Accessibility Tip of the Week

Planning ahead is welcoming to all.

  • Summary: Include a way to request accommodations for events.
  • Who it helps: Anyone with a disability that requires alternative arrangements to participate.
  • Additional benefits: Accommodations advertise your organization's inclusiveness and planning, while avoiding surprises during an event.

Some of your attendees may need accommodations to attend one of your events. Accommodations are alternative arrangements made so all individuals can attend and participate. Accommodations may include:

  • Sign language interpreting,
  • Wheelchair access,
  • Braille programs,
  • Seating for people to rest when most attendees will stand,
  • Fragrance free bathrooms,
  • Food to support dietary restrictions,
  • A lactation room,
  • And more.

Accommodations ensure everyone can participate but require some planning and forethought.

What can I do?

First, to make sure you can support everyone, pick an accessible digital or physical location. If you are unsure, ta11y.org can help you evaluate the location.

Second, communicate with your attendees that additional accommodations are available by request. Do this well ahead of time, and be prepared to provide what they need. Two possible approaches are below:

Option 1: Include an accommodations statement on your event advertising.

  • Determine who will handle accommodations in your organization.
  • Set up a way to contact that person(s). This might be using email or phone.
  • Write an accommodations statement that you can use on all your event advertising.
  • Parts of a good accommodations statement include:
    • A statement of your intent to be inclusive (optional),
    • A statement about the location accessibility or other existing accommodations,
    • The contact information to request accommodations, and
    • The date accommodations must be requested by.

An example of accommodation text is included below:

We are committed to including everyone in our events, including people with disabilities. The reception hall is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking is available in the rear of the building. If you need accommodations, please email events@example.com at least 5 days before the event.

Option 2: Include a question or survey when registering for the event.

This question will typically list accommodation options as a multi-select list with an “other” option. An example of an accommodations question:

Zoom captions will be turned on during the event. Which of the following additional accommodations do you need?

  • Sign language interpreting
  • Slides available in advance
  • Verbal descriptions of visual information
  • Other: ________________

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If you are promoting accessibility within your organization or community, sending out easy-to-understand tips can be a helpful addition to your strategy. You are welcome to share the tips here under the mentioned Creative Commons license, as long as you cite Accessible Community as your source.