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Participants (Wisdom from the Hebrew Scriptures)

This program is intended for people of all ages and life stages over the age of six. If you are using the program for children younger than ten or eleven, you will want to use the Alternate Activity in each workshop, which is designed with younger children in mind. The workshops are equally suitable for first-time visitors and long-time congregational members. Facilitators should be attentive to the differences in developmental stage, knowledge, and life experience that participants bring to the group.

Workshops can accommodate any number of participants, although the program will be most effective if there are at least four people in each breakout group. You will want to adjust the number of breakout options offered according to the size of your group. You will also want recruit from among the participants a leader for each breakout group. It is best to recruit group leaders in advance so that they can familiarize themselves with the instructions for the activity. When recruiting group leaders, be sure to consider junior and senior youth as group leaders.

Integrating All Participants

People with obvious and not-so-obvious disabilities may need accommodation in order to participate fully. As a facilitator, you may not be aware of a participant's needs. In addition to accommodating the accessibility needs of participants who request them, you are urged to follow these basic Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters for every activity:

  • Prepare a few large print copies of all handouts.
  • 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 information you plan to post on newsprint, to give to any who request it.
  • Face the group when you are speaking and urge others to do the same. 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 an activity will make it difficult for speakers to face listeners (e.g., a fishbowl, forced choice or role play activity), obtain a portable microphone to pass from speaker to speaker.
  • In a brainstorm activity, repeat clearly any word or phrase generated by the group in addition to writing it on newsprint.
  • During small group work, position each group far enough from other groups to minimize noise interference.
  • Keep aisles and doorways clear at all times so that people with mobility impairments or immediate needs may exit the room easily.
  • Offer a variety of seating options, e.g. straight chairs, soft chairs, chairs with arms, and chairs without arms so that participants may find seating that best accommodates their needs.
  • When re-arranging furniture for small groups or other purposes, ensure clear pathways between groups.
  • Enlist workshop participants in being vigilant about removing bags, books, coffee cups and other obstacles from 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.")
  • Do not ask individuals to read aloud. Avoid read-alouds that require everyone in the group to automatically take a turn. Request volunteers or read the material yourself.
  • Ask participants in advance about any food allergies. Add to your group covenant an agreement to avoid bringing problem foods for snacks or to always offer an alternate snack food.
  • Ask participants in advance about allergies to scents or perfumes. If participants have allergies or sensitivities, invite members of the group to refrain from wearing perfumes and add this agreement to your covenant.

The Unitarian Universalist Association website and staff can offer guidance for including people with specific disabilities; consult the Disability and Accessibility section of the UUA website. In addition, some workshop activities suggest specific adaptation under the heading, "Including All Participants."

Participants bring a wide range of learning styles and information processing preferences. With this in mind, the workshops offer a variety of activities. Review each workshop's Alternate Activities. Plan each workshop to best suit your group.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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