It is important to create an accessibility statement for all of your events. If you are a venued company, you should also have an accessibility statement for the spaces that you regularly work in. An accessibility statement can be quite broad or quite specific. Remember: each person with a disability is unique and you don't know the accessibility needs of those who are curious about your event. It's best to just accurately list the access features of your space, and leave it those who know their accommodation needs to make their own choices about whether it is accessible for them or not. Give as much information as you can and provide a phone number for someone to call where their questions may be answered - the person on the other end of that number should have all the answers or be able to provide a quick turnaround time to be able to respond.
Some of the access categories you may consider are:
- Vision: People who are blind or have low vision
- Hearing: People who are deaf, deafened, or have hearing loss
- Mobility: People who use a mobility device such as a wheelchair, scooter, canes, walker, crutches
- Chemical Sensitivities such as scent
- Food allergies such as peanuts
- EMS (Electromagnetic Sensitivity)
- Invisible Disabilities (Arthritis, Epilepsy, Diabetes, etc.)
Not sure where to start?
One way to create a fulsome accessibility statement is by going through the list of considerations for Audience Accessibility and answering each question in your statement.
Here is a check-list or entry way into starting your accessibility statement:
- Entrance: if there's stairs, how many? is the door automatic? is there someone at the door available to help? is there a temporary ramp that can be laid?
- Washrooms: are they the same floor as the main part of the event in the venue? are there any stairs to them? is there a stall with transfer bars? is there an accessible stall that has a lock/needs a security guard to open it (like Lee's Palace and M.O.D. club here in Toronto for example)? is there an automatic door with automatic lock and unlock buttons? is the sink and paper towel / hand drier something that is designed to accommodate for wheelchair users?
- Seating and Priority areas: what's the general seating situation? are there priority seating areas for disabled people, injured people, and those with reduced mobility? if so, where? is there an area for full-time mobility device users to attend the event / watch the show / whatever the fuck is happening in their device?
- ASL and Transcription: is there A.S.L. and/or written material available for the HoH and d/Deaf community? what accommodations are available? who is the point of contact when it comes to accessing accommodations?
- Accommodations for partially sighted and blind folks: what is the event offering to accommodate?
- Support Persons: can disabled people bring a support person free of charge?
- Strobe lights, fog machines, etc: give folx notice if these effects will be used
- Barriers: if the venue is not AODA Compliant, list the barriers that exist
- Contact for Facilitating Accessibility for the event: post the name and email/phone etc of the person people can reach out to in the event and on ticketing pages. Ensure that the information is easily findable and that those folks are easily reachable.
Remember that adding accessibility information to your website and event listings is important, but also onsite signage is very important. Be sure your events also include signage to support those with accessibility needs in navigating once they arrive.