Tips to Make Your Graduation Ceremony Fully ADA-Compliant

It’s never too early to start planning for graduation, especially since ADA rules may require certain modifications to make your school’s ceremony accessible for all students and guests who will be attending.

The Illinois ADA Project has put together a very helpful checklist for graduation ceremony planners to help ensure full compliance for the big day. The following is a brief summary of the 7 points:

  1. Staff coordination and training — Most problems and lawsuits stem from improperly trained staff and coordination failures. Make sure staff members are fully informed and prepared to provide assistance at all points in the program.
  2. Invitations, promotional materials, and programs — Invitations and promotional materials must be accessible to those with hearing, sight, and other communication issues. Provide information about accessibility options at the ceremony. Consider including an accommodation-request-form.
  3. Site selection — It is essential that the graduation site be accessible to all attendees. Whether held on- or off-site, staff and planners should be sure to visit ahead of time to ensure that the location is compliant or that needed modifications can be made.
  4. Auxiliary aids and services — It is the school board’s obligation to accommodate those with communication challenges by providing visual or aural aids and services.
  5. Service animals — Specially trained/designated animals must be permitted in all areas where students and guests are normally allowed.
  6. Auditorium seating — The goal is to allow families to sit together by integrating wheelchair seating throughout the auditorium as much as possible.
  7. Stage access — Individuals using wheelchairs should be able to receive their diplomas onstage alongside their classmates, rather than having to receive them in a different manner or area.

Read the full Illinois ADA Project document.

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