Here at OrcaCon we believe that everyone no matter their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or disability should enjoy and have access to all the areas of the con with the slightest of ease. OrcaCon was created to be a welcoming and safe place for all to come play games, connect, and simply be amongst others who love analog gaming. With that in mind we take accessibility at our con very seriously and are doing everything in our power to have it be an amazing experience for all. Below you will find our official OrcaCon Accessibility policy that will outline the accessibility achievements so far. Please note that the Accessibility Policy is a living document that will change and grow as we will never be done looking for better ways to create a welcoming and accessible con for all.
What we Cannot Control:
We have done much research in barriers to accessibility at our con and want to be very up front with some barriers we cannot accommodate as they may contradict accommodations to other barriers. We cannot fully accommodate those with allergies to animals as individuals with service animals are fully welcomed to the con as are their service animals. As we recommend con attendees to avoid wearing strong scents such as perfumes and colognes we cannot make attendees do so. We are always open to suggestions in this matter and will take every suggestion into consideration.
What is being Accommodated:
- Comfort– All the areas of OrcaCon with the exception of the parking garage is temperature controlled to keep the con comfortable. However because these are large spaces it may get hot or cold during the con so be sure to bring layers. The parking garage is outside temperatures and will be chilly as the con will be taking place in January.
- Mobility– Everything at the con will be wheelchair accessible, we will also have free paratransit available to help with getting to and from the hotel for local con goers.
- Reading– Programs will be made available to all OrcaCon participants. We will also have a PDF version available for anyone who would like to have it on a device as well as large print. We will have a link on our website to download, or you can email us and we’ll send you a PDF of the program.
- Listening– Seating up close will be available for hard of hearing individuals to be closer to the speakers and/or to be able to read lips.
- Eating– All Holiday Inn hotel rooms come with mini fridges that can be utilized for individuals that need to bring their own food. There are dietary options in the hotel restaurant and there are also gluten free, dairy-free, vegan and, vegetarian options available in the downtown area. It’s recommended for you to do some research of the restaurants in the area before the con.
- Breathing– OrcaCon is not a fragrance free convention. We do not have a way to control this, as some people use aromatherapy and natural oils to help with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. However, we also understand that strong scents can trigger migraines, asthma attacks, irritation, and other illnesses. The hotel also uses cleaning supplies that will most likely be scented; be aware of that when checking into your room. If you have a severe or strong reaction to scents we recommend you bring a N95 mask
- Assistance– Caregivers will be allowed free access to the con in order to assist their clients. Caregivers please have ID and company info when arriving. You can email email@example.com if you wish to set up this program. All service animals are allowed in the hotel in accordance with the ADA (Adults with Disabilities Act). Please consider having your service animal wearing something identifying them as such. Please assume that if you see a person at the con with an animal that it is a service animal. By law Service animal owners do not need to have identification of any sort. With this being the case we cannot accommodate individuals who may be allergic to animals.
Potential Barriers that Remain:
Despite our best efforts there, will still be some barriers at our convention. As an example, we can’t have a scent free environment, as we do not have a way to control this. Some people use aromatherapy and natural oils to help with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. The con will have fluorescent lighting even though we will try to have the intensity of such lighting at a good level. Also their items may include things such as dust, incense and other possible scents.
Allies: How we can all contribute to an accessible con:
What is an ally in regards to accessibility at a con? What this means is enabling respect, dignity, and ability for all members of the con whether they have a disability or not. Below are some examples of what that may look like in the OrcaCon setting.
- Section 1: Ask to Help– This comes down to asking if someone would like help instead of assuming they are incapable of helping themselves. An example would be if it appears someone is struggling opening a door ask them if you can get the door for them.
- Section 2: The Mindset of “Capable”, NOT Incapable- Treat others as capable and with abilities rather than incapable and with disabilities. Do not assume individuals with disabilities want advice.
- Section 3: Personal Boundaries- Please respect others’ physical and emotional boundaries as you would wish for others to do to you. An example would be: do not touch someone’s wheelchair without prior permission, even to move it.
- Section 4: Respect Blue Zones (Blue Tape) – Please be respectful of any areas at the con marked with blue tape for example chairs or areas marked with blue tape are reserved for anyone with accommodations that need to sit up front in order to lip read or effectively hear. Wheelchair spaces are also marked in blue. Blue zones at the con MUST be kept clear at all times to allow people to safely enter and leave the con. Be mindful of your surroundings when stopping to chat with others in the hallways and aisles.
- Section 5: Keep Pathways Clear- Keep doorways unblocked and free of merchandise and/or clutter. This is for everyone’s benefit as blocking walkways, through ways, and doors creates an unsafe situation, not just in an emergency.
- Section 6: Air Quality- Smoke can be a big trigger of breathing issues and migraines. Please wash your hands if you smoke to help. Avoid wearing any type of perfume or cologne.
- Section 7: Say Something- You can be an advocate for accessibility by speaking up if you see something that can be a barrier. For example if you see pathways blocked politely ask for them to be cleared or let Con staff know.
If you see any barriers to accessibility or have any ideas/concerns to help improve our con please contact our Accessibility Coordinator at accessibility@OrcaCon.org. Let’s make this an environment of gaming for all by advocating, learning, and enabling a great accessible con!