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Event Programming Tips

student biking across campusYou will not always now whether people with disabilities will be attending your meeting, activity, or program. Therefore, it is important to consider, plan, and advertise accessibility for all events.

If you are planning a program or event:

  1. Start early. Considering access as a part of the design of your program or activity will welcome all participants from the start and reduce surprises and the need to retrofit your event at the last minute (ex. changing your program when you’ve planned to show an uncaptioned film and only learn that a person who is deaf will attend the night before the event).
     
  2. Choose a location that is accessible to wheelchair-users and supports the possible use of accommodations. Most facilities at the University are wheelchair accessible; however, if you’re considering a location off campus, you will want to be sure to visit the site to confirm its accessibility. Items to consider include:
  • Availability of accessible parking and an accessible drop-off area
  • Accessibility of the primary entrance: Is it level or ramped? Does it have either an accessible door or automatic door opener?
  • Availability of wheelchair seating in a space that allows for companion seating
  • Clear signage
  • Accessibility of restrooms and drinking fountains
  • Adequacy of lighting and space. Is the space appropriately lighted for its intended use? Is there adequate space for Sign Language interpreters, service animals, wheelchair maneuverability, etc.?
  • Accessibility of outdoor space- does the path of travel to the venue present barriers? If any activities will be held outdoors, does the space provide offer access for all participants?

Only use the wheelchair logo if, in fact, the venue you are using is wheelchair accessible. The logo only refers to wheelchair access and should not be used as a “generic” message that other accommodations are available. Be intentional with the services provided and the symbols associated with them to ensure clarity. Other disability access symbols are available at: http://www.nsnet.org/symbols.htm

  1. Promote the event as inclusive and include information on how to arrange for accommodations. Statements about the availability of accommodations are a way of creating a welcoming environment. By encouraging advance inquires, you can identify accommodations early so that they can be implemented in a seamless fashion.

    The following template statements should be included on marketing or informational materials to let people know how they can request accommodations:

  • Events (To appear on calendars, posters, flyers and other announcements or advertising for the event.)
    If you have questions concerning access, wish to request a Sign Language interpreter or disability-related accommodations please contact {insert name and contact information including an e-mail or TTY number}.
  • Publications (To appear on catalogs, brochures, and other University publications)
    To request this information in an alternate format (Braille, digital, tape or large print) please contact {insert name and contact information including an e-mail or TTY number}.
  • Registration Forms (To appear on printed and on-line registration materials)
    Please describe any disability-related accommodations that will facilitate your full participation in this {insert activity: seminar, conference, etc.}, such as Sign Language interpreting, Braille or electronic text, transportation, lodging, dietary requirements, etc.:
  • Web Pages Learn how to create an accessible Website
    1. (To appear as text on pages if you are not sure of usability)
      If any portions of this page are not accessible with adaptive technology, please contact {insert page owner/web master name, e-mail, phone, and TTY if available}.
    2. (To appear as text on pages that contain non-captioned audio content, such as post-event podcasts of featured presenters)
      To request a transcript or a captioned version of this audio material as a disability-related accommodation, please contact Office of Disability Services; ods@txstate.edu; 512-245-3451
  1. Be Prepared to Respond to Questions. If you receive questions about accessibility or an accommodation request and are unsure of how to respond, ask for contact information, insure you understand the question or request, and let the person know you will be back in touch with an answer shortly. Contact () for advice in responding.
     
  2. Know Your Campus Resources. The Office of Disability Services (ods@txsate.edu; 512-245-3451) on campus provides a variety of resources, and staff is available to consult as you design your event.
  1. Maximize the accessibility of planned activities and program content. Events can include a variety of activities that may pose accessibility challenges and require advance planning.
  • If a Power Point presentation will be used, encourage your presenter(s) to:
    • provide you with a copy that can be converted to an accessible format (electronic text, large print or Braille) and/or used as background information for Sign Language interpreters
    • describe visuals during the presentation
    • design slides with clear, well-sized fonts and appropriate white space
  • Assure that any films or audiovisual content is captioned and be prepared to audio-describe visual content
  • If activities are a part of the event, consult with DRC to maximize the accessibility of activities for all attendees

* ADA/504 Compliance

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, no qualified person will be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University because of disability.

Resources:

How to Make Presentations Accessible for All

Invite, Welcome, and Respect: Planning Accessible Meetings and Events

Checklist for Planning Accessible Meetings and Events

Accessible Information Exchange: Meeting on a Level Playing Field