Accessibility Video Transcript

Accessibility Video Transcript
February 26, 2023 Emily Denaro

Accessibility Video Transcript

Hi I’m Emily, pronouns she/her. And this is Nora, pronouns she/sir and we are from Bethel Pride and we are here to tell you about how we make our events accessible. Nora is going to talk to us today about the accessibility badges that we are using from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s inspirational badging system. Take it away!

Okay so our color communication badges are based on a system from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network as part of their Pacific Alliance on Disability Self-Advocacy.

The original idea came from the Autism Network International. We made some modifications to designs in their document to be easier to distinguish them outdoors in variable lighting conditions since we are outside we sometimes it’s dark sometimes it’s very very bright um so we also modified the symbols they had to be easier to tell apart at a greater distance and when people had their body turned at an angle so you can see that’s a little bit easier to tell some of these system things you know even if they’re a little bit at an angle you still have a good idea that there is some kind of symbol there. We went with the design of six cards on lanyard. The outer two cards have the current color on them so that if the badge stack is flipped like while you’re walking around it’s still the same on the back.

We chose not to put the descriptions of what the symbols meant on the badges themselves so as to discourage people from trying to get close enough to get to read the badge that said stay away and don’t approach me. We have the information on separate signage around the venue in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We also have a big version of this, too. We chose lanyards as being easy to take on and off and less likely to become lost if people took coats on and off. The badges themselves are laminated card stock. Each badge is quarter page. To change the color unclip the ring and then flip the cards so the color you want is on the outside. So you can do that.

Flip yellow out, green now, and that way again, so that that way if you accidentally flip the badge into a wrong orientation it still shows both colors on the same side.

Alright now what do these mean?

Green indicates you would like to be approached by others to talk. Emily: Hello! Nora: You might pick this one if you’re friendly and outgoing and love talking. Conversely you might pick this to tell if you’re shy and have trouble starting conversations with people. That tells people, “Come to me and start the conversation with me!”

The yellow triangle one indicates people should not approach you unless you already know them. Effectively, you’re telling strangers not to approach you. You might pick this one if you’re a bit more anxious, you might also pick this if you’re already talking to a bunch of people and any more would be overwhelming or you’d have audio processing problems with that many voices.

Red is real simple. Do not approach! Even friends should leave you alone. Either you need some time to adjust to the environment, or currently overwhelmed and just need a cool down, or you’re performing a task that can’t be interrupted. Like say you need to take a little break to like test your blood sugar and you don’t want anyone interrupting you well you’re doing that. So this is a good choice if you need you just need to not have anyone interact with you and again they’re they’re not to approach you. But this doesn’t mean no contact at all. You can still go approach them and ask for whatever help you need, just no one is going to come to You.

You get all all three colors on the badge set because your needs may change during the event. For example the staff usually has it on green during the whole event, however if you have a they have a specific task they need to focus on um but still are available, they might switch it over to yellow so effectively only staff and other people will approach them. If they really need to just sit and eat their lunch uninterrupted and no one gives them any more tasks right now it might be red.

For our current badge set, we have about a hundred badges made but we’ll be doing more for this year. The lanyards were donated. Between the colored paper, sign printing, lamination and the jump rings, which are these little metal things,  we spent around sixty dollars. Your cost might be higher if you have them professionally laminated rather than if a volunteer does them. Overall, expect to spend around $20 in the signage and then around 50 cents per badge depending on how many you’re making.

We do loan this system out to other people in the area if they ask to borrow it. We don’t generally use it for events that are less than 10 people because that at that point it gets a little weird (too little people to need them). This has been much better for if you have a large crowd or you know anything over probably about 20 people is about where you definitely want to consider something like this. And back to Emily.

Emily: Yeah and we use this system for our own staff, we use it for vendors, for any participants that want to also partake in this especially like Nora said if it’s a smaller event and you know we don’t have necessarily vendors or sponsors there but just participants, these have been really great. We’ve used them for all ages. We used them at our Halloween event which was for teens and middle school students, so you if folks wanted to use it that was great. And it’s just part of the way that we try to make our events as accessible as possible. There’s no way to please everyone but we try to please as many people as possible, and support as many people as possible, so this is one of the things that we do.

