Making Extra-Curricular Activities Inclusive

Orientation and Welcome Week Activities

Orientation and Welcome Week events are often the most popular extra-curricular activities on campus. It is very important that campus programmers include students with disabilities in these activities.

Some questions you should consider are:

  • Are activities accessible for wheelchair users?
  • Have tours been verified to ensure that students with disabilities can participate?
  • 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?

Often orientation activities are held outdoors in the fall. However, outdoor activities can cause many problems for wheelchair users, especially in grassy areas. Plan to hold activities in an area that is at least partially paved to ensure easy access for those in wheelchairs. Also ensure that the route to the washrooms is easily accessible.

Campus tours are often incorporated into orientation. These may have to be adapted for students with disabilities. Students with hearing impairments may require sign language interpretation in order to fully benefit from a tour. Visually impaired and blind students may require a special orientation to the campus and maps in alternate format. Wheelchair users may need to be shown accessible routes around campus. Therefore, any tour guides should be prepared to deal with students with disabilities who participate in the tour.

Visually impaired students may also have difficulty accessing written materials pertaining to the events, such as a program listing the activities for the week. These should be made available in alternate formats.

Sign language interpretation should be available for each orientation event, so that deaf and hearing impaired students may benefit from all of the activities. Specifically, it is important to have interpretation of any oral instructions or speeches.

Practical Tips:

  • Ensure that locations used, specifically outdoor locations, are fully and easily accessible for wheelchair users
  • Provide any necessary accommodations for campus tours
  • Provide any written materials in alternate formats
  • Offer sign language interpretation for all events