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  1. Addressing the Practicalities: Creating Accessible Events DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church for Mission u

  2. 2012 Book of Discipline • Paragraph 716.2 Nondiscrimination Policies “All agencies and institutions shall, insofar as reasonably possible, schedule and hold all events, including designated places of lodging and meals for the events, in accessible settings that adequately accommodate persons with disabilities.

  3. 2012 Book of Discipline, cont. Paragraph 716.2 Nondiscrimination Policies “If for any reason whatsoever any event is scheduled or held in a facility that does not so conform, all notices of the meeting will include plainly stated advice to that effect, or alternatively may bear a logo consisting of the international symbol for access placed inside a slashed circle.

  4. 2012 Book of Discipline, cont. • Paragraph 716.2 Nondiscrimination Policies “The term event shall be given a broad interpretation and shall include, by way of example, scheduled conferences, seminars, and other meetings to which persons are invited or called to attend as representatives of the Church or its various institutions and agencies.”

  5. Site Selection: Parking Consider parking accessibility • Adequate number of accessible spaces: 8’ with 5’ (8’ for van) marked unloading aisle • Minimal to no slope of parking lot/sidewalk • Curb ramps provided • Close to accessible entrance

  6. Site Selection: Entrance • Sign from parking to accessible entrance • Level or ramped entry point • Railing on any slope of 1/20 or more • Door- • Level 60” platform at door • 36” wide doorway • Level threshold • Easy to open – automatic preferred

  7. Site Selection: Plenary Space Worship/ Plenary space • 36” door and aisle width • Level or ramped entrance • Ramp to chancel or stage • Pew cuts in multiple places if fixed seating • Amplification system • Assisted listening devices available

  8. Site selection: Restrooms Accessible restrooms available including at least one unisex/ family/ restroom (so caregiver of opposite sex can assist): • 36” door width • 60” turning radius • Toilet 17 ½ to 19 ½” • Grab bars by toilet • Accessible (open) sink • Towels/ soap at 48”, mirror lower edge at 40”

  9. Site Selection: Lodging Ground floor accessible rooms Bed 20 – 24” maximum height Space to maneuver – at least 36” between furniture Lower closet rod and peep hole Sink has lever handle, open front, padded pipes High (17 – 19”) toilet with grab bars next to it Roll in/step in shower with bench and grab bars Hand-held shower

  10. Publicity/ Brochure • Use font like Arial 12 point and good color contrast between paper and ink • List planned accommodations • Ask for specific accommodations needed • Provide contact information for accessibility coordinator • Mention any site limitations • Ensure that website meets web accessibility standards

  11. Potential Accommodation Requests In order to participate I need: • Transportation, accessible parking • Large print, digital, or Braille handouts • Sign language (ASL) interpretation or captioning • Assisted listening devices • Assistance at mealtime • Special diet • Meals for an assistant who will travel with me

  12. Planning • Appoint an “accessibility coordinator” to oversee planning and set up accommodations • Send or post map with location of accessible parking and building entrances • Provide advance notice re: • Limiting use of fragrances • How to obtain wheelchair or scooter • Orient presenters to accessibility measures • Arrange for golf cart or van shuttle and drivers

  13. Using Community Resources Contact local interpreter registry or national registry ( for ASL interpreters Find a CART provider to provide live captioning at cfm?ItemNumber=9131&navItem Number=11459

  14. Using Community Resources, cont. Inquire at regional agency for visually impaired for Braille transcribers, or check at Arrange with durable medical equipment vendors for scooter and wheelchair rentals Check with para-transport and airport shuttle companies to arrange vans with wheelchair lifts If you have difficulty locating services, check with local Independent Living Agency or campus disability services

  15. Chemical Sensitivity/ Allergies • Avoid incense, floral arrangements, petroleum-based/ scented candles etc. or warn participants about the use of such • Provide fragrance free zone if needed • Avoid rooms with new carpet, paint, furniture • Provide adequate ventilation in meeting rooms • Avoid chemical applications, e.g. floor wax, pesticides, insecticides, close to time of meeting

  16. Planning Worship: Liturgy • Use inclusive phrases in worship such as • “Rise in body or spirit” instead of “stand as you are able” • “Let us be in prayer” instead of “bow your heads for prayer” • Use person-first language in liturgies - see - and avoid negative clichés like “wheelchair bound” or “suffers from____”

