The Southwest ADA Center provides training to entities with compliance obligations under the law, as well as to those people with disabilities and advocates who want to learn more about their rights.

Trainings range from one hour to several days. The following list represents trainings that we have, or are asked to offer. If your training needs are not represented in the following list, do not hesitate to ask us to explore developing a customized training that is tailored to those needs. We offer a variety of formats to present the information so that the participants remain interested and involved in the presentation.

For any training requests, please contact us.

Menu of Trainings


ADA Amendments Act

The ADA Amendments Act (the ADAAA) has changed the landscape of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This training covers the purposes of the ADAAA, why the ADA needed amending, who is covered by the ADAAA, and what the changes will mean to employers, government entities, places of public accommodation, and individuals with disabilities. Find out what the changes are and what they mean to you.


Everything You Want to Know About ADA Employment Requirements

Many HR professionals and employers request a general overview of employment provisions of the ADA (Title I). Participants will learn about who is covered under the law (and who isn't), how health and safety issues should be handled, how the law handles alcohol and drug users, job applications and interviews, essential job functions, reasonable accommodations, job restructuring, paid and unpaid leave, reassignment to another position, undue hardship, restrictions for medical examinations and inquiries and the role of unions.

Dollars & Sense: The Facts about Hiring Employees with Disabilities

What is the truth about people with disabilities in the workplace? Participants will learn about the costs involved in hiring individuals with disabilities and how it makes fiscal sense. Tax incentives to hire and accommodate employees, and free assistance with accommodation solutions will be shared with the participants.

ADA Audit of the workplace

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act is the most dynamic portion of the law and can be the most challenging. Ongoing case law and technical guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have refined and clarified key terms and requirements of the ADA. In order for companies to assure that the ADA is being implemented successfully in their workplace, they must:

  • Review and update company policies and procedures on a regular basis;
  • Create and maintain accurate policy manuals;
  • Stay current on new case law and guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and
  • Provide effective ADA training for employees.

Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Workers’ Compensation and privacy laws: How They Work Together

The collision of the ADA, FMLA, Workers’ Compensation, and privacy laws leads to many complicated questions about their application to individuals with disabilities and their interplay. Participants will learn how to evaluate and respond to complicated situations, how to break them down and apply the appropriate requirements of each law.

Overcoming Fear to Create a Workplace Sensitive to Employees with Disabilities

Employers and employees with disabilities can both face feelings of fear and discomfort when addressing issues concerning disabilities, work performance, and reasonable accommodations. Human Resource personnel may not be comfortable with their understanding of a disability. When confronting performance problems, they may “fear the ADA” and be confused about confidentiality limits and how much they can say to employees with disabilities. Employees with disabilities are influenced by their perception of how supervisors will respond to reasonable accommodation requests. Participants will learn how to overcome the fears on both sides and create an accepting workplace.

Which Employees are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The definition of “disability” is sometimes confusing because it varies under different laws. Under the ADA, disability is defined as:

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • A record of such an impairment; or
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment.

It is important to recognize that an individual may be protected by the ADA even if s/he does not actually have a substantially limiting impairment. Participants will learn about the many ways in which individuals may be covered by the ADA.

Developing Effective Reasonable Accommodation Policies and Procedures

Learn how to develop and implement effective reasonable accommodation policies and procedures in your workplace. You’ll receive updates on litigation involving reasonable accommodation issues so you can avoid common pitfalls. Specific accommodation scenarios dealing with all types of disabilities will be reviewed. The responsibilities of the employee and the employer in the process of deciding the appropriate accommodation will be outlined. You will also hear about the “best practices” of other companies and receive guidance on developing and improving your policies, including a sample policy.

Identifying Effective Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations may vary from small modifications in the work environment (like providing a head set) to job restructuring or reassignment. Human Resource professionals may feel daunted by the prospect of how to accommodate a secretary with multiple sclerosis or a driver who is deaf. Participants will learn the process of identifying the specific need of the employee is and finding resources to meet that need.

Undue Burden & Direct Threat

Employers have significant responsibilities regarding the provision of reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. These responsibilities are not without limitation, however. Participants will learn about the ADA exceptions for “undue burden” and “direct threat” and how to determine when and whether each exception is appropriate to specific situations.

Love It or Leave It: Medical Leave and Return-to-Work Issues for Employees with Disabilities

What are an employer’s obligations to an employee who is on leave for a disability-related reason? How does an employer determine whether and at what point an employee’s leave is imposing an undue hardship on the company? What questions may be asked of employees returning to work? What documentation can be requested of the returning employee? Participants will learn the answers to these questions and more.

