The suggestions below were received from Standing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) DC and an interpreter used for one of their events. Thanks to SURJ generally and Nai specifically for these recommendations!
1. Have all flyers, handouts, evaluation/sign-up forms, and other visual aids available in plain-text – a simple HTML format website or Word document. Post them on Facebook events in advance. Offer to email them to anyone who needs them at the event.
2. Write down notes on an iDevice instead of or in addition to using pad and paper or easel and marker. All iDevices come with free built-in screen reader technology. Alternatively, have someone in charge of reading off what gets written down and keeping people in the loop.
3. Have people say their name/pronouns when going around the room or doing group discussions, or any other information people have written on nametags.
4. Check in with blind/low vision participants during transitions. Offer to guide folks to other rooms/the bathroom, list the buffet options, etc. Offer to help them divide up into a group or partner up during activities.
5. Include non-visual examples in the content of whatever you’re discussing. E.g. race isn’t just about skin color; transness isn’t just about clothes. Identities are also coded through word choice, expectations, social roles, cultural norms, etc. Hijabs, disability aids, aren’t only visible, they can also be heard or felt. Apparent identities aren’t only visible.
6. When asking for a show of hands or any other visual cue, give a rough percentage of how many people raised their hands or gave another form of visual cue. (Note asking people to stand up, step forward, and raise their hands, can leave out mobility-disabled folks too.)
7. Find other ways to allow for participation other than reading off a screen or writing on a piece of paper. For example, having people refer to a screen to sing a song or asking people to write down anonymous questions on post-its leaves out blind participants.
8. When presenting, replace deictic language: “over here”, “that way”, “like this” with descriptive language: “to the left”, “in the hallway”, “with a hand on their hip”.
9. Respect the personal space of blind participants just as you would sighted ones. Don’t reach across or brush past blind participants just because they can’t see you.
10. Offer to describe any images or video clips that are used as part of the presentation.
11. Avoid loud background music, rooms that echo, or other sounds that compete with the speech or presentation. Try to find a venue that absorbs sound, has options for closing doors, and seating near the primary source of sound. (Auditory processing in noisy environments is harder without visual support).
12. Avoid language like “color-blind”, “myopic”, “the blind leading the blind”, or other terms that frame blindness negatively and disrespect blind culture.
13. Give a general layout especially if requested, e.g. let people know the general orientation of the audience and layout of the room.
14. Check in with individuals about lighting. Some blind people need it brighter and some need it dimmer.
15. If you are ever not sure, just ask. Folks are the experts on their own needs.