Guidelines and Considerations

These guidelines are intended to help event planners understand how to support accessibility or an accommodation need. The main goal is equal access and effective participation to all ICs (Ithaca College) community regardless of disability. While there might not be an accommodation solution for every situation, the key is communication and an interactive process. Contact ADA Coordinator Linda Koenig to confirm whether an accommodation may be available.

Budget and Financial

Most accommodations are relatively inexpensive (if accessibility is considered during all phases of planning) but a few things, such as live captioning, might require additional funding. If you have an unexpected or specific need for event accommodations, consult ADA Coordinator Linda Koenig, (

As a general example, live captioning for an event could cost around $140-$200 per hour. This is one service that can provide equal access to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and needs a real-time transcript of what is said during the event.

Choosing a Physical Event Location

Events should be held at a location that is physically accessible unless doing so would fundamentally alter an essential function of the event (i.e., a walking tour through the natural lands) although if your event encompasses multiple options you may want to plan accessible alternatives to ensure inclusivity. While many of Ithaca Colleges events spaces are accessible, factors you can consider when searching for a location are:

  • Availability of nearby parking (including accessible parking spaces)
  • Stair free entrances/exits close to the event space
  • Working accessible buttons
  • Location of elevators if the entrance/exit is not on the same floor
  • Proximity of accessible bathrooms
  • Availability of handrails, if stairs or ramps are present
  • Availability of accessible seating
  • Accessibility circulation paths if event attendees are expected to move during the event. (i.e. a speaker coming on to a stage, or enough spaces between tables/booth to accommodate a wheelchair)

To improve the accessibility of your physical space, you may also want to consider additional sensory elements, such as:

  • Availability of natural lighting or alternatives to florescent lights
  • Flickering or buzzing lights
  • Loud machinery that may trigger sensory impairments (H/VAC systems, vending machines, etc.)
  • Ability to control ambient temperatures

It may be necessary to plan certain events far in advance to ensure availability of an accessible space. If you cannot identify an accessible space during the time you planned the event, consider rescheduling until an accessible space becomes available or connecting with the ADA coordinator ( to discuss an equally effective alternative access plan.

Removing Communication Barriers

A major component of hosting an accessible event includes planning for and providing accessible communication. This can include:

  • Providing accessible promotional materials (Link to PDF)
  • Ensuring that all pre-recorded media is captioned (Link to captioning 101)
  • Making Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) available to participants
  • Providing live captioning or transcription services
  • Hiring an ASL interpreter

Some communication barriers can be addressed without a specific accommodation request (e.g., captioning all pre-recorded material, having ALDs available in event spaces) while others are typically provided upon request (such as live captioning and ASL interpreting).

Modifying Policies, Practices, and Procedures

Event planners should also be aware that policies, practices, and procedures may need to be modified in order to accommodate a person with a disability. For example:

  • A policy prohibiting animals at an event should be modified to allow a person to attend with a service dog
  • A policy prohibiting a participant from bringing a bag into an event may need to be modified if that bag contains essential medical supplies.
  • Early access or preferential seating considerations at an event

Opposing Accommodation Needs

An accommodation is needed when an individual with a disability requires an alteration to effectively communicate or participate fully at an event. Occasionally the needs of two disabilities may be conflicting and additional accommodations may be warranted. Some examples and possible solutions:

  • A service animal and an allergy
    • Preferential Seating to allow for maximum separation
    • Flexible in schedule for movement from one space to another
    • Helping to identify multiple paths of travel
    • Allowance for breaks, food/water if medication is needed
    • Alternatives to in-person requirements
    • Portable air purifiers in event spaces
  • Low vision increased lighting needs and light triggered disabilities like migraines.
    • Provide high-contrast or digitally accessible formats of materials ahead of time
    • Allow for a personal light or lamp at event
    • Utilize natural lighting when available
    • Light filters
  • A speaker with a disability related to speech and an attendee with a disability around speech processing
    • Allow for audio recording so content can be reviewed
    • Provide speech-to-text or transcription options
    • Pair the attendee with an aid who can provide clarity

This is not an exhaustive list of scenarios nor possible solutions. Providing access and accommodation may require individualized and unique solutions.