The ADA Coordinator's Office is available to assist members of The Ohio State University Community in planning events. You can contact the office by e-mail at ADA-OSU@osu.edu or by calling (614) 292-6207.
There are no limits on human variation and one size never fits all. Thoughtful planning will minimize surprises and allow you to respond to requests efficiently. There is no substitution for inviting participants to let you know what they need early. The first phrase taught to me in a sign class was "slow down I am learning." In the same vein invite your participants to make requests for accommodation on all your communication (registration form, flyers, web pages, e-mails and print). For example:
“For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations please contact (name) at (include phone and an e-mail address so that someone with a hearing or verbal disability can make inquiries). Two weeks advance notice will allow us to provide seamless access."
The person or office sponsoring the event should be assigned as a contact person because they will know about the event. When they can not answer a question about a need, they simply take down the information on the request and the contact information on the individual. They can then contact the ADA Coordinator for assistance in locating resources and implementing accommodations.
When budgeting for meetings or conferences, include accommodating people with disabilities as a budget item. You might need a sign language interpreter, assistive listening devices or amplification of the speaker or media in an alternate format, i.e. a copy of the power point presentation or handouts in large print or Braille. If you need to get an idea of costs, the ADA Coordinator's Office can help you anticipate costs and identify resources so that you are not addressing these needs at the last minute.
When you plan for moderators, facilitators, and registration, identify individuals that would be willing to volunteer as readers, guides, and do other functions related to accommodating individuals with disabilities. Be sure that these volunteers are included in any staff orientation and ensure that they have training on how to work with people with disabilities.
Have communications and other assistive devices regularly available for the use of individuals with disabilities. Consider the size and nature of your event and participants and the possibility of reserving interpreters and/or captionists as soon as you have selected the meeting dates. Familiarize yourself with the cancellation deadlines for the various agencies.
A site visit to the hotel or conference center should be conducted to determine whether barriers to accessibility exist. The site visit should consider barriers to those with a wide range of impairments (visual, hearing, mobility, etc.) in all of the areas used including:
Links to detailed check lists are provided in the resource section.
When promoting your event and planning for registration, you should:
If a general statement such as the one above is included, staff responding to requests should be prepared to ask detailed questions regarding necessary accommodations. A more detailed registration form requesting information on specific needs can also be used.
Sample detailed registration questions:
I will need the following accommodations in order to participate:
Assistive listening device
Disk. List format: __________________
Orientation to facility
Diet Restrictions. List: __________________
An assistant will be accompanying me Yes No
When planning social functions and meals, planners should:
The conference/meeting planner should work with invited speakers and presenters to ensure that presentations are accessible to persons with disabilities.
ADA Coordinator’s Office,
Ohio State University.
Planning Accessible Meetings.
AXIS Center for Public Awareness of People with Disabilities.
Guide to Accessible Meetings and Events
Disabled People's Network Manchester
Checklist for Planning Accessible Meetings and Events.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Disability Resource Center.
Removing Barriers: Planning Meetings That Are Accessible To All Participants.
North Carolina Office on Disability and Health in collaboration with The Center for Universal Design.
Accessible Best Practices (resources for accessible science centers, museums, exhibits, displays, presentations, tours, and meetings).
Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Section 504 Programs and Activities Accessibility Handbook.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Arranging Accessible Meetings.
National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership (NATTAP).
How to Plan Events that Everybody Can Attend.
New York State Department of Health.
See Through Barriers: Making Conferences & Events Accessible to People Who Are Blind.
Canadian Abilities Foundation.
Planning Accessible Conferences and Meetings: An ERIC/OSEP Information Brief for Conference Planners.
Education Resources Information Center/Office of Special Education Programs.