Member Benefit: Solving Access and Inclusion Issues

December 16, 2021, Department, by John N. McGovern, J.D.

2022 January We Are Parks and Rec Solving Access and Inclusion Issues 410

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Park and recreation agencies have always been in the solutions business. This brief overview shows one way to use solutions expertise for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliance efforts. The ADA title II regulation, published by the U.S. Department of Justice, applies to public park and recreation agencies. It has several “ADA 101” requirements. One of these requirements is to create an internal process to solve access and inclusion issues.

We know how important it is to use words that match intent. The title II regulation at 35.107(b) refers to the internal solutions process as both a complaint procedure and a grievance procedure, all in one sentence. But those words create an adversarial situation where one does not exist.

Let’s review the following example: A parent comes to your park and recreation agency and asks for one-on-one staff support in an after-school program for her son, who is on the Autism spectrum. You and your therapeutic recreation staff, or someone who knows both disability and recreation, schedule a time to meet and conduct an assessment (as required by title II). The parent has not made a complaint or filed a grievance — the parent has simply asked for support for the boy. Here, you can be all about solutions.

Set the right tone and invite your participants to trust that you, too, want a solution.

NRPA members receive a discount on all accessibility audits and services provided by WT Group LLC. To learn more, visit the NRPA Member Discount Webpage.

John N. McGovern, J.D., is Principal-in-Charge at WT Group LLC Accessibility Practice.