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How to Welcome People by Communicating Accessibility

How to Welcome People by Communicating Accessibility

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Add an Accommodation Statement

Including someone with a disability is often a matter of making an accommodation in order to participate. Letting people know that they can contact you to request an accommodation lets them know that they are welcome to join you in all the activities in your community.

The best way to inform people is to tell them that they can contact you to make an accommodation request. For example, it can read like this:

Every Chabad community is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment.
If you or a family member requires an accommodation in order to participate, please contact us. *
*Include a contact name, phone number and email address. (Include a due date to make a request).

Additional language may be added to state that requests for accommodations made after the advertised date will be honored to the maximum extent feasible.

Include this information in all your communication modes including:

  • Website
  • Emails
  • Printed materials
  • Registration materials for Hebrew school, Preschool, youth group, adult education and any programs that require preregistration
  • Invitations to events

Communicate the Accommodations That You Offer

Below are samples of how to inform people about more common kinds of accommodations you might offer. You can include this information on your website.

  • If you have a hearing device such as a T-coil or Telecoil built in to your hearing device, you can receive sound directly from the sanctuary PA system without a separate listening device. Ask your audiologist how to activate your hearing aids T-coil.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters can be arranged if requests are made no later than one week in advance of the event, program or service you wish to attend.
  • If you use a wheelchair or other mobility device and would like to sit with your family, friends or companion, please let us know so that we can reserve seats.
  • We have large print siddurim, chumashim and machzorim. If you would like to reserve one, please contact us and we will have one waiting for you when you arrive.
  • If you have food allergies, please let us know so that we can provide non-allergic alternatives such as gluten-free foods. If you are sensitive to nuts, please let us know.

Most Common Types of Accommodations

When receiving an accommodation request, ask the individual what accommodation he or she needs. These are some of the more common requests:

  • American Sign Language Interpreter. Typically, two interpreters are required.
  • Assistive listening devices. If you have installed a hearing loop make sure it’s in working order.
  • Access to the building and spaces inside. People who use mobility devices may want to know if you have a ramp and if the sanctuary, social hall, bimah and washrooms are accessible.
  • Good lighting in the sanctuary or program space.
  • Large print materials for shiurim, davening, etc.
  • Gluten free, tree nut free, dairy free, and egg free food requests.
  • Fragrance free environment or spaces.
  • Quiet room for someone who needs a sensory break.

While this list is not extensive, it includes more common requests. Factors to consider are, of course, costs for interpreters, accessible ramps and restrooms, whether there is a quiet space, etc. Some accommodations are easily achieved: signage indicating which food is gluten-free, nut free, and so on; renting a portable ramp or lift; moving the bimah to the seating level; purchasing large print siddurim, chumashim and machzorim; or printing other materials in 18-point san serif font.

Some accommodations are basic, while others require some thought and collaboration with the person who requires the accommodation.

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