Resource Room for persons with disabilities

This article highlights the offerings of the Resource Room during APA’s Annual Convention.

By Anju Khubchandani, MA

As this year’s APA convention fast approaches, I thought I might take this opportunity to introduce the Disability Resource Room. This bustling area housed within the main convention center is wholly dedicated to providing services to our convention attendees with disabilities and to those with chronic and/or medical health conditions. Services provided include a private place to rest, shuttle service equipped with a wheelchair lift, loaner wheelchairs and canes, screen reading software, on-call sign language interpreters and volunteers.

From its humble beginnings on the fringe of the convention, it has grown into a bustling center, with an average of 85 to 90 attendees walking through its doors to take advantage of the numerous services it provides. While the bulk of direct service provision is conducted on site, hours of pre-convention outreach takes place to ascertain specific needs attendees with disabilities may have that can be addressed ahead of time. For example, those who are blind or visually impaired may receive a CD-Rom of the complete convention program prior to convention. Last year, a graduate student requested CART services as she was unable to understand sign language and would, therefore, not benefit from a signing interpreter. Although APA had never had such a request, CART services were secured. The result: a great experience for this first-time convention attendee.

The mainstay of the resource room is our core of student volunteers. Because the demand for services has grown each year, our volunteer base has nearly tripled in size to approximately 80 in number. The volunteers provide an invaluable service to attendees with disabilities and as importantly gain from direct experience with members with disabilities. 

Overview of Resource Room Services 
  • Wheelchairs and canes 

  • Sign language interpreters 

  • Volunteers 

  • Computer equipped with vocalization software 

  • TTY telephone service 

  • Quiet, private place to rest 

  • Shuttle service, equipped with a wheelchair lift 

  • First-aid kit

Please stop by and let us show off our services to those with disabilities. 
 
For additional information regarding accessibility of the two convention hotels, please visit the Accessibility webpage.