Section 504 symbols    

3. DISSEMINATING NEWS RELEASES, PUBLIC NOTICES, TEXTS, AND OTHER DOCUMENTS

  • Include an accessible format statement in your releases.

    Model statement:

    Accessible Formats
    To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

  • Make sure that you indicate the web address consumers can use to get an electronic copy. Follow the Commission's Section 508 Guidelines to assure appropriate web formats for your information. For more details on Section 508, contact the Commission's Section 508 Officer.

4. HOSTING ACCESSIBLE MEETINGS AND EVENTS

Hosting successful meetings or events62 requires cooperation between event planners, chairpersons, emcees, moderators, coordinators, and attendees. The following hosting responsibilities and guidelines can help produce accessible events that comply with Section 504 requirements.

Opening announcements

  • Announce the availability of any accommodations that are in place. Example: "For the [event name] today, we have the following accessibility services available [mention those actually in place for the event, e.g., sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices (ALDs), CART and/or captioning.] Also, agendas and handouts are available in large print, electronic format, and braille. If anyone needs assistance in locating where these services are being provided please let [identify any Commission staff who can assist in getting attendees the appropriate service(s) or products-ask the Commission staff identified to stand] know."

  • Provide verbal directions to accessible restroom facilities. For example, if the meeting is being held in the Commission Meeting Room, give directions similar to the following: "Accessible restrooms are located on the 12th Street level (this floor) at the following location: When exiting the Commission Meeting Room use the exit on the far right (or on the left, depending on where the speaker is located). Continue straight forward from the exit door for about 40 feet, then turn at the first corridor to the left. Restrooms are located immediately on your left, first the Men's then the Women's restrooms."

  • Provide verbal directions to any other amenities attendees may need to know about; e.g., area delis/restaurants, payphones, TTYs, ATMs.

Meeting moderators

  • Introduce all speakers and panelists verbally by name. An alternative method is to ask the speakers/panelists to take turns introducing themselves.

  • Make it a practice to recognize individuals who would like to take the floor.

    • This will avoid situations where several people attempt to speak at the same time. This is both good meeting practice and an aid to interpreters, CART writers, and captioners who are only able to render the comments of one speaker at a time.

    • This will identify the speaker for attendees who are blind or have low vision as well as for CART writers, captioners, and sign language interpreters.

    • A variation that is often used, particularly for events with attendees who are blind or have low vision, is to ask speakers to identify themselves each time they make a comment. This also is of benefit to captioners, CART writers, sign language interpreters, and members of the audience using these accommodations.

    • Since there is always a time lag between the time captioners, interpreters, and CART writers hear a message and are able to translate it, people who depend upon their services receive such information at a point slightly behind hearing participants. This frequently puts people who are deaf and hard of hearing at a disadvantage when trying to make a point or to respond to a question. By the time the question or issue is conveyed to them, others have already begun answering. By controlling access to the floor, the moderator can provide more equitable opportunities for comment and response.

  • Verbally acknowledge any speakers/panelists joining the meeting while in progress, or leaving the meeting before it ends. [For example: "We've just been joined by Alex Bell from FCC Corp….glad to have you with us!" (Give Alex a chance to respond briefly. This will orient people who are blind or have low vision to his location and to his voice.) Then return to the discussion at hand.]

  • If the public address system is not working properly, interrupt the speaker, reminding them to wait until the microphone is working correctly and repeat their comments using the working public address system. Participants relying on ALDs, sign language interpreters, captioning, and CART text will miss the information if it does not come through the PA system.

  • Remember to be patient. It will take extra time for individuals with speech disabilities or individuals using sign language interpreters, captioning, or CART to fully participate in discussions. Participants with speech disabilities may require additional time to complete their comments. And, individuals using sign language interpreters, captions, and CART, experience delays in receiving information as well as expressing comments. On average, there is a 1-10 second delay between the time a comment is uttered and the time the complete sign language interpretation is presented. Similarly, there is a 1-15 second delay for the complete captioned or CART text to appear. There is a similar delay when a response is expressed in sign language and interpreted into speech. Thus, asking a question or soliciting comments and then quickly selecting the first person to raise a hand or shout out a response, does not allow those experiencing time delays an opportunity to participate. It also discriminates against those who require more time to express themselves.

  • If the text of any handout or A/V presentation is not available in accessible formats (i.e., Braille, electronic text file, audio recording), announce to the audience how to obtain a copy in an accessible format. Example: "We regret that the [document, PowerPoint presentation, agenda, etc.] is not available in braille, large print, or electronic text. However, anyone in the audience can contact the Commission's Accessible Format Specialist, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, to obtain a copy in the format you prefer. You can send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov."

  • Be aware of any changes to the physical environment. If at any time before, during, or after the meeting, pathways or aisles become blocked for wheelchair access, move the barrier or designate someone to do so as soon as possible. Also, if the layout of the meeting room is changed during the meeting (for example, tables/chairs moved in a different configuration, additional equipment brought in, etc.), announce the changes or additions to the audience and warn them of hazards associated with the change(s)/addition(s), (e.g., power cords, cables, etc.) This will be especially helpful for attendees who are blind or have low vision. Example: "Just so that everyone is aware, we'll need to change the location of some of the tables during the break in order to accommodate the equipment coming in for the next session. Also, please be aware that in order for the equipment to operate, there will be a power cord/cable that will be taped to the carpet that will run across the aisle. So please exercise caution when walking in the aisle area or close to the equipment when it is set up."

