Animated Educational Videos for Kids from the Northeast ADA Center

Joe Zesski May 28, 2021

Here at the Northeast ADA Center, we work to educate all our regional stakeholders about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it impacts and applies to their lives and the community. For us, a regional stakeholder is someone who lives in the area we serve—New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands—and whose life is touched in some way by the ADA. That covers a diverse range of people, organizations, and communities. Providing information about our center and its services and the ADA are the foundation of our stakeholder engagement. We make every effort to meet people where they are at in terms of information and how they like to learn it.

We are really excited to launch a new initiative to teach children with disabilities—those who are very young, kindergarten through third grade (K–3)—about their rights under the ADA. We’re producing a new video series to help educate kids, their families, and their teachers. We thought about how to best share what can be complicated conversations about what disability can mean, what rights are (specifically under the ADA), how disability can impact our environment, and other similarly difficult but important issues that affect children (and adults) with disabilities. While that work is developing over the coming months and years, one aspect of that effort has begun.

We hope to create a series of kid-friendly animated videos that can present information in a fun, engaging way. To that end, we have developed a trailer as well as a sample episode using a series of characters, including a service dog and a service dog in training, a service miniature horse, a teacher, and an ADA expert. In this trial effort, we created an episode about the use of technology in the classroom. We have published the videos on our YouTube channel. Ultimately, all the animated videos will be created in both English and Spanish to ensure everyone in our region can understand the content. We will also offer both audio described and non-described versions of videos to make the videos as accessible as possible.

We would appreciate feedback as we continue to develop and create content. To date, we have a trailer available in English, in English with audio description, in Spanish, and in Spanish with audio description. We also have the Tech in the Classroom video available in English, in English with audio description, in Spanish, and in Spanish with audio description.

This is just the beginning of a larger effort by the Northeast ADA Center. We encourage you to share what topics you think might be valuable to include in our work. For our part, we will continue to share videos and other K–3 related efforts as they move ahead.