There’s also some other things…Nora has come up with a great list…kind of a checklist of all the things that we run through when we consider how to make sure that people can come of all kinds to you know to participate. Some of the things include making you know the pathways really walkable, making sure that there’s some quiet spaces that people can hang out you know in if they need take a break. When we do have our large event we also ask the vendors specifically if they have any you know stimuli (sensory) concerns you know if they need to be in a quiet spot away from our music, if they need a corner spot because they need a wheelchair, if they need to be close to a curb so they can get to their vehicle. We do all sorts of kind of different things to make sure that the buildings are accessible as well. Making sure that there’s a special bathrooms, changing tables which is a big accessibility thing that is hard to find but we do try to have that. If we have an entryway for a building, we make sure there’s ramps. If we need elevators those kind of things you know are all kind of part of our plan. Anything I’m missing?

Nora: With our checklist that we have set up, it’s basically for new venues and it just has a checklist that goes over all the things to look for including things that you might not necessarily immediately think about…things like…oddly enough does it have fluorescent lighting? Because some people can actually hear the fluorescent lights so that can be an accessibility concern for some people. We actually, for the Halloween party, because there were some compact uh fluorescent spirals we actually swapped them out for a different type of light that was less noisy. And that’s one of the things that you can look at with the accessibility, if you’re doing a checklist, is not just um there’s some things that you can resolve where you’re basically…this is a okay this is the thing we can resolve day of, on a one-time basis. And some of them are things you just need to note and they’re just not things you can correct. Like the venue that we use for the main Pride theoretically they are fixing this sometime this year, we’re not sure on the timeline, but unfortunately one of the…there’s wheelchair ramp that goes up to the door [but] the door is a manual pull door Which is not ideal for a wheelchair user. It’s *almost* right but not quite and sometimes you will run into problems with the venue that are really… if you can make a note to be able to how to circumvent them. Like we normally put someone to sit at the top of the stairs there to just open the door for anyone that needs help with that door. But that is you know that’s something the location itself has to fix. But sometimes you can just fix things like that like we also flag uh day of we um, because it is a municipal building there are in fact a bunch of parking spaces right by the building that are for specific offices in the building who are not there that day. So we reflag all of those very close by spots as handicapped only. And they do usually all get used, so we make sure of that. And it can be just very simple things that sometimes aren’t a problem.

Ideally when you’re doing accessibility type stuff you want to do all that stuff ahead of time and if you do it really right, no one tells you you did it right, which is very unsatisfying, and no one tells you you did it right because they never had a problem, they never had to focus on there was a problem, they can focus on having fun and being at the event. If something does go wrong, sometimes you can correct it day-of and sometimes you just have to unfortunately say…I really can’t fix this. What are the things that I can try and do right now to get you somewhere but sometimes that just happens that you can’t fix something. Emily: Yeah and that’s something that you know when we’re planning we always have a map that we you know go over and make sure that we have all those points listed out, we know exactly where vendors who have….and we tell our vendors you know if you do have you know say a problem walking, if you need someone to help you carry things, we’re very open to assisting and we you know we place our own staff in locations to assist with that where we put people in places where they can easily get to their vehicle as I mentioned before.

Some of the things that actually came up out of Covid that, you know, we’re also trying to look at as an accessibility feature..we’re sitting on an outdoor porch, you can’t tell right now…[cross-talk upcoming] that’s why we don’t have masks (Nora: My hands are very cold!) Emily: Yeah, I’m dealing, you’ve got the hat on…but one of the things that you know we always, always try to do for an indoor event is have masks on. Even for some of our outdoor events, we’ve actually made the masks required, just for the safety of folks that are immunocompromised. Other things are including hand sanitizer… everywhere. We have so much hand sanitizer, we probably have like pounds and pounds of hand sanitizer at this point…

But always making sure that that’s available at, you know, different spots especially by food or you know by bathrooms. Always making sure that the bathrooms at the venue that you’re going to have soap, paper towels, that kind of thing, so cleanliness is important. And also at some of our events we have the Corsi Rosenthal boxes used. One of our volunteers actually has one of her own and she brings it, and that’s kind of an indoor air purifier, so you know when it’s possible we have events outside. [Awkward break sorry!]

