Layout

It is important to plan the layout of the room to facilitate full participation. An auditorium-like setting of chairs is not very accessible for wheelchair users, or people who may need to move around during sessions. For most events, arranging several tables and chairs around them are the best way to ensure accessibility and comfort of participants. There should be enough space around the tables to manoeuvre wheelchairs. Ensure that there are electrical extension points or outlets or spike-busters placed under each table so that people can plug in their electronic devices; power cords and wires on the floor could cause people to trip over them.

The projection screen, monitors, et cetera should be placed in such a way that all participants can see them. If necessary and possible, use two or more screens or monitors.

Use microphones. If there are one or two lead trainers, let them use lapel mics, and keep cordless mics for the participants. Ensure that audio equipment is checked and tuned in advance in order to avoid disturbance (screeching sounds) from the equipment that can trigger or cause discomfort to people with sensitivity to loud and high-pitched noises.

If you have a visually impaired participant, offer to help orient them with the room layout so they know where everything is.

Budget for: table and chair rental, electrical extension points or spike-busters.

Sign language interpreters

Speakers should be in the line of sight of participants at all times. Some participants may have to be seated closer to the speakers if they rely on lip reading.

Sign language interpreters are meant to stand close to the speakers so that the audience can see them both together. If a session requires a speaker to deliver the lecture from a different part of the room, the interpreter must also have space to stand next to them there. The arrangement of the room should be such that people entering or exiting the room during the session should not obstruct the participants' view of the interpreter while leaving the room in the middle of the session.

Hire two sign language interpreters as interpretation is a very intense job. They can take turns among themselves to do the interpretation. If you have invited a Deaf7 participant, or if you have received a confirmation from a Deaf participant, ask them who they would prefer as a sign language interpreter and try your best to engage those persons.

Do: Anyone who wants to speak with the Deaf participant should directly address the participant in the second person (e.g., "Have you understood this concept?"), so that the interpreter can convey it.

Don't: Address questions meant for the participant to the interpreter. (e.g., "Has she understood the concept?")

Budget for: Sign language interpreters

Quiet corner

Some participants, especially those with mental illness, psychosocial disabilities or autism, may get triggered or overstimulated at the event. They might need to take a break and go to a quiet place that is outside the event spaces or fenced off from them where can stay until they feel ready to go back to the event. If the event venue is within the premises of a hotel, it may entitle one to reserve a free room, which can be designated for this purpose. Else, you can arrange for some comfortable seating in a corner at the back of the room for quiet time.

Photography and videography

In events specifically for persons with disabilities, especially psychosocial disabilities, many persons may not want to be photographed or identified as persons with a mental illness. This may be because of their concerns over being stigmatised, judged or discriminated against in different aspects of their lives. It is important to seek the permission of persons in events before the event is photographed or videographed. Even if people have consented to be photographed, do consider that many persons with conditions such as autism and photosensitive epilepsy may be triggered by the use of the camera's flash on them. Speakers or trainers with such impairments may be also be distracted by the sound of clicking cameras.

[Editor's note: Wikimedia events usually have their own protocol about photographing and videographing participants. Colour-coded lanyards, badges or similar markers are distributed to those who do not wish to have their photos or videos taken or those who would prefer being explicitly asked for permission before they are photographed or videographed.

Information about colour-codes and their meaning is usually indicated at the Registration Desk or wherever lanyards or other markers are distributed to participants, in the Welcome/ Registration Kit and included in the Friendly Space Policy for the event.

Some events have demarcated no-photography areas within spaces such as auditoriums and seminar halls. This seating arrangement allows for cameras to be used inside the room without certain sections of the audience coming into the frame.]

Planned seating

Other kinds of interpreters (e.g., for those with learning disabilities), scribes and some personal assistants will need to sit next to the participant. Some participants may be comfortable only in a certain part of the room and would like to keep that seating even after breaks. Facilitators may ensure that this need or preference is respected.

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