Conducting the Session

You may have to teach sessions which contain people who have any number of disabilities. This checklist breaks down possible impairments which you may have to accommodate, with tips on how to appropriately consider them. It is important that we support an inclusive community, and give everyone equal opportunity to participate as well as take away information from sessions.


  • Ask a person with a disability if they need help before providing assistance
  • Talk directly to a person with a disability, not through their companion or interpreter
  • Avoid negative descriptions (ex. say "a person who uses a wheelchair" not "a person confined to a wheelchair")
  • Mention the person before the disability (ex. say "a man who is blind"; not "a blind man")
  • Do not interact with a person's service animal unless you have received permission. Queen's Service Animal on Campus Policy

Blind or Low Vision

  • Be descriptive (ex. say "the computer is three feet to your left" not "the computer is over there")
  • Describe all of the content presented with overhead projections and other visuals
  • To guide someone with a visual impairment, offer your arm rather than grabbing or pushing

Learning Disabilities

  • Offer directions/instructions both orally and in writing

Mobility Impairments

  • Sit or position yourself at the approximate height of people sitting in wheelchairs when you interact

Speech Impairments

  • Listen carefully. Repeat what you understand and then ask the person with the impairment to clarify/repeat the portion you did not understand

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Face people with hearing impairments so they can see your lips
  • Avoid talking while chewing gum or eating
  • Speak clearly at normal volume – speak louder only if requested
  • Repeat questions from audience members
  • Use paper and pencil if more accurate communication is needed
  • When using an interpreter, speak directly to the person who is deaf ; when an interpreter is voicing what a person who is deaf signs, look at the person who is deaf, not the interpreter

Psychiatric Impairments

  • Provide information in clear, calm, respectful tones
  • Allow opportunities for addressing specific questions

Source: Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations . 2013. Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations.