Access is a shared responsibility.
Creating accessible meetings
If you are responsible for making arrangements for meetings consider the following points:
- Make sure the location is physically accessible.
- Include a statement on any registration or marketing materials that: “If you have any accommodation needs, please contact [department’s name and contact person] in advance.”
- Consider whether the event should have ASL interpreters or CART in place proactively.
- Handouts that are distributed to participants should also be available in accessible electronic format. If requested, materials should be made available in alternate formats such as large print or Braille.
- If the room lighting must be reduced, ensure that participants can still see the ASL interpreter’s signs and lip movements.
- Microphones should be used to amplify speaking voices.
- Tables and chairs should accommodate a range of body sizes, and be arranged so that people using wheelchairs can move around easily.
- Know where accessible restrooms, drinking fountains, parking spaces, telephones, and elevators or ramps are located – refer to the accessible building features maps.
- Don’t make people discuss their accommodation related needs in front of other people. If others are near, invite the person to move to a more private area. If this is not possible, try lowering your voice and turning your back to the other people to show respect for the person’s privacy.
- You may wish to make it a practice of asking all callers if they have any needs you should be aware of to make their visit to PCC better.
- Most people with disabilities try to be as independent as they can and will ask for assistance if they need it. Go ahead and offer assistance but don’t insist.
- If your offer of assistance is accepted, don’t be embarrassed to admit if you don’t know how to help – ask for instructions.
- Feel free to use words like “walking” or “standing” in conversations with people using wheelchairs, or phrases such as “see you later” when chatting with people who have visual impairments.
- Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that assist individuals who experience disability. They are working animals responsible for their owners’ safety. Never pet the animal or otherwise distract a working dog. See our policy about service animals on campus.
Meeting and greeting
To set a positive tone, always use appropriate terms when communicating with and about people who experience disability. Avoid terms such as “suffering from” or “wheelchair bound”.
- Treat everyone as adults.
- Always use a normal tone of voice when extending a verbal welcome. Don’t raise your voice unless requested.
- When introduced to a person with limited hand use or who wears an artificial limb, you may wish to shake the left hand or touch the person on the shoulder or arm.
- When introduced to a person with a visual impairment, let them extend their hand for you to take.
- Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to an interpreter or any other person accompanying him. Never turn to the person with them and ask, “What do they want?”
Check out our Accessibility 101 Professional Development Series offering for additional handouts.