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Events, Conferences and Meetings

This section contains information for people who plan and host public events, meetings, workshops and conferences. It also contains information for people who have SLDs.

The following information is intended to provide a starting point to improve access to services for people with speech and language disabilities (SLDs), not caused by hearing loss. It is by no means a full comprehensive list of barriers or accommodations. It presents some of the unique challenges that people with SLDs may experience within this situation.

Contact us for more information on making your services accessible.

Sample Communication Access Barriers at public events and meetings

Many of us who have Speech and Language Disabilities (SLDs), experience the same barriers as people who have mobility, sensory and other disabilities. In addition, we may experience unique communication barriers due to our speech and language disability.

These barriers may include:

  • Not having opportunities to interject and be heard
  • Not having the time to communicate everything we want to say
  • Feeling like we are holding up a meeting when constructing our messages
  • Not being able to take-notes at a meeting
  • Not being able to communicate effectively at teleconferences

Suggestions for Organizers of Events, Conferences and Meetings

In addition to generic communication access accommodations, people who organize public events and meetings should:

  • Make the agenda available to us ahead of time so that we can prepare our messages. Ask us if you require:
    • A communication assistant to support us communicating during the event
    • Accommodations for handling, reading and understanding written materials
    • Accommodations to take notes and complete forms
    • Negotiate how and when we will communicate during the event (e.g. a prepared message delivered ahead of time, or communicating during or after the event)
    • Find out how we will signal that we have something to communicate
    • Provide other options to telephone meetings where we can be seen and where we can type our messages such as Skype, WebEx or Go to Meeting
    • Negotiate procedures with us for what other people should do when we are constructing our messages in real time (e.g. wait for completion, continue with meeting)

Resources for organizers of events and meetings

Suggestions for people with SLDs

Depending on the situation and our communication requirements, we may want to consider:

  • Requesting the agenda ahead of time
  • Arranging for a communication assistant, if we require one
  • Contacting the organizer and requesting a communication assistant if we do not have someone who can assist us
  • Preparing our messages ahead of time
  • Negotiating with the organizer how and when we will communicate our messages
  • Arranging to meet or email the presenter or organizer after the event so that we can follow up on issues that may have arisen during the meeting

Resources for People with SLDs