When you are involved in event that concerns attendance by people with special needs, you have to ensure that all your attendees feel welcome, comfortable and part of the day’s proceedings. It is important to focus on making those with special needs equally feel part of the event not excluded and as a burden. Simple organisation of facilities and inclusion will go a long way to achieving this.
There are important things that you have to plan for, when planning an event that will have a large attendance of people with special needs. The list, while no means thorough, will at least help you cover the most important aspects of a successful event for people with special needs.
If you are aware of the primary condition that is affecting the patrons with special needs, you have to provide a stall or booth that will cater to any incidents. As an example, if you are trying to manage an event for diabetics, you need to make sure that a booth with people equipped to handle diabetes related emergencies is available. Feeding parents will require a designated feeding area and restroom. Change facilities for baby are also essential. Ensure that change facilities are located for Mums/Dads to access.
It is imperative that the hall or stadium has an entry/exit point that is accessible by attendees in wheelchairs. If there is no ramp that leads up to the main doors, you will have no choice but to look for another venue. It is also important that you appoint staff who will be able to provide assistance to attendees, if they require it.
If it is an outdoor event, it can be very difficult for wheelchair bound patrons to find their way around the venue on muddy grass, plan ahead with walkways that are suitable and consider grass matting for walkways if need be.
Special seating arrangements will have to be made, depending on the event in question. If the event will have a standing crowd, you will need to make sure that the patrons with special needs either get seats in the front section or get seats on a raised platform, where their view will not be blocked by people standing and moving around in front of them. Also ensure that carers are catered for amongst this area too.
Make sure that there are a suitable number of wheelchair accessible restrooms in the venue. The minimum number will depend on the total number of people attending. Generally one wheel chair capable restroom per 1,000 attendees is an acceptable ratio of bathrooms to patrons with special needs.
People with special needs will require a parking space that is accessible and larger than regular parking spaces. Ideally, the venue of your event should have several such parking spots if patrons with special needs are attending. You also need to appoint staff that will make sure that the special parking space is not violated by non-handicapped drivers who will always try to find an easy spot to park their cars.