Assistance Stickers for Attending Programming

Assistance Stickers for Official Programming Items

Who should have an assistance sticker?

1. If you need to move with an assistive device and/or have substantially impaired mobility (strollers do not qualify).

and/or

2. If you need to sit in the front row because of severe hearing or vision restrictions.

and/or

3. If you have a service animal (comfort animals do not qualify).

How do I get a sticker?

They are available at the following locations: At registration when you get your badge, at Convention Operations, or from a member of the programming staff. They’ll be put on the back of your badge so you don’t have to advertise your status to anyone except staff when you need an accommodation.

*We will also have a programming staff member sitting outside the green room during green room hours on Thursday 6-11p, Friday 9-11a and 1-5p, and Saturday 9-11a and 1-5p if you have questions or would like a sticker.

Can a sticker be provided to a companion?

Yes, it will be marked ‘companion’ and they must be with you to get their sticker. There will be ONE issued to you to be given to a single companion. It does not provide admission to the con and your companion must have their own badge.

What about standing in line for long periods of time?

You don’t need a sticker unless you also have one of the restrictions listed above. We will have a few chairs available that you can take to your place in line and maintain your spot there. Please be understanding of our limited capacity to help you with this and manage your own care if at all possible. Most items you’ll be in line 15 minutes or less. Very popular items (usually held in the ballrooms) or ones with limited attendance (marked with a human eye icon in the program guide and listed in the item description) can be up to 30 minutes wait.

Will this help me get seatings in programming items?

For large items or ones that traditionally fill early please plan on arriving at least 15-20 minutes prior to the item. Just having a sticker doesn’t mean you automatically get in or avoid waiting like the rest of the conference. We do understand it can be hard to get across the hotel but please don’t abuse the system. We will do our best to provide priority seating for those people with stickers but it is on a first come, first served basis and we cannot guarantee seating. Once the doors have been opened for all to be admitted, we cannot guarantee anyone – even those with special needs – a seat.

What’s an official programming item?

Items that occur in the public rooms of the hotel occurring in the ballrooms and in the city function rooms.

I have a sticker and I’m going to an official programming item. Now what?

Please come to the front of the line and when asked, show your sticker to the programming staff when they appear. Please tell the programming staff what accommodation you need (more time to get to your seat, a seat up front for sight/vision issues, etc, scooter parking). Programming staff are managing up to 6 items simultaneously per programming period so be patient with them if you don’t see them immediately.

Doors will open for assistance sticker’d folk and their companion FIVE (5) minutes before the posted start time of an item (ie, if an item is scheduled for 11am, then we will admit you at 10:55). Sometimes this means you will be admitted while the presenters are finishing their setup. Please respect their preparations and find your seat silently.

I’m in a special needs room.

This has nothing to do with special needs rooms. You don’t need to be in one to ask for a sticker, nor do get one automatically because you are in a special needs room. Please ask for one at registration if you need accommodation to attend items.

I’m using a mobility device and there are a lot of us in line:

For attendees with mobility devices and their companions we will pull chairs to make space for you but they will not always be up front. We frequently pull a few spaces up front, then in the middle and at the back.  Some rituals have attendees on the floor but the presenters have always accommodated attendees gracefully in the past. Every programming room has at least one mobility device and companion space in the default layout (bigger rooms have more).

This is a small room and there are a lot of us in line:

We are aware that sometimes in small rooms it is possible that accessibility sticker folk and their companions could take up the entire room. In those cases the programming staffer will make their best judgement about space and will instead do a 50/50 split to keep the item fair for everyone going by the first come, first served overall policy (so be prompt!).

I don’t have one of the restrictions listed above but I think I still need a sticker.

Please check in with a Programming staffer and let’s talk about it. We want you to have a good experience at con and are happy to answer questions about how the conference works that might make it clearer for you and for us if there is a need. On Friday and Saturday there will be a programming staffer outside the green room that qualifies for a sticker herself that is happy to answer questions. On Sunday please check in with Con Ops.

I don’t think that person deserves a sticker!

That’s none of your business. There are many invisible illnesses and we are not here to pass judgement on anyone. Sometimes people can walk in the morning without impairment but can’t in the afternoon, or they can walk but cannot stand. Or their pain levels spiked and now they need to sit. Frequently people who ask for accommodation don’t want to sit up front. They often prefer in the middle or along an aisle. Please respect your fellow attendees and their needs.

Note: This has nothing to do with: Hotel Registration lines, Starbucks, Restaurants, party rooms or elevators. This is solely to help our attendees attend official programming items. Please be responsible in your use of the sticker.

Pieces of this policy were taken from the CONvergence accessibility page and then heavily modified for use with the PantheaCon conference model. My thanks to them for having such a clear one to work with.