Making Extra-Curricular Activities Inclusive

Lectures and Guest Speakers

“There is a lack/poor ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreter service.”
- Student
University, Atlantic Canada

Many post-secondary institutions host guest speakers and extra-curricular lectures on a variety of topics. These activities must be accessible for all students, including students with disabilities.

Some questions you should consider are:

  • Will sign language interpretation for deaf and hard of hearing students be available?
  • Are the facilities physically accessible for persons with disabilities?
  • Are there any visual aids in the presentation that students who are blind and students with visual impairments may have difficulty with?

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may have trouble understanding the presentation. Sign language interpretation should be available for any student who requests it. There should also be a procedure in place (for example, a contact person) that is advertised for students to make that request.

Wheelchair users may have difficulty accessing the room. Many lecture halls have stairs that can make access for someone in a wheelchair very difficult. Holding the event in a room that allows access to wheelchairs is recommended. Be sure to book a room in a building that is easily accessible for students in wheelchairs. The washrooms should also be accessible.

If speakers are planning on using any visual aids, such as a PowerPoint presentation or overheads, they should be made available in alternate formats if possible for students with visual impairments. One possible way of ensuring all students have access to the visual aids is to make them available on diskette or CD. Keep in mind, some individuals with visual impairments may require onsite assistance in order to benefit fully from the speaker.

Practical Tips:

  • Provide sign language interpretation upon request. Set up a procedure for requesting it.
  • Book the event in a wheelchair accessible building and room. Ensure that the washrooms are also accessible for wheelchair users.
  • Provide any visual aids in alternate formats for visually impaired students.