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Jennifer Bowerman-Skulski

Gary Robb

Last modified: Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Ten years of success for National Center on Accessibility at IU

The National Center on Accessibility, headquartered at the Indiana University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, is entering its second decade with an established track record of success.

"NCA has spent the last 10 years being committed to providing national-level leadership in making park, recreation and tourism venues and programs accessible to people with disabilities," said Gary Robb, executive director of the center and an associate professor of recreation and park administration at IU. The NCA Web site is at

Comments from those working with NCA reflect the success of the organization. Kay Ellis of the Bureau of Land Management said NCA has "contributed significantly to increasing the level of access at BLM so that "everyone now knows that accessibility is a shared responsibility. It's not just one person's job to ensure people with disabilities can enjoy the public lands, it's everyone's job." Larry Roffee, executive director of the U.S. Access Board, said NCA has made a "significant contribution" regarding accessibility projects.

Statistics from NCA show that since its beginning in 1992, the organization has trained more than 20,000 professionals and answered more than 19,000 requests for technical assistance. Research work has helped develop national accessibility guidelines for swimming pools, trails, beaches, golf and other recreational environments.

Probably the most visible success has involved golf. NCA has pushed for allowing those with disabilities to play golf and provided golf course managers with information on how to accommodate these individuals. In addition, NCA helped establish the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, of which Robb is president.

Robb said a nationwide list of NCA clients includes the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indianapolis Parks and Recreation, NASA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Valley Authority, Pennsylvania State Parks, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"Through our work with these agencies and others, NCA has played a critical role in increasing awareness of inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation, leisure and tourism while advancing the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act and other disability legislation," Robb said.

NCA, working in partnership with IU and the National Park Service, focuses on research, training and technical assistance to link the preferences and needs of people with disabilities to those of practitioners designing facilities and planning programs.

Activities for NCA have included developing accessibility guidelines for recreational environments, conducting training programs, surveying program participants to help gauge the success level, delivering distance education through computer technology, creating a Web site for public use, promoting cooperative research with other agencies and universities, and publishing technical reports and research findings on a regular basis.

For more details on NCA, contact Robb at 812-856-4422 or