The Community Health Environment Checklist (CHEC) and Community Accessibility Maps
Jane is a wheelchair user who recently moved to a new town and needs to find a local doctor. How does she learn which offices are accessible and receptive for people with disabilities?
Thomas wants to visit a nearby restaurant that has a good reputation for its food, but he has trouble hearing his companions in noisy settings and safely navigating dark interiors. How can he check out the restaurant’s sensory accessibility before he decides to go?
Now both people can literally “CHEC” out these places by using the Community Health Environment Checklist (CHEC). This new tool is a way for people with disabilities to find out how accessible and receptive the stores, services and public spaces in their communities are, then to share that information with others through a Google map.
For example, the CHEC Google map pictured above shows ratings for mobility (CHEC-M), low vision (LV) and hard of hearing (HOH) for a bookstore in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
As a tool to enhance community participation, the CHEC assesses a person's ability to get into a building, do what he or she needs to do, and get out without difficulty. This standardized assessment of physical and social environments was developed with the input of people with disabilities.
Community Accessibility Maps Now Available for Six Missouri Cities
A set of CHEC results is now available to people who live in six Missouri cities: Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Hannibal, Poplar Bluff, Rolla and Warrensburg. St. Louis and Springfield sites are being evaluated, along with sites in Carbondale, Illinois, and Menomonie, Wisconsin. Visit CHECpoints.com to see ratings for the current Missouri sites and other sites that have been assessed.
Users in Cape Girardeau, for example, can find out how well local banks, pharmacies, restaurants, retail stores, auto shops, salons and barber shops, medical offices, and more rank in terms of accessibility for people with hearing, vision and mobility impairments.
The rankings provide a score and specific information. One shop, for example, gets a score of 79 out of 100 for low vision on its exterior approach because there is not sufficient time to safely cross the street, traffic signals aren’t accompanied by sounds, and the manual door doesn’t have contrast between the wall and door frame.