Nora: So we do have the all the hand sanitizer and some of that stuff … if you work with a local food pantry, frequently they do get like like excessive amounts of that, especially if they’re getting donations from large donors like local grocery stores because they will frequently donate additional things like hand sanitizer and sometimes they do also get things from the health department as well, which sometimes they just don’t have any space for or they just don’t go through fast enough versus how quickly they’re getting them, so if you ask nicely of your local food pantry of like…”Hey, we’re having this event …do you happen to have any of that spare, and do give them some money, they love money, we love money, too, but um give them money for it… usually they will, actually most of the time they will not take money they just much rather have it gone or just haven’t had some of your staff come in to like help them do something on time especially and setting up a you know contact with your local food pantry and finding out how your local food pantry is is kind of another issue with accessibility because many people that are disabled are also in that sort of thing and they don’t know how people are going to react to them at other social services, so knowing which food pantries–because many of them are religiously affiliated–knowing which ones are not going to care at all and which ones are not because we actually do put up our Pride poster at the local food pantry every year, so we get a very wide array of people that way.

Emily: Yeah and your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook or freecycle recycle groups…
we’ve gotten so much help from the community in that way because sometimes people just don’t know what we’re looking for and it’s an easy way for us to say, hey do you have some hand sanitizer? I just actually got literally a huge bucket– I haven’t even shown you yet–from a local bed and breakfast because they just said we don’t really need it. So now I have so much that we’ll be using for our events, and they’re little and they’re cute and they were fantastic.

Yes, so we’re always again asking the community for ways that we can make our events more accessible so always keep your ears open. We’ve added an accessibility page to our website and we’re always looking for comments and feedback and we’ll continue to try to make our events you know as welcoming as possible. So if you have any questions you can email us I would put our information in somewhere so you can find that and um yeah, hope you have a wonderful event and an accessible event.

Nora: One final comment because of course I do! As hard as you work at accessibility, you will make mistakes, you will miss things, and sometimes you will not be able to please everyone because people have conflicting accessibility needs. So people that have children need for various specific things, people that have audio processing issues where they can’t deal with lots of loud background noises may not be able to be in the same space as children. That’s just an example there’s all kinds of other overlapping things, and it’s very hard, and you you will feel bad that you cannot be accessible to everyone, but that sometimes happens and you have to then focus on who is the core person that this particular event is for, and if there’s a specific group that you know is not going to be able to be there because that event is successful, think about doing another event that’s specifically geared to the accessibility of that (other) group. You don’t want anyone to feel left out, and if there is that kind of you know conflict, acknowledge the conflict exists, don’t pretend you didn’t know it was there. People understand that better. They’re much more forgiving of the…we know this is a problem, (but) we could not find a way to address it and have both of these groups equally represented here, we picked one that we thought was going to be you know the core focus for this event. We’ve heard your needs, we’re working on some other stuff that’s focused on you, and invite them to come and talk to you specifically about what they need in that sort of event. Sometimes this does mean you’ll create a fair amount of work where you’re duplicating events. But you don’t have to do exactly the same event over and over.

Emily: You can also–to that point–you can also make sort of two sections of your event, if possible.
We recently did this for a Halloween event where we had a quiet space and then we had a louder space. The louder space had, you know, music and dancing and food and kind of different lighting and the quiet space was just that: it was quiet, no music, the lights–that’s where we switched the lights out from fluorescent to…? Nora: LED. Emily: And that was all feedback that we actually got from middle and high school students. So of all ages, they’ll tell you what their needs are….

We do our best like we said and you know, we listen to everyone involved…the adults, the parents, the students that come, the kids that come… So you know, we also have a lot of folks online, so we read comments and things and we interact in that way if they’re not comfortable kind of participating in person yet before they know so there’s all different ways to find out what your community needs. Just do your best and that’s all you can do, but you’ll get there, and we’ll get there as we continue to improve.
So happy Pride! I think this time we’re done?

Nora: I think this time we’re really done!

Emily: All right!

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