibility modifications would result in significant damage to the 
natural environment, alternative methods to provide the interpretive information or 
expenence should be considered and utilized. 

Accessibility in Visitor Transportation Services 

The policy of the National Park Service is to make all appropnate land transportation 
systems and services, whether provided by the Service or by concessioners, accessible 
to and usable by physically disabled persons unless doing so would alter the fundamental 
nature of the service. This should be accomplished by making a sufficient percentage of 
the vehicles wheelchair accessible, on a replacement or retrofit basis, so as to provide 
effective services. Until this goal is realized, a separate accessible vehicle will be 
provided or a disabled person will be allowed to drive iheir personal vehicle on otherwise 
restricted roadways, it is Son/ice policy that no new roads will be developed for the sole 
purpose of providing disabled visitors access to a given area. However, within the existing 
road system, efforts will be made to provide for specialized transportation needs. 

Accessibility will also be provided in water transportation systems. The degree of priority 
»n making them accessible will depend on the degree of accessibility of the area being 
served by the system. On scenic cruise vessels, the optimal level of wheelchair access 
that IS feasible will be provided. 



For cultural properties, the National Park Service will provide the highest level of access 
possible while still conforming to cultural resources management policies and use and 
treatment standards (NPS-28), Every attenipt will be made to create physical accessibility 
for disabled persons to as much of the„property as possitjie without impairing the 
property's cultural significance^ Where accessibility, cannot be achieved within NPS-28, 
alternative solutions will be provided in an accessible location 


Program Accessibility for Disabled Persons 

It IS the policy of the National Perk Service to assume that, to the extent possible and 
reasonable all interpretive programs, recreational activities, concession operated and 
privately sponsored activities, publications, and any other information provided to the park 
visitor and or employee shall be provided in such a way that disabled people can receive 
as Close to the same benefits as the non-disabled person. This will include taking 
appropriate steps jo assure that information provided in auditory ways is also available for 
hearing impaired persons; that information provided visually is also available to those with 
visual impairments, and that information provided in areas that are not architecturally 
accessible to physically disabled persons is also provided to the exlent possible m 
accessible locations 

Off-Road Use of Vehicles and Motorized Equipment 

Disabled visitors will be bound by the same ORV regulations and restrictions as other 
visitors, and by the same park road limitations on §1ze and weight of vejiicles. Standard 
electric wheelchairs will be excluded" from prohibitions against motorized vehicles. 
<■ Motorized vehicles (other than electric wheelchairs) used as mobility aids may be 
permitted at the Superintendent's dfscretion. 


Accessibility for Disabled Persons in Concession Operations 

Within the parks and in the promotional material distributed publicly, concessioners sTiare 
the Service's responsibility to provide access insofar as it pertains to the facilities and 
services they provide, recognizing the constraint of existing contracts and agreements. It 
,s Service policy that, where contracts have some years to run, the National Park Sen/ice 
will strongly encourage concessioners or other contractors to volyntarily make gradual 
progress toward an agreed upon level of accessibility, and when new contracts are 
negotiated, those requirements and a schedule for achieving their will be included in the 
new agreement. ^ 










A. Mobility Impairsds Do brochures, fliers, signs, staff provide descriptions of Xhe 
park and its environs which would enable disabled visitors to know of the physical 
requirements and other, aspects of specific park resources? 

Is information on the availability and location of accessible convenience 
facilities provided? 

\ - ' ' 

B. H*arfnd Impaired: Do brochures, fliers, signs, staff provide information on the 

availability and location of alternative interpretive devices? 

Is there TTY-TDD capability at the site to provide pre-site information to deaf 
Individuals? . * 

C. Visually Impaired: Do brochures, fliers, signs, staff provide information on the 
availability & location of alternative interpretive devices? 






ii MAJOR CONTACT STATION (Entrance Station. Visitor Center Information Desk. 
Roadside Information Booth. Roving Patrol. Campground Office) 

A. Mobility Impaired: Is facility physically accessible and. if not. 's there an 
alternative location? 


Is accessibility information on the site. facHities. and programs provided'? 

Is the International Symbol of Access visibly located at locations' providing 
accessibility Information? 

B. Hearing Impaired: Are all available materials and services (e.g audio ^ 
transcriptions, sign language staff) made known through prominent display of 
International Symbol for Deaf? 

