ADA classroom furniture can be purchased through a variety of resources. Conventional stores and online retailers specializing in ADA compliant furniture is only one source for purchasing this type of furniture.
However, in most cases, ADA classroom furniture can be purchased from any distributor offering classroom furniture. This is because manufacturers of classroom furniture are usually fully aware of the ADA guidelines schools are required to meet under Title III and strive to design furniture which meets these standards, whenever possible.
Student school desks are not only useful in a classroom. These desks can serve a number of other purposes. Some of the other rooms in which student desks can be used include the lunchroom, school stores, auditoriums and even media rooms.
In the lunchroom school desks can be used as an area for checking passes or collecting fees. School desks can also be used as a seating area for lunchroom attendants. School stores may be able to utilize classroom desks as a cashier stand. In auditoriums and media rooms, student desks can be used to support equipment or as seating.
Care should be taken when arranging student desks. This is important because the desks should be arranged to not only adhere to fire and safety codes, but also to create the desired classroom environment.
The arrangement of the desks can help to either promote interaction among students or encourage solitary work. The type of arrangement which is ideal for a particular classroom will depend on the subject matter being taught, as well as the teacher's style of teaching. It is important for the arrangement of student desks to adhere to fire and safety guidelines.
These exact guidelines may vary depending on the location of the school. However, in general providing ample aisle ways and clear access to exits will help to ensure compliance with building and safety codes.
Classroom tables can be ideal in some situations.Classes designed to foster student interaction are ideally suited for classroom tables as opposed to desks. Classrooms such as science labs, computer labs, language labs, art classrooms and music classrooms are just a few examples of classrooms which may benefit from the use of tables as opposed to desks.
The use of tables which will accommodate multiple students helps to promote interaction by placing the students in a close proximity to each other. This is in direct contrast to individual desks which keep students separate from each other and do not encourage interaction. When students are seated at the same table it is easier to communicate and collaborate on group projects. A language lab is just one example where the use of tables instead of individual desks would be ideal. Students can be placed in small groups at separate tables where they can converse in the language they are studying. This allows for several conversations to be conducted simultaneously.
The instructor may wish to visit each table briefly to provide instructions, corrections and encouragement as needed. Through this type of learning the students get a hands on approach to the subject matter while they are also working on social skills as well.
There is no one single style of classroom desk which is ideal for all classroom situations. The classroom desk which is most effective is the desk which is the most conducive to learning, given the intended purpose of the classroom.
When selecting a classroom desk there are a number of different options to consider. Desks may or may not have chair attached, may or may not have book baskets and may be constructed of a variety of different materials.
The height of the desk as well as the seat height, if attached, should also be considered. While some of the factors to consider are a matter of personal preference, other considerations should be based on the ideal scenario for the average student in the class.
The seat height should be sufficient for the students to rest their feet comfortably on the floor while seated. There should also be approximately 8 to 10 inches of clearance between the top of the seat and the bottom of the writing surface.
Most schools must adhere to ADA classroom furniture guidelines. Title III of the ADA guidelines is of particular interest to school administrators. The basic requirement for compliance includes allowing disabled students to fully participate in classroom activities, unless doing so poses a direct threat to other student.
Under this act it is also necessary to make reasonable modifications to accommodate disabled students. The furniture used in classrooms must help to make schools fully accessible to students with disabilities.
One way in which schools can meet ADA guidelines is to substitute tables in place of desks for wheelchair bound students. This will enable the wheelchair bound students to fully participate in classroom activities without posing a risk to other students. This is just one example of a reasonable accommodation which may help to fulfill ADA requirements.
Depending on the impairment of the student, it may be necessary to meet with the student and his parents. The student and his parents can provide keen insight into the special accommodations required by the student. Once this information is obtained, the school can develop a plan for meeting the needs of the student.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|