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OPWDD celebrates anniversary of ADA with launch of accessible events guide

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Mon, Jul 26th 2021 01:10 pm

New guide designed to help people & organizations plan inclusive, accessible events

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities announced it has issued an accessible events guide to assist people and organizations in planning in-person and virtual events that are both inclusive and accessible. OPWDD is releasing the new guide to coincide with the upcoming 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26. The ADA is the landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and in all public and private places that are open to the public.

"As we focus on our postpandemic comeback, we are committed more than ever to creating an inclusive future where success and opportunity are accessible to all," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "The accessible events guide developed by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is just one more way that we are working to make sure that all New Yorkers, including individuals with disabilities, can fully participate in all aspects of society."

OPWDD Commissioner Theodore Kastner, M.D. M.S., said, "We continue to be committed to the spirit of the ADA by ensuring that people with developmental disabilities – and all people with disabilities – are included in all aspects of community life, and this includes in-person and virtual meetings and events. We created this guide in hopes that people and other organizations will use it as a resource when planning their events so that all attendees – no matter what their ability – can fully take part."

Kastner said there are some simple questions event planners should ask themselves when planning their events to ensure they are welcoming to people with disabilities. The guide walks event planners through these questions and also outlines pre-event considerations; location considerations; interior space considerations; what to consider when planning registration, presentations and event material; language access considerations and special considerations for online events.

The guide is not intended to be comprehensive, but is designed to be more of a best practices checklist that makes people aware of the types of accommodations that may be necessary to have a successful event. It directs them to other accessibility resources that can provide further help if needed.

More information about OPWDD's accessible events guide can be found on the OPWDD website. Those with questions or feedback about the accessible events guide can email [email protected].

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