Successful Strategies for Resolving Employment Disputes

This participatory training utilizes hypothetical scenarios taken from actual EEOC mediation successes to demonstrate how to resolve ADA-related employment disputes. Participants will learn how to negotiate reasonable accommodations and how to make the most of the conciliation process.

Psychiatric Disabilities in the Workplace

Depression, anxiety disorders, and more severe psychiatric impairments exist within the workplace. Such impairments affect workers of all backgrounds and at all levels of employment. They are often invisible and dynamic in nature. Participants will learn how to effectively manage and support employees with psychiatric disabilities, and what kinds of interventions and accommodations can assist employees, as well as what to do when an employee with psychiatric disabilities displays legitimately threatening behavior, and what medical documentation can be requested.

Access for All: Workplace Accessibility for People with Visual and Hearing Impairments

Most employers are not experts on disability, and many experience the same common concerns when confronted with the need to accommodate job applicants and employees with visual or hearing impairments. Participants will learn how to respond to these issues and will be introduced to some great new resources that can assist them in developing reasonable accommodations specifically for people with visual and hearing disabilities.

Substance Abuse & Alcoholism in the Workplace

Clear up the confusion about the application of the ADA to substance abuse and alcoholism. How do you determine whether an individual has a history of drug abuse or alcoholism? What questions can you ask? Find out more about the implications of the ADA on testing for drug and alcohol use and zero-tolerance policies. Learn which accommodations may be required for employees who fall under the protection of the ADA.

To Ask or Not To Ask: Disability Inquiries & the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act is designed so that employers will evaluate individuals based on their ability to perform essential job functions. The regulations and technical guidance issued by the EEOC address each “phase” of the employment process and outline the questions and scope of medical inquiries that may be asked and conducted at each stage. Participants will learn:

  • What constitutes an inquiry into disability;
  • At what stage and under what conditions may medical inquires be made;
  • The scope of medical inquiries that may be conducted during each phase of employment;
  • When and how tests for illegal drug use may be conducted; and
  • The scope of documentation that may be requested to determine the existence of a disability and need for accommodations

Medical Exams and Drug Testing

Confused about medical exams and drug testing under the ADA?

  • Is a drug test considered a medical exam?
  • Does the ADA govern drug testing?
  • Is it legal to require all applicants to pass a medical exam before a job is offered?
  • May employers require medical exams for injured workers returning to work?

Participants will learn the answers to these questions and many more.

“Where Do I Find Potential Employees with Disabilities?”

Interested in finding out how you can recruit a largely untapped labor resource—individuals with disabilities? Each state has vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide a variety of assistance to persons with disabilities in order to help them train for and find employment. These agencies can help you find qualified individuals with disabilities for your workplace and are also a great resource for employers on understanding how to accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace. In addition, through the Workforce Investment Act, the United States Department of Labor has created “One-Stop” shops that also operate as centers where people with disabilities can be trained and find out about employment opportunities. These Centers are also designed to help employers find qualified individuals with disabilities that can meet their workforce needs.

Participants will hear about how vocational rehabilitation agencies, “One-Stop” shops and other community resources that promote the employment of persons with disabilities can be used. You will also learn about how employers and human resource personnel can get involved in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the community.


State and Local Governments: ADA Obligations under Title II

People with disabilities are guaranteed access to programs, services and activities offered by covered entities under Title II of the ADA. Participants will learn how to conduct a self-evaluation, about the role of the ADA coordinator, what goes into a transition plan, how to notify the public of ADA compliance and to develop a grievance procedure. We’ll further examine the specific requirements of the participating state and local government entities under the law, giving attendees an opportunity to address their unique concerns in a supportive forum. A must-have training for any Title II entity wanting assurance that they are meeting their responsibilities under the law. Topics include transition plans, ADA coordinators, grievance procedures, and effective communication.

Small Towns & Rural Communities

This training module examines the specific Title II requirements for state and local governments with a special focus on small-town and rural issues. Training staff will facilitate a detailed discussion of the steps that all Title II entities should undergo to ensure ADA compliance. Includes useful worksheets and cost-saving tips for compliance.

