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Universal Design in Community Environments

presented by Ingrid M. Kanics

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Ultimately, the most successful spaces are those that provide users of all abilities a sense of safety, security and inclusion. These are the environments where true inclusion happens and community ownership is strong, resulting in a community space that all will cherish, support and protect. In this course participants will be provided with current data on how the world population is encountering disabilities in all age groups. They will learn how this data supports the need for creating spaces that support these community members in a greater way through the use of the goals of Universal Design. These goals when embraced can be a way to address the growing community need for inclusion from the ground up. Through illustrative examples, participants will be introduced to how these goals can be used to create communities where all citizens can thrive.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Ingrid M. Kanics, MOT, OTR/L, FAOTA

    Ingrid is an occupational therapist who strives to help communities create and run amazing places where people of all abilities can play together. This journey began when she acquired a spinal cord injury while in the U.S. Army, resulting in spinal surgery and 18 months of rehab. Despite her recovery, Ingrid still experiences deficits from her injury. To reduce fatigue, she alternates her mobility between walking and rolling (in a wheelchair). When walking, she depends upon her right side for sensory information, and upon her left side for stability. This daily mental dance, her bi-mobility and other experiences related to her injury deeply influence her work of helping communities expand their understanding of inclusion for all. Besides a Masters of Occupational Therapy from Duquesne University, Ingrid has a Masters of Interior Architecture with an emphasis on inclusive, sustainable design from Chatham University. She owns her own consulting business, Kanics Inclusive Design Services, LLC, focusing on the creation and operation of inclusive indoor and outdoor play spaces. Ingrid presents at local, state and national conferences on the topics of play, sensory processing and Universal Design.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Defining the Need for Universal Design

    1. Defining the Need for Universal Design

    In this chapter, participants will explore the assorted definitions of disability, learn about current national disability statistics, and identify local agencies where they can gather local disability statistics for their community.

  2. Accessible Design History

    2. Accessible Design History

    In this chapter, participants will explore history of the Disabilities Acts in the United States including the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the evolution of Universal Design and how these compare when it comes to space design.

  3. Universal Design Goals 1-4

    3. Universal Design Goals 1-4

    In this chapter, participants will explore the first four goals of Universal Design. These are often referred to as the Universal Design Goals that address the needs of the individuals in the community.

  4. Universal Design Goals 6-8

    4. Universal Design Goals 6-8

    In this chapter, participants will explore the last three goals of Universal Design. These are often referred to as the Universal Design Goals that address the needs of the community as a whole.

  5. Universal Design Goal 5:  Wellness

    5. Universal Design Goal 5: Wellness

    In this chapter, participants will explore the fifth goal of Universal Design, Wellness. This goal connects the individual and the community in its application as both the individual and community strive for wellness as an overall goal.