Planning Accessible Meetings and Events

Planning Accessible Meetings and Events

 

Venue

  • Visit the prospective site of the meeting or event in advance.
  • Conduct an assessment of the venue for accessibility starting with the surrounding area and parking lot.
  • Confirm  that ADA parking for cars and vans are available as well as a guest drop-off that is close to the venue.
  • The venue should be well-lit.
  • Check for adequate directional signage indicating accessible parking, travel routes, and entrances.
  • Assess the pathway to the entrance. Are there curb cuts from the parking lot? Are there ramps or elevators? Are there stairs?
  • Assess the facility, including meeting rooms, dining areas, and restrooms for accessibility.
  • Doors should open easily.

 

Promotion and Registration

  • Designate a contact person to respond to and address requests for disability accommodations.
  • For larger events, include a section about accessibility available at the venue on your event website along with contact information for questions.
  • Use a variety of mediums to promote the event. (ex. print, email, accessible website, and captioned video)
  • Publicize the event early and allow yourself time to put accommodations in place.
  • Include a statement on web pages, captioned videos, emails, flyers, and other forms of promotion and registration materials that explains how to request a reasonable disability accommodation and who to contact with questions about accommodations and event accessibility.
  • Include a field in your registration for guests to indicate any necessary accommodations or dietary concerns.
  • Be prepared to accommodate mobility devices, assist with orientation to the facility, provide sign language interpreters, captioning, Computer-Aided Real-time Translation (CART), material in alternative texts, dietary and other accommodations.
  • Provide alternative registration options. (ex. email, text message, phone)
  • State that materials are available in alternative formats and will be provided upon request.

 

Meeting/Event Space

  • Registration and meeting materials as well as food and beverages should be placed where they are accessible to a person in a wheelchair.
  • Tables should allow knee clearance for individuals using wheelchairs. Avoid long table cloths and allow sufficient room for individuals using mobility devices to approach tables and turn around easily.
  • Allow adequate clearance around and between tables so people using mobility devices can navigate easily.
  • Integrate accessible seating throughout the room allowing open spaces for people using wheelchairs.
  • Make sure there is seating with a clear view of the interpreter for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Be prepared to provide adjustable and/or accessible podium for speaker access. Accommodations for speakers may include but not limited to: ground level podium or accessible ramp to stage or assistance with technology.
  • Be prepared to allow space in the front of the room for a sign language interpreter as well as a CART reporter and equipment.
  • Accessible restrooms should be in close proximity.
  • Staff should understand that service animals are allowed.

 

Meals

  • Make sure there are accessible routes for individuals using wheelchairs and other mobility devices in the seating areas.
  • Do not use tables with attached seating.
  • Alert your caterer early to any dietary concerns. The menu should account for dietary restrictions. Discuss with your banquet captain how you will identify individuals who have requested a special meal.

 

Presentation

  • Inform presenters of the process for requesting an accommodation and who to contact for accommodation and event accessibility information.
  • Ask presenters for presentation materials well in advance in order to timely create alternative formats.
  • Provide copies of materials to interpreters and/or CART reporters in advance.
  • Make sure visuals and text can be seen from the back of the room.
  • Speakers should use a microphone.
Learn More:
  • Accessibility Checklist for GT Event Planners (Coming Soon)