These amendments provide alternate specifications based on childrens dimensions for certain elements covered by ADAAG. These include drinking fountains, water closets, toilet stalls, lavatories and sinks, and fixed or built-in seating and tables. As originally published, ADAAG, like most other accessibility guidelines, provides specifications based only on adult dimensions. These amendments permit departures from existing specifications where such elements are designed for use primarily by children instead of adults. Advisory information is provided that recognizes the differences in the size, stature, and reach ranges of children ages 3 through 12.
ADAAG and amendments to it, like most Federal regulations, are developed through a public notice and comment process. Public notice and the opportunity to comment is provided through publication in the Federal Register. These amendments were proposed in July 1996 and derive from research sponsored by the Access Board. Based on the comments received, the amendments were revised and published again in the Federal Register in final form. They replace recommendations on childrens access previously available from the Access Board.
No. The ADA design standards are developed in a two step process. They are first published by the Access Board as a minimum guideline for the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is responsible for adopting enforceable standards that are consistent with the minimum guidelines. Currently, these final amendments to the minimum guidelines are not yet part of the enforceable standard.
ADAAG already permits departures providing equal or greater access under the provision of "equivalent facilitation." While they have not yet become part of the enforceable standard, the specifications of this rule may be considered equivalent facilitation where good practice or regulations call for design of building elements based on childrens dimensions. These amendments were developed to provide specific criteria on accessible design for children. The Department of Justice intends to incorporate these new guidelines into its enforceable standard.
Additional information on these amendments is available through an on-line course.