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Leader Resource 1: Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters
As a presenter, you may or may not be aware of a participant's need for accommodations. In addition to accommodating the accessibility needs of participants who request them, you are urged to follow these basic accessibility guidelines for every workshop or session activity.
- Make a few large-print copies of all handouts available to participants.
- Write clearly and use large letters on newsprint. Use black or brown markers for maximum visibility (red and green are difficult for some to see).
- Make a printed copy of prepared newsprint pages to give to any who request it.
- Make sure that you have available different kinds of chairs for your group- some with arms and some without, some with cushioned seats and backs and others with hard seats and backs. This will allow people to choose the kind of seating that best accommodates physical limitations.
- Face the group when you are speaking and urge others to do the same. Please be aware of facial hair or hand gestures that may prevent or interfere with lip reading.
- In a large space or with a large group of people, use a microphone for presentations and for questions and answers. If a particular activity will likely make it difficult for speakers to face those who are listening (e.g. a fishbowl activity, a force-choice activity, a role play, etc.), pass a portable microphone from speaker to speaker.
- When engaging in a brainstorm activity, repeat clearly any work or phrase generated by the group in addition to writing it on newsprint.
- During small group work, make sure that each group is far enough from other groups to keep noise interference to a minimum.
- Be sure that aisles and doorways are clear at all times during a workshop so that people with mobility impairments or immediate needs may exit the room easily.
- When re-arranging furniture for small groups or other purposes, ensure that there are clear pathways between groups.
- Enlist workshop participants in being vigilant about removing bags, books, coffee cups and other obstacles left in pathways.
- Use the phrase, "Rise in body or spirit," rather than "Please stand."
- Use language that puts the person first, rather than the disability (e.g., "a person who uses a wheelchair," rather than "a wheelchair-user," "a child with dyslexia," rather than "a dyslexic child "people with disabilities" rather than "the disabled.")
- Refrain from asking people to read aloud (i.e., going around the room and asking each to read a part of something). Request a volunteer or read the material yourself.
- Ask participants to let you know in advance of any allergies to foods. Add to your covenant an agreement that the group will avoid bringing problem foods for snacks or will always offer an alternative snack food.
- Ask participants to let you know in advance of any allergies to scents or perfumes they may have. If there are participants with allergies or sensitivities, invite members of the group to refrain from wearing perfumes and add this agreement to your covenant.
For further information, please see guidance for including persons with specific accessibility needs on the Unitarian Universalist Association website.