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How To Make Conferences Accessible For PWDs

June 1, 2020 • disabi26

The 2019 Disability Studies Event was a mini-conference that our entire department had organized to boost people’s knowledge about the lives of people with disabilities. In truth, these folks had been experiencing discrimination less and less in the 21st century. A lot of public facilities became altered and fitted for their needs. But many abled individuals could still use some help in understanding how to treat them better.

To make the event all-encompassing, my team decided to invited PWDs to share, talk, and celebrate with us as we highlight disability studies. Before inviting them, though, we made sure to do the following:  

how-to-make-conferences-accessible-for-pwds

Source: rawpixel.com

Provide Pamphlets In Braille

Attendees typically receive pamphlets before or on the day of the conference to inform them about the topics to look forward to, the panelists’ names, etc. But if you expect visually impaired folks to be in attendance, you should consider translating the words into Braille. That will make the pamphlet useful as it can save them from needing to ask their companion about who’s talking next.

Add Ramps And Designated Spaces For Wheelchairs

I had once been to a seminar focused on expanding everyone’s knowledge about physical disabilities, but there was no PWD in sight. When I asked around, I found that that it was because the auditorium was not wheelchair-friendly. 

Considering you don’t wish for an encore of that, you should think of how you can add ramps around the events center. You may also designate spaces for the wheelchairs so that they can come and go without bumping into each other.

how-to-make-conferences-accessible-for-pwds

Source: rawpixel.com

Put Subtitle Or Sign Language Interpreter On Screen

Mute or deaf individuals tend to learn how to do lip reading so that they can communicate with others effectively. However, during a conference, and the guest speaker stands a few feet away from them, this technique may not be helpful.

A quick fix for this matter is putting a subtitle or sign language interpreter on a screen behind the panelist. The former will work if the speaker gives you a copy of their speech; the latter will be able to translate the words in real-time. You may try either or both options.

Final Thoughts

Let’s all bear in mind that PWDs are as capable as everyone else to do anything. If they want to attend a conference for disability studies, that’s awesome. If they are willing to join the panelists, that’s even better. However, sometimes, we need to help them by doing little things like the ones mentioned above to ensure that they can attend without a hassle. 

Categories: Disability Rights

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