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The ADA was born in Virginia efforts for Accessibility

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Aug 8 2021

Sign language classes

Aug 7 2021

IRC is offering two sign language classes for the winter.  A Beginner’s class is offered, if five students register for the class.  

Upcoming sessions

Winter session 2021

Beginner’s Classes (Dependent on five students registering)
Start Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm
End Date: April 6, 2022

Advanced Beginner’s Class
Start Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022, 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm
End Date: April 7, 2022

There is a sliding scale of $50-$75 per 12-week session.


Sign up

You can mail a check to the IRC to reserve a slot in an upcoming session. Make sure to include your name, email address, and phone number. Mail checks to


Brenda Gianniny

Sign language classes

Independence Resource Center

815 Cherry Avenue

Charlottesville, VA 22903


Still have questions?

For more information, contact Brenda Gianniny:

(434) 971-9629


Adaptive equipment

Aug 7 2021

Here is some of the equipment IRC currently has available. If you would like more information about our available equipment or would like to request equipment, please contact us.

Power chairs

  • 2 Jazzy power chairs
  • 1 Pronto-M-1 power chair

Manual chairs

  • Several E&J folding chairs


  • Walkers
  • Portable ramps
  • Crutches
  • Tires and tubes

ADA corner

Aug 7 2021

Below are various sources related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more detailed inquiries, please visit or email a staff member from the staff page.

ADA.gov homepage

Information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act from the US Department of Justice.

ADAAG Standards

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities.

ADA Standards

2010 ADA Standards for accessible design.

DBTAC Online Course

Overview of disability rights laws–a free, self-paced course on federal disability rights laws.

Architectural Barriers Act

The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968.

Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy

Virginia’s Protection and Advocacy System Serving Persons with Disabilities.

Center for Universal Design

The Center for Universal Design at NC State is a national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, outdoor environments, and products.

Ramp Design

Handicap ramp design and construction guidelines.

The ADA was born in Virginia efforts for Accessibility

Jul 26 2020

Kathryn A. Hayfield column: Americans with Disabilities Act born of Virginia’s struggle for equality

The VisitAble Database

Apr 10 2020

The Visitable Database actively helps locations become more mobility-friendly, advertises companies who are leading the way in accessibility, and provides an easy way for those with mobility issues to explore accessibility!

IRC and Transportation

Jun 16 2011

Five years before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act requiring nondiscriminatory transportation services, the city of Charlottesville  became the first city in Virginia to commit to making its entire public transit fleet accessible.  A year later, IRC persuaded the Charlottesville government to expand para-transit services within the urban ring; in 1987 operating hours were modified to include evenings and weekends.

Since IRC’s historic influence on the transportation system in the ’80s, IRC has continued to be the principle advocate for accessible transportation for people with disabilities in Planning District Ten. To ensure the  transportation system continues to sustain independence for disabled individuals, the Center periodically conducts “sensitivity training” with drivers and other staff of the Charlottesville transit system and the Jefferson Area United Transit (JAUNT). This training assists the drivers in providing more efficient and effective service for users. The Center has additionally been a strong advocate for equitable transit fares so as not to place an unfair burden on riders with disabilities.

Accompanying the changes to the local bus systems, IRC actively advocates improved infrastructure such as sidewalk, curb cut, crosswalk, and ramp improvements to create improved access throughout the region.  IRC also advocates strongly for both tactile and auditory warnings at key intersections in the area. Finally, the Center provides independent living skills training to local consumers with disabilities so they can utilize the accessible public transit facilities in the region.

IRC’s commitment to its goal of creating an environment in which disabled individuals can live as independently as they choose is no where clearer than in the work done advocating for accessible transportation. In addition to providing the necessary information for self-advocacy regarding laws already in place, IRC responds to the needs of the disabled community in a way that effects future lawmaking.