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Adaptive Environments
374 Congress Street, Suite 301
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: 617-695-1225 (v/tty)
Fax: 617-482-8099
Email: info@AdaptiveEnvironments.org
Web: www.AdaptiveEnviroments.org

Working to Make the World Fit for All People

For Immediate Release

Contact: Elaine Ostroff
Founding Director, Adaptive Environments
Project Director, Access to Design Professions
Email: elaine@ostroff, Phone: 508-636-6537

Designers with Disabilities at Work

Boston, July 22, 2002. Building a World Fit for People, written by Elaine Ostroff, Mark Limont and Daniel Hunter, features the career development of twenty-one designers with disabilities, from all over the world. The book is published by Adaptive Environments, Boston, MA, and made possible by a grant from NEC Foundation of America. For more details, see www.AdaptiveEnvironments.org/accessdesign. You can order the book for $15.00 or read an accessible version online for free.

Building a World Fit For People promotes the design professions as a viable career opportunity for people with disabilities. The book describes the earliest motivations, successes and roadblocks that the sixteen men and five woman encountered while pursuing their education and work. Building a World Fit For People is for young people with disabilities, to let them know that design-related work is an opportunity for them. It is also for career counselors, to confirm that design is a profession that youngsters with disabilities can enter; and for the many design teachers who have never had a student with a disability, to illustrate the barriers that they can remove in order to welcome students into their studios. It is for the staff of disabled student services offices, to help them reach out to the design faculty and find ways to assist students for the vocational rehabilitation counselors who may not know that design is an important field. It is for employers in design firms that may never have had an employee with a disability, to raise their expectations about the potential of designers with disabilities.

Reviewer Brad Grant, Chairperson of Architecture at Hampton University and President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture said, "There is clearly an advantage to understanding and designing the environment from the lens and sensitivity of being different, being with a 'disability'."

John Kemp, President of Half the Planet Foundation said, "The book is a compelling statement about significant contributions to the built environment by people with disabilities, architects and designers who participate in the design of our environments homes, schools, workplaces, cities, transportation systems. The disability mantra of the 1990s applies to the design industry today more than ever: 'Nothing About Us Without Us' is a slogan, a chant, even a book title, that implores policy- and other decision-makers to include the people most directly affected by design decisions in solving their own problems and creating better opportunities for everyone's benefit."

The book was produced as part of the Access to Design Professions project, a program of the Adaptive Environments Center. The late Ron Mace, FAIA, inspired both the book and the project. Mace was an internationally influential architect with a disability who defined universal design, the design approach to create environments that most people can use throughout their lives.

Access to Design Professions (ADP) is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Leadership Initiative in Universal Design. The project promotes the participation of people with disabilities in the design professions, including architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture. ADP offers an international E-Mentoring program that matches design professionals with students or entry-level designers with disabilities, connecting people from different parts of the world through the Internet. Design students and practitioners with disabilities can also join the International Network of Designers With Disabilities, and participate in a private email list. For more information about ways to get involved with the project visit: www.AdaptiveEnvironments.org/accessdesign.

Adaptive Environments is a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting access and universal design. A primary proponent of human-centered design that works for everyone, Adaptive Environments was founded in 1978 and meets its mission of making the world fit for people through educational programs, technical assistance, training, consultation, publications, and design advocacy. For more information visit: www.AdaptiveEnvironments.org.

If you are a member of the media and would like additional information about Building a World Fit for People, contact any of the people listed on the media contacts list.

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