A well-planned event ensures the participation of ALL! In fact, seasoned event planners know first-hand the necessity of having a designated person in charge of planning and accommodating for those with disabilities; in order to help make sure that events run smoothly and allow for the full participation all attendees.
Here are some TIPS from Soirée Verde to help ensure that your “ADA Event Accessibility Check-List” is on the mark!
A site visit to your potential venue, in order to determine accessibility for all, is an absolute MUST! When in the initial planning phase consider possible barriers to the wide range of impairments such as visual, hearing, or mobility. Check into accessibility and availability of parking, entrances, doorways, corridors and aisle width, ramps, automatic door openers, location of accessible bathrooms, and ample elevators access. Additionally, be sure to check sleeping and meeting room accessibility, and consider the need for extra room capacity and table space in order to accommodate wheelchairs and assistance animals if needed.
When budgeting for events, include accommodating people with disabilities as a line budget item. If you need to get an idea of the costs associated with offering ADA compliant elements to your event, hotels and many conference sites offer a ADA Coordinators to help you plan ahead, so that you are not addressing these needs at the last minute. Some added budget items might include a sign language interpreter, assistive listening devices, or adding media alternate formats such as a power point presentation.
When considering staffing for your event, identify individuals that are willing to act as guides, readers, and who can assist with other functions related to accommodating individuals with disabilities. Be sure that these staff members have received ample training for their designated duty, and are comfortable in their role. In fact, consider incorporating a dry-run “Event Day Accessibility Assistance Operation” as a hands-on training tool. In addition, ensure that you consider the size of your event and the number of attendees and have accounted for reserving professional interpreters and signers, as soon as you have secured your event date and venue.
When marketing for your event, you should include photographs of individuals with disabilities in promotional materials. This illustrates a commitment to assuring all participants accessibility. Ensure that all promotional materials are available in a variety of formats such as Braille, large print, and as an audio recording. For all printed registration materials, participants should be aware that accommodations can be made for a variety of needs, and make sure to as whether assistance is needed. Provide contact information where inquiries can be made both ahead of time, and onsite at the event.
There are many guidelines that can be used to ensure an event is ADA Accessible. However, what speaks volumes is the commitment of an Exceptional Event Planner who focuses on the details and provides the best to not only meet, but exceed the unique needs of ALL attendees.
Soirée Verde guides organizations with proven strategies and tools for making special events not only enjoyable and memorable experiencebut also models that promote sustainable practices.
Jasmine Megrabyan, Owner
Soirée Verde ~ August 16, 2013
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