Monday, 1 November 2010

Access for conferences and congresses

General and specific

Every four years now March of Dimes Canada organises a mega-conference event of six concurrent conferences. FICCDAT – the Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology – that describes itself thus:

FICCDAT could be thought of (modestly) as the Olympiad of all conferences relating to aging, disability, caregiving and technology.

The next FICCDAT will take place in June 2011 (what a wonderful platform for Conductive Education this could be).

Canada in general tends to do human rights and dignity rather well. If there are to be future World CE Congresses, might FICCDAT offer a benchmark or model of established international good practice that the International Pető Association might examine to inform its consideration of disability access?

From MOD, Andria Spindel writes –

This is our mission, vision and guiding principles about inclusion and access:
In addition, our website and that of March of Dimes use a special accessible web-browser feature that enables anyone to increase the accessibility of the site by downloaded the software. Our planning committee includes a group on logistics and accessibility that will do everything from arrange for dog care to attendant care, sign interpreters and special meals. We have a room for delegates to rest in if they have a disability and will have scores of volunteers on hand to assist. 
We are scrapping the bilingual aspect as it is expensive and did not prove to be necessary but will continue to consider all disability needs. Let me know if I missed something. 

I suppose that on a smaller scale these World CE Congresses might be considered a bit of an Olympiad too.

Meanwhile, SAHK has announced further accessibility solutions on the 'What's New' section of the Congress website, and more useful practical information for all attenders:


  1. FICCDAT website:

  2. Andrew,

    I do not know about conferences in Canada, I was never at one, but it will be no different to my experiences elsewhere in the country as it is the law of the land there for access to be barrier-free and from my experiences the law is abided by.

    I have even been on a glacier in Canada and my role as a carer was instantly removed the moment we entered the ticket office. There was a fleet of twelve buses out of twenty with wheelchair lifts, so there was no waiting for the right one to return. There was a glacier-specialist wheelchair-pusher on each bus. I did not have to worry about anything. I was given a new role, as a tourist! This is only one example of many during our stay in Canada.

    This ease of movement is the "norm" in Canada and I have experienced it in other countries, including Australia, America and New Zealand and, I am happy to say, also the UK.

    Even in countries where it is not the yet the "norm", meaning not yet law, to have barrier free access, it can never-the-less be expected that at a conference on disability everything should be barrier free.

    Even, or especially, at the parties.

  3. Thank you Elliot. I had of course intended to put up this URL. In the event, it slipped my mind!

    For the record, key dates are listed here: