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Accessibility Guidelines for Presentations

Principle: Foster Community, Strive to Connect

We ask you to bear in mind the diversity of our membership and your audience. SDS spans many disciplines, experiences, cultural communities, and learning styles.
We invite you to think about issues of privilege and injustice and to reflect on the inclusion and exclusions of your presentation. Here are some suggestions for ensuring that you are as inclusive as possible in your presentation:

  • If you report on cultural communities with which you do not identify, can you explicitly mark issues of ethical engagement in your talk?
  • Can you move toward dialogue as part of your communication strategy for your paper?
  • Can you use (or move toward) Simple English?

Principle: Think Access, Model Access

When SDS sponsors a conference, send preparation materials to sds@disstudies.org to ensure access to your presentation. Please name the file with your last name and session number for ease of organization (example SMITH_#12B): a full draft (need not be totally polished) OR a summary of your paper along with a list of proper names, terminology, and jargon. These materials will be tremendously valuable in ensuring that captioners and interpreters can provide access to your presentation.


We invite you to be conscious of what are by now conventional accessibility measures:

  • Avoid all scented products while at the conference.
  • Bring the materials you need on a jump drive. Internet access may not be available in your presentation room.
  • Bring a few print copies for audience members who would like to follow along with you.
  • Offer large-print copies (17-pt. or larger) of your full presentation and handouts at your session (feel free to add a disclaimer: "Please do not distribute without the expressed permission of the author" and include your name and contact information).
  • Be prepared to project your full presentation should captioning fail.
  • Avoid reading your paper.
  • Present at a comfortable pace that makes possible accurate CART transcription and ASL interpretation.
  • Avoid using jargon
  • Allow time for eye contact and spelling proper names and terminology.
  • Provide audio description of visual images, charts and video/DVDs, and/or open or closed captioning of films and video clips.

If you incorporate Powerpoint slides into your presentation:

  • use a high contrast color scheme (i.e. white background, black font or the reverse)
  • use a templated slide format
  • use a sans-serif font, such as Arial, and maintain a large font size
  • provide minimal text on each slide (only a few points)
  • incorporate audio description of all images, graphs, charts on your slides