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An Accessible and Inclusive #ICA19

Posted By Terry Flew (Queensland U of Technology), Monday, March 4, 2019

The purpose of the ICA Newsletter is not to engage in hubris or self-congratulation. But it is appropriate on this occasion to note the important work that Laura Sawyer has done as ICA Executive Director to make the ICA 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC as accessible and inclusive as possible for those with diverse needs. In doing so, she has worked closely with Associate Professor Meryl Alper from Northeastern U, who is a leading scholar and advocate around disability and communication, as well as working with guidelines from comparable organizations, such as the American Sociological Association.


The ICA Conference Inclusion and Accessibility Guidelines can be found at https://www.icahdq.org/page/2019Accessibility. It is noted that the ICA is committed to creating an inclusive, accessible environment for all conference attendees, and that due nto the lead times for accommodating all requests, information needs to be provided no later than 1 April 2019. There are two ways to let us know of your needs: indicate your needs via the “accessibility” question on the registration form, or contact Laura Sawyer directly. Attendees who have not made advance arrangements for services or equipment can inquire at the ICA Registration Desk onsite, but ICA may not be able to provide all services or equipment requested onsite due to availability or the time required to obtain them.


Some of the major provisions for the 2019 ICA Conference are:


  • ADA-accessible sleeping rooms in both hotels;

  • Ensuring that non-alcoholic beverage options are available at all ICA events;

  • Provision of captioning and transcription services subject to sufficient advance notice;

  • Availability of childcare through ‘KiddieCorps’ during conference hours;

  • Provision of a ‘Quiet Room’ at the Washington Hilton throughout the conference;

  • Promotion of a fragrance-free environment for the benefit of attendees with multiple chemical sensitivities;

  • Gender-neutral restrooms at each level of the Washington Hilton;

  • Every area of the Hilton being accessible by both elevator and stairwell as well as escalator;

  • A private ‘family room’ for attendees with parenting needs;

  • Yoga classes each morning to help with combatting stress and promoting mindfulness.


We also note that all presentations or sessions should be designed and conducted with the full participation of all in mind. ICA suggests that all presenters review the Accessibility Guidelines for Presentations from the Society for Disability Studies and take the steps necessary to make all programming accessible to their respective audiences.


ICA takes its attendees’ and members’ safety seriously. If you experience harassment of any kind during the ICA conference, please contact Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director, immediately with your concerns so that ICA staff may assist you. You may also feel free to enlist the aid of hotel staff or security, who will coordinate with ICA staff in addressing the issue.


If you have any problem or negative experience related to accessibility, including issues with housing, meeting sessions, or any other accessibility-related issue, please email Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director, at lsawyer@icahdq.org. In addition to meeting these needs, we keep a record of all requests and our ability to meet them in order to improve each year. We also provide feedback on accessibility issues to our hotel partners and the cities in which we meet.


Tags:  March 2019 

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