C. Visually Impaired: Information provided in pnnt - is it also available in: 

— audio 

— large print (18 point or U") 




III PERSONAL SERVICES (campfire talk, guided walks, talks, tours, living interpretation, 
cultural demonstrations) 

A. Mobility Impaired: Are personnally led programs conducted in physically 
accessible locations? 

1 o 


If not. does the park provide alternatives to enable visitors to experience the area 
through some other format (eg, historic facility site tour — a-v devices, 
photographic albums, rerouting visitor traffic, ramps at another entrance, etc i*? 

Do thase program locations have accessible parking areas'? 

Accessible support facilities (restrooms and water supply)'? 

Is there an accessible path of travel from parking area support facilities to programs 

oAre allowances made for wheelchairs in the program seating area'? 

Are there any means of transportation (tour buses, trains, boats, etc.) used as part of 
the conducted interpretive program'? If so, are they physically accessible'? 

If not. are alternative means of trans(!)ortatton allowed or provded"? 

B. Hearing lmpair*d: Is verbal interpretation available in prinf? 

js ther^ a staff member skilled in sign language interpretation'? 

Does he she wear the Service s official I sign" pin'? 

Are programs using sign language interpreters periodically scheduled and 
advertised during the season'? 



V/ r% 









C. Visually Jmpalr«d: Are park interpreters iamiliar with the Sighted Guide Method 
to provide blind visitors with directional orientational assistance, if needed*? 

For significant landmarks, artifacts or displays requiring visual appreciation, do' 
interpreters utilize descriptive and concrete language? 

During the interpretive delivery, does the interpreter include items that can be 
' touched 


A. Mobility Impaired: Are. self-guiding programs located in physically accessible 
. locations <3 * 

Do these program locations have accessible parking? 
Support facilities (restrooms, and water supply)? 

Is there an accessible path of travel from parking area and support facilities 
to program areas? 

Does park have interpretive trails designed for accessibility? 

Does trail(s) have a hard surface which will allow for the easy passage of 
wheelchairs, as well as a minimum width of 48"? 

Does the trail(s) have an extended grade that does not exceed 5 (1 foot 
rise 12 foot run) with shorter grades not exceeding 10 ? 



On longer trails; (1 mile or 1 hour) are there sheltered rest areas'? 

Do these rest areas include benches haviiig back and arm rests? 
Is thecrf an accessible convenience facility and water facility'? (source) 

Is there a cut-off loop along trail? 


If there are'barriers or walls along trail, are they low enough not to obstruct 
the overlook view for a visitor in a wheelchair? 

Does the self-guiding program include printed or sign information whith relates 
the trail length, travel time, degree of difficulty, list facilities provided along the trail, 
and include any special precautions or preparations which may be needed? 

B, Henring Impaired: ?or audio elements incorporated in a self-guiding program 
(eg, cPssettB tapes, message units on wayside or indoor exhibits) — is the 
information also available in print? 

C. Visually Impaired: Park self-guiding materials — are they available in audio 

Do materials include such information as trail length, trail conditions, possible 
hazards and cues for that kind of information? 

Have cassettes developed for blind or visually impaired visitors been tested on site 
by staff and blind consultants before public distribution? 






NX ITI ITI mm 1 « 1 


V ;* 






Is the taped program highly descriptive In language providing all the relevant park 
rea{j^rce information normally acquired through sight (e g landmarks, overlooks, 

WdyolUc oi<jpo< DiVy.yr 

Does the trail des.gned for accfessibility have contrasting trail and walkway surfaces'? 


A. Mobility Impaired: Are park's signs, labels and exhibits designed to be accessible 
to visitors in Wheelchairs ant^with mobility impairments? 

Exhibits — ' Can exhibits be approached and viewed from a wheelchair with a 
maximum and, minimum reading height of 65" aftd 54". respectively? 

Horizontal exhibits (e.g. models, relief maps, display tables) — Is the bottom 
surface a minimum of 30" from ground level to allow for a fro/ital approach*? 

Is the height of the horizontal top surface designed to be viewed from an 
average eye level height 0^48"? 

Items to be manipulated on exhibits (e.g. activating buttons, turnknobs, etc) — Are 
they mounted at a maximum height of 54" allowing a side approach and a maximum 
height of 48" allowing a frontal approach? 

Objects to be handled {e g books, publications, artifacts, relief maps, and tactile 
exhibits) — Are they placed at a maximum height of 48". minimum height of 9 ' from 
ground level, and within a 24" reach? 




A V Programs — are locations where movies slides, or video programs shciwr^ 
physically accessible"^ 

If not. are there alternative locations'^ 

For inaccessible interpretive programs (eg self-guidmg ^aiks. tours, 
demonstrations, etc ) — has the interpretive message be<?f> U\me6, taped, 
photographed or video-recorded and made available at an accessible 

B. Hearing lmpairttd:<ls relevant park interpretive information which incorporate^^ 

audio elements captioned or transcribed m prtnt <' 


In Print 


Slide presentations 
Seif-guiding cassettes 
Exhibit message units 

If so IS It advertised"? 

