Putting Physical Access Legislation into Practice

A computer rendering of two buildings. One has a curved ramp from the front of the building that leads to the entry way. Another building shows a ramp that starts on the side of the building and wraps around the corner toward the entrance.

Planning accessible meetings, conferences and workshops is very important for including all members of the community, including people with different types of disabilities. These two resources can assist with planning accessible events.

1. The Marae Accessibility Toolkit is targeted at the development of maraes (meeting grounds of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand) but is relevant for any government and civil society actors looking at best practices for inclusive community meetings. It was developed as resource to enable Maori elders and extended family with disabilities to access community meetings.

The toolkit presents simple, easy-to-understand checklists for factors to be considered such as eating space, restrooms, and general access. The resource also looks at the minimum access requirements of local legislation and best practices for putting the legislation into practical application. The Marae Accessibility Toolkit was published by the Marae Accessibility Project 2010.

2. The American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights produced the Planning Accessible Meetings: A Toolkit resource in 2015 initially to guide it’s members to include members of the legal profession at their events. This excellent guide covers choosing a venue, marketing and promotion, presenter guidelines, meeting materials, social functions, staff and volunteer training, and respectful communication. Checklists for each section can easily be used by a variety of organizations for different events (available in English only).