Consider going beyond basic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in making space accessible by specifically designing spaces for veterans in both reception areas and private offices.
Here are some tips for creating an accessible and considerate space:
- Make sure the office space is quiet and free of distractions.
- Make sure there are clear exit signs and clear paths for the veteran to leave and not feel cornered.
- Make sure seating faces outwards into the room and not with backs facing doors or open spaces.
- Whenever possible, give veterans multiple options of where to sit, and suggest they sit where they feel most comfortable.
- Your office may be uncomfortable for someone who has experienced trauma.
If you have personal items on display in your office that allude to your family life and your client is discussing that they have been isolated from their family, this may be a painful reminder. They may feel further disconnected from you because of this and be distrustful.
- Install ramps, handrails, and provide accessible parking spaces.
- Elevators can create dizzying spells; install handrails in the elevator and upon exit.
- Provide written information in large print and provide clear direction signs.
- Use high intensity white lights instead of fluorescent and increase natural lighting.
- Make sure forms are clear to understand and that veterans have enough time to complete them.