Assistive Technology Research Institute holding the 'Teaching Accessibility: Beyond the Classroom' Conference on Oct. 26

Denis Anson displays the ADA-CAT.
The Assistive Technology Research Institute (ATRI) and the College of Professional Studies and Social Sciences at Misericordia University, in conjunction with the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Institute, is sponsoring the conference, “Teaching Accessibility: Beyond the Classroom,’’ on Friday, Oct. 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Muth, Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. The all-day conference costs $125 and the deadline to register is Oct. 23.

The “Teaching Accessibility: Beyond the Classroom Conference’’ features David J. Feathers, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University, as keynote speaker, and Denis Anson, M.S., O.T.R., director of research and development at ATRI.

People who work and teach in allied services, such as nurses, educators, occupational and physical therapists, as well as caregivers will learn about the challenges to teaching accessibility and overcoming conceptual barriers from Mr. Anson during his morning presentation, while his afternoon session will address teaching accessibility and bringing all the information about accessibility together and applying it in the physical world.

Dr. Feathers will present, “University Design and Environmental Accessibility: Using the Americans with Disabilities Act – Compliance Assessment Toolkit (ADA-CAT),” in which he will address how to assess the environment to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as ramps, doorways, light switch position, room layout and floor coverings, and how the ADA-CAT accomplishes that task for professionals and caregivers who have little technical training.

Following Dr. Feathers’ presentation, graduate students in the Misericordia University five-year master’s degree program in occupational therapy will demonstrate the ADA-CAT. The ADA-CAT is a screening tool that was developed by Mr. Anson and ATRI to measure whether or not public facilities are in compliance with the federal law. It allows people without advanced technical training to assess the architectural barriers of the built environment.

The kit is composed of two parts – the audits and measurement kit. The audits define the characteristics of an accessible and usable environment, and feature a scoring system that produces a numerical score for accessibility and usability compliance. It is available online at

The measurement kit is a set of 11 instruments that have been developed by ATRI to allow people to quickly determine whether or not features of the environment meet the standards of the ADA and audits, like a turning radius for a wheelchair or height requirements for outlets, grab bars and shower seats.

Participants at the conference will also be able to purchase the ADA-CAT and subscribe to the website for the audits. To register for the conference, please call Robert Williams, director of the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education at Misericordia University, at (570) 674-6777 or e-mail him at The cost of the conference also provides 60 days of access to the ADA-CAT audits website.

For more information about the Assistive Technology Research Institute at Misericordia University, please log on to or call (570) 674-6413. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 37 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.


Denis Anson, M.S., O.T.R., director of research and development at the Assistive Technology Research Institute at Misericordia University, holds an American with Disabilities Act – Compliance Assessment Toolkit, otherwise known as the ADA-CAT, which was developed by Mr. Anson and ATRI.