How to Coordinate an Inclusive Event

Tips on how to get started

1. Ask About Individual Needs

Send out the invitation or notice in advance of an event, include a message inviting people with disabilities to the event. Ensure that the invitation is in an accessible format; e.g. for physical invitations, in braille for people who read braille, or with alternative text for electronic invitations. Always let individuals know they can contact the planner to request accommodations, and give clear instructions on how to do so. Providing details about the event prior to registration will better enable attendees to determine if they will need to request reasonable accommodation or not.

Follow up with all individuals who have made a request for accommodations to participate in an event, and determine whether an accommodation is reasonable and can be made.

2. Check Event Space in Advance

Consider these features when inspecting your meeting or event space:

Visibility – Consider those with visual disabilities. Always provide clear signage (identifying location and directions, e.g. to the meeting room, restroom and exit). Ensure the meeting location is well lit and ventilated.

Sound – Consider those with hearing related disabilities and limit unnecessary background noise; seating should be made available near presenter for lip reading; a well-lit space should be available for an interpreter, if needed. Provide sign language interpretation or CART services if requested. For people with intellectual or mental disabilities, designate a quiet, calm, separate space to retreat to if overstimulated.

Mobility – Consider the accessibility of the event space for those who may use a wheelchair, or have other mobility related disabilities. Can attendees reach, enter, circulate around and use the different functions of this space?

Conduct events at a central location that is easy to reach by many types of transportation, where there is access to a ramp, and an elevator if needed. All ramps should have a maximum gradient slope of 1:15. Avoid using loose cables across walking areas. Ensure that the event space consists of wide doorways and aisles to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and tricycles. The minimum width of a doorway should be 2500 millimeters, or 250 centimeters.

Toilets – There should be enough number of disability accessible toilet and washrooms within the venue. For more information on accessible bathrooms, please see the document footnoted titled 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, pages 159-186.[1]

Seating arrangement- Arrange the seating bench, chair, table, anchoring table and other furniture to ensure persons with disabilities, especially people using wheelchairs or tricycles, can navigate easily throughout each room. Consider the turning radius of an adult wheelchair (1500 mm or more) and a tricycle (3000 mm or more) when arranging event spaces. Dimensions can differ based on the type of chair.

Preparing presenters – individuals giving presentations should be briefed and trained prior to the presentation on the specific needs of participants below, to ensure they are adequately prepared to make accommodations. Presenters should submit materials in advance to ensure materials can be modified for individuals who request it.

If your event space does not meet these minimum requirements, and there is no possibility to adapt the space prior to the event, we suggest changing the space.

3. At the Event

Materials – Ensure materials are provided in alternative formats, such as in large print and with captions when possible.

Staffing – Designate someone to be responsible for day-of accommodations, for example, assistance with seating. If individuals who are blind are not attending with an assistant, designate one event staff to assist with any requests to use the restroom, navigate around the event space, etc. Have someone onsite to ensure follow-up on requests for further information or assistance.

Language – Consider the level of sensitization of participants and presenters on language related to disability and reasonable accommodation. Provide information for participants on appropriate language to use in a manner that seems appropriate for the situation, e.g. providing hand-outs in the venue, providing guidance in the invitation, or sticking information on the walls of the venue to emphasize correct and incorrect ways of expression.

Transport – Ensure everyone is able to reach home using accessible, appropriate means of transport after event is completed.


  • Presenters should submit materials in advance so that they can be forwarded to individuals who may not be able to view screens or charts;
  • Add alternative text to all JPGs, screens or charts to ensure they are screen reader accessible;
  • Ensure presenters verbally describe visual materials (e.g., slides, charts, etc.);
  • Have printed copies of presentations available (in larger font);
  • Avoid using small print on presentations that can’t be seen from a distance;
  • Arrange sign language interpretation and/or CART live captioning services (if they are available in your country) for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Consider the time allocation regarding the questions/queries of persons with disabilities.

Group or interactive activities

  • For small group discussions or activities, consider how many people may need sign language interpretation, and consider increasing the number of sign language interpreters provided to encourage people who are deaf to join different group discussions, rather than having one small group only of people with disabilities.
  • Depending on the activity, consider the basic steps to complete each activity and how they could be inaccessible for people with disabilities attending. Consider how to adapt these steps to ensure they are accessible. Often, the best way to accommodate is to reach out to the individual directly and work together to identify an accommodation that works for them.