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Staff Awareness and Sensitivity

Being prepared can help you handle unexpected requests. Despite all possible efforts to create an accessible event, some participants may request accommodations at the event. Cornell is obligated to make its best effort to provide access if the request is reasonable and can be readily accomplished. Staff awareness and sensitivity are essential to successfully complying with this obligation.

Be conversant with the terms used to convey positive communication with persons with disabilities. Terms such as “wheelchair bound” and “handicapped” are examples of outdated terms that present disability in negative terms.

More information about People First Language and tips on communicating with and about people with disabilities can be found at http://www.health.state.ny.us/publications/0951/

On-site Registration

Registration workers should be well-informed about how to provide accommodations and where to obtain services. Staff should know the answers to common questions such as:

  • “Do I need a Cornell permit to use an accessible parking space?”
    (Answer: Yes, between 8:00AM-5:00PM. Accessible day permits are available at Info Booths for a fee. Car owner must have a state accessible permit or obvious temporary disability.)
  • “Where is the accessible restroom and water fountain?”
  • “When traveling around campus, how do I find accessible paths of travel?”
  • “Are there Braille directional signs in the building?”
  • “Will there be a wheelchair or scooter available to use. If not, where can I rent one locally?”

During the Event

Event staff should be apprised of the general obligation to provide accommodation for people with disabilities. Staff should be prepared to offer assistance (directions for drop-off and accessible parking, seating, or using the amenities of the building, etc.).