Guidelines for Accommodating People with Disabilities
Catholics with disabilities are just like Catholics without disabilities. They only need a bit of assistance to do exactly what all other Catholics do. Active participation in our parishes and Church family is everyone's goal.
Physical accessibility, like ramps and elevators, help everyone, including parents with strollers. Keeping the snow piles off the parking spaces and curb cuts ensures everyone can come and get in to the buildings. Effective lighting and sound systems help everyone to see and hear. Allowing space between tables and chairs allows a wheelchair to maneuver in space.
Accessing programs and events such as religious education or Knights of Columbus may take a bit more effort. Are alternative materials such as large print or electronic format available? Do all the DVDs used have open captions? How do I find an interpreter for the Deaf?
The Commission has created a simple tool for use by Parishes to ensure all Catholics can fully participate in the life of the diocese and parish. If you have questions or need more information, the Commission is available to assist.
For All Events and People:
- Ensure availability of sufficient accessible parking (avoid snow piles).
- Confirm ramps and/or elevators provide access to the location of the event, including restrooms, podiums, sanctuaries, etc. Check working condition.
- Arrange table and chair spacing to allow for wheelchairs or walkers.
- Ask if alternative formats are needed (text, Braille, electronic format or audio tapes).
- Provide adequate lighting (avoid mood or dim lighting).
- Always utilize only DVDs and videos which are open captioned. For closed captioning, be sure the TV is compatible.
- Be aware that uneven or rough floor surfaces may cause difficulty for people using canes, walkers, etc.
- Appraise the ushers or staff of possible needs.
- Plan the needed accommodations in annual church or department budget.
For Registration Materials:
- Always include Accommodation options on all registration and event materials, with space for the individual to write their response. Then contact the person directly to ensure what is provided meets this request. For example:
- "Do you have any special accommodation needs (e.g. sign language interpreter, Braille or alternative formats, dietary restrictions, etc.)? Please describe. _______________________________________. Phone number to contact you. ______________"
- Use Serif option for all fonts. Examples include Times New Roman and Currier. Arial and Tahoma are not serif.
- Use larger print (minimum 14 point) for all programs, agendas, etc.
- Use 24 point or larger when "Large Print" is requested.
- Use simple black and white text and illustrations, with sufficient contrast.
- Avoid colorful ‘busy' documents.
- Have electronic formats of all print available.
For the Deaf or Hard of Hearing:
- Arrange for seating the Deaf community in the front, near the speaker.
- Arrange for interpreter or real time captioning services at least two weeks in advance.
- Utilize room amplification system or personal amplification system.
- Provide all materials to the interpreter or CART reporter one week in advance.
- Provide bright lighting. Avoid creating a special atmosphere with dim lighting.
- Contact Carol Ruddell (801) 440-8729 to arrange interpreters.
For the Blind or Visually Impaired:
- Always have all materials available in large print and electronic format.
- Arrange for availability of alternative formats (a minimum two week advance notice is necessary).
- Seating close to the speaker may be necessary.
- For further assistance, contact the Commission for People with Disabilities at the Diocese of Salt Lake City, (801) 328-8641.