Middle School Kids
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Welcome to the Universal Design (UD) Zone! We created this site to prepare YOUth to spread the UD Word to your friends, families, and communities. A separate UD Guide Site offers background info for teachers and after-school program leaders who work with young teens to use THIS site for fun, web-based learning.

Universal Design is for EVERYONE!

Rather than "special" products and places for people who have limitations, universal designs look NO different and are usable by as many people as possible withOUT expensive or obvious changes. UD goes BEYOND wheelchair ACCESSIBILITY to a world where people of ALL ages and ability levels can participate, NOT be socially-isolated.

You probably know that most children with disabilities now grow up at home and go to public schools. They're IN the Mainstream, doing as much as they can with friends who see their limits simply as other human differences. For 35+ years, our government has encouraged states to REMOVE existing barriers AND STOP building new ones. But the process of VOLUNTARILY making physical AND attitudinal barriers disappear is SO-O-O SLO-O-O-OW.

Past disability populations did not represent a large consumer market. But in today's aging world, the numbers of people who need MORE USABLE PRODUCTS are increasing rapidly. MILLIONS of individuals with disabilities, young children, older adults, AND their families and friends now make up a huge potential market for UD. Universal designs discretely--even invisibly--allow EVERYONE to live safely and independently for a whole LIFETIME.

The UD Learnsite's ten lessons offer COOL info about universally-designed products and places. You will learn that INCLUSIVITY is the key to erasing the differences that separate people physically and socially in our diverse world. We prepared the lessons for flexible use in various Middle School to Senior High curricula, after-school youth programs, and even by web-surfers!

Here's YOUR chance to introduce UD to your home town, letting others know that DESIGN FOR ALL can make the world a user-friendly place! Working together, your class or after-school group could launch an AWESOME youth service project to share your new UD knowledge with a HUGE--even GLOBAL--audience.

Whether at OR after-school, everyone needs to complete Lessons 1 and 2 to learn what UD IS and ISN'T, and relate the changes we experience over the Family Life and Residential Cycles to our need for human-centered design. You and your guides could choose to do one of each of the remaining pairs of lessons (3 or 4, 5 or 6, 9 or 10, etc.) for an overflowing "Half-Pint UD Unit." Or, if time allows, you could "Go for the Gold" and do all ten lessons (either tackling them as a group or on your own in the school computer lab, the public library, or at home).

If you surfed into the UD Learnsite all by your Lonesome, try any--or all ten--lessons. You might give its URL to YOUR Guide, suggesting that doing the UD Learnsite together would allow you ALL to learn AND serve. Get jazzed and have fun!

Website author-developers:

Betty Jo White, Professor of Housing, Department of Apparel, Textiles & Interior Design, College of Human Ecology

O. J. Selfridge, Professor, Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Planning and Design

Manhattan (the LITTLE Apple), KS.