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 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. If a room is too hot or cold, you can contact our Info Desk or any volunteer to request a change.
- Mobility– Everything at the con will be wheelchair accessible, from our game rooms, to our panel/workshop rooms, and our Merchant Hall.
- Reading– Programs will be made available to all OrcaCon participants with a dyslexia-friendly font. We will also have a PDF version available for anyone who would like to have it on a device as well.. 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.
- ASL Interpreters – We expect to invite more ASL Interpreters to OrcaCon 2019, for assistance with our panels/workshops, and hosting of Silent Gamers table in the Main Games Hall.
- Eating– All Bellevue Hilton are equipped with mini fridges that can be utilized for individuals that need to bring their own food. Some rooms are equipped with microwaves; you can request one when you book your hotel room. There will be dietary options in the hotel restaurant along with a variety of Food Trucks who offer gluten free, dairy-free, vegan and, vegetarian options. The Hotel offers a free shuttle to take people back and forth to Bellevue Square, which has many dining options.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive a caregiver registration. All service animals are allowed in the hotel in accordance with the ADA (Adults with Disabilities Act). 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, the con will have fluorescent lighting even though we will try to have the intensity of such lighting at a good level. Also the hotel and hotel guests may have items which 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 games, backpacks, and other personal items, 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!