  • Always describe any changes to preprinted agendas, handouts, or other materials.

  • When an acronym that is not commonly known to the general public is first used, be sure to pause the discussion momentarily, giving the spelling and/or meaning of the acronym. Not only will this be helpful to the audience, but will also be of invaluable assistance in providing accurate information to sign language interpreters, captioners, and CART writers. Example: "Excuse me. Just to help clarify what 'Nancy' is - it's the acronym for the North American Numbering Council, N-A-N-C, which is often pronounced, 'Nancy.' It is … [provide explanation]."

Audio and visual media

Organizers and planners of Commission meetings must make sure that all attendees, including individuals with disabilities, are not "excluded from participation in," or "denied the benefits of" meetings and events.63 In order to ensure that everyone can participate in and benefit from the meeting or event, it is vital that the organizer know, to the extent possible, what audio/visual presentations64 will be used.

Presenters with printed handouts or audio/visual media…
  AND people with disabilities are expected

  • Inform the presenters of the Commission's obligation to provide access to people with disabilities. Ask the presenters whether printed handouts or audio/visual elements will be included in their respective presentations. If such materials will be in use, then…

    In advance of the meeting, request a copy of the media that presenters plan to use -- printed handouts, audio/visual elements, etc. If available, an electronic version is preferred.

    • For conversion of print and other textual media to braille, large print, electronic text, or audio format, contact the Commission's Accessible Format Specialist, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, fcc504@fcc.gov.

      • When using slides or other graphic displays that do not include textual content (for example pictures, drawings, unlabeled charts, etc.), please provide a description of the key visual elements; include an explanation of any special significance implied by the manner of presentation. For example, if a parody of a company logo is displayed, note that it is a satirical depiction of Company X's logo. Then proceed to describe what the image looks like.

      • If possible, submit materials at least 5 business days prior to the date they are needed so that the conversion to accessible format can be completed by the day of the event.

  • For consultation regarding video or other non-text media that is not captioned, contact the Commission's Section 504 Officer, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty), fcc504@fcc.gov to determine the arrangements needed to assure access. Please allow as much lead time as possible.

  • Remind presenters and event moderators that information contained in working documents, flipcharts, posters, and visual aids must be read or described in order for the information to be accessible to the entire audience.

    • If, as a group, you are editing or revising a document, be sure to re-read any sections or contextual material necessary to convey to the group the full impact of the change(s) to be made.

    • If you are exhibiting a diagram or model, be sure to describe the individual parts as well as any interactions or changes that are being shown. If animation or special effects are being used, be sure to describe those as well.

Presenters with printed handouts or audio/visual media…
  AND it is unknown if people with disabilities will attend…

  • Inform the presenters of the Commission's obligation to provide access to people with disabilities. Ask the presenters whether printed handouts or audio/visual elements will be included in their presentations. If such materials will be in use, then….

    • Request that presenters have copies of the media they plan to use readily available in the event that people with disabilities should request accommodations. Inform the presenter that if a request for accommodation is received, they will be asked to forward a copy of their presentation materials to the Commission immediately so that we may convert them into accessible format.

If you are invited to speak at a non-FCC event…
  AND have handouts or audio/visual presentations…

Check with the event planner to find out whether the sponsoring organization has made arrangements for accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

If the hosts HAVE MADE ARRANGEMENTS for accommodations…

  • Have copies of handouts and audio/visual media ready for your hosts so that they can have them produced in accessible format.

  • If interpreters are being provided and you would like some guidelines on how to work with them, see the section on sign language interpreters beginning on page 82.

If the hosts HAVE NOT MADE ARRANGEMENTS for accommodations or do not know if people with disabilities plan to attend…

  • Be prepared to read or describe any document or A/V presentation you will be sharing.

    • If the group is editing or revising a document, be sure to re-read any sections or contextual material necessary to convey to the group the full impact of the change(s) to be made.

    • If you are exhibiting a diagram or model, be sure to describe the individual parts as well as any interactions or changes that are being shown. If animation or special effects are being used, be sure to describe those as well.

  • If you would like to have copies of your materials in accessible format (braille, large print, electronic text, or audio formats) to take with you to your presentation, send the document (preferably in electronic format) to the Commission's Accessible Format Specialist, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, fcc504@fcc.gov, at least 5 business days prior to your departure date.

    When submitting slides or other graphic displays that do not include textual content (for example pictures, drawings, unlabeled charts, etc.) for conversion to accessible format, please provide a description of the key visual elements; include an explanation of any special significance implied by the manner of presentation. For example, if a parody of a company logo is displayed, note that it is a satirical depiction of Company X's logo. Then proceed to describe what the image looks like.

  • If you do not have accessible copies of your materials with you, state at the beginning of your presentation that your materials can be provided in accessible format upon request. Ask audience members who need such formats to supply you with the following information:
      - Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
      - Specific materials they would like converted to accessible format
      - Type of accessible format they are requesting

    Forward the consumer's information along with copies of the document(s) they are requesting (preferably in electronic format) to the Commission's Accessible Format Specialist, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, fcc504@fcc.gov.


last reviewed/updated on November 9, 2004 


If you have questions, concerns or need assistance in regard to disability issues, please do not hesitate to contact us at dro@fcc.gov

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