The following resources may be used to assist meeting planners meet the needs of participants with disabilities who need accommodations.
Many organizations are turning to technology to provide an inexpensive way for people to meet. The ubiquitous availability of various electronic communications systems naturally makes these methods the first choice to meet the need and new and exciting technologies are being developed every day.
Whether you are considering hosting of a web seminar (aka, “webinar”), offering an on-line course, setting up a two-way (or multipoint) video conference, or simply arranging for a telephone conference call, the issue of accessibility must be carefully addressed. Although you may often know about the accommodation needs of your employees and regular constituents, this is not always the case for every meeting, and your job as coordinator can become very stressful if you are not prepared to accommodate all participants.
Many people with disabilities who may be participating in your meeting or training session will be using assistive technology equipment or services that must be taken into consideration when planning for your meeting. People with blindness or visual impairments, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people with physical and or mobility impairments will make up the groups most likely needing meeting accommodations. However, there are individuals with other needs and with combinations of needs who may attend your meetings who will require other accommodations. Therefore it is best to plan your accommodations for all.
In the downloadable Accommodations Chart – , we have provided details regarding participants’ needs and specific accommodations they may need. Please use the chart as a planning guide as you prepare for your meeting and make sure you discuss the needs with each participant.
All written documents to be used in meetings should be prepared in advance and distributed before the meeting with sufficient time for all participants to have an opportunity to review them completely. All written documents should be rendered accessible to all assistive technology devices. Maine CITE has publishes a series of articles on how to ensure written documents meet accessibility guidelines.
Planning for meetings should include sufficient planning time and resources to cover costs associated with the provision of certain services. For example, the services of certified ASL interpreters, CART transcriptionists or other specialized personnel should scheduled well in advance to ensure availability during the scheduled meeting time.
The following are some additional considerations:
Clear Accessibility Policy:
If you do not already have one, develop and adopt a clear set of web accessibility policies that state the requirements and provide specific guidelines. You need to check your local laws for specific accommodation requirements. Some organizations use Section 508 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act when considering assistive technologies and information technology. All organizations holding public meetings in the United States must adhere to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Test and Remediate:
Meeting planners should check out and test all technology for compliance with the accessibility guidelines well in advance. Remediation of those things that do not meet the guidelines should be made before the actual meeting time.
The following is a link to finding ASL Interpreting services in Maine. For meetings in other areas, we suggest you search Google for ASL Interpreters for you state or region, or contact your state government agency that has oversight in this area.
Web Captioning General Information
General information about how to caption video for use on websites and through web-based distribution systems:
- WebAIM – Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions.
- Captioning Your Own Video for Free.
- YouTube – Add your own subtitles & closed captions. NOTE: This will be the most up-to-date resource on this topic.
- Zoom – Getting Started With Closed Captioning.
- Canvas LMS.
- BlackBoard LMS.
- Brightspace LMS
- Microsoft – Add subtitles or captions to a video in Office 365 Video.
- Captioning video on Facebook
The following is an amended list of captioning service providers (last updated in June 2021) from the Maine.gov Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and details resources close to Maine.
BUSINESSES PROVIDING CLOSED CAPTIONING SERVICES
226 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
Provo, UT 84601
(801) 370-9878 (V)
Video Caption Corporation
Stanfordville, New York 12581
Portland, OR 97205
Web site: lnscaptioning.com
CART – Captioning-COMMUNICATION ACCESS REALTIME TRANSLATION
CART captioning is a word-for-word, speech-to-text translation service, using closed-captioning technology, for people who need visual communication access. Unlike computerized note-taking or abbreviation systems, which summarize information for consumers, CART captioning provides a complete translation of all spoken words, which allows consumers to decide for themselves what information is important to them. CART captioning consumers include people with hearing loss, individuals with cognitive or motor challenges, people who wish to improve reading/language skills and those with other communication barriers. A CART captionist uses a steno machine, real-time software and laptop computer to render instant speech-to-text translation on a computer monitor or other display to benefit an individual consumer or a larger group in any number of settings: classrooms; business, government and educational functions; courtrooms, hospitals, religious, civic, cultural, recreation or entertainment events; telephone conferences or on-line webinars. Text files are available. Services may be performed on-site or from a remote location via the Internet.
Karasch & Associates
1646 West Chester Pike, Suite 4
West Chester, PA 19382
(619) 696-2008 (FAX)
Contact: Joe Alberici, Client Relationship Manager
Jennifer M. Rodrigues
P.O. Box 20278
Castro Valley, CA 94546
(510) 888-9825 (V)
Access Captioning Technology (ACT)
P.O. Box 614
Gorham, ME 04038
Real Time (automatic) captioning for Live Event
The following applications and services provide the capacity add real time captioning to live events. Note that all of these applications and services utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and may the quality found with using a CART transcriptionist.
Other Resources for Accessible Meetings
- Accessible Conference Guide – SIG Access
- How to Make Presentations Accessible for All – from W3C-WAI
- Accessible Meeting and Event Checklist – Cornell University
- Planning Accessible Meetings and Event – Harvard University
- Making Virtual Meetings Accessible – PEAT
- Remote Workplace Communications Access: Recommendations for Employers During Times of Expanded Telework – National Association of the Deaf