The City of Knoxville's third annual Accessibility Symposium is set for Oct. 3, but the deadline to register is Sept. 15.
The symposium aims to help professionals in the design industry -
architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects,
facility managers, construction project managers, plans reviewers,
inspectors and others - to better understand what true site and facility
accessibility means to people with disabilities and senior, according to a city release.
It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. For more information, click RIGHT SMACK HERE.
"This is a perfect opportunity to provide some real-life examples on
what really good accessible design is," says City ADA Coordinator
"People just think of accessibility issues as affecting those with
visually obvious disabilities. But 1 in every 5 Americans has some sort
of disability, and there's a lack of recognition or understanding that
the majority of those are hidden disabilities.
"Design professionals know that our building codes require
accessibility, but they don't always understand the reason behind the
requirements. They don't always recognize how the smallest details they
add or take away from a design can affect the end user in a big way. I
hope these professionals take advantage of this symposium, and I want
them to leave with a genuine understanding of how seemingly minor
details can make a world of difference for someone with a disability."
One of the experts who will be leading a seminar is architect Bill
Hecker of Birmingham, Ala., owner of Hecker Design. He's an
accessibility consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice, whose
specialty lies in the Standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
"For those in the design and construction industry, to be able to hear
from nationally recognized experts like Bill Hecker on the relationship
between the International Building Code and the ADA, that's just icing
on the cake," Cook says.
What's a "hidden disability"? With 10,000 Americans hitting their 65th
birthday every day, Cook considers mobility issues affecting seniors to
be a good example.
"As the population ages and we live longer, our agility and mobility
will continue to decrease, and we will all require a more user-friendly
environment in order to enjoy the same lifestyle we always have," she
says. "When everyone - regardless of their ability level - can
participate in the social, recreational, educational, employment and
other activities of their choice, then our entire community benefits."
And, Cook argues, it's in the best interest of someone building a house,
an apartment building, a restaurant or a shopping center to design it
in a way that maximizes accessibility. Such a strategy is smart, because
it means more potential customers or buyers.
The Oct. 3 Accessibility Symposium offers something for everyone.
Participants will have the opportunity to experience an accessible
restroom and kitchen, as well as understand the impact that certain
types of flooring or ground surfaces have on one's ability to maneuver
into and through a space, whether inside or outdoors.
Accessible vehicles also will be on hand to give attendees a chance to
see how the technology works and how a proper form of transportation can
mean the difference between being unable to leave one's home and having
Vendors and agencies that offer products and services specifically
intended to improve the lives of people with disabilities, as well as
seniors, will be available to showcase their products and services and
network with symposium attendees.
Accessibility-improving products and gadgetry will be available to
demonstrate to business owners how certain additions or changes can
greatly increase their accessibility to all of their potential