Auditoria — are headphon'^s with voiume controls, wireless, or infrared 
systems available for hearing impaired visitors? 

If so. is it advertised"? 





1 Ofi 



C. visually Impalrsd: Exhibit interpretive information — is it also available in: 

• audio*? 

* large pnnt (18 point or ^ 4 )? 

[ (ihibit design - is there Cise of adequate and even lighting'? 

high contrast colors on photographs? 
non-glare glass? 

intefpfetive labels — are they designed for maximum contrast (dark on light 
tiat kqroufid or vice versa)'? 


Size of type Viewing distance 




,'!Sf )lay areas — is there use of 3-D relief maps, models, or actual objects that can be 

nuf.hod by blind visitors'? ^ 

intorprotive signs - are they routed or raised? 





- I 



International Symbols of Access 

The use of signs to convey information to an important part of park planning. It is 
equally important that facilities, programs and services that have been made accessible 
to disabled persons be publicized to enhance usage. The wheelchair logo has become a 
widely recognized symbol of access. It is often used in parking lots to indicate reserved 
stalls, and in buildings to Indicate accessible re'strooms, etc. It can also be used In 
C(5niunction with directional symbols or a written message such as "Ask for Information 
Here," which tells the visitor that there are other services available. Such services may be 
interpretive cassettes, the availability of a wheelchair for loan, accessible transportation 
services, etc. 

^ther symbol that is becoming widely used is the Internattonal Symbol of Deafness 
whidh should be used to indicate programs and identify or show the way to buildings, 
facilities and devices that are accessible to and usable by deaf or hearing impaired 
persons. For example: offices tha* have TDDs, the availability of interpreters, captioned 
films, printed interpretive material, etc. 

These symbols should also be used in park informational materials such as maps, 
program announcements and Information, and park brochures, to indicate accessibility. 
Care should be taken in the use of these symbols. For Instance, a building which has an 
accessible entrance should not have the access symbol displayed unless the 
facilities services inside the building are also accessible. 

Below are copies of these two symbols. Decals are available from the Branch of Special 
Programs and Populations, WASO. 


1 i 0 




Audio-Visual Training Resources 

"A Different Approach" (21 minutes) 

This film pror^otes the abilities of disabled people. The producer proves to his employer 
that serious thought with humorous overtones can be an effective way to approach 
attitude change. Although originally intended for use as an employment nlm, this is an 
excellent awareness film highlighting the abilities of disabled people. 
Source: South Bay Mayor's Committee for Eilnployment of the Handicapped. Inc. 

2409 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 202 

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 

"It's A New Day" (9 minutes) 

This film demonstrates the many different types of assistive devices some disabled 
people use in their everyday activities. It features disabled people working in varied job 
situations, participating in recreation activities and visiting parks. 
Source: South Bay Mayor's Committee for Employment of the Handicapped, Inc. 

2409 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 202 

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 

"Outside" (30 minutes) 

This upbeat film features people with spinal cord injuries as they talk about their lives. 
, Many scenes feature outdoor recreation and park activities. 

Source: AiQpess, Inc. 

177 South Lookout Mountain Road. 
Golden Colorado 80401 

"What Do You Do When You Meet A Blind Person?" (13V2 

This film uses a humorous approach to demonstrate the right and wrong ways of 
interacting with blind people in various situations. 

Source: Ameriian Foundation for the Blind 
15 West 16th Street 
New York, New York 10011 


'ERIC 6 


''Museum Acces&ibiiity for the Visually-Impaired Visitor" (14 ^ 

This film demonstrates various techniques for making exhibits displays accessible. 
Although geared toward museum exhibits, the techniques can be applied to many 
different types of interpretive programs. 

Source: Audiovisual Program Coordinator, OMP 

This film gives g,eneral information on assisting hearing impaired visitors. It also incluoes 
suggestions for working with sign language interpreters when giving prog/ams attended 
by hearing I' naifed persons. 

Source: Audiovisual Program Coordinator, OMP 
Room 2235 Arts and Industries Building 
Smithsonian Institution 

TKese films cfre also available for loan from the Special Programs and Populations 
Branch. WASQ (FTS 343-3674) 

Room 2235 Arts and Industries Building 
Smithsonian Institution 
Washington, D.C. 20560 


''Communication: More Than Sounds" (10 minutes) 

Washington, D.C. 20560