Implementing Olmstead: Using the ADA to Give Individuals with Disabilities the Opportunity to Choose where they want to Live

Many individuals with disabilities lose control over their destiny because they are forced to live in institutions instead of in the community with their families, friends and the rest of society. The United States Supreme Court in Olmstead v. LC held that the Title II integration mandate required that people with disabilities be given the opportunity to live in the most integrated setting possible. The decision laid out the roadmap that states must follow to move people out of institutions and back into the community. Participants will learn exactly what this decision requires and the importance of being involved in the implementation of Olmstead in your state.

Accessible Communities

What does your community have to do to comply with the ADA? This training is designed for covered entities, advocates, and people with disabilities. Topics covered include:

  • Community Transition Plans: How to identify needs, develop & implement your plan;
  • Accessible pedestrian walkways;
  • Working with people with disabilities to discover what needs to be done in your community; and
  • Effective advocacy tools for accessibility in your community.

Ball Parks, Trails, Swimming Pools & More: Accessible Recreation in Your Community

Review the developing law and best practices in providing compliant and accessible recreation in your community. Participants will learn about the accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered recreation facilities. Facilities covered include amusement rides, boating facilities, fishing piers and platforms, miniature golf courses, golf courses, exercise equipment, bowling lanes, shooting facilities, swimming pools, wading pools, and spas. Includes program accessibility requirements for recreational programs offered by state and local governmental entities, adaptive recreation programs, and best practices to improving general accessibility in the recreation arena.

How the Non-Discrimination Requirements of the ADA Apply to Title II Agencies

The key tenets of Title II are covered in this program, including:

  • What entities and agencies are covered by Title II of the ADA
  • Providing access to programs for people with disabilities
  • Responsibilities of public contractors
  • Making modifications in programs or services
  • Eligibility criteria for services or programs
  • Permissible questions for people with disabilities who want to access your program
  • Providing auxiliary aids and services
  • Fees and surcharges
  • Reasonable modifications
  • Providing licenses and certifications in a non-discriminatory manner

Project Civic Access: Settlement Agreements and Lessons Learned

Access to civic life is a fundamental part of American society. On August 23, 1999, the Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the City of Toledo, in which the City agreed to remove barriers and relocate activities throughout its city government, including the municipal courthouse, district and neighborhood police stations, a market-outlet complex, fire stations, parking garages, museums, community and social services, the city’s parks and recreation centers, the health department, and other city administrative buildings. In order to build upon that settlement, the Disability Rights Section (DRS) of the Department’s Civil Rights Division then began similar reviews of other local and state governments and to develop technical assistance materials so that communities could immediately begin to come into full compliance with the requirements of title II of the ADA.

The project now includes 134 settlement agreements with 128 localities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In most of these matters, the compliance reviews were undertaken on the Department’s own initiative under the authority of Title II and, in many cases, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 because the governments receive financial assistance from the Department and are prohibited by the Act from discriminating on the basis of disability. Some matters were undertaken in response to complaints filed against the localities.

Participants will learn the insights gleaned from these settlement agreements, as well as what and how to avoid having complaints and lawsuits filed over access issues.

Justice for ALL: Access to Courthouses

The traditional design of courthouses, particularly courtrooms, poses unique challenges to access for persons with disabilities. Most courtrooms feature a variety of elevated spaces, including witness stands, jury boxes, spectator seating, and judges’ benches. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that these areas be accessible, but determining the best way to provide access to these spaces can be difficult.

Participant will get very specific information about the latest and best practices in courthouse accessibility, including accommodations for hearing and visual impairments, as well as wheelchair accessibility issues.


Overview and Common Architectural Issues

Are you NOT and architect, or designer, but still have responsibility for insuring a facility is accessible, and compliant? This training is aimed at YOU; it is NOT for the Design Professional, but for anyone else who wants to know more about the accessibility requirements under the ADA. This training module will introduce participants to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, including overview of architectural requirements. The session will include an in-depth discussion of common errors associated with construction and physical accessibility. Participants will also learn the basics of public rights-of-way, recreational facilities, correctional facilities, and playgrounds.

Basic Facility Access

For both Design Professionals and for anyone else who wants to learn the different requirements for new construction, alterations, additions and "older" buildings. Do you know when assistive listening systems are required in places of assembly and where Braille signage must be used? When an elevator is required in an altered building? Whether an accessible entrance is required in alterations if one already exists? How many egresses should be accessible? Learn about these and other common errors and omissions. We will also address historic preservation concerns. Photos of good and bad access will be shown. We can even evaluate the access at your facility as part of this training.
Using Universal Design Principles to meet the Requirements Under the ADA

Universal Design, or designing the built environment to accommodate the broadest possible range of abilities and limitations within the population, is an idea whose time has come. Advances in medicine, technology, and education have created opportunities for an increased level of participation in society by people with disabilities. However, the built environment may erect barriers that interfere with these opportunities. The ADA requires that a multitude of buildings and facilities, constructed or altered by both public and private entities, be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

Participants will learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), with the concepts of Universal Design as a basis for understanding standards and requirements. Materials provided are selected to give the user a comprehensive collection of information and resources related to architectural accessibility.

