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  6. Appendix C – Guide to Accessible Seating
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  6. Appendix C – Guide to Accessible Seating
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  4. Inclusive Practices Toolkit
  5. Appendix C – Guide to Accessible Seating

To be inclusive, it is always best to find event spaces that are as spacious as possible and have chairs and tables that can be moved around to suit the activity and participant needs.

Traditional theatre-style seating arrangement, in which all chairs are arranged in rows facing the front of a room, is not considered inclusive or accessible.

Disability Access Symbols can be used to promote and inform people about the accessibility of spaces and events. Use these symbols on registration forms, event schedules, and event signage to indicate which services and supports will be available to participants.

Accessible Seating Arrangements

U-shape, hollow circle, and parallel table seating arrangements are desirable for smaller meetings. If using other seating arrangements for large meetings ensure that there is space for people using mobility devices (walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters) to pass freely behind and between seating. Remember that everyone should be able to choose where they would like to sit, rather than being assigned to a place.

U-Shape

This arrangement is good for relatively small groups where attendees are expected to participate. It is best practice to leave a minimum of 4-6 feet (6-8 feet is ideal) between the presenter’s table or podium and tables where participants are seated. This allows individuals with mobility devices to freely navigate between the tables and into the center of the arrangement should they wish to speak with individuals located in hard-to-reach spots, such as the corners.

Hollow Circle or Square

These arrangements are often used when participants are expected to engage in an interactive discussion. Both require a large room, even for relatively small numbers. These arrangements can be accomplished using chairs alone or with chairs behind tables.

Parallel Seating

This arrangement can be used for small group meetings and events. It is especially useful for when a presentation is being given or a PowerPoint or video is being projected towards one end of the room. Projectors or teleconference equipment can be placed into the center of the tables preventing anyone’s view from being blocked and allowing cords to be run in between the tables to save space and prevent tripping. As always, ensure that there is space around all of the tables and chairs for individuals with mobility devices to freely move around.

To be inclusive, it is always best to find event spaces that are as spacious as possible and have chairs and tables that can be moved around to suit the activity and participant needs.

Traditional theatre-style seating arrangement, in which all chairs are arranged in rows facing the front of a room, is not considered inclusive or accessible.

Disability Access Symbols can be used to promote and inform people about the accessibility of spaces and events. Use these symbols on registration forms, event schedules, and event signage to indicate which services and supports will be available to participants.

Staggered Tables

This arrangement is appropriate for large group meetings.

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