Barrier-Free Education in Illinois

We spend a lot of time highlighting different barrier-free vacation spots, activities and even hotels to stay at while you’re traveling with your handicap vans in Illinois.

But, what about other barrier-free resources that we don’t often think about? Things such as barrier-free education.

Paving the Way in Illinois

Just two years ago, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, was presented the Barrier-Free America Award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). They were the first University in the United States to be presented with the award.

They were presented the award in part for their Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES) program, but also the accessibility of the Nugent Hall residence hall.

Nugent Hall Design + Functionality

Each of the Nugent Hall accessible rooms are designed to look extremely similar to all of the other residence hall rooms on campus. The only differences being, all of the furniture is adjustable and equipped with ADA-compliant accessibility features.

A few of these features include:
– An adaptive computer station with accessible software and hardware.
– A SureHands ceiling lift system that offers support for transferring.
– Push-button room-darkening blinds.
– Adaptive cooking equipment within an adaptive training kitchen.
– Proximity readers tied to student ID cards that open and close doors.
– ADA vertical auto operators to open doors from the inside.
– Wireless paging system that notifies staff if assistance is needed.
– And, more!

The Future of Accessible Education

While the University of Illinois was the first university to become recognized for accessibility, other universities have started making accessible strides. One such example is Gallaudet University.

Gallaudet University, located in Washington D.C., is primarily deaf and hard of hearing continued education, but they’ve taken strides to become more accessible in recent years.

As disability awareness and the need for accessible education continues to grow, more and more schools will likely add disability resources and accessible accommodations.

Have you heard about any schools making strides towards becoming barrier-free? What could these measures mean for the future of accessibility? Comment below to join the conversation!

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