Making Texas Accessible

Texas has its own accessibility code and it is certified by the Department of Justice, which means that it meets and, in this case, exceeds, the standards of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). The Texas code exceeds the ADAAG in a number of different requirements. All new constructions and alterations that cost more than $50,000 must have their plans submitted for approval to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) do not apply to existing facilities, but the Americans with Disabilities Act does require that existing facilities do readily achievable barrier removal.

Participants will learn about the Texas Accessibility Standards, how to conduct an ADA “readily achievable” audit of an existing facility, and how to understand the tax incentives available to businesses that comply with the law

ADA Standards and Barrier Removal: Becoming Familiar with the Tools of the Trade

Understanding the intricacies of the ADA Standards and knowing how to conduct an ADA audit of existing facilities are valuable tools to have. Possessing these skills will enable you to be a great resource in your community. Businesses and employers are often uninformed about exactly how to apply the ADA Standards to their facilities. Participants will learn how to use the ADA Standards through applying it to real life scenarios, as well as how to conduct an audit of existing facilities. The use of tax incentives will also be covered. Instructors will also provide tips on marketing these services in your community.

Historical Properties and Accessibility: There is no such thing as a "grandfather" clause!

What are the requirements for making facilities that are designated as historical buildings or site accessible? What are the barriers that exist, and what are the solutions to provide increased accessibility within historical spaces? Participants will learn the answers to these questions and more as we focus on the law, the debate between architects and preservationists, and best practices in altering historical place to comply with the law.

Accessible Businesses

Do you own or manage a business that is open to the public? Do you have questions about how to comply with the ADA, how to accommodate customers and clients with disabilities, and how to insure your facilities are accessible? If so, this training is for you. DBTAC staff will offer a general overview of ADA requirements, relevant to most business owners, and managers. Participants will learn how to make their business accessible, how to use tax credits, how to determine what is readily achievable, and how to increase their customer base.

New: Universal Design 101

Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaption or specialized design.  Also known as “barrier free” or “inclusive” design, UD blends aesthetics with transparent accessibility from a user-centered perspective.


Public and Private Housing: Understanding Your Rights in Accessing Housing

Do you know what your rights are in accessing housing? Title II of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act apply to public housing. The Fair Housing Act applies to public and private housing. These laws prohibit housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Participants will learn which entities are covered by which laws, the design and construction requirements of the FHA, the difference between modifications and accommodations and who pays for what, as well as housing advocacy strategies.


Accessing Health Care: How the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Apply to Health Insurance and Providers of Care

Are you encountering barriers in trying to get appropriate medical treatment, medication and accessing your healthcare providers? The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act provide some protection in the health care arena. There are informal and formal administrative routes you can pursue to adverse decisions. Participants will learn how these laws can help you, as well as strategies to get your complaints resolved. Specific issues that are addressed include:

  • Employer-provided health plans (Title I);
  • Accessibility of providers;
  • Scope of Title III;
  • Disparate impact theories;
  • Discrimination among disabilities;
  • Applicability of integration mandate;
  • Challenges to specific managed care practices;
  • Insurance safe harbor;
  • Medical treatment decisions;
  • Enforcement, remedy, and damage issues; and
  • Special outreach obligations.


Accessible Electronic & Information Technology

What is Accessible Electronic & Information Technology? Why should anyone care?

Participants will be introduced to the terms and the categories of E&IT (websites, software applications and operating systems; telecommunication products; video and multimedia products; instructional technology; and desktop and portable computers). An overview of the access barriers E&IT presents to people with disabilities will be included. We will demonstrate the barriers to electronic and information technology for people who are blind, have low vision, are deaf, are hard of hearing or have mobility impairments. What is assistive technology (AT) and how does it help people access E&IT? What is the interface between E&IT and AT? What makes websites/software/hardware accessible? Examples and demonstrations for each category of E&IT will be provided.

