Shedd is extremely excited to be joining the ADA 25 Chicago initiative by expanding their access efforts during 2015 and beyond. To give this matter the proper attention, an Accessibility and Inclusion Steering Team has already been established. In the upcoming months this group will expand to a larger task force with representatives from various departments at Shedd. This group will celebrate what Shedd is already doing well and explore areas for improvement. They have chosen to focus on guests who are blind or have low vision to begin this effort. After an initial audit of Shedd’s practices they plan to address physical accessibility updates, tactile experiences for people who are blind or have low vision, staff training and audio description options. They will be partnering with community groups, such as Lighthouse for the Blind.

Shedd would like to ensure blind/low vision visitors are welcome and have a positive experience at Shedd, so this year they will assess how to best implement that, and after implementation in 2016, they will commit to providing this going forward. They see this effort as an opportunity to reinvigorate Shedd’s energy around accessibility and inclusion. To guarantee sustainability, Shedd hopes to put a plan of continuation in place. As mentioned, they plan on focusing on guests who are blind or have low vision this year; however, they want to create a continuous cycle of refinement that will allow them to continue to build on offerings for one audience while starting to explore another audience. In the end, Shedd hopes to infuse a culture of universal design, while simultaneously diving deeper into specific needs. Shedd anticipates that this in-depth examination and implementation will continue through 2017.