The following guidelines are intended to help IEEE Conference Organizers plan a conference accessible to all attendees.

Types of needs

  • persons with disabilities
  • language
  • religious observances
  • travel
  • accommodations
  • dietary
  • smoking

Types of disabilities

Visible Disabilities

  • mobility assistive devices
  • amputee
  • service animal

Invisible Disabilities

  • vision loss
  • hearing loss
  • medical condition (stroke, cardiac, diabetic, etc.)
  • learning disabilities

What you can do

  • Do not be afraid to ask how you can help.
  • Provide an email address on your conference Web site and encourage those with special needs to contact you.
  • Allow fields for special needs requests in advanced registration web sites and forms.
  • Identify someone on your committee who will address these requests.

Event location

When selecting an event location, look for the following:

  • availability of disabled parking located closely to the major entrance;
  • a graded or flat entrance;
  • proximity of accessible washrooms to your meeting space;
  • strategically placed signage;
  • accessible sleeping areas;
  • elevators with Braille or floor calling ability;
  • availability of a TTY (telephone to telephone typewriter) unit and kit available for persons with hearing loss.

During the event

Be sure to allow plenty of space for individuals with mobility devices in all areas including:

  • registration area;
  • meeting rooms;
  • and dining facilities.

Be sure to include preparations for those with mobility devices in your emergency and evacuation plans.

So that your speakers can be appreciated by all, make presentations available in alterate formats such as ASL (American Sign Language). It is also possible to provide assistive listening devices or real time captioning during the presentation. 

General etiquette

  • Focus on the person’s ability.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be patient.
  • Be observant.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Speak to the person, not their companion.
  • Do not raise your voice.
  • Seek guidance– it is understandable not to know what to do.
  • Consider this an opportunity to learn.

Additional information

We are grateful to Ashfaq (Kash) Husain, Chair, R7 Conference Advisory Committee, for providing this information as part of his presentation, "Addressing the Needs of Your Attendees" (PDF, 32 KB) at the 2008 Panel of Conference Organizers (POCO).

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