Top 10 tips for improving school accessibility

  1. Prepare an emergency evacuation procedure for students who have a disability:
    Aside from having a refuge area, knowing the particular needs of each student in the event of an emergency will ensure a smooth experience for all.
  2. Have an elevator or other options for accessing all classrooms of the school without using stairs:
    Having step free options for accessing all classes will accommodate to all students, particularly those with mobility challenges.
  3. Ensure there is an accessible washroom for students and staff:
    Accessible means that the door is at least 34" wide, grab bar and 32" space beside the toilet and a turning radius of 1.2m in front.
  4. Make lighting throughout the school flicker free:
    Having lighting which is consistent and at least 1500 lumens (100 watts,) where possible, will reduce eye strain for students with low vision.
  5. Have accessible recreational facilities available:
    Accessible gym equipment such as adjustable basketball hoops and universal playground equipment will foster an inclusive environment and allow all students to participate.
  6. Introduce a disability awareness program as part of your school’s curriculum:
    Providing knowledge around the needs and experiences of people with disabilities breaks down barriers and encourages the appropriate questions to be asked. Take a look at Abilities In Motion, the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program's disability awareness resources.
  7. Apply high contrast warning strips to indicate slopes/stairs throughout the school:
    This will help to prevent tripping and to guide students with low vision.
  8. Ensure accessible parking available is for pick up/drop off:
    Reducing the distance of travel for parents and students with accessibility needs will lower fatigue and make it easier when carrying books and other equipment.
  9. Provide clear signs for classrooms, washrooms, library, gym, cafeteria etc:
    Signage with at least a 72pt font size and easy to read sans-serif font types (e.g. Verdana, Arial) decrease navigational barriers and accommodate to students who may be Deaf or have low vision.
  10. Make in-service training on inclusive teaching strategies available for staff:
    Preparing staff with the best practices for teaching students with varying abilities, will improve integration, so that all students can learn together.

Finally – have you thought about the accessibility of your school's website? You can see our top ten tips for website accessibility here.