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For September 2013:

How to make conferences more accessible

For many blind persons, attending conferences could be a huge challenge at times especially so if the blind person is attending alone. I like to think of this as a two-way street in that in order to make a conference more accessible to a blind person; a blind person needs to let the organizers know ahead of time that they will be attending. So based on this, here are some tips for you.

  1. Encourage perspective blind attendees to notify you ahead of time.
  2. Ask them to identify what types of things they require in order to make their attendance a meaningful one. Some suggestions could be as follows:
    Assistance to find conference rooms, seats, the bathroom facilities, refreshments and buffet tables, and conference materials in alternate formats.

It also does not hurt to have the perspective blind person talk to presenters before hand if possible. Of course, there is much more that an organizer can do to make conferences accessible but this is a good start and if the attendee is going to stay at a hotel during the conference then this needs to be taken into consideration as well.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your freelance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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