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DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS


 


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ADAPTIVE NEEDS

 

When planning professional development activities (conferences, seminars, workshops, training sessions), you will need to consider the needs of disabled individuals who will be in attendance.  Contact the Adaptive Needs/Accommodations Chair for more details:

 

Adaptive Needs/Accommodations Chair:  

Dr. Angela Stowe, 205-414-3861, stowea@mtnbrook.k12.al.us
 
Included here are the guidelines for ensuring your public presentations, workshops, seminars, and other events are accessible and meet the needs of disabled attendees.
 

PRESENTING ACCESSIBLY

 

Make sure your presentations are accessible to all members of your audience, including individuals with disabilities.  When you are coordinating workshops that have outside presenters, please provide them with this information so that they can ensure their presentation is accessible to all.

 

Approximately 1 in 5 Americans have a disability.  This means that when you present to any audience, that it is guaranteed that someone in the audience will have a disability.  While some may have visible and obvious disabilities, most have invisible disabilities.  This includes learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, systemic disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries.

 

There are many things you can do as a presenter to ensure that you can have an effective presentation for the most members of your audience.  Here are some tips:

Face the audience when speaking.  Many individuals with hearing or attention disorders depend on seeing your face for information.  Individuals with ADD, ADHD, or learning disabilities also rely on watching someone speak to understand the material.


Repeat or re-word lengthy or complex oral directions.

Always try to preview and summarize content during each session.

Make sure your Power Point slides contain no more than 3 ideas.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is to put too much information on a slide.  This makes it difficult for the audience to read and follow.  When creating a slide, remember: "less is more."  Also make sure the colors you use are high contrast so not to cause strain on the participants’ eyes.

If you use a board to describe information, complete some examples in advance.  Or examples can be presented by using overhead projectors, Power Point, or web sites.  

Make your handouts accessible:  Use at least a 14 point font.  Do not use a font smaller than 12 points, as it makes reading difficult for many when they have to strain.  It's more important to have the material readable than to have it all fit neatly on 1 page. 

Make sure handouts are printed in high contrast (white with black print; yellow with black, etc.).

Read aloud information presented on the board or overhead.  Also, try to have printed copies of board or overhead information available.

Repeat questions and comments from audience members.  Repetition affords participants with sensory and cognitive disabilities an opportunity to clarify and/or gain information that may have been missed.

Always try to present key terms and concepts visually as well as orally.

 


ACCOMMODATING INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

 

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that non-profit organizations that provide services for professionals (including courses for licensure and certification) make programs and services accessible to persons with disabilities.

 

Accessibility includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Provide the event in an accessible location.
Provide auxiliary aids (such as a sign language interpreter, real-time captionist, large-print handouts, or handouts in alternative format – such as an electronic format).

 


WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US

 

All ALCA chapters and divisions are required by law to provide accommodations to individuals with disabilities.  All workshops and conferences, therefore, must be accessible by all people.

If you receive a request for an accommodation, such as an interpreter, you must provide that accommodation.
If you plan to show videos, ensure that those are captioned.
If you have handouts, have handouts that are enlarged (18pt. font of 150% enlarged).

 


GOOD PRACTICES

 

Workshop registration forms:  Include a section on registration forms that handles requests for accommodations such as enlarged handouts, interpreting or captioning services.

Large-print copies: Go ahead and make some enlarged copies of program materials and have them available.  If your presenters are bringing their own materials, you may ask them to go ahead and make a few in large print (enlarge 150% or 18 point font).  There are others who can benefit from this service (anyone with vision problems, not just someone with a disability).

Captioning of videos:  Any video that will be used should be captioned.  Most commercially-produced videos are already captioned and need to have the feature turned on through the menu options of the television set.

 

Important Note: If you do not provide the accommodation, you will be out of compliance with the law.  In order to not provide an accommodation for someone, you must be able to demonstrate that to provide the accommodation significantly alters the format of the presentation or that it is an undue burden.  Divisions and chapters will not be able to claim the expense as an undue burden because the Office of Civil Rights (who enforces the ADA) will look to the budget of ALCA (and possibly ACA) for funds, not each individual division.

 


RESOURCES

 

Resources for locating interpreters and captionists:

 

Local universities and colleges, Disability Services Offices

Local Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (www.aidb.org)

 


ACCESSIBILITY TIPS

 

Good practices for accessibility:

 

Fliers and Promotional Materials: Be sure to include a statement about how individuals with disabilities need to request accommodations.

 

Make sure all handouts are printed in large font (14 point or larger) and on high contrast paper.

 

Any movies, meetings, activities, trips, etc. are prepared to provide appropriate accommodations (e.g. closed-captioning, sign language interpreters, accessible transportation).

 

Have any applications, forms, handouts available in alternative formats (online, CD, e-mail options, large print).

 

Any event or meeting space needs to be able to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

 

If an individual requests a sign language interpreter or a captionist, be sure to book this resource as soon as possible.  See previous page for resources.

 

If someone requests a wheelchair for a particular event, you are not responsible for providing the wheelchair. 

 

You are not responsible for providing personal services such as personal aides, tutors, or transportation.  However, you should allow someone to provide their own personal aide.

 

Be sure all of your presenters for workshops, conferences and meetings have been given the handout, “Presenting Accessibly,” so you can ensure that your offerings are accessible to all.

 

When in doubt, contact the ALCA Adaptive Needs/Accommodations Chair for more information:  Dr. Angela Stowe, 205-414-3861, stowea@mtnbrook.k12.al.us.

 

 

 

[Information Provided by Dr. Angela Stowe]

 

 


ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION   n   Leadership Handbook