Making sure your event is accessible by all attendees is key to a welcoming and interactive environment.

Things to Consider:

Review the accessibility needs from prior years so you have an idea of what types of things are needed. (i.e., ASL interpreters, CART, lifts in bathrooms, designated seating in session rooms, chairs in hallways for those that have a physical disability, special meals, etc)

Include disability needs and special meals requests in registration form. 

Consider prayer room, desensitization room, mothers room

Using volunteers or temps to help with accessibility needs (i.e., guides for the blind, assistance walking through the venue, etc)

Ensure venues and offsite venues are ADA compliant.

If offsite events or hotels are far away, look into transportation for attendees.

Will there be loud music, strobe lighting, spotlights or other strong sensory experiences? If so, include signage in areas where this will be taking place.

Find out about ADA rooms at the hotels.

Questions to ask the venue:

Does the venue have scooters or wheelchairs for rental? How many are in inventory? 

Look at restroom facilities

Arrangements for presenters with wheelchairs? Consider ramps for stages

Lapel microphones in addition to handheld/podium microphones 

Are service animals allowed?

Will there be assistive listening devices or induction loops at the venue?

Is the venue kitchen celiac safe? If not, do they have local vendors?

Is the venue kitchen halal/kosher certified? If not, do they have local vendors?

Where are all elevators located? Are there ADA specific elevators? 

What if someone has a medical emergency or health problem during the conference?

What if there is an emergency evacuation during the conference?

ADA Needs:

Start research for companies you might need to use.

Put together an RFP for the service you need and send to at least 3 companies.

Compare the bids and decide to move forward with one vendor. 

Work with attendees on schedules and exact needs and relay to the vendor to schedule properly. 

Ask vendor if there are any specific A/V needs 

Schedule meetings onsite to introduce vendors  (ASL interpreters, guides for navigation, etc.) and attendees.

Special Meal Needs:

Start collecting requests in the registration form

Work with hotel/convention center/catering staff on the needs. Standardly these are Halal and Kosher requests or celiac.

Ensure that there are food options in F&B menus that can accommodate all dietary restrictions. 

Reach out to all attendees who specified dietary restrictions prior to conference outlining conference menu items. 

Ensure that all banquet staff knows every ingredient of the food that is being served.

Tips and Tricks

Its important to ensure the event venue and offsite venues are ADA compliant. Also consider using volunteers or temp staff to help assist with accessibility needs (i.e., guides for the blind, assistance walking through the venue, etc)

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