Planning for Universally Designed Electronic & Information Technology

Participants will learn how to address the process of planning for universally designed E&IT, the importance of an accessibility policy, ways to determine what is and what is not accessible (standards, guidelines, checklists), as well as procurement policies and procedures. Sample policies and promising practices will be included. We will review various accessibility standards for the web, software, distance learning programs, multimedia products and more.

Sections 508 and 255

Sections 508and 255 are revolutionizing the web and other information technology such as software and kiosks. We will clarify federal and state agencies' obligations under Sections 508 and 255, plus the role of businesses that contract with the government. Participants will learn what Sections 508 and 255 require for accessible websites, software, distance learning programs, office equipment, kiosks and more, including examples of websites that comply and ones that don't comply with 508 standards, and the consumer’s role in enforcement.

Web Sites and Access

Learn the principles of web accessibility and why it matters to you and your students, staff, and educators. DBTAC training staff will demonstrate the barriers for people who are blind, have low vision, are deaf, are hard of hearing, have mobility impairments, or those with cognitive disabilities. We will show websites that are and websites that are not accessible to people with disabilities. You will learn the Section 508 access standards and the Web Accessibility Guidelines for web accessibility. We will review the resources for more technical questions and accessibility of web authoring tools.

Accessible Distance Learning

What makes distance-learning programs accessible? What are accessibility barriers in distance learning? What accessible distance learning tools can be used to create on-line distance learning programs? Participants will learn the answers to these questions and more.

Accessible Technology in Learning

To benefit from instruction in modern classrooms, students with disabilities need to be able to operate computers, participate in online discussions and access curricula presented using multi-media. This participation is growing in importance as students in classrooms across the United States continue to rely more and more on technology to deliver and enhance educational experiences, engage in research, prepare reports and demonstrate learning. Materials and technologies that are universally designed are key in making it possible for students with disabilities to fully participate and benefit from instruction today. As schools acquire and use an array of technologies it is critical that they consider the needs of students with a variety of abilities and disabilities. Participants in this session will learn about how to create a technology infrastructure that addresses the needs of all students and how making accessible information technology can improve outcomes for all students.


Serving Customers Who Have Disabilities

Strong communication skills are essential to creating a welcoming work environment. Enhance your communication skills by learning how to effectively serve people with diverse disabilities. How do you offer to shake hands with a person who is blind? Should you pet a service dog? When a deaf person uses an interpreter, who should you address, the interpreter or the person who is deaf? Come learn the answers to these critical questions and many more.


Often times, seniors don't think of themselves as people with disabilities. This session will examine how to educate the escalating number of seniors about the ADA and highlight the more applicable sections of the ADA to the 50+ population. This training will also cover specific disability/senior etiquette and awareness exercises.


Participants will leave with an overview for an array of federal laws that include:

  • ADA
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Air Carrier Access Act
  • Fair Housing Act
  • Family Medical Leave Act
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • and More


Providing effective communication for individuals who are deaf, hearing impaired, blind and visually impaired is a key nondiscrimination requirement under the Americans with disabilities Act. Places of public accommodation, state and local governmental entities and employers must provide auxiliary aids and services to comply with their respective obligations under the law and assure that communication provided is as effective as that provided to others. Sample policies concerning effective communication will be provided.


Students with Disabilities

Children with disabilities in public schools may be protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In this session you will learn about the protections each provides to children with disabilities, how they interact with each other and how to use them to assure that children get the education they are entitled to.

This program will:

  • explain the similarities and differences between the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;
  • clarify the rights of parents and children with disabilities under these laws;
  • explain school districts’ obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and ensure procedural safeguards for parents and guardians;
  • cover what happens at an IEP meeting and how parents can best prepare and participate; and
  • what happens when schools and parents disagree?

Post-Secondary Schools and Students with Disabilities

Most schools have obligations under both the ADA and Section 504. This program clarifies their similarities and differences. Academic adjustments, course substitutions, documentation of disability, auxiliary aids and services and testing accommodations are all discussed. The definition of disability and its application in postsecondary institutions is covered. Case law and U.S. Department of Education policies and settlement agreements are also reviewed.

Disaster Preparedness

Prepare for the Worst: Disaster Preparedness for your Business

Preparing for disasters is a task that should not be postponed. Participants will learn about both individual and business disaster preparation and recovery. Best practices will be discussed, as well as recommendations from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Accommodations for individuals with disabilities must be part of any disaster plan. Participants will learn how best to include disability planning as part of disaster planning, and how to consider the needs of all employees, as well as the needs of the business, in recovering from disasters – both natural and man-made. Handouts include checklists to make planning and preparation easier.