  17. Planning Worship: Communion Provide gluten free bread for communion – if possible use this for all participants (see for a great recipe) If bread is dipped into grape juice, have a separate chalice for dipping the gluten free bread Anticipate serving people who cannot come forward – have someone watching

  18. Meeting Room Set-up • Reserve front seating for persons with hearing loss and low vision, but make sure you are not isolating people • Plan for companion seating next to cutouts for wheelchair users

  19. Meeting Room Set-up • If tables are used ensure wheelchair clearance: underside 27” minimum, top side 28 – 34” maximum height • Reserve wheelchair seating • Provide 36” access aisles • Avoid floor-length table skirts

  20. Registration & Orientation • Post signs from parking to registration location • Station greeter at door to assist, direct people • Orient attendees to facilities, accessibility features, and how to locate assistance, shuttle, etc. at all hours • Have chair and low table at registration • Have clipboard for lap, one-handed use • Have paper and pen for written communication • Be alert for additional needs

  21. Low Vision Accommodations • Provide good task lighting • Avoid glare, light behind speaker • Avoid tripping hazards, e.g. cords • Use good contrast on all media • Provide large print versions of handouts, bulletins, song sheets, etc. • Provide digital, taped, or Braille handouts on request ahead of time!

  22. Low Vision Accommodations • Orient to room layout, offer guide • Rehearse flow of service or event • Read aloud anything written on flip charts or white board • Read and describe all material shown on slides • Give verbal description of visual aids & actions • Give verbal directions- don’t point • Offer volunteer “reader” for individual work

  23. Adaptations for Hearing Loss • Provide assisted listening devices with fresh batteries- test before issuing • Require all speakers to use microphones in large groups • Use cordless microphone for questions and discussion, or have speaker repeat questions

  24. Adaptations for Hearing Loss • Offer printed copy of program notes • Have speaker stay at front of room, with face clearly visible, well lit, for people who lip-read • Caption videos, slides, films, etc. • Provide live captioning if requested • Offer note-taking assistance • Prepare printed agenda for meetings

  25. Adaptations for Deaf Persons Schedule ASL interpreters, if requested, for plenary, meeting, and social times Have lighting on speaker and interpreter- avoid back lighting Speak at a moderate pace Provide interpreters with an outline in advance; spell unfamiliar or technical terms Interpret DVD’s, songs, films, drama, etc.

  26. Other Accommodations • Accessible water fountain or paper cup dispenser • Water bowls for service animals • Seating on long hallways and at loading/waiting areas • Low (48”) coat rack or hooks • Chairs of different sizes and heights with and without armrests

  27. Meals and Refreshments • Provide flexible straws, sturdy cups for beverages • Provide assist with buffet line as needed • Offer a variety of foods of equivalent interest for all meals, breaks, and socials, including: • Low sugar/ carb • Low salt • Low fat • Gluten-free

  28. Meals and Refreshments • Label foods as needed for allergies; common allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, shellfish, eggs, wheat, and fish • Label foods for other dietary needs as well, including vegetarian, vegan • Provide the recipe as a positive approach

  29. Program Evaluation • Keep notes on the accommodations made and successes or difficulties • Take notes of issues during session • Try to correct problems as you go, and make plans to avoid the issues next time • As part of session evaluation, ask for feedback as to how well people were able to participate

  30. Credits: Photos taken at • Assembly 2014, Louisville, KY • Crown Hill United Methodist Church, Seattle, PNW • Lakewood United Methodist Church, Tacoma, PNW • Manito United Methodist Church, Spokane, PNW • Moran United Methodist Church, Spokane, PNW • United Methodist Congress of the Deaf (UMCD) 2001 Conference, Los Altos, CalNev • University United Methodist Church, Irvine, CalPac • Vashon United Methodist Church, PNW

  31. Credits • Accessibility Audit for Churches, 2nd Edition, Kathy Reeves, ed. (1994: GBGM) • Signs of Solidarity (GBGM, out of print) • Breaking the Sound Barrier in Your Church: • Cover graphics from The Church and People with Disabilities, Peggy A. Johnson (2014: United Methodist Women) • Graphic Artists Guild (access symbols) • New accessibility icon from The Accessible Icon Project:

  32. Resources “Equal Access Guide for Meetings, Conferences, Large Assemblies, and Worship” (includes overnight events): Accessibility Audits: Presentation Accessibility:

  33. For More Information This presentation compiled for Mission u and United Methodist Women by Lynn Swedberg, MS, OTR/L, Disability Consultant, on behalf of the DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church For more information consult: