Since starting private practice in '86, ACCESS Unlimited has held a strong interest in seeing a professional association established for those advising others on accessibility related matters. We believe that increased networking among such professionals will contribute to achieving a common goal: uniform and comprehensively accessible environments.*
A professional accessibility consulltant association (for those consulting on various issues of accessibility) could address issues including: standards of excellence; ethical practices; a common body of knowledge with sub-disciplines; certification criteria and process; continuing education; and, advancing the field of accessology.
Others we’ve shared this idea with have expressed an interest, but none (including AU) have the time to make it so. Back in '90, AU's Principal successfully completed the National Bureau of Professional Consultants to Management (NBPCM) certification process and received the appellation CPCM believing it would lend some credibility to a management consulting practice concentrating on accessibiity management.
*We emphasize the plural of environment because too often access accommodation/improvement projects that address the built environment overlook the inter-relationship(s) with communication, transportation, public relations, service delivery systems, etc. which would have allowed for creation of truly accessible public accommodations and service environments.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION MODELS
National Association of Accessibility Consultants (NAAC)
In the mid-90's an effort to establish a professional association of access consultants tried to get off the ground. To the best of our knowledge the organization was short lived and no longer exists. Below are links to download a copy of the original mailing from the group.
(PDF** ~ Original Documents Scanned Images)
(PDF** ~ Original Documents Text)
(Text File ~ Original Document Text)
National Bureau of Certified Consultants (NBCC)
Formerly the National Bureau of Professional Consultants to Management [NBPCM], in 2004-2005 NBCC merged with the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).
Below is a link to download a copy of NBCC's brochure, Code of Ethics, etc. .
(PDF** ~ Original Documents Scanned)
Access Consultants Association of Ontario, Canada
ACAO was founded on 2005-2006 by a handful of access consultants in Ontario, Canada, in response to the creation of the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The organizations' purpose is two-fold: to collectively participate as the standards for the AODA are developed, and to network in order to be able to supply clients with full services on accommodation projects. At this time the ACAO does not have a website, however, one can email the organizations President or Director at Large.
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** A few comments regarding PDF files
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required for viewing PDF files. If you do not have this software on your computer, you can download Acrobat Reader for free on Adobe's web site.
For a Text-Only download page visit, http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html
With the introduction of version 5, Adobe has attempted to make the Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software and PDF files more accessible to persons who rely on screen reader software. It is now capable of creating a file that has been "tagged". Tagged PDF files are reportedly more screen reader friendly than "untagged" pdf files. Be sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Software (v.7.x) installed on your computer and select the download that includes Search and Accessibility if you use a screen reader program. For more information about accessibility and using Acrobat visit this page http://access.adobe.com/acrobatmain.html at the Adobe website or download the user guide here, Acrobat_accessguide.pdf .
It is also possible to convert some PDF files into HTML and/or ASCII text by using the accessibility tools available on Adobe's web site. This will allow people who cannot access Untagged PDF files to convert the content of such documents into a more accessible format. Within Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader) there are tools to convert an "image" pdf into text using the built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature.
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