Letter from the Editor
I have worked in events for many years now, but have only recently understood how important accessibility is. Inclusion is one of our core values here at Disability Action Center NW. For persons with disabilities, inclusion means designing an event that is free of barriers so that they can participate fully. One important aspect of being a caring community is to think about how a person’s disability will affect their attendance and enjoyment of a program, workshop, festival or even a farmers market. We need to plan ahead so that they will feel welcomed and valued.
We have included the first part of a great guide that provides information to event planners about the elements of disability access that will foster full participation. Planning for access in advance will optimize the reach to the general public and will minimize the need to make last minute changes or – worse – have to do damage control after someone makes a complaint or is injured in some way.
Every type of program, meeting, tour, exhibit, festival, arts and crafts show, and event must consider the access needs of persons with disabilities. There is no single way to provide accessibility and the type of need may differ among persons with the same condition. It’s necessary to explore access alternatives and consult with a individual trained in the ADA to determine how best to accommodate for a specific circumstance.
And we need to remember that some disabilities are visible and most are not apparent.
Let’s go out and enjoy the summer events – and make the accessible to everyone!