Many people face challenges but do not consider themselves to be disabled or part of a community that needs special accommodations. To get the fullest picture of your attendees needs, ask them about what’s required “to fully participate,” rather than “for a disability,” says Sarah Galbraith Laucks, CMP, a business consultant and former meeting planner.
“For example,” she says, “people with diabetes or obesity may walk slowly or with a cane, and so venues with a lot of stairs are challenging. Older people may have hearing or sight loss, and some attendees face serious health consequences if their dietary needs are not taken care of.” There are also military veterans who may have post-traumatic stress disorder or others with conditions such as autism and early-onset dementia, which might make them sensitive to flashing lights and loud noises.
Galbraith Laucks suggests meeting planners adapt a version of the sample questionnaire below for their own event registration. “The venue and planner are legally required to make the event accessible,” she says, “but the attendee is also required to provide information on accommodations at least three weeks ahead of time.”
If you require accommodations in order to fully participate at EVENT TITLE, please indicate as many as apply below before DATE.
• None. I do not need any modifications to participate
Materials provided in:
• Standard print
• Large print
• Audio on CD
• Electronic files (formats may include PDF, Word, Text, and Excel)
Communication Formats / Aids:
• American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting
• Other type of interpreting (please specify; e.g., Contact Signing, Tactile Interpreting)
• CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation)
• Assistive Services
– I use the following assistive mobility device: ______________________
– I will be accompanied by a service animal: _____ YES _____ NO
– I will be accompanied by a personal assistant: _____ YES ______ NO
I have the following dietary restrictions:
• Other: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
• Food Allergies/Intolerances (please list): __________________________________________________________________________
Other accommodations that will help ensure my full participation: __________________________________________________
If meeting planners have questions, the best way to reach me in advance of this event: _______________________________
Because some attendees to our conference might experience chemical sensitivities, please refrain from wearing any perfumes and use fragrance-free, unscented personal care products for the duration of our event.