Make It Accessible

I dream of an app that will provide me with audio description for any place I go: museums, theaters, public transit, grocery stores, all of it. It would chatter along as if a mini version of my sister or my husband sat on my shoulder and informed me of my environment. My fingers would do the walking in the directory, selecting general layout information or schedules or fun facts. So many possibilities.

While I wait for this universal guide app, I take advantage of accessibility options available to people with disabilities like descriptive audio devices, large print items, and tours with intense verbal description. Here are some ways I make events more enjoyable:

  • Research: Before the event, I hop onto the website or call the box office, etc. to inquire about accessibility options. Tours and equipment and seating may have to be arranged ahead of time. Other options like large print maps and programs may be available upon request.
  • Pack: Bring items that make you comfortable and engaged. I pack items like tinted lenses, my white cane, and a magnifier.
  • Check In: Present yourself to pick up reserved equipment and to ask about options you might have missed or the website didn’t list. Follow up when necessary if equipment isn’t working. (Like I did at the movies)
  • Appreciate: Thank a staff member for accommodations. Feeling included makes me want to revisit places. I realize a lot of effort goes into producing, distributing, funding, maintaining, and training staff about accessibility. I say thanks or send a note–it can’t hurt and it might encourage greater availability of accessibility options.

Are you aware of accessibility options at events? How do you make places more accessible?

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Modwyn says:

    The “follow up thank you” is so important! Often, when I have a positive accessible experience, I blog about it and share the blog with the organization.

    1. Have you received good responses after you shared your blogs with those orgs?

  2. Thanks, Susan, lovely, sensible advice. Last week we visited Lichfield cathedral. There, there are a small scale model of the exterior and a raised plan of the interior for VI people to touch, plus the other expected accessibility aids. This was the result of a research project many years ago and way before its time and shows what some imagination can do. Now all cathedrals in the UK have these aids. I have good peripheral vision but still found it useful.

    1. Sounds like a great accessibility aid. Hooray to whomever was on the ball years ago.

  3. Chelle says:

    I know exactly what you mean, going to an event isn’t just about what I wear anymore. One of my rules is always to show up early to introduce myself, get my gear and expect the unexpected like when they give me a CaptiView at the theater that won’t hold it’s position. It swings around in the cup holder and I end up holding it the entire movie. Now I check it before I go into the theater and if it swings around I give it right back and ask them to tighten it up or give me another one.

    1. Showing up early can save a mix-up from deflating an experience. Experience is a great teacher.

  4. sh says:

    The Cutty Sark in Greenwich in London is very accessible for all types of disability. In terms of vision it’s got textured models and outline drawings which you can touch. Well worth a visit if you’re ever back in the UK.

    1. Good to know! It’s only a matter of time when I’m back in the UK.

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