The DOTs for 2006

Thank you to the readers who participated in the DOT contest in the past few months. It was very hard to decide what focus to take for the paper for the upcoming 2006 year; however, we had to choose, so Susan Lasoff won for her submission of the Disability Access Symbols. We have decided to run the Disability Access Symbols not only as the DOT on the front page, but we are going to explain the usage of one of the Disability Access Symbols each month and highlight an article that can give the reader some more information about how these symbols and their usage are beneficial to the disability community.

Alice Oden also sent in 12 DOT ideas and we are going to use these DOTs on the Web site. So those readers who only read the Web version of our newspaper, you will have the benefit of these great ideas. If you don’t get to the Web site often, this might give you the incentive you need to read Access Press online.

The Disability Access Symbols created by the Graphic Artists Guild Foundation in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts launched these symbols to be used to promote and publicize accessibility of places, programs and other activities for people with various disabilities.

Organizations, both public and private, are working to be fully accessible to this country’s 54 million citizens with disabilities as well as foreign visitors. Organizations that receive government funding are required to provide accessible programs and services under Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A more recent law, the 1990 Americans with Disability Act (ADA), extends accessibility provisions to the private sector in order to help guarantee persons with disabilities employment and the right to enter the economic, social and cultural mainstreams. The ADA goes well beyond federally funded organizations to encompass private sector entities that serve the public, including cultural organizations that do not receive federal support, retail businesses, movie theaters, and restaurants.

These symbols are intended to help you advertise your access services to customers, audiences, staff and other targeted public groups. Advertisements, newsletters, conference and program brochures, membership forms, building signage, floor plans and maps are examples of material that might display these symbols. You are encouraged to place these symbols next to the relevant information in all publications and media.

Any language accompanying the symbols should focus on the accommodation or service, not on who uses it. For example, “Ramped Entrance” may accompany the wheelchair symbol. This is important because not only do individuals in wheelchairs use ramps, but so do people with baby carriages, luggage, packages, etc. Language that fosters dignity is important too. For example, “Reserved Parking” or “Accessible Parking” may be used with the wheelchair symbol to indicate that parking spaces are designated for people with disabilities.

Access Press wishes to encourage all of the groups that we provide papers for, such as our advertisers, readers, corporations, non-profit agencies and other companies to utilize these symbols when promoting their goods, services or other information. If businesses are accessible, we also hope that these groups share this information with others through their newspapers, marketing materials or company information.

This month we are going to start out by featuring an article about the Perkins Brailler and how it enhances the lives of those who are unable to see.

For more information about the symbols you can visit the Graphic Artists Guild at www.gag.org/resources/das.php or you may also obtain Mac or PC floppy disk copies of all the symbols by contacting the Graphic Artists Guild Foundation at 212-791-3400.

The symbols to watch for in each upcoming issue include: Braille Symbol, Access for Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision, Symbol for Accessibility, Audio Description, Telephone Typewriter (TTY), Volume Control Telephone, Assistive Listening Systems, Sign Language Interpretation, Accessible Print, The Information Symbol, Closed Captioning, and Opened Captioning. We invite you to watch for each new symbol featured in the coming months, but if you can’t wait, you can see them at www.gag.org/resources/das.php.

Braille

This symbol indicates that printed material is available in Braille, including exhibition labeling, publications and signage.

Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts. Graphic design assistance by the Society of Environmental Graphic Design. Consultant: Jacqueline Ann Clipsham © copyright 1995 – 2002, Graphic Artists.