Accessibility in Practice

The goal of this chapter is to first clarify the differences and overlaps between universal design and design for accessibility, and then to provide examples for customizing the bathroom to your client, with respect for their sensory, cognitive, or physical abilities. To do this we will tie together chapter 4, "Universal Design and Human Factors," chapter 5, "Assessing Needs," and chapter 6, "Bathroom Design"; we will refer back to these three chapters often and repeatedly.

The tools presented in chapter 5, "Assessing Needs," give you a great start to gathering information that can help you identify and plan for each client’s needs. When a specific chronic condition or disability is involved, the client will often be your best source of information regarding unique needs and solutions.

In addition, health professionals involved with your client, such as occupational or physical thera­pists make great team members. Their expertise is the human body and its workings, whereas yours is the space and its function and components. Keep in mind that when specific medical equipment is involved, your role as designer may be to provide appropriate space planning and to involve the equipment expert to execute the plan.

Learning Objective 1: Describe the differences between universal design and accessibility.

Learning Objective 2: Provide examples of the universal design principles that apply to variations in abilities, grouped as follows: sensory perception and cognitive and physical characteristics and needs,

Learning Objective 3: Identify design concepts for sensory perception and cognitive and physical characteristics and needs,