Wizard of OZ dolls


Universal Designs not only fit an entire lifetime, but are INclusive Design for Everyone!
With the overall goal of diffusing the UD concept to the Mainstream population-NOT just to people with disabilities and older adults, we created the Universal Design Learnsite and Guidesite to raise UD awareness and enthusiasm among young teens and their teachers and leaders. The National Endowment for the Arts and Kansas State University cooperatively funded this project under NEA's 2003 UD Leadership program.

1 The UD Guide Site (GS) provides a one-stop background on Universal Design for teachers and youth group leaders who assist teens in using the Youth UD Learnsite (YLS) in school or after-school group settings. The GS content provides detailed, in-depth background that compliments the YLS lessons, plus Learning Activity descriptions and outcome-based student assessment ideas. The YLS lesson and GS section numbers are not correlated with one another. Guides should have a fair grasp of all GS sections before beginning the UD unit.


Our objectives in developing the Youth Universal Design Learnsite (UDLS) were to prepare young teens to become volunteer change agents who spread the concept to their families and friends and stimulate community-wide UD awareness. The companion UD Guidesite (UDGS) is designed to prepare teachers and adult leaders to assist their students and after-school group members in learning about and diffusing UD. Guides are welcome to become adult UD change agents themselves!

Broad dissemination of the Universal Design concept from its current low level to the U. S. Mainstream society AND beyond, can lead to greater market demand, mass production savings, and lower prices for universally-usable products and places. From there, an increased UD adoption rate would bring an inclusive, user-friendly global society, designed for ALL!

Based on social learning theory, the UDLS content is most appropriate for inclusion in the following middle school, junior high, and selected senior high curricula: Art (Design Principles); Consumer and Family Sciences (Home Living); Social Studies (Communities/Civics); Technology Education (problem-solving w/ Math, Science, and Technology); and Vocational Technical (Building Trades).

The UDLS also targets young teens in organized after-school programs. They include members of Boys and Girls Clubs, church youth groups, 4-H, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, YMCA and YWCA members, and Youth Community Service Programs (e.g., teen Habitat for Humanity volunteers).


The UD web sites have separate URLs: the UDLS "just for teens" and the UDGS for their teachers and leaders. If a wave washes an inquisitive young web surfer into the UDGS, s/he will be redirected to the UDLS. After trying a fun lesson or two, surfers might introduce the UD Learnsite to their Guides and even suggest that completing it together in school or youth meetings would have greater impact (and BE MORE FUN!).


The UD Guide Site contains background information on the UD concept and its application to teens' daily lives, especially at home, and suggestions for using the UDLS online with interactive small learning groups. Written at a higher reading level and lacking "hooks" designed to grab and hold reluctant readers, the UDGS should NOT interest young teens. If a need to "Get Goofy" overwhelms any Guides, go to the UDLS and pick any lesson. We hope you'll get a laugh or two-that (naturally) reinforces the material!

After this long one, the UDGS sections are brief but adequate to prepare Guides without taking a course or doing in-depth research on UD. As is noticeable from the web sites' tables of contents, they do NOT march in tandem. We tried to limit redundancy between them, and therefore suggest that Guides get a fair grasp of the entire UDGS BEFORE trying to assist youth with their UDLS lessons.

In addition to this introduction, other UDGS sections are: 2) Assumptions about teens as potential change agents; 3) UD definitions; 4) UD Principles with examples; 5) Evolution of the UD concept; 6) Interactive small group web-learning; 7) How YoYos can diffuse UD; 8) Infusing multi-cultural competencies via UD; 9) Detailed UDLS lesson overviews; and 10) Related teaching and learning resources.

If you wonder why the "UD history lesson" is in the middle (Section 5) of this site: We didn't want to scare you off up front OR have this compelling and fascinatingly complex story left behind at the end as you rush to complete your UD Unit. In the youth site, we linked a brief version of the evolution to the end of the Orientation page. Teens have A CHOICE to read it before, during, or after the UD Unit-or even NOT at all!

The UDGS provides more UD depth and detail than you need to pass on; plus Rogers' Adoption/Diffusion Theory and outcome-based student learning assessment. We focused on broad descriptions and assorted UD applications so that Guides may customize UD Unit contents for specific age/grade levels, "home" curricula, or senior high courses. The UDLS learning activities are adaptable to fit age 12-16 subgroups, and the Advanced Options are for senior high students, but use YOUR judgement.

The UDGS is for GROWN-UPS' speedy preparation in understanding the UD concept and guiding web-learners from the side. We stuck in a few odd images to keep your eyes smiling but NOT delay your entry to UD Education. As you read, jot down initial reactions and reflections to share with the YoYos, plus feedback notes for us. We included a reusable email-back form that can also collect evaluation data on the UDLS as a teaching tool.


The UDLS contains ten lessons from which Guides and teens may select to build and customize an interdisciplinary UD Unit to fit the subject curriculum, the after-school program goals, AND the available time frame. The Lessons' content and accompanying Learning Activities use transformational, web-based educational methods geared to small group interaction, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

The UDLS lesson titles follow: 1) Universal Design: Definitions, principles & COOL examples; 2) Meeting lifespan housing needs with UD; 3) Harry's NOT the ONLY wizard....Designing innovatively and universally; 4) Human factors: Will one size even fit MOST?! 5) User-friendly Parade of Homes, UD checklist, and floor plan; 6) Trading Spaces global style: UD in other cultures; 7) Beautiful...and usable by ALL! 8) Kansas City, here I come! A+ youth community service; 9) Design crimes on trial: Judge Judy presiding; and 10) Visit*Ability: UD politics with a payoff!

We wrote the learning activity choices at the end of each YLS lesson for various age or grade levels (from Middle School to Senior High sophomores), and geared some to specific types of classes (e.g., Building Trades, Art, or...). The Related Resources section at the end of each site lists the references, Links, and other teaching and learning tools (media, home plan books, etc.). The Guide Site contains the full component, while the Learnsite has an abridged version with a note to parents or adult surfers that the UDGS Related Resources are much more extensive.

If you want WAY-COOL stuff, the Youth Learnsite is loaded with everything-even a kitchen sink that moves up and down at the touch of a button! THEIR site includes images of examples, Links, Quotable Quotes, cartoons, and hands-on activities to engage and hold THEIR interest. We also used teen jargon and humor, hoping that our clues to what's IN and COOL aren't TOO woefully GROSS. Admittedly, we were YoYos with The Fonz (NOT Baby Boomers OR post-BB Whiz Kids...). We DO have small herds of great/nieces and nephews aged 1-30 Something.


To develop a UD Unit that contains all ten--or fewer--lessons, Guides and teens may work together (the GS-9 detailed lesson overviews may help). We recognize that some school districts and after-school programs have more resources, time, and flexibility than others. If previous plans, conflicting schedules, state curricula, or tight budgets do NOT permit completion of ALL TEN lessons, your group may still participate.

We adapted participation options from the America Saves Cooperative Extension Service Program Guide (2002). As we track UDLS use and receive feedback and outcome data, the levels will permit meaningful data analyses and organization. Initially, a one-page, one-time email-back form for EVERYONE will gather data on ALL potential school or youth group locations and numbers of "eligible" teens, Guides' questions or comments, and if applicable, reasons for NONparticipation.

Don't let the data collection request scare you off! Feel free to use the UD Web Sites whatever way you can or will. Missing data will lower our initial use and impact conclusions, but if the eventual reality is obviously much greater, we'll survive.

The Full Participation Level commits a class or youth group to completing at least nine lessons and implementing a simple, inexpensive (in terms of both time and $$) Community-wide UD Awareness Campaign. Planned campaign activities will vary dependent on the UD Unit's curriculum "home," teens' interests, local mass media resources, and community partners (e. g., home stores, local service clubs, news media, or....).

The Lite Participation Level, which provides intermediate UD knowledge, requires Lessons 1-2, plus one lesson each from three of the pairs that follow. "UD Lite" also asks that the teens, as a group, prepare a complete outline for a small-scale UD awareness campaign. In total, the light touch should take a little more than half as much time as full participation.

Lessons 1-2, the Basic Participation Level, may be possible even where time is short. Lesson One defines UD and presents its Principles with examples. Lesson 2 describes the Family Life and Residential Cycles that together reveal people's needs for UD products and places over the lifespan. Those introductions may entice teen partners to do the remaining lessons on their own in school computer labs, public libraries, or at home. Working together, they can learn more AND have fun at the same time!

The Review Level is for potential Guides who briefly study the content of both web sites, but do NOT (plan to) implement a UD Unit by the end of the 2005-06 school year or following summer (whatever the reason). Just submit the EVERYONE form to let us know and to provide data on NON-participants (for comparison purposes).

Guides' administrative duties include 1) completing the initial email-back form for EVERYONE (above), and 2) short midpoint and final email-back forms that use closed questions and short answers where possible. Also, Guides and youth who return the email-back evaluation forms at the ends of lessons will be most appreciated! All of the above will permit us to make necessary revisions and document the UD web sites' outcomes, hopefully without overloading YOU.

Guides whose groups participate at Basic, Lite, or Full levels will receive a blank final report form (usable as a news release). After filling the blanks with numbers of teens involved, types of lessons and learning activities completed, and brief description of their UD Awareness Campaign outcomes, Guides can email a copy to us and one to the local news media (maybe your YoYos will get on a TV show!).


We developed the UDLS to seize the Internet's advantage in diffusing the Universal Design concept nationwide (and perhaps worldwide) while diminishing the digital divide that can discourage Net use in some places. This online learning tool can help close U. S. gaps between: 1) tech-savvy youth who use the Net independently for various educational activities; 2) students from the nearly one-half of American homes that have school-age children but are NOT connected to the Net; and 3) budget-strapped schools or computer-shy teachers who restrict Internet use for class projects (Pew, 2002; U. S. Census Bureau, 2001).

That gap may be wider in American rural small towns, and even wider in developing countries. Yet we intend that "No youth shall be left behind" for lack of computer access. To reduce the number of computer or online connections, yet achieve optimal learning, teen partners or small groups may collaborate on lessons in school computer labs and school or public libraries. EVEN where Net access is limited to the teacher's or librarian's desk, everyone may do the lessons together if an LCD projector is available.

The UDLS has limited "bells and whistles" (e. g., streaming video) that require high-speed connections or high-powered computer equipment (OR are slowed to a crawl by telephone modems). The WOW Factor is less important here than engaging and comprehensive content, GREAT GUIDANCE, and the widest possible dissemination. Guides may minimize online demand by printing and duplicating selected pages in advance for distribution to their Lean, Mean Learners.

With the exception of web-surfing youth, we do NOT intend that teens work independently for hours, each on a separate computer (perhaps at home--UNLESS the UDLS stirs their curiosity BEYOND the required lessons and learning activities. (Solo) Yo Yos are free to devour every UNassigned or optional section and Link on their own, perhaps for extra credit, ONLY IF that doesn't place "no-home-Net" youth at a disadvantage.

For multi-cultural sharing, cross-cultural comparisons, and applications, we included example/images and Links from other nations and continents. An example in Lesson 7? links to a COOL UD web site from Japan, mostly in their language. But some of its Home Page UD labels (in English) link to images that may not need words. Non-Japanese-speaking teens may have fun "translating" the graphically clear cartoons with captions in Chinese characters.

We encourage international Guides or university faculty who understand the UD concept and are fluent in English to translate the UDLS "script" and where possible, replace examples, images, and applications with some from their own cultures. Available web-based programs can translate English to Spanish and Japanese (and other languages?). In developing countries where the Net is accessible but web developers or technology may be limited, educators may use the UDLS as a model for creating a teaching tool that is unique to their cultures and educational systems.

We ask that persons who adapt the UDLS to their own cultures please give credit to its authors (White, B. J. and Selfridge, O. J., 2005) AND to the U. S. National Endowment for the Arts. Please also send us a copy of your work or its URL so we Link it to the UDLS.


As the UD Units begins, you need not have a FULL suitcase or "Bag of UD Tricks" to pass around your class or youth group (see below, plus Section GS-4 for 'no-cost' alternatives). If you want to start collecting small, hands-on UD items in advance, this section and Figure GS.1 will help.

As you introduce the UD Unit, a UD suitcase or bag of small UD items may serve to spark teens' interest. Giving each example to one or two teens to figure out "what it is and does" usually opens many eyes AND starts a good round-the-circle discussion of the items' usability by people of all ages and conditions. Later, youth can match the items with the UD Principle(s) that each demonstrates.

Use the Figure GS.1 list of UD examples, categorized into Lower, Medium, and Higher cost levels, as your "UD grocery list." Initially, you may find some items at home or yard sales, borrow from friends, or request a small sum for early purchases. If the suitcase is almost empty as the UD Unit begins, ask teens to bring examples from home to show and tell (then return).

Images of many items on Figure GS.1 may be found in various UDLS lessons, or may be purchased at discount outlets, home and hardware stores, health care suppliers, and from mail-order catalogs or web sites. We recommend shopping around because competing companies may offer similar UD products at VERY different prices. For example, long arm reachers can be under $15 for shorter, lightweight versions that lift up to one pound. More expensive and extendable models can hold several pounds, IF the user can lift and doesn't drop the item(s).

Larger UD examples such as roll-in showers won't fit in the suitcase or bag, and can be relatively expensive. They may, however, meet a particular human need and reduce risks to the caregivers' or recipients' health and safety. In such cases, cost may not be an issue unless the funds are NOT available personally or from organizations that make grants to assist with large health-related purchases. In 2005, most health-related UD products were NOT eligible as Durable MEDICAL Equipment (DME) under the U. S. federal Medicare program.

Am American cost-benefit example: IF long-term care (LTC) is the only alternative, spending over $5,000 on a side-entry, "walk-in" bathtub should be compared to the monthly cost of nursing home care. Care facility costs vary hugely, but it is safe to say that $5,000 may only pay for only one to two months-if that. Also, as more people realize the benefits of universal usability, UD product and installation costs may add more to those homes' resale values.

(Shop around and obtain a few from each cost category)3
Lower Cost: $15 or less (for each item):
1. Easy-fill toilet tissue holder
2. D- or loop cabinet or drawer handles
3. Either-handed scissors or shears
4. Arthwriter or Handy Birdie EZ grip pen/pencil
5. Silverware or utensils with large, EZ-grasp handles
6. Under-counter or twist-off jar opener
7. Magnifying glass or mirror
8. Easy-reader book stand
9. "Say-when" liquid level indicator
Medium Cost: $15-$30 each:
10. Short grab bars (stainless steel or white)
11. Extended reacher (to high shelves or the floor)
12. Lever interior door handle
13. Touch-on/off or clap-on/off lamp control
14. Remote light control
15. Talking alarm clock
16. Energy-saving, long-life fluorescent lightbulb
17. One-handed electric can opener
Higher Cost: Over $30:
18. Portable toilet seat riser
19. Height-adjustable, hand-held showerhead on slide bar
20. Flashing telephone ring-alert
21. Grab bar that attaches to tub rim
22. Bathtub safety bench
23. EZ read automatic, energy-saving thermostat
24. Longer and shaped grab bars in designer colors
25. Lifeline telephone support system (available for rent or sale, but

2 Since price levels vary considerably, items are classified from Lower to Higher cost. UD products are becoming available at discount and home/hardware stores, and in "gadget" catalogs and on websites.

3 The National Endowment for the Arts and Kansas State University do not certify that the items above are safe or effective, nor do they endorse any specific products or manufacturers.

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Kansas Sunflowers grow in BOTH KCK AND KCMO! Credit: Radio KS