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Embracing Inclusivity: A Few Tips for Welcoming People with Disabilities This Holiday Season

As we come together with friends and family to create lasting memories this holiday season, it’s important to ensure that our gatherings are inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

If you are having a get-together, ensure that your holiday gathering space is accessible to individuals with mobility challenges. This may include providing ramps, clear pathways, and accessible restrooms. You may also want to consider the furniture layout to allow for easy navigation.

Remember that people with disabilities are not ashamed to talk about their needs. Foster an environment of open communication by discussing any specific needs or preferences with your guests ahead of time. This will help you better understand how to accommodate everyone. Additionally, raise awareness among all attendees about the importance of being considerate and understanding of different abilities.

When it comes to decking the halls, be mindful of decorations that could create barriers for individuals with visual or sensory impairments. Avoid excessive flashing lights or decorations that may trigger sensitivities. Consider incorporating tactile elements into your decorations, such as textured ornaments or scented candles, to engage multiple senses.

Plan activities that everyone can enjoy regardless of their abilities. Consider games and entertainment that are adaptable to different needs and preferences. Providing options ensures that everyone feels included and can participate in the festivities.

Holiday parties almost always include delicious snacks! Take dietary restrictions and preferences into account when planning the menu. Labeling food items with ingredients can be particularly helpful for individuals with allergies or specific dietary needs.

Recognize that some individuals may need a break from the noise and stimulation. Designate quiet spaces where guests can retreat if they need a moment of respite. This is particularly important for individuals with sensory sensitivities or conditions such as autism.

Make sure that event information such as directions and time, is communicated clearly. This can be especially helpful for individuals with cognitive disabilities or needing additional time to plan their arrival.

Happy Holidays from the Developmental Disabilities Association!