Ask an Expert

1325–75; Middle English (adj.) < Latin expertus, past participle of experīrī to try, experience

Every day we live with the need to communicate. We need to rise above simple translation and see the meaning, when we build a website we need to include everyone (not just the sighted) and when we travel we are faced with challenging physical barriers. I know what it's like and think I have the depth and resources to help others make the right decisions.

Each month I will be responding to a question, chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked. A complete archive of "Ask an Expert" articles can be found here.

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

This month, I'd like to answer the following question:

Making a cooking class accessible

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here's how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

There is something that many of those who offer cooking classes may want to bear in mind and it is this.

There is a growing group of customers who are in dire need of being able to take cooking classes and these customers include:
Seniors, retirees, persons with disabilities, and yes! Young professionals!

For this month we are going to focus on seniors and persons with disabilities because they are probably the ones who need to be able to have greater access to these types of courses.

So here are some tips to get you started.

  • Make sure that your physical facilities are well outfitted to accommodate such things as wheelchairs and walkers, and are equipped with adequate lighting and counters and dressers that are easy to find and reach.
  • Provide spots for the storage of walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and other types of mobility devices.
  • Make sure that teachers and instructors receive appropriate awareness training as to how to communicate with and interact with seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Teachers and instructors would need to understand their potential customers and these would include; seniors, persons who are blind and vision impaired, those with hearing problems, those with cognitive disabilities, and those with other types of disabilities.
  • Make sure that your facilities are appropriately color contrasted so that it is easy to differentiate between counters and dressers from cupboards, and floors from doors.
  • Be sure to offer a location that is easily accessible. The least number of steps, ramps, and close to public transit and easy to find.

There is a lot more to